‘India may become No. 2 world economy in century of Asia’

April 2nd, 2008 - 11:13 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 2 (IANS) The 21st century “will be the century of Asia” with China at the top and either the United States or India in second place, according to a top US intelligence official. “This will be the century of Asia,” said Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell in a talk on future global trends at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.

“Think about that. If you’re Chinese and you think of yourself as the Middle Kingdom, and you were exploited for 100 years, what is the future?” he asked.

“Now, we would rail against Communism, control, and so on, but think about it: 1.3 billion people growing at a phenomenal rate; the three largest economies in the world - four largest economies in the world over the next 30 years will grow into this,” McConnell said.

“Number one will be China, number two will be the United States or India - we don’t know; one or the other - number four will be Japan,” he said. “So if you just think in economic terms, you see how it starts to become the century of Asia.”

McConnell also considered India and the US as the two places in the world whose demographics portend “a society that’s balanced and growing and prosperous and ongoing into the future”.

The demographics are bad in Europe, Russia, Japan and China, he said, calling each of them “a cliff” or “a society that’s built on a few at the top supported by a broad base at the bottom is going to be inverted, and a few at the bottom are supporting a lot at the top”.

“When I say cliff, I mean all of China. A cliff because the one-child policy is going to catch up with them,” he said. “Now, where are demographics going the other way?” McConnell asked and answered: “Two places, the United States and India”.

“India, for the birth rate; United States because of immigration, and that assures a society that’s balanced and growing and prosperous and ongoing into the future.”

Until an alternative to fossil fuel was invented “a more stable Middle East, access to energy are one of the things that’s going to be most important to us as a nation,” the top US spy said.

” … and not only us in the United States, but the people of the markets we engage with: Europe and China and India,” as “it’s one global economy”.

“My biggest worry at the moment: nuclear weapon in Iran,” the official said. “If the Iranians are successful in achieving fissile material, which they are pursuing, and if they turn it into a nuclear weapon, the dynamics in the Middle East will change literally overnight.

“We will have a nuclear-arms race because if the Iranians have them, my guess is all of the surrounding nations would immediately attempt to secure nuclear weapons.” McConnell said.

“And now we’ve got a situation where we have to have access to energy and not only is it in destabilised (places) in the current politics of what we all know about, you have the risk of weapons of mass destruction added to it.”

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