India has evolved to become Asia’s fourth-most powerful country. As per the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index 2021, it is ranked fourth among the 26 nations and territories in the Indo-Pacific for comprehensive power. It may have scored higher if the pandemic hadn’t occurred. “The country comes in first in the future resources category, trailing only the United States and China. However, the research states that “the lack of development potential for Asia’s third-largest economy, owing mostly to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, has resulted in a reduced economic prediction for 2030.”
As per the report, the COVID-19 pandemic has weakened virtually all governments’ comprehensive authority in 2021, reducing their ability to respond to and affect their external environment. Despite being one of the worst-affected countries, India has improved its resilience and military strength in 2021, compared to its development path previous to the epidemic.
The institution also stated that India has less power in the region than one might think, owing to its negative power gap score, which places it behind Nepal and Sri Lanka on the power gap index. India’s two weakest indicators of power are moving in different directions. On the one hand, it continues to rank seventh in its defense networks, reflecting progress in its regional defense diplomacy, particularly with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, which includes Australia, Japan, and the United States,” by a statement from the Sydney-based independent think tank.
Meanwhile, India has dropped to eighth place in terms of economic ties, as it continues to lag in regional trade integration initiatives, as per the research. In terms of economic diplomacy, the country ranks eighth behind Thailand in the “economic partnerships” category. In terms of both resources and potential, India is a laggard. India’s transformation into a truly multipolar state capable of matching China’s military and economic strengths would take decades, with no certainty of success. As per the research, it will only account for 40% of China’s economic output by the end of the decade.
The Indo-Pacific study stresses the United States and China’s influence. As per the research, the [Indo-Pacific] region has grown more bipolar and less multipolar, with Japan and India slipping behind China and Australia becoming more reliant on the US. As a result of increased bipolarity, US allies such as Australia and Japan, as well as critical balancing countries such as India, have grown increasingly reliant on American capacity and willingness to maintain military and strategic balance in the face of China’s growth. In 2021, the two nations with the greatest potential to contribute to a regional multipolar system, Japan and India, both lost more ground than China, the report stated.