InterContinental in London
India, with a population of 914 million, including a “middle class” of well over 100 million people, is vast by any standard. It has a diversified industrial base, with large-scale production of coal, steel, cement, chemicals, heavy machinery, and textiles. Its highly trained and educated workforce has helped make it one of the world’s largest exporters of computer software.
Unlike many BEMs, India has a sophisticated commercial and legal code. Like the others, it has placed economic progress at the heart of its national policies, and in just the last few years it has succeeded in opening its economy to the rest of the world beyond anything that most observers would have imagined possible in so short a time. Between 1991 and 1995, the government largely abolished a heavy-handed system in which anyone wanting to set up a business needed to struggle through months, if not years, of red tape to get a license; it slashed tariffs from a maximum of 300 percent to 50 percent; it ended government monopolies in electric power, telecommunications, and aviation; and it welcomed foreign investment for the first time in fifty years.
The United States is already India’s largest economic partner, and its trade and investment links with America are sure to grow. Like China, India has a nuclear weapons capability, a large army, and an aspiring navy, guaranteeing it influence well beyond economics. India and its neighbor, Pakistan, have clashed three times since independence in 1947, and continued military tensions among those two potential nuclear powers make the region one of the world’s most dangerous
The largest country in Eastern Europe, with 39 million people–more than Hungary and the Czech Republic combined–Poland was the first post-Communist country to emerge from the recession that blanketed the region after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. Poland quickly established a democracy, moved rapidly to privatize its economy, and made remarkable strides in getting its finances in order. Once a Soviet-style economy dominated by heavy industry, it has moved quickly to build a service-oriented sector based on banking, tourism, health care, and leisure activities. Poland has emerged as the most entrepreneurial country in the ex-Communist region, sprouting some two million new businesses in the 1990s. With one of the fastest growing economies on the continent, it has become the beneficiary of large-scale investment from Europe, particularly from Germany and the United States. It is also emerging as a key trading partner for American firms in a region with a highly educated workforce and the biggest and most stable middle class in the former Soviet bloc. This country, which aspires to join the European Union and NATO and has an excellent chance of doing both, wields a great deal of influence
Turkey, with a population of 61 million people, occupies one of the most strategic positions in the world, sharing borders with Syria, Iraq, and Iran, not to mention the Balkans and several countries on the southern flank of the former Soviet Union. It is a member of NATO and has formed a customs union with the European Union. It has long been a military ally of the United States, supplying bases and troops, most recently in the Gulf War. The country has overwhelming importance to America as a strategic ally in a highly volatile Islamic region; indeed, Washington is counting on it to be a bulwark against the spread of Islamic fundamentalism into Europe. Turkey is among the most industrialized nations outside of America, Western Europe, and Japan, and it aspires to be an economic hub for the vast region that surrounds it. Its strong historical and ethnic ties to neighboring countries, as well as its huge market and its commercial expertise, put it in a good position to achieve this goal, provided it gets its own economic house in order with sounder budget policies and privatization of state-owned firms. It is already the largest U.S. trading partner in the region, but the potential is much greater
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