The twenty first century is beyond doubt Asia’s century. Asian powers are steadily on the rise marching resolutely towards a position of strength. China is the second biggest economy of the world, next only to America. If economists are to be believed the relentless surge of China can unseat America as the biggest economy sooner than later.
Although the opinion within India may be divided due to Political compulsions, the World acknowledges India as a rapidly growing economy that has the potential to outshine many leading economies. That India has gatecrashed the elite club of economic gaints in a short duration of time, is in itself a commendable feat.
Japan continues to be a economic powerhouse, the tiny country continues to do things that the world is forced to sit-up and take notice. Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Turkey – to name a few – are growth engines that have kept the Asian flag flying high.
The strength of Asia is its people.
Intelligent, hardworking and disciplined the Asian workforce has contributed immensely to the ascendent graph.
The strength of Asia is also it’s leaders. Coincidentally all the major Asian powers are led by strong leaders who have scripted growth stories in their respective countries.
China’s ‘Belt & Road’ initiative is a mammoth project that is the brainchild of Chairman Xi Jinping. Once completed, the project will provide seamless trade connectivity across continents. Not just that, the project will witness heightened economic activity all along the OBOR corridor.
Such initiatives give fillip to the fact that Asia today is capable of helping shape Foreign and Economic policies of the World without having to depend on America and Europe.
Further, It would be prudent to note that the framework for such an Asian Union is already in place. SAARC & ASEAN are functional platforms that bring together Countries and help them bond over trade and business. Also, the successful experiment with the BRICS Bank (pl note: BRICS includes non Asian members ) can be a blueprint for an Asian Union Bank that can act as a banking regulator of Asia.
Setting aside mutual animosities and regional geopolitics, which incidentally also inflict the European union and NAFTA, the Asian majors should get together to explore possibilities of setting up a Asian Union, on the lines of European Union (EU).
Seamless trade across borders without being burdened by regulatory bottlenecks. Unrestricted travel across countries without the hassles of Visas and immigration mandates. A single currency that can rid the Asian grouping of the vagaries and complexities of Forex. Implementation of such measures is by no means an easy task, but Asian countries that are in the cusp of exponential growth cannot allow complexities to deter them and allow a golden opportunity to go abegging.
Europe and America have shown us that to plough ahead together has benefits that far outweigh the gains that can come by if countries choose to go it alone. Hope this fact is not lost on China, Japan and India, the regional trio who have the resources to truly make this century, ‘The Century of Asia’.
Picture Credit: Rishabh’s Lens