India 4th most powerful country in Asia; China loses ground to US: Report | India News – Community News
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India 4th most powerful country in Asia; China loses ground to US: Report | India News

NEW DELHI: The Covid-19 pandemic has displaced the power of Asian giants such as China and India in the Indo-Pacific region and weakened their ability to shape the external environment, the Lowy Institute said in a report.
The report said that while the leading Asian countries witnessed declining influence, the US managed to expand its power through better diplomacy and maintain its position as the most influential nation in the region.

These are the report’s key findings:
China, India’s Loss of Influence
In its 2021 Asian Power Index, which ranks 26 countries and territories, the Sydney-based Lowy Institute said China’s level of power declined as the country grappled with structural weaknesses in its demographics and financial system and became more isolationist.
According to the report, China lost ground in half of the Index’s measures of power in 2021 — from diplomatic and cultural influence to economic capacity and future resources.

India, the fourth most powerful country in the region after the US, Japan and China, was among the hardest hit countries compared to its pre-Covid growth paths.
The report said India has seen a loss of position in critical parameters such as diplomatic influence and economic relations over the past year.
However, India retained fourth place in other power measures such as economic power, military power, resilience and cultural influence.

US continues to exert most influence in Asia
Compared to Asian powers, the US has gained more influence on the continent this year thanks to the administration of President Joe Biden which has established better diplomatic relations and a rapid recovery from the pandemic with the help of vaccinations.
According to the report, the US defied the prevailing regional downtrend to record its first annual gains in comprehensive power in four editions of the Asia Power Index since 2018.
It has also witnessed a notable rise in diplomatic influence this year, albeit from a low set by the former Trump administration.
All in all, Washington topped six of the eight indices in 2021, compared to four last year.
US allies in the region and key balancing powers such as India have never been more dependent on US capacity and willingness to provide a military and strategic counterbalance in response to China’s rise, the report said.

It said increasing security uncertainties in the region pose a “significant” risk of war.
“The depth of hostilities, the extent of competition between the US and China and the presence of multiple potential hotbeds means the risk of war is significant.”
However, the report states that, despite tangible gains in 2021, the US still faces deep-seated structural challenges in its competition with China.
In particular, America’s improvements over China’s four measures of power have been undermined by losses elsewhere, including a decline in parameters such as military capacity and economic relations.
The Asian power game
The report said the impact of the pandemic on emerging economies such as India has the potential to amplify bipolarity in the Indo-Pacific region, driven by the growing power differential between the US and China.
It said Japan and India, the two with the most potential to contribute to a regional multipolar order, lost more ground than China in 2021.
“Separated by oceans and vast demographic differences representing old and young, Asia, Japan and India have nevertheless recorded similar declines since 2018,” the think tank said.
According to the index, both Tokyo and New Delhi now both fall just below the 40-point threshold for the major power and are ranked as middle powers.
India also lagged in economic diplomacy, dropping one place to finish eighth behind Thailand in the measure of economic relations.
India’s resources are greater than its influence
The think tank said India has remained an “underachiever” in the Indo-Pacific region relative to its resources and potential.
“India’s emergence as a truly multipolar power — able to match China’s military and economic capabilities — will take decades of effort with no guarantee of success,” the report said.

The think tank said that while India has increased its resilience and military capability in 2021, it is also one of the hardest hit compared to its growth path prior to the pandemic.
Conversely, Japan has been an overachiever in Asia but remains in decline in the long run, the report said.
It praised Tokyo for using its limited resources efficiently to exert broad diplomatic, economic and cultural influence in the region.
In addition, countries like Australia, Singapore and South Korea have more leverage than their raw capabilities would suggest, the report said.

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