Published on Dec 15, 2023

Edited by Gautam Chikermane

If 2023 was the year of wars, ongoing and new, 2024 will witness the consolidation of these clashes. As a result, the unending disruption through technology will be compounded by geopolitical rivalries that will justify themselves through the weaponisation of trade, resources, sanctions, and travel. Amidst such conflicts, non-state actors such as Hamas will continue to gain footing, especially under the ideological and free speech cover extended by certain nations. This will dent democracies in several ways, the biggest of which will be an attraction towards China-type authoritarianism.

The game of thrones being played by the great powers will have far-reaching consequences, influencing more than just the decisions of soldiers, strategists, and statespersons. The global economy will face the biggest brunt and carry the largest impact, while global markets will exhibit their most volatile financial ricochets. Polarities in the strategic space will compound divisions around inequality. This inequality will be around power and dominance globally, and wealth and income, domestically. The poorest will be the most vulnerable to these shocks.

In this series of essays, nine scholars from the Observer Research Foundation bring their analyses to inform what the next 12 months will look like. In a year where risk is the new normal and war the new grammar of discourse, the rise of India as a strategic and economic fulcrum could provide the peace counterweight and the democracy some balance. Forecasting is a risky business, but precisely because of this risk, and in the year of serial and overwhelming threats, it is our job to enter these scorching conversations and envision what 2024 looks like.