Economy India
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The 21st Century belongs to Asia

 The 21st Century belongs to Asia

By Manohar Manoj

The 21st century is the century of Asia, this is not an exaggerated version rather it has become a well-proven fact. There are so many indications that are emerging out of the Asian continent; it gives ample evidence that Asia will be the next superpower of the world.

The earlier great rising of Japan, subsequently the rising of ‘light of Asia’ the term which was given to those Asian countries viz. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea due to their very impressive economic growth rate during the 1980 decade. Later on the upheavals of ASEAN countries. The post-1980 era witnessed a sea change in the economic policies of China, thereafter the policy transformation of India in the 1990s. These all events altogether have made a very vast and solid ground for the boomeranging of the Asian economy in the 21st century.

We go through the present era of the world economy, most of the market of Europe or America is laden with Asian products and services. If you think to buy electronic items in any European country, you won’t find there a locally made product, either it is made in China or Korea or Japan. If you want to buy food items or green groceries in Europe, it also comes from Asia. Though America and Canada are self-sufficient in food grains, but Europe is not. Now you talk about apparel and clothing. Thanks to the uplifting of the quota system in the world textile trade. India along with China is the leader of the world textile trade. Even smaller countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan have also a great say in the world textile trade.

You talk about the most emerging industry that is of the computer industry in the present era. The software, hardware, and business process outsourcing of the BPOs industry, it is well dominated by countries like India and China. India is the leader in software manpower and the US is in the software industry. China and Korea are leading in the computer hardware industry.

The BPO industry is well-led by India. The largest exporter of BPOs, in the world is followed by China and the Philippines, all of these countries hail from  Asia. Now we come to the automobile industry. America and Europe have been the traditional leader of the automobile industry in the world. Though Japan has always been one of the leading players in the world automobile market after the US. But things are changing very rapidly now. Korea was greatly emerging as one of the world’s leading automobile markets. Daewoo Company was expanding in a worldwide way. But the misfortune takes place when the company faced a very prolonged strike of its employees and thereafter company faced worldwide lockouts in its different manufacturing plants. Despite this, we have still so many Asian multinationals. The companies like Samsung, LG and Hyundai are roaring as big multinational companies, spreading their business all over the world. They are giving a very tough fight to the American and European multinationals. In the same way, companies like Toyota, Suzuki, Sony, and Xerox are leading the world from the very before. Coming to India, there are many companies here that are on the list of multinationals. Though we have so many multinational software players like Satyam, Infosys, Wipro, and Patni computers.  But now the public sector company ONGC, Reliance, ICICI, Ranbaxy, and Videocon are fastly establishing themselves as an Indian multinationals in the world arena.

The experts of international economy are of the view that most of the parts of south Asia are going through a very high growth era, whether it is east Asia or southeast Asia or southern part of Asia, debarring west Asia, which is crippled with Iraq, philistine and Afghan wars. In this part of the world, the economy is always guided by petrodollars. The fluctuations in international oil prices decide the economic fate of not only this part but also the whole world.

We come on the point of integration of the Asian economy. Despite the fact Asian economy is occupying the world’s leading stage, the reality is that the whole of Asia till upon is not integrated. Now this process has just begun. As we know the world trade organization and the World Bank are working towards the concept of the formation of a global village. The whole world is being integrated, not on the basis of liberalizing visas by the developed countries, but rather smoothening of customs duties by most of the developing countries of the world.  

This process has given some momentum to the formation of the union of local economic zones in the whole world. See for example the formation of the European Union. However integration of European countries get started even before to WTO. The concept of the European union was evident in 1980. Earlier it was formed as EEC, as European Economic Council. Which has transformed now as EU, the European union. Now the whole Europe has common currency Euro. The entry visa for the Europian citizen has become very liberal. Only UK is still non-committal in this integration process of Europe.

The integration process has very much started in Asia. This fact is well supported by the earlier formation of ASEAN, SAARC, etc. in order to this ASEAN organization has gone much ahead. They have free trade zone. They have formed a greater economic alliance with countries like China, Japan, and India. Though SAARC, the South Asian association of regional countries was formed very before in 1985. It has already more than a dozen summits, but it has not gone very far ahead like ASEAN countries. Economic cooperation was imagined through SAPTA and SAFTA in this organization. But due to various disputes among the different regional blocks, especially between India and Pakistan these agreements were not fructified.

When we talk about the whole integration of the Asian continent. The first thing is that Asia is not small as Europe. And secondly, the integration of the Asian economy has just started to think of. Of course, it is integrated but only on some regional level.

There are so many events, which have opened the door to the integration of different economies of the Asian continent. Among the many events, the most path-breaking event is the alliance of two big economies of India and China. There have been very long-term disputes between China and India, especially the border dispute and the Tibet problem. There was no border entry between the two nations. In the last 10 years, both countries have witnessed a great amount of bilateral trade. Though China has the upper hand in bilateral trade. But very rapidly India has also got momentum and the balance of trade between the two countries is going slowly in favor of India. Presently the total volume of trade between the two nations is approximately 20 billion dollars. The most important event, which has taken place, is that is the opening of the Nathula border in Sikkim. This development will not only open the vistas of Indo-China economic integration in a big way. Rather China is thinking to reach the Indian Ocean via this trade. As per the estimate of Shenhua agency nathula border will carry at least 10 percent of the total volume of trade. As per the estimate of the Indian govt., based on some surveys by the end of the year 2015 nathula will witness more than Rs.one lakh crore value of trade between the two countries. It is notable here at the start of the 20th century; eighty percent of bilateral trade between China and India was taking place at this route.

 The bilateral relationship between India and Pakistan has improved a lot, even the bilateral trade. It is estimated that the indirect trade between the two nations is always greater than the direct trade between the two countries. Dubai and Singapore are the international routes of the trade between Pakistan and India.

The economic tie-ups between ASEAN countries and different countries of Asia are another strenuous factor in Asian integration. Because it is a well-known fact that as an organization, the 10-member organization ASEAN is the second most powerful regional economic block in the world after the European union. Even the countries, which are outside the periphery of Asia, are somehow dialogue partners of ASEAN. It is notable that China and Japan are very much associated with the ASEAN countries. India made its alliance with ASEAN nations after some intervals, but the association is going quite significantly. India is helping them in sectors like information technology in a great way. In order to do this India has established IT and E-governance center in Laos. It is to mention here that this year onwards India has a free trade regime with ASEAN countries.

The most encouraging sign between India and ASEAN nations arises is that of Ganga- Mekong link project. Mekong is a river in Thailand. It is said that in the ancient period, both rivers have links with each other. During the NDA govt. regime this idea was floated.

Right now most of the economy of Asian nation is growing at a pace of more than 5 percent growth rate. International trade among these nations has become a compulsion. The free trade era is very much coming and the regional cooperation is very much shouted. The international boundaries are opening. Even the disputing nation like India and Pakistan has opened more than 3 entry point at their boundary line. It has been very evident that when the continent as a whole progresses, the barrier between the different nations started to become sparse.  The same thing is happening in Asia. Sooner or later the Asian economy will be integrated and its emergence as a superpower in the world is most solicited.   

 

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