Which is the most populous country in the world?
Since the creation of India and Pakistan with the partition of British India in 1947, there has been only one answer to that question: China. And it wasn’t even close.
But now, the answer is not definite. It is possible, if not likely, that India has overtaken China. And if it hasn’t, it’s almost certain to happen later this year.
This is much more than just a fun fact to know and share. It will inspire our nation’s political and business leaders to help nurture Indian democracy, even as we work to build partnerships with people across the subcontinent. We must seize this opportunity to steer India back towards Western democracy and away from Russia.
India is a democracy, however messed up it is. But, to be fair, so is the United States in many ways these days. Nevertheless, if we work with India as a democratic partner, doing everything possible to strengthen India’s democracy, even as we seek to continue to strengthen our democracy, we can both share a solid Will be on the way.
This would be in stark contrast to China, where that country’s Communist leader, Xi Jinping, effectively believes he knows best about all things, and that there is only one way forward – his way. Although many Chinese are insulated from much of the bad news of what has been done across the country, few know the facts, here and elsewhere. Economically, China is flagging. And now it is painful for the people. The latest: Its population has declined for the first time since 1961.
Some of it comes from China’s stupidly misguided one-child policy, which has been abandoned officially, but not by all.
Which leads to India. Suppose some manufacturing which now takes place in China may be shifted to India. It may not happen tomorrow, but it can be a long-term goal.
And it won’t be like starting from scratch at all. India now manufactures smartphones, running shoes, apparel, bicycles, beauty products and more. How about building on what is already there and expanding further? This will not only benefit Indian democracy but the whole world. No one would suggest that American corporations should abandon China, but if more overseas manufacturing sprang up in Asia and elsewhere, we might indeed be making space.