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Asia in 2030

Asia in 2030

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Published by Dr. PANKAJ JHA
The paper creates general scenario in Asia in 2030
The paper creates general scenario in Asia in 2030

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Published by: Dr. PANKAJ JHA on Jan 02, 2010
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01/16/2011

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Asia’s Capabilities in 2030-Scenario Building for Future 
Dr. Pankaj Jha Associate Fellow,IDSA
Abstract
With the common understanding developing that the ongoing phase isthe Asian century which has been rightfully justified in terms of morethan average growth in Asia, in spite of the global recession, showsand certifies the buoyancy of Asian economies. In this regard the rising Asia, more particularly India and China are seen as the harbingers of new economic order and the erosion of the Brettonwoods system. Thiswould not only be possible when the defence, strategic, trade,investment clout of Asia increases at the international level. The paper takes an overview of the developments that would be there in Asiawhich would determine the course of development as well as strugglewithin Asia. In the paper detailed analysis about defence issues and military capabilities has been purposely being left out because that would have meant greater error percentage. The issues that havebeen discussed are those of population, per capita income, agedependence, defence expenditure and climate change. This paper isan attempt to create scenarios as well as do forecasting about the possible trends which would be prevalent in Asia in 2030.
Scenario building is a tedious process and in spite of so much knowledgeit is not feasible to decipher the scenario in a precise manner. Asia is alsowitnessing very strong and influencing factors like economic growth,globalization, liberal trade, migration, defence modernisation, climatechange, global warming, population growth, ethnic frictions, demographicchanges to list few which are supposed to change the course of future in thenext two decades. Though nobody can predict the exact future but stillpeople, decision makers, managers and strategic thinkers try to decode it,though with varying degrees of error, so as to think about the likelypossibilities. The ensuing question is why do scenarios work? The plausiblereason is that people recognize the truth in a description of future events. The story resonates in some ways with what they already know, and thenleads them from that resonance to reperceive the world. Observations fromthe real world must be built into the story. The only way they can emergethere is for the storyteller to sample evidence from the world before spinningthe tale
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.The scenario building process thus involves research-skilled huntingand gathering of information. This is practiced both narrowly-to pursue factsneeded for a specific scenario-and broadly- to educate oneself, so that onewould be able to pose more significant questions
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.Every scenario requires specific research. Some subjects however emergeagain and again in the work which is common in deciphering the scenario. These include:
Science and Technology
 This force is one of the most important drivers of future events. Itliterally shapes the future. Politics can change, but a scientific
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innovation, once released into the world, cannot be taken back. Thus,keeping track of new developments in physics, biotechnology,computer science, ecology, microbiology, engineering, and other keyareas is a special duty.
Perception shaping events
 The rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have beendetectable mold since the early 1970s but these were ignored till thetime when international leaders as well as scientists articulated theirconcerns in various forums. This has led to various companies andbusiness enterprises seeking policies to counter that threat
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International economics
 This acts as a major factor in terms of deciphering the course of actionfor the new developing countries and developed countries to negotiateterms of trade and investment as well as economic of scale and globallabor cost would deter -mine Manufacturing Centers and global tradenorms.
International politics
New international politics as well as struggle for dominance ininternational forums are going to decide the future course of international politics as well as the influence it would have on thedomestic politics. International politics in multilateral forums as well asnew configuration emerging due to rising powers and existenthegemony would lead to struggle for control in international politics.
Environment
One of the major issues of concern has been the environment as wellas the process of saving the earth from global warming and changes inthe global climate because of unpredictable changes in currents andthe ongoing spate of storms or typhoons would be a majorinternational concern
Energy
Energy perhaps is the most unpredictable as well as most scareresource which would drive power struggle as well as commercialbattles among nations to secure their energy supplies and also thesafety of the supply of energy would be one area which would seeremarkable changes in coming years.Apart from all these issues there are a number of issues like ethnicity,transnational crime, terrorism, piracy, defence and population which wouldmake corrections or create diversions in the course of future. Though almostall these factors would act in tandem so as to determine the future of theworld but population would be the one major concern especially in Asia whichwould be the major factor in making or unmaking of the Asian century. Whilethe Asian population would comprise the highest in the world, the ensuingurbanization would put pressure on existing resources. UN Population Councilin one of its report says Asia could reach an urban population o2,615,000,000 in the year 2025. The challenge is posed by Todaro and Smithin saying that "While it is true that cities offer the cost-reducing advantagesof agglomeration economies and economies of scale and proximity as well as
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numerous economic and social externalities, the social costs of a progressiveoverloading of housing and social services, not to mention increased crime,pollution, and congestion, tend to outweigh these this historical urbanadvantage."
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While population would be major concern both in terms of struggle for resources as well as availability of cheap labour and sustainingeconomic growth momentum. But there would be also major issues like agingpopulation, trade, defence, energy and climate change to list the selectivefew.Within Asia, the economic growth as well as changing nuclearcapabilities has changed perceptions about threats. Defence planning andmodernization has been directly proportional to the threat perceptions well asalliance relationship of that particular country with the major powers in theregion. Of late the international strategic scenario has been witnessing theevolution of coalition politics at international level and issue based supportfor international developments. This has put almost all the major powers on asticky wicket and every power is trying to optimize its national interests withleast possible costs. The scenario, as of date, is such that none of themultilateral organizations both at the international level and even at theregional level are capable of providing /assuring the complete security of thenation or region. Even more, few of the overenthusiastic strategic expertshave negated the possibility of traditional wars among nations. The questionis when the interstate conflicts have not diminished, how the possibility of war can be discounted. This paper would be a crystal gazing of the prioritiesthat would exists in the year 2030 and how the nations would perceive theirnations interests in the year 2030. Though a number of nations have clearlydefined timelines as well as programme of procurement for their interest andnational security but it cannot be ruled out that the commercial angle and thecombinations and permutations would come into effect, in case of any war orsmall skirmishes. The non –traditional security threats would remain as amain point of concern as well as cooperation but then hedging against anypossible traditional and non-traditional threats would be there. The surge inenhancing defence capabilities is also dependent of the economic growth andallocation for defence. The economic growth depends largely on trade andinvestment. In terms of Gross Domestic Product at Purchasing Power Parity,India would overtake Japan by 2020 and would emerge as the second largesteconomy in Asia(see graph 1.1).
Graph 1. 1-Gross Domestic Product at PPP
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