India fourth most powerful country in Asia: Lowy Institute report

Australia is at number six, after the US, China, Japan, India and Russia, in the report that highlights Asian power index

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In spite of its population size, India has not leveraged its position to a more powerful influence in Asia, as per a Lowy Institute foreign policy think tank annual Asia Power Index report. The United States remains the most powerful country in Asia, while China’s lost momentum with its strict COVID-19 lockdowns and border closures but still came in second.

The 2022 report ranks Japan as the third most powerful country in Asia with India in fourth place. Russia is ranked fifth, followed by Australia, South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia.

Using 8 thematic measures, the Asia Power Index scored 26 countries, with power defined as the capacity of a state or territory to influence the behaviour of other states, non-state actors and the course of international events. The eight measures are military capability, defence networks, economic capability, economic relationships, cultural influence, future resources, diplomatic influence and resilience.

India scored the highest in active and paramilitary personnel at 3,068,000, China was second at 2,535,000 whereas in training and readiness India scored 73 points, compared to China at 87. The US had the benchmark at 100. In combat experience, India was 4th on the list at 74, China was 12th out of 26 countries at 27.

In global exports, China was exporting $3.1 trillion worth of goods and services, India’s numbers are $277 billion. According to the Lowy institute report, India’s economic influence waned in 2022 due to New Delhi continuing to turn its back on key regional trade agreements, and sitting outside the regional economic integration agenda.

India, though has strengthened in its diplomatic influence across the region, moving up one place to fourth from the last survey. India can boast of 26 High Commissions, embassies and permanent missions across the region, drawing even with US and one more than Australia at 25. India gained more points for its foreign policy advancements which measures the ability of government leaders and foreign policy bureaucracies to advance its diplomatic interests.

Globally, India does most trade with China at $102 billion, the United States at $76 billion and European Union at $72 billion. Regionally, countries which rely most on trade with India are Nepal (62.9%), Sri Lanka (13.7%) and Bangladesh (9.3%). It is this lack of wider economic influence in Asia which continues to mark India down in the 2022 Asia Power Index.

Military capability, defence networks and cultural influence has helped the United States to retain its top spot over China. The United States‘ favourable demographic outlook also gave it more points against China and Japan, both these countries are facing an aging society and declining population growth.

Australia has held steady at number six position, after the US, China, Japan, India and Russia, largely due to its good relationship with its neighbours, a steady political system and a strong economy.

The report‘s author has highlighted that the slower-than-expected trajectory of growth of India and slowing down of Japan will provide a challenge to the United States looking to balance China’s growth in Asian power index.

Read more: 2023 will be India’s year in Australia

Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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