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It seems nothing can stop the rise of India. India supplies the world with a robust knowledge-based economy, challenges US economic dominance, and acts as an important counterweight to China. Its controversial US-backed nuclear program has given it a primary place on the global energy front as well as granted its military new pull abroad. India’s telecommunication, information technology, and service sector have played a strong role in redefining global trade and communication routes. Graduates from India’s universities and those now returning from abroad generate substantial wealth for the country. A newly minted middle class fuels India’s blistering economy, furnishing it with the fifth-largest purchasing power in the world. This, in hand with its diplomatic legitimacy abroad, seems the perfect storm for unfettered national growth.

Yet India is a country in contradiction. Sagging infrastructure, a shortage of Internet connections in rural areas, and large disparities in education threaten its stability. While India’s educated urbanites see their salaries quadruple, much of India’s poor live in poverty worse than that found in sub-Saharan Africa. Undereducation fuels fundamental factions rooted deep within rural and urban states alike. Environmental problems such as water shortages, sanitation-related illnesses, and pollution threaten to topple India’s forward momentum—no matter how mighty it may seem.

Many predict a catastrophe for the country unless these issues are effectively dealt with—soon. The World Trade Organization (WTO) predicts a major national health crisis for India as soon as 2020 if it does not curb its inefficient redistribution and regulation of water resources immediately. Despite this serious cautionary tale, India continues to rise. The world—whether in concordance or not—has no choice but to accommodate India in the new global order—and this is a role India is more than eager to occupy.

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Sources: Brookings Institution, The Economist, National Public Radio, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, The World Bank, International Atomic Energy Association, ISN, World Trade Organization, and others.

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The global order is changing. The 21st Century will be marked by many competing sources of global power. Across politics, economics, culture, military strength and more, a new group of countries have growing influence over the future of the world:



South Africa
European Union

South Korea


Other Countries

Big issues are also playing a cross-cutting role in this changing global order:


Nuclear Nonproliferation
Nonstate Actors

Global/Regional Systems

And this changing global order has implications for the United States.

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