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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Foreign policy analyses written by CFR fellows and published by the trade presses, academic presses, or the Council on Foreign Relations Press.

Read an excerpt from Our Time Has Come.

“More than at any time over the past quarter-century, India is well on its way to global power,” writes Alyssa Ayres in a new book, Our Time Has Come: How India is Making its Place in the World. She notes, “We are witnessing a country chart its course to power, and explicitly seeking not to displace others but to be recognized among the club of world powers, one in which it believes its membership is long overdue.”

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In Our Time Has Come, Ayres, the Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, considers the role this ascendant democracy will play internationally, the obstacles it continues to face, and the implications of its rise for the United States and other nations.

Over the past twenty-five years, India’s economic expansion has vaulted it into the ranks of the world’s emerging major powers. A rising India now wants a seat at the table of global powers. With its huge military and growing economy, India is ready to set its own terms on everything from defense to climate to trade.

Lucid and erudite.
Wall Street Journal

While Ayres makes the case for India’s elevated global position, she also highlights the challenges the country faces:

  • The Indian economy remains relatively protectionist, and no clear consensus exists on the benefits of a more open economy or stepping up the pace of economic reforms.
  • India struggles with the legacy of its longstanding foreign policy doctrine of nonalignment, and remains ambivalent about how it should exercise power.
  • India is intensely pro­tective of what it sees as its autonomy, and seeks to shape international interactions very specifically on Indian terms.

“Our [the United States’] relationship with democratic India—going from estrangement of the Cold War decades to partnership in the twenty-first century—as it emerges among the world’s great powers will likely stand as a defining policy shift, one that we missed in the twentieth century but have pursued in the twenty-first,” writes Ayres.

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Exceptionally interesting and important.
Rich Verma, Former U.S. Ambassador to India

The United States’ relationship with India differs from its relationships with longstanding European and Asian partners because New Delhi, while seeking a closer strategic and economic relationship with the United States, does not seek the obligations inherent to an alliance.

To help shape this nontraditional partnership, Ayres emphasizes the need for global governance reform that makes space for India. Her recommendations include backing Indian membership in the Group of Seven, the UN Security Council, and other institutions that set the global economic and security agenda; developing stronger bilateral economic ties with India; continuing to pursue stronger regional security cooperation with India; and supporting institutions of democracy.

“India, as a rising power of Asia, should be better understood and better appreciated in its own terms—as a competitiveness issue for U.S. economic and business interests, and as a matter of the demands of the new global diplomacy in which all of Asia plays a much more pivotal role,” writes Ayres.

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Reviews and Endorsements

A Financial Times Summer Book of 2018: Politics

 

In Our Time Has Come, Alyssa Ayres, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia and currently a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, describes [India's] astonishing transformation and parses skillfully the political revolution that has accompanied it. . . . Ms. Ayres, always lucid and erudite, is at her best in her analysis of India’s foreign policy. . . . Ms. Ayres draws a portrait of India in 2040—50 years after she first set callow foot in New Delhi as a Harvard junior—that takes the breath away.

Wall Street Journal

 

A sweeping analysis of India's remarkable recent transformation into one of the world's biggest economies and militaries. . . . [Ayres] ably charts the country's emergence from the straitjacket of socialist policies.

Foreign Policy

Our Time Has Come provides a fascinating and timely account of a nation growing 'less and less reticent about its global ambitions'.

Financial Times

Our Time Has Come is a highly readable, acute and thoughtful book.

International Affairs

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

Publishers Weekly

For a balanced and carefully researched analysis of India’s prospects, as seen from Washington, this is a book which will rank pretty high in the years to come. . . . The author has good advice for US policymakers, who will need to accept that India will play according to its own template rather than accept a Washington template.

Shyam Saran, ThePrint

Ayres, a former US deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia, covers the territory on this theme very well: from India’s well-known caution to the divided attention of its leaders. . . . India could do with more such understanding friends in the US.

Siddharth Singh, Open magazine

The book . . . all comes together for an absorbing read as Ayres blends her unique perspective of affection and deep faith in India’s success with an analytical outsider’s lens on where India is headed.

Hindu

Ayres’ latest book is primarily aimed at acquainting American readers with Asia’s third-largest economy. But it is also a must-read for Indians and others interested in how this country is making its place in the modern world and how the process is viewed by an astute India-watcher.

Asian Age

Alyssa Ayres’s sweeping amalgam of applied history, contemporary geopolitical analysis and prescriptive policy guidelines on how to deal with India . . . is a brilliantly researched, academically robust and yet easy-to-read book on contemporary India. . . . Personally, I could not put down the book and will argue that it only adds to the author’s reputation as one of the most perceptive international analysts of contemporary Indian and South Asian geopolitics.

Arjun Subramaniam, Visiting Fellow, Harvard Asia Center, ThePrint

Ayres has written a lucid and compelling book about India’s aspirations and its rise on the international stage that confirms her as one of the pre-eminent international observers of the country. Her expertise, moreover, is not of a sedentary variety: Ayres has taken pains to discover India intimately, and every page of Our Time Has Come exhibits her deep learning.

The National

Ayres . . . does not brush India’s challenges under the carpet. To the contrary, she undertakes a holistic appraisal of India’s capabilities by situating its myriad challenges alongside its growing material capabilities since the economic liberalization of the early 1990s. . . . Even India scholars will end up with a better handle on the 'duality' of the Indian state.

Lekh

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

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