Asia Power Index 2021

Contact Counsellor

Asia Power Index 2021

  • India has emerged as the fourth most powerful country in Asia with its overall score declining by two points from 2020 in the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index.
  • India fell short of the major power threshold in 2021 and is among eighteen countries in the region to trend downward in its overall score in 2021.

Asia Power Index

  • The index was launched by the Lowy Institute in 2018.
  • It measures resources and influence to rank the relative power of states in Asia.
  • The project maps out the existing distribution of power as it stands today, and tracks shifts in the balance of power over time.
  • The Index ranks 26 countries and territories in terms of their capacity to shape their external environment
  • The 2021 edition — which covers four years of data — is the most comprehensive assessment of the changing distribution of power in Asia so far.
  • Among other things, it aims to sharpen the debate on the near- and long-term geopolitical consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Areas of assessment

  • The project evaluates international power in Asia through 131 indicators across eight thematic measures:
  1. Military capability
  2. Defence networks
  3. Economic capability
  4. Economic relationships
  5. Diplomatic influence
  6. Cultural influence
  7. Resilience
  8. Future resources
  • This year, the Index includes three new indicators that track Covid-19 vaccine doses administered nationally as well as regional vaccine diplomacy efforts and donations per capita.
  • These are in addition to new indicators introduced in 2020, including climate change resilience, and bilateral and plurilateral defence dialogues.

India’s position

  • India is a middle power in Asia.
  • As the fourth most powerful country in Asia, India again falls short of the major power threshold in 2021.
  • Its overall score declined by two points compared to 2020. India is one of eighteen countries in the region to trend downward in its overall score in 2021.
  • The country performs best in the future resources measure, where it finishes behind only the United States and China.
  • However, lost growth potential for Asia’s third largest economy due largely to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has led to a diminished economic forecast for 2030.
  • India finishes in 4th place in four other measures: economic capability, military capability, resilience and cultural influence.
  • India is trending in opposite directions for its two weakest measures of power.
  • On the one hand, it remains in 7th place in its defence networks, reflecting progress in its regional defence diplomacy — notably with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, which includes Australia, Japan and the United States.
  • On the other hand, India has slipped into 8th position for economic relationships, as it falls further behind in regional trade integration efforts.
  • India exerts less influence in the region than expected given its available resources, as indicated by the country’s negative power gap score.
  • Its negative power gap score has deteriorated further in 2021 relative to previous years.