Asia needs solidarity, not anxiety


This month, 70 years ago, the United States of America detonated nuclear weapons in two Japanese cities—Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and the Second World War came to an end. On August 15, 1945, the Japanese Emperor announced the cessation of hostilities and a few days later, on September 2, Japan signed the formal surrender document.

In the Asia-Pacific, comprising of South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, the end of the Second World War heralded a power-shift by catalysing the decline of European colonialism and ushering in the Cold War. The erstwhile Soviet Union and the US competed for and sought to contain each other’s influence in the region. While the Cold War remained ‘cold’ in Europe, it generated hostilities in countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia. After the end of the Cold War, the Asia-Pacific is now witnessing another power-shift with the rise of China.

For the past three decades, China’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) averaged close to 10%. With approximately $10.3 trillion GDP in 2014, China is the second largest economy in the world; its life expectancy, which was around 44 years in 1961, today hovers around 75 years. The Chinese military expenditure has also witnessed double-digit percentage increases in the past two decades.

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