An US intelligence think-tank in its latest report titled 'Global Trends' has said that India will be the world's fastest growing economy during the next five years as China's economy cools and growth elsewhere sputters, but it also cautioned that internal tensions over inequality and religion will complicate its expansion. It also said that Pakistan, unable to match India's economic prowess, will seek other methods to maintain even a semblance of balance.
The National Intelligence Council (NIC), which is the center for mid-term and long-term strategic thinking within the US Intelligence Community, in its report said that India’s growing economic power and profile in the region will further complicate calculations, as New Delhi navigates relations with Beijing, Moscow, and Washington to protect its own expanding interests. It added that New Delhi, however, will continue to offer smaller South Asian countries a stake in India’s economic growth through development assistance and increased connectivity to India’s economy, contributing to India’s broader effort to assert its role as the predominant regional power.
According to NIC, India probably has the greatest potential to boost global growth because of its size and the success of its technology sector, but it would have to improve its energy, transportation and manufacturing infrastructure to sustain high rates of growth. Infrastructure has improved in some locales but not in wide swaths of the country. It also said that unlike China, India will benefit from 10 million new working-age residents per year during the coming decades, yet harnessing such a massive labor pool increase in ways that increase productivity and boost output has proven difficult.
The report said that tremendous internal and external changes will shape security and political stability in South Asia in the next five years as the planned drawdown of international forces in Afghanistan; the deepening relationship between the US and India; China’s westward-facing development objectives under its One Belt, One Road initiative; and inroads by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other terrorist groups all have their impact. Geopolitically, the region’s greatest hope is India’s ability to use its economic and human potential to drive regional trade and development.