India and China are home to one-third of humanity. In both nations, local and regional leaders outside of New Delhi and Beijing play an increasingly important role in policy decisions. So how do developments in Indian states and Chinese provinces affect the actions of both countries on the world stage? In 2012, author William Antholis set out to understand India and China from the inside out. With his wife and two daughters he embarked upon a five-month odyssey through 20 states or provinces in the two Asian giants. They interviewed national and local political leaders, met with corporate executives, journalists, academics, diplomats, religious leaders, teachers, farmers, slum dwellers, and—not just inevitably but usefully—waiters and taxi drivers. If you enjoy this essay, you may enjoy William Antholis’s book on the same topic—Inside Out, India and China: Local Politics Go Global THE BROOKINGS ESSAY: In the spirit of its commitment to high-quality, independent research, the Brookings Institution has commissioned works on major topics of public policy by distinguished authors, including Brookings scholars. The Brookings Essay is a multi-platform product aimed to engage readers in open dialogue and debate. The views expressed, however, are solely those of the author. Available in ebook only.