Asian nations want US,not China,as leader: Zakaria

Express Adda: 'Despite its perceived decline,the US would continue to play a strong role in the world.'

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: September 3, 2014 1:13:11 pm

The only way the dichotomy of two Indias — a growing affluent class and a vast section under the poverty line — could be tackled was by organising the economy and making it more productive,Fareed Zakaria,analyst and editor-at-large of Time,said at the Express Adda.

While he was “very optimistic” that the life of the average Indian could be improved tremendously,India’s leaders,Zakaria said,needed to rise above their narrow political agendas. “India is… mired in this politics where good economics seems like bad politics and I think this is because of the cowardice of the political class,” he said.

Change,he said,might come from a new generation of political leaders,perhaps representing smaller parties and every section of Indian society,he said.

The conversation was moderated by Shekhar Gupta,Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Express,and Contributing Editor C Raja Mohan.

Pakistan,Zakaria said,was basically a “failed state”,but the world should support a civilian government there under all circumstances. He said the US must not lose sight of its primary objective of ensuring that Afghanistan does not become a haven for global terrorists.

Despite its perceived decline,the US,he said,would continue to play a strong role in the world. “In the geopolitical realm,the US is in a very comfortable position. It is the dominating power militarily and it is also the dominant power politically in Asia. It is the country most Asian nations want as their leading power. If you do a poll and say who should be the leading power,China or the US,it would be an easy win for the US.”

The real dynamic,Zakaria said,was the rise of many countries; not the fall of the US. “I see India and China and Japan and they don’t like each other. When you talk about the rise of China,it is rubbing up against these countries and they are looking at the US as an outside balancer…”

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