Britain could see riots in the coming decades sparked by the growing prosperity of south Asia, say experts.
A report published by the Ministry of Defence (mod) said many western economies could stall and decline in the face of the growing economic strength of countries like China and India.
Such a situation may spark long periods of recession and growing disaffection within the UK, according to the report looking at trends in south Asia until 2040.
It added: “This could subsequently lead to increased incidents of internal unrest, a rise of nationalistic groups and a demand for protectionist economic and defence policies.
“The western way of life with cheap access to a wide variety of consumer choice and cheap energy will be increasingly challenged as lifestyles follow GDP levels and balance across the globe.”
It also suggests that the UK and Europe could face a struggle in terms of importance on the international stage.
The US is likely to remain the world’s only superpower, but China and India are likely to become great powers with strong military forces.
The research said these three nations could form a powerful grouping, with the US turning its interest to the Pacific rather than Atlantic.
Europe would still be the fourth biggest economy, but the report said it could less able to project power globally because of the lack of a credible military force.
The report said Britain was likely to be able to adapt to the changes.
It has historic, cultural and community links to south Asia, English as the preferred language for business, its geography and connections to the US and Europe. But the research noted it was unclear how beneficial these things could be.
It also warned of other potential problems, such as the possibility of military tensions in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean between China, the US and India.
Chinese and Indian authorities would also have to address demands for welfare support, action to tackle corruption and political change in order to maintain stability and continue their economic development.
An economic collapse of China for example could badly disrupt the global economy, said the report which set out potential trends rather than reflect official UK government or MoD policy.