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India has a seat at table of global influence: US official

With new players like India and Brazil taking a seat at the table of global influence, the international system that emerged at the end of World War-II is being transformed, according to the top US intelligence official.

world Updated: Nov 07, 2009 12:56 IST

With new players like India and Brazil taking a seat at the table of global influence, the international system that emerged at the end of World War-II is being transformed, according to the top US intelligence official.

"We have some new players - Brazil and India - that now have a seat at the table of global influence," Director of National Intelligence Dennis C Blair, who serves as the head of 16 top US intelligence agencies, said on Friday.

"The roles of Russia and China have also changed considerably. And there are new stakes and new rules for everybody," he said speaking at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Blair recalled that the National Intelligence Council (NIC) had last year, in a set of long-range projections entitled Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, projected that "the international system that we've known since the end of World War II is being transformed".

A year later, Blair said: "The G-8 has decidedly become the G-20. You notice who just got the 2016 Summer Olympics? Rio de Janeiro. And which movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in February? 'Slumdog Millionaire', a film about transcending poverty in Mumbai."

A second major projection made by NIC was that a total breakdown of the current system is unlikely, but the transition to a new global, multipolar system won't always be smooth, he said.

"There's also going to be an unprecedented transfer of relative wealth moving from West to East," he predicted.

"It's already under way, and it's going to continue in that direction for the foreseeable future.

"Many emerging market countries such as China, India and Brazil have weathered the global financial recession better than the industrialised democracies - they've actually experienced faster recoveries.

"Many economists expect that trend to continue. But Russia has lost ground economically. The recession also undercuts efforts to reduce poverty in the world's poorest nations," he said.

The third takeaway from Global Trends 2025 was that even though things will be rocky for some countries in the short term, there's going to be greater global prosperity in the long term, Blair said.

"Unfortunately, there will still be a wide array of transnational challenges like energy security, resource scarcities, climate change, proliferation and terrorism," the top intelligence official said.

The fourth takeaway from the report was that the potential for conflict - both between nations and within nations - is likely to grow, not shrink, he said.

"It's still too early to tell whether this forecast will be fully realised or, more importantly, can be stopped," Blair said. "What I can say is that the risks of greater or endemic conflict - especially in the Middle East and South Asia - haven't lessened over the past year.

"When you combine this with such a diverse range of threats - including terrorism, drugs and crime - it makes it difficult to see any lessening of the security challenges for the US and our allies," Blair said.

"And the fifth major prediction was that in 2025, the US will remain the world's single most powerful actor. But our influence and leverage will become more constrained - relative to increasingly influential actors elsewhere," the official said, suggesting the forecasts the NIC and others made a year ago seem to be holding up.