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BIG STORY                                                                APRIL 01, 2022  |   The Indian Eye                     6

        Forum titled “The Indo-Pacific & the                                                                  US vision of the global order.
        India factor in US-China rivalry: A dis-                                                                  We have seen for well over a de-
        cussion”. It shone a light on security in                                                             cade how the US has perceived India
        the Indo-Pacific region and the roles                                                                 as central to how it manages the geo-
        played there by three major world                                                                     political  challenges posed by China,
        powers: America, India and China. In                                                                  said Dr Daniel Markey, Senior Advi-
        his opening comments, The Democra-                                                                    sor on South Asia at the United States
        cy Forum President Lord Bruce spoke                                                                   Institute of Peace, who considered the
        of India’s long policy of non-alignment.                                                              risks to the United States associated
        But, he also highlighted Jawarharlal                                                                  with  increased  India-China  hostility.
        Nehru’s 1949 warning, in response to                                                                  While India is a political and security
        the emergence of the Cold War, that                                                                   partner for the US, part of a broader
        “the very process of marshalling the                                                                  Asian counterweight to China, Mar-
        world into  hostile  camps  precipitates                                                              key  also  underscored  India’s  histor-
        the conflict it had sought to avoid.”                                                                 ic reticence to commit to a strategic
            It is arguable that the invasion of                                                               partnership with the US, given Delhi’s
        Ukraine has pushed India into just this                                                               doubts about US strategic intentions,
        predicament, said Lord Bruce.     Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and uS under Secretary of State for Political Affairs   with regard to Pakistan, and concern
            Forced to confront the conse-        Victoria Nuland, at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)  that the US was getting too close to
        quences  of  its  multipolar  alignment                                                               China during the Obama era.
        with both Russia and the US, India                                                                        So, India has pursued its own ap-
        chose to abstain on three occasions at                                                                proach, developing relationships with
        the UN Assembly in the last month,                                                                    other major powers, including Russia
        rather than joining the condemnation                                                                  and Iran. A breakdown in India-China
        of Russia’s actions - though abstention                                                               relations would not serve US interests,
        is not supported.                                                                                     said Markey.
            Despite its careful strategic bal-                                                                    Greater India-China hostilities
        ancing of collective security interests                                                               will make India more reliant on Rus-
        in the Indo-Pacific, clearly represented                                                              sian arms, as well as making India
        by its membership of the Quad, India                                                                  more distracted to its land border, and
        has been reluctant to discontinue its                                                                 therefore a less capable strategic part-
        reliance on Russia’s traditional role as                                                              ner for the US.
        its principal arms supplier, which could                                                                  Looking at the subject from an
        lead to the imposition of sanctions by                                                                Indian perspective was journalist and
        the US. And a more insidious threat                                                                   author Dr Manoj Joshi. Although the
        to India’s security may emerge, added                                                                 Chinese are seeking to exploit the
        Lord Bruce, if the US recalibrates its                                                                perceived gap between India and
        global military responsibilities and its                                                              the US, arising out of India’s stance
        commitment to the security of Europe,                                                                 on the Russian invasion of Ukraine,
        to the detriment of its strategic allianc-                                                            they have an uphill task, said Joshi, as
        es in the Indo-Pacific region.     Permanent representative and Ambassador of India to the united Nations TS Tirumurti speaks   Delhi is far from normalising its ties
            While former Indian foreign sec-                                                                  with Beijing and, in fact, India is not
        retary  Shyam  Saran  said:  “A  night-            at the uN Security Council meeting (ANI Photo)     happy with the Russian action, but
        mare scenario where the United                                                                        is merely acting to prevent a deeper
        States comes to the conclusion that it   sociate Professor in the International   the  Indo-Pacific  is  of  a  country  that   Russia-China embrace.
        confronts a greater threat from Russia   Relations of South Asia, at St Ant-  engages selectively with a US-centred   Also, India is dependent on Rus-
        and that this justifies a strategic accom-  ony’s College, Oxford, explored how   vision of order, and hopes to shape   sian defence platforms up to 85 per
        modation with China - in blunt terms,   US engagement with India stands to   that order in ways that serve its own   cent and has, furthermore, enjoyed
        to  concede  Chinese  dominance  in   further polarise US-China rivalry, and   interests and preferred social roles,”   close geo-political ties with Russia
        Asia while safeguarding its European   also how India is both leveraging and   she said.              since the 1950s.
        flank.”                           working against this dynamic.         Growing strategic convergence     Close China-Russia  ties  are not
            Outlining  the  geopolitics  of  the   She drew out the divergent un-  with the US has been valuable for In-  good for India, so Delhi has gone out
        Indo-Pacific, particularly in relation to   derstandings of the term Indo-Pacific,   dia but it comes at a price, said Sulli-  of its way to keep on the right side of
        US-India-China relations, Dr Walter   and the order that is envisaged in that   van de Estrada, peppered as it is with   Moscow. India has also rejected West-
        Ladwig III of King’s College, London   geopolitical domain, positing two im-  expectations for India to play balanc-  ern criticisms of its position, as many
        called the region “a grand strategic do-  ages of India in the region: first, as a   ing and capacity building roles.  European nations have oil sufficiency,
        main” and a fusion of the world cen-  US partner and a defender of a partic-  Also, despite India’s very real   or are even importing it from Russia.
        tre of economic dynamism, vital as a   ular kind of order in the Indo-Pacific.   security concerns vis-a-vis China,   Regarding the US and India in
        source of raw materials and a transport   This image frames India’s role in the   it doesn’t want to take on the US’   the  Indo-Pacific,  Joshi  cited  the  lat-
        corridor.                         region as part of a wider geopolitical   ‘enemy’ image of China or pursue   est  Indo-Pacific  document,  in  which
            India, the US and China are op-  response to a rising China.    an overt strategy over Chinese con-  Washington has pledged to support
        erating in a complicated geopolitical   India is valuable in the Indo-Pa-  tainment.  And  while  India’s  refusal   India’s role as a net security provider,
        environment where the interests of   cific as it can materially balance Chi-  to take sides over Russia’s invasion   as it needs India’s potential to balance
        the various parties only partially over-  na, and also institutionally balance   of Ukraine has disappointed the US   China in the region.
        lap and different pressures can simul-  China through the Quad - a hugely   and its allies, it could promise a thaw   As the geopolitical game be-
        taneously push pairs of states togeth-  valuable role to both the US and its   in relations with China, sending a   comes hot in Europe, India has a dif-
        er, and pull them apart.          allies, and to India, according to her.  powerful message to Beijing that In-  ficult balancing act to do. So far, India
            Dr Kate Sullivan de Estrada, As-  “The second image of India in   dia does not unequivocally support a   has managed to do it.

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