Geopolitical author and former US military adviser Parag Khanna has argued the UK should consider dumping China, whose economy is slumping, in favour of other Asian economies.
Mr Khanna also warned Britain should not limit itself to investing solely in India’s booming economy.
He said the UK should be keen to open up to the developed and emerging economies in South East Asia after leaving the European Union.
Mr Khanna added, while the region is smaller and has far fewer people than India, it has a higher GDP providing “very good ideas” for British businesses.
Mr Khanna, who is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said there are more opportunities for Britain outside China.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Khanna said: “We talk about Asia as if it’s just about what China wants but there are 4.5 billion people who live in Asia and just 1.4 billion are Chinese.”
Mr Khanna explained China’s slumping economic position should be a warning to Western economies but the UK should also be careful about thinking only of India.
The 41-year-old analyst said: “Now that we are realising China’s economy is slowing and India and South East Asia are growing faster, we need to get some of our eggs out of the China basket.
“China is an important part of Asia but it is not the sum total of Asia itself.”
Mr Khanna highlighted former British colony Singapore as a “role model” for the UK to follow after Brexit.
“South East Asia should be on people’s radar, it has an unofficial capital, Singapore, which is of course a great former British colony.
“Singapore is much in the news in the UK as a potential role model for post-Brexit Britain.
“South East Asia, which is ten smaller countries with half the population of India, has a larger GDP than India.
“So sure British businesses are aware India is a great opportunity and Theresa May has travelled there but South East Asia deserves equal or greater attention because it receives more investment than China does and has a larger GDP than India.
“For a post-Brexit UK foreign policy there are very good ideas out there and I hope that Britain will pursue them.
Mr Khanna dismissed fears among some politicians of using Singapore’s deregulated economy as a post-Brexit role model.
He said: “One of the gifts that Britain gave to some of its colonies, particularly Singapore, is the high quality civil service and administrative service.
“Singapore has maintained the talent, the professionalism, the competence, the trust, that the people have in their government to make strategic long term decisions.
“So when we talk about what role model Singapore can or can not play for Britain, let’s not to cherry pick and look only at tax structure.
“Let’s look at long term far sighted government that’s very respected by its people, that’s made very sign infrastructure investments and promoted human capital.
“That’s not a bad role model at all.”