India ranks 4th most powerful in Asia according to Asia Power Index 2020 Credit: File Image

According to the Sydney-based Lowy Institute’s Asia Power Index for 2020, which ranks 26 nations and territories, America retains its place as the region’s top superpower, but its 10-point lead on China two years ago is halved.

Since, America’s mode of handling the COVID-19 pandemic has lowered its status and given space to China emerging as the most powerful country influencing the Asia-Pacific closing to US.

Herve Lemahieu, director of Lowy’s Asian Power and Diplomacy Program, stated that the US “lost prestige” due to its inadequate response to the pandemic, multiple trade disputes and President Donald Trump’s moves to withdraw from multilateral deals and agencies.

While the whole world is struggling to overcome from the virus, China’s economy has bounced back from the virus and is the only large economy to recover in the year 2020 while, the US economy might take until 2024 to recover from the pre-pandemic levels.

China might be able to level up with the United States and even succeed in surpassing the States, but not enough to pull by substantial margins.

As per Lowy’s research, India might reach 40% of China’s economic output by 2030, compared with the 50% estimate last year after losing its economic growth potential in the pandemic and strategic ground to Beijing. Also, India’s arrival as the great power in the region might get delayed, which also means that India will be distracted by the development challenges and by the current poverty rate.

Moreover, as per the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research, as many as 347.4 million people in the Asia-Pacific region could fall below the $5.5 a day poverty line because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, China stays firmly in second place for the third year running, even after a “notable fall” in diplomatic clout after facing accusations of suppression of information about the severity of the Wuhan outbreak.

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