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Is the future really Asian?

For the world’s future to be truly Asian, we would have to first see a very substantial improvement in the economic performance of this region. That appears some ways off.

China is backpedalling on much-needed economic reforms and is struggling with the implications of a quickly aging work force. Japan is getting too comfortable in the role of an aging, timid and mature economy. India holds more promise, but its young population is also a labour market challenge.

The western parts of Asia are not out of the political woods as wars and sectarian conflicts remain a major headache. The conflict between India and Pakistan, which again erupted into violence recently, is a case in point. Russia is pivoting to Asia but only marginally as its economic and cultural relations with Asia are still much weaker than its ties with Europe. Given Russia’s preoccupation with Europe and America, it seems unlikely to contribute much to the economic growth of Asia in the future.

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