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Asia top of the mind in world survey

world Updated: Jan 08, 2011 01:03 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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When compared to China, India often ends up a miserable second. But not for a majority of the world's top minds surveyed by a respected US magazine - India was either distinctly ahead or tied with China, not trailing.

But the best had the worst closely behind. The survey showed India and China's neighbour Pakistan coming in third on a list of the "single biggest threat to peace in 2011", beaten to the top slot by Iran and Middle East.

The future belongs to Asia it seems, for good or bad.

The survey was conducted by Foreign Policy, the journal of the Carnegie Endowment. The magazine first chose its 100 top minds from all over the world and then surveyed them on current global issues. Billionaires Warren Buffet and Bill Gates came in joint first for popularising philanthropy.

National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and former Infosys boss Nandan Nilenkani are there from India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came in eighth on the list of non-US leaders with the maximum global impact in 2011. The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, topped the table.

Each expert surveyed - around two-thirds of the 100 featured - was also asked to choose between India and China.

Sixteen of them chose India and another refused to pick saying the future belonged to both.

A typical response from the Indophiles was that of economic historian Niall Ferguson, "If we are just betting on who overtakes the US first in terms of GDP, (it's going to be) China. But as an investor, India. I prefer the tortoise to the hare."

That's a new take on the rivalry between the two Asian giants so far subjected to kitschy comparisons and take offs on Ang Lee's Oscar-winning film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

"China today, India in 20 years," said Fareed Zakaria, the Indian born editor at large of Time magazine and anchor of a hugely popular TV show GPS on CNN.

"India," said Mohamed Elbaradei, former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

China on its own rustled up 10 votes. Among them was Pakistani writer of the most authoritative primer on the Taliban who has achieved unparalleled celebrity after 9/11 - Ahmed Rashid.