Three of the world’s four largest economies are in Asia, and the fourth, the United States, is a Pacific power. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in Asia, compared with just over a tenth in the West.

Asia’s economic transformation is reshaping the global distribution of power, changing the way the region — and indeed the world — works politically and strategically. Just as significantly, tensions between Asian powers will define war and peace in the twenty-first century.

The Lowy Institute Asia Power Index is an analytical tool to track changes in the distribution of power in the region. It aims to sharpen the debate on geopolitics in Asia.

The Index ranks 25 countries and territories in terms of their capacity to influence regional events — reaching as far west as Pakistan, as far north as Russia, and as far into the Pacific as Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

The project evaluates state power through 114 indicators across eight thematic measures: military capability and defence networks, economic resources and relationships, diplomatic and cultural influence, as well as resilience and future trends.

A specially designed digital platform allows users to explore variations in power projection within and between countries. Annual editions of the Index will track how the distribution of power in the region shifts over time.

Key findings for 2018:

  • The United States remains the pre-eminent power in Asia.
  • China, the emerging superpower, is rapidly closing in on the United States.
  • Japan and India share major power status: Tokyo is a smart power, while New Delhi is a giant of the future.
  • North Korea, Russia and Taiwan are misfit middle powers in Asia.
  • Singapore, Australia and South Korea are overperformers in the region.
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