Indian Foreign Policy – Mid Term Review (Part 3)

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Indian Foreign Policy  | PM Modi’s effect on India-US relations

Indian Foreign PolicyCertainly, the relations have improved despite the trade disputes prevailing between the two. But, it should be noted that even the closest allies of the United States have their own trade or other disputes with it, because no international relation is in perfect synergy to each other. PM Modi’s overtures to the United States might bring fruitful results for India under the Trump administration. It has been made clear by the new administration that if your interests align with the US, they will open their doors of opportunity for you. India is having more than 50 dialogues with the United States in almost every major field relating from defence to trade to education. This relationship has also opened doors for other avenues in international politics such as the strengthening of relationship between Australia, Canada and Japan. The nuclear deals with all these three major partners are premised on the India-US nuclear deal in some way or the other. The strengthening of India-US bonds has also given India a strategic room to manoeuvre its relationship vis-à-vis China. India has signed a ‘Joint Vision document on Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean’ with the United States which has infuriated China to the core.

It is futile to assume that the United States would fully support India on all the issues, hence, it should be a strategic calculation of positives and negatives to judge this relationship. Apparently, the positives outweigh the negatives under PM Modi’s leadership.

 Indian Foreign Policy | India’s  quest to become a major global power

Indian Foreign Policy 1This question arises quite too often in the domestic as well as international media. It should be noted that diplomacy is transactional. So, it is not just that America is being transactional, but it is true that we are transactional too. The question is that what benefits are we reaping or going to reap out of this transactional relationship? Media is assuming that the United States is forcing us to buy defence equipment in reciprocity for their trust. It is a false notion because India requires defence equipment with modern technology and most of them were unavailable to us due to various sanctions. As the sanctions have been lifted, India is pursuing its need by buying such equipment. Also this is not a unilateral purchase alone. When India believes that few defence equipment from Russia or Israel are superior to that of the United States, we do not hesitate to buy the same from them. Therefore, the question of a unilateral military or defence alignment with the United States stand defeated.

The truth is that today we are in a happy position of deciding that we will have the choice of technology and we can shop it from anywhere. The only change is that the American doors that were earlier shut have been thrown open for India, due to stiff competition from Israel and Russia.

India-US security cooperation has been strengthened too as evident from the fact that the United States is our virtual insurance against China in the region. There is a strong cooperation between India and US on the Pakistani front too. The President-elect of the United States has spoken very forwardly against terrorism which might benefit India during his presidential term. If he is going to be hard on terrorism, then there is no way that he can ignore Pakistan’s role in exporting terrorism to many of the areas in South Asian region and beyond. This would be beneficial for India.

Similarly, the President-elect also openly speaks against Chinese techniques of currency and trade manipulation which means he also sees China as a security threat for the United States and others in the region. This would be beneficial for India too. It should be seen if India was prepared to accept the Republican victory or is it merely an unchartered territory for India. But we should not completely tie our relationship with what the new administration does with Pakistan and China. If the United States makes a retreat in its globalist military presence in the region, we shall build new alliances with Japan, Vietnam and Eurasian countries in particular.

In case of a retreat from the Western Pacific region by the United States, the ‘Joint Vision Statements’ that India has signed with the United States would hollow out because the United States is the lynchpin of this vision.

There is a bipartisan political support in India to build India-US ties along all the major fields. Therefore, it is not a question of how close you go to someone, but it is important how you leverage each relationship in terms of your interests.

To read the Part 4 in the series of Indian Foreign Policy | Mid-Term Review : Click Here
To read the Part 5 in the series of Indian Foreign Policy | Mid-Term Review : Click Here

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