India will supersede ageing China in Asia: Former Aussie PM

Sunday, October 31, 2010

SYDNEY - China is “rapidly ageing” because of its one-child policy and this will allow India, a younger nation, to supersede it as the dominant nation in Asia before the end of the 21st century, former Australian prime minister John Howard has said.

“The problem China has is that she will grow old before she grows rich, she’s got a terrible demographic problem because of the one-child policy. China is a rapidly ageing country, whereas a country like India is a younger country and I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of the century India is a more powerful country,” Howard was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Howard said changing power bases in Asia justified his government’s decision to forge new regional alliances while strengthening Australia’s ties to its traditional allies. He served as the prime minister from 1996 to 2007.

Howard, however, said China could never overtake the US as the world’s military or financial superpower. “I think China is a rising power but I do not share the view China will ever outstrip the US as an economic power or military power,” he said.

“I think one of the problems China has is eventually she will have to decide whether she can maintain a position where the country is economically liberal and open and, politically, still closed and controlled.”

He was speaking at a luncheon held to promote his autobiography, “Lazarus Rising”.

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