Our Time Has Come

How India is Making Its Place in the World

A rising India wants a seat at the table of global powers, and is ready to set its own terms on everything from defense to climate to trade. Ayres considers how a fiercely independent India seeks its place as a leading power, and how the United States should respond.

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Over the last 25 years, India’s explosive economic growth has vaulted it into the ranks of the world’s emerging major powers. Long plagued by endemic poverty, India was hamstrung by a burdensome regulatory regime that limited its ability to compete on a global scale until the 1990s. Since then, however, the Indian government has gradually opened up the economy, and the results have been stunning. India’s middle class has grown by leaps and bounds, and the country’s sheer scale—its huge population and $2 trillion economy—means its actions will have a major global impact. From world trade to climate change to democratization, India now matters.

While it is clearly on the path to becoming a great power, India has not abandoned all of its past policies: its economy remains relatively protectionist, and it still struggles with the legacy of its longstanding foreign policy doctrine of nonalignment. India’s vibrant democracy encompasses a vast array of parties who champion dizzyingly disparate policies. And India is not easily swayed by foreign influence; the country carefully guards its autonomy, in part because of its colonial past. For all of these reasons, India tends to move cautiously and deliberately in the international sphere.

In Our Time Has Come, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia Alyssa Ayres looks at how the tension between India’s inward-focused past and its ongoing integration into the global economy will shape the country’s trajectory. Today, Indian leaders increasingly want to see their country in the ranks of the world’s great powers—in fact, as a “leading power,” to use the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ayres considers the role India is likely to play as its prominence grows, taking stock of the implications and opportunities for the United States and other nations as the world’s largest democracy defines its place in the world. As Ayres shows, India breaks the mold of the typical ally, and its vastness, history, and diversity render it incomparable to any other major democratic power. By focusing on how India’s unique perspective shapes its approach to global affairs, Our Time Has Come will help the world make sense of India’s rise.

A Council on Foreign Relations Book

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Reviews and Endorsements

Few outsiders know modern India’s politics, society and history as well as Alyssa Ayres. In Our Time Has Come, she chronicles India’s extraordinary rise and its future as a great global power.

Nicholas Burns, former Undersecretary of State, U.S. State Department; Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

Alyssa Ayres has blended a keen sense of the possibilities with a clear-eyed grasp of the complexities to produce the most cogent and compelling account to date of India’s emergence on the world stage. She gives her readers easy access to her perspectives as scholar and policymaker, without shying away from the hard questions. Our Time Has Come is a tremendous piece of work.

Jake Sullivan, Martin R. Flug Visiting Lecturer, Yale Law School; former Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; former National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden

Alyssa Ayres has emerged as the country’s leading scholar and practitioner on India, and this well-crafted book reaffirms her status. She skillfully captures the moment we are witnessing—India emerging as a leading power—in this exceptionally interesting and important account of the country to watch in the twenty-first century.

Rich Verma, U.S. Ambassador to India, 2015 to 2017; Vice Chairman, The Asia Group

The great questions India faces have the potential to significantly alter the global economic and political landscape. Alyssa Ayres brings decades of local knowledge and global foreign policy work as she provides an in-depth view on the complexities of India as it seeks to answer such questions and seize its opportunity.

Charles R. Kaye, Co-CEO, Warburg Pincus

Our Time Has Come is a splendid survey of the possibilities, problems, and prospects associated with India’s ascendancy on the global stage. In describing how India is transforming the global order without revisionism, Alyssa Ayres lays bare the uniqueness of India’s rise and compellingly argues for a strong U.S. partnership with India to strengthen the liberal international order.”

Ashley Tellis, Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Impeccably researched . . . [Ayres's] book presents a wonderfully detailed look at India today.

Publishers Weekly

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