India will be the next major intellectual power: Jean Pierre Lehmann – An Asia Expert

March 17, 2015, Jaipur, India

Speaking on the topic ‘Some thoughts on Asia and the new global (dis)order – challenges and implications for India’, Professor Jean-Pierre Lehmann said that India will be the next major intellectual power.

Professor Lehmann is Emeritus Professor on International Political Economy at IMD Lausanne, and is an expert on Asia having invested a majority of his scholarly pursuits in understanding Asia and globalisation. The lecture was organised by CUTS International Public Policy Centre (CIPPolC) in collaboration with Shiv Charan Mathur Social Policy Research Institute (SCM-SPRI), Jaipur last week.

Professor Lehmann said that global governance has broken down because of waning influence of the major economic powers and the emergence of new actors. This is exacerbated by the fact that old powers have failed in adjusting to newer challenges while the new ones lack inspiration.

In this regard, amongst others, he cited the example of Japan which is the only successful non-western nation to emerge as an industrial and imperial power in the European era but today it faces challenges in adjusting to the Asian era.

He said there is a chaotic transition to uncertainty however as the global narrative in the 19th and 20th centuries was written by Europe and by Europeans, the narrative of the 21st century will be written in Asia and by Asians.

In other words, this will be possible because Asia will drive the global economy with a massive increase in middle income groups, massive urbanisation and mammoth development of regional and global infrastructure.

He said that four simultaneous revolutions herald the 21st century. In a nutshell they can be categorised as Chinese economic revolution, ICT revolution, global market revolution and demographic revolution. This makes the world far more integrated but quoting Renato Ruggiero, formed DG, WTO, he added that integrated world is much more difficult to manage.

He said that Asia which is huge extending from the Red to East China Sea and covers multiple diverse civilisations, is a geopolitical cauldron with its share of territorial disputes, resources, history, ethnicity and religion and also faces daunting water crisis that threatens its economic and political rise and environmental sustainability.

Speaking of China and India he said, that China has emerged as a mega global economic power with extended regional and global geopolitical power. Thus there is a global pivot to China. However, India will have an absolutely crucial leadership role to play as the Asian/global outlook will very much depend on India.

He added that India does not need to compete with China and that it will emerge as the next major intellectual power.

The lecture was chaired by Professor Vijay Vyas, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur. Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International and Sudhir Varma, Director, SCM-SPRI, delivered the opening and closing remarks respectively.

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