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'World economy has shifted from West to East'

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 03, 2008 11:48 IST
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A senior public policy advisor has predicted that India and China are going to propel the economic growth of the world in the 21st century.

Releasing his book, An Asian Century Manifesto- Global Political Economy of the 21st Century, at the Nehru Centre in London on Tuesday night, senior public policy advisor Atma Singh said, "World economy has shifted from the West to East in the 500 years and India, along with China, is going to propel the economic growth in the world in the 21st century."

He said India has the potential to be a bridge between east (e.g. Japan, China) and west Asia (e.g. Arab countries) in order to unite Asia.

Singh said this is a strategic role for India -- both at the level of trade, culture, philosophy and politics and the country must be enabled to play this specific global role.

Equally, "India can lead the battle for democracy across Asia through a process of renewing its own democracy by getting rid of corruption and re-asserting meritocracy and technocracy in its system he said adding, China is a de facto leader of Asia, with its economic and military might.

Although, it has a political weakness with a lack of democracy in the system, which is a constraint in a knowledge and creative industries-based global economy with 'democratic choice' in the lifestyles of people, he added.

Singh, who was senior most Policy Advisor to the Mayor of London on Asian Affairs from June 2001 to July 2007, also announced that he would contest for the post of the Mayor of London in 2012.

Singh said the total Asian population of 4.03 billion, out of the total world population of 6.67 billion, constituted 60 per cent of the world population in 2007.

"Asians are the majority on the planet. At stake is the most fundamental battle on the earth: the battle against poverty. If China and India defeat poverty, whilst constituting four in ten of the world's population with Asians the majority so can the rest of humanity," he said.

He added that both the countries were seeking to overcome the historical economic damage of territorial disintegration through Asian regional cooperation, including economic free trade associations and the resolution of outstanding conflicts and disputes between neighbours.

Noting that China and India's position in the world economy has risen, Singh said from the last quarter of the 20th century to the early years of 21st century, the countries have played an increasing role in the world economy by sustaining economic growth of about 10 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.

He noted that China and India are likely to become the largest and third largest economies in the world, respectively, by 2040. "This will be closest economic correlation to population weight in the world economy for over a century," he said.

In terms of entertainment, Singh said Bollywood is making increasing inroads in the European and North American market.

"It already has a substantial market in south Asia, China, south east Asia, Australia, Middle East and parts of Africa. In 2004 for the first time, more people in the world watched Bollywood than Hollywood films -- 3.8 billion as opposed to 3.6 billion, according to Paul Brett of the British Film Institute," he added.

"The Indian film Industry could tap 12 per cent of the global entertainment market by 2008. Shah Rukh Khan, the Bollywood star has 1 billion fans worldwide -- the same number as Tom Cruise," he noted.

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