Over the last 25 years, India's explosive economic growth has vaulted it into the ranks of the world's emerging major powers. Long plagued by endemic poverty, until the 1990s the Indian economy was also hamstrung by a burdensome regulatory regime that limited its ability to compete on a global scale. Since then, however, the Indian government has gradually opened up the economy and the results have been stunning. India's middle class has grown by leaps and bounds, and the country's sheer scale-its huge population and $2 trillion economy-means its actions will have a major global impact. From world trade to climate change to democratization, India now matters.
While it is clearly on the path to becoming a great power, India has not abandoned all of its past policies: its economy remains relatively protectionist, and it still struggles with the legacy of its longstanding foreign policy doctrine of non-alignment. India's vibrant democracy encompasses a vast array of parties who champion dizzyingly disparate policies. And India isn't easily swayed by foreign influence; the country carefully guards its autonomy, in part because of its colonial past. For all of these reasons, India tends to move cautiously and deliberately in the international sphere.
In Our Time Has Come Alyssa Ayres looks at how the tension between India's inward-focused past and its ongoing integration into the global economy will shape its trajectory. Today, Indian leaders increasingly want to see their country feature in the ranks of the world's great powers-in fact, as a " and its vastness, history, and diversity render it incomparable to any other major democratic power. By focusing on how India's unique perspective shapes its approach to global affairs, Our Time Has Come will help the world make sense of India's rise.
Alyssa Ayres is senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. She served as US deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia during 2010-2013, and her more than twenty-five years' experience in India and South Asia crosses the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. She has served as project director for two bipartisan task forces on US-India relations, and co-edited three books on India and Indian foreign policy. Her book on nationalism in Pakistan, Speaking Like a State, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2009.