India and the emerging world: The impact on the global order of China’s rise will be visible over the next generation

If you had believed the best minds of our times, this was not supposed to happen. But for two decades, China had been winning without fighting, while the US was fighting without winning. Something had to give and it did, in the 2016 American presidential election.

The world faces an extraordinary prospect of its two leading players doing what it takes to win, and then some more. In the ultimate analysis, the ability of major powers to reach accommodation will shape our times. When ‘black swans’ meet ‘grey rhinos’, the very nature of the habitat undergoes transformation.

The US-China relationship that currently holds global attention has gone on for four decades, not a short span in modern times. Who benefited more in this period is a question to which we may get a different answer today than two decades ago. But because it was long enough to be taken as a given by two generations, we attribute to it a sense of being natural. We ask why it is under stress now, when we could wonder equally easily why it lasted that long.

Many of the discomforts today arise from differences on key issues like the relationship between the state, politics, society, business, faith and the markets. It is expressed in matters of personal freedoms and institutional firewalls

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