An important global development in the first decade of the 21st century is the rise of large developing countries. Grouped as BRICs,1 these fast growing nations have catapulted over the "emerging economies" status and are poised to play greater roles on the world stage. Table 1 establishes the increasing importance of BRICs vis-a-vis established great powers. It also shows long-term trends that portend the changing balance of power in world political and economic affairs. Of particular note is the rise of China and India-the two most populous nations on earth that together make up nearly two-fifths of humankind. The sheer magnitude of their ascendance caused one prominent former Singaporean ambassador to the United Nations to proclaim the "irresistible" shift of global power to Asia.2

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Copyright © 2012 Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis. This chapter first appeared in Towards a New Asian Order.

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