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India’s Quiet Rise

The end of China’s four-decade-long economic boom has thrown into relief the emergence of Asia's other demographic giant as a geopolitical and economic force. But while India appears stable and resurgent under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, its future will depend on its ability to maintain political stability and rapid economic growth.

NEW DELHI – China’s sharp economic slowdown has raised alarm bells around the world. But it has also thrown into relief the rise of another demographic powerhouse next door. The Indian economy grew at an impressive 7.8% annual rate in the second quarter of 2023, and the country recently reached an important milestone by becoming the first to land a spacecraft on the Moon’s potentially water-rich south pole. And, India’s ascent, unlike China’s, has not been accompanied by an increasingly assertive foreign policy or an appetite for other countries’ territory.

As India’s geopolitical, economic, and cultural clout grows, so does its global footprint. China’s “decline,” as some have begun to call the conclusion of the country’s four-decade-long economic boom, opens new opportunities for the Indian economy and other developing and emerging countries.

Earlier this year, India reached another milestone when its population officially surpassed that of China, which had been the world’s most populous country for more than 300 years. While China’s shrinking, rapidly aging population is likely to impede economic growth and may curtail its geopolitical ambitions, India – one of the world’s youngest countries, with a median age of 28.2 – is poised to reap a huge demographic dividend.