From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : AUKUS
Mains level : Paper 2- Role for India in issues over AUKUS
France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia in a diplomatic slap intended to convey its anger over a deal forged in secrecy that saw Paris lose a multi billion dollar submarine contract.
Depth and diversity of India’s relations
- That Delhi today is a part of a difficult conversation between the US, UK, France, Europe, and Australia points to the growing depth and diversity of India’s relations with different parts of the West.
- Popular and academic discourse on India’s foreign policy has been obsessed with the concept of “non-alignment” —was about keeping distance from the West as a whole.
- India’s contemporary diplomacy, in contrast, takes a nuanced view of internal dynamics in the West, and recognises the political agency of individual states, and develops wide-ranging relationships with the Western nations.
Relations with France
- Paris has always taken an independent view of the world, while remaining within the broad framework of the American alliance.
- In the 1990s, Paris championed the construction of a multipolar world to constrain American “hyperpower” but India did not join it.
- The last few years, however, have seen an intensification of India’s strategic engagement with France.
- For example, India has overcome the earlier reluctance to work with France on Indian Ocean security.
Engagement as collective and sub-region
- The government has also stepped up on the political engagement with Europe as a collective as well as its sub-regions — from Baltics to the Balkans and from Iberia to Mitteleuropa.
- As India discovers that every European nation, from tiny Luxembourg to a rising Poland, has something to offer, Europe has become a thriving hub of India’s international relations.
Relations with the UK
- Due to the bitter colonial legacy, relations between India and UK have always been underdeveloped.
- In the last couple of years, India has made a determined effort to build a new partnership with Britain, which is the fifth-largest economy in the world, a leading financial hub, a technological powerhouse, and punches well above its weight in global affairs.
Relations with “Anglosphere”
- India’s neglect of London also meant Delhi had no time for the “Anglosphere” that binds the UK to Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
- Many had presumed that the Anglosphere was irrelevant — AUKUS, however, is a reminder that Anglo-Saxon political bonds endure.
- Instead of treating the Anglosphere with scepticism, India has begun to vigorously engage with the “settler colonies” that have so much to offer India — from natural resources to higher education and critical technologies.
- The UK and its settler colonies have long been the preferred destination for the Indian diaspora (besides the US).
- Leveraging diaspora politics: While the diaspora tends to connect the domestic politics of the Anglosphere with that of India, Delhi is figuring out that the diaspora politics can be played both ways.
Relations with Japan and Australia
- The transformation of India’s relations with Australia has occurred despite entrenched scepticism in the foreign policy bureaucracy.
- Finally, Japan has been a part of the West in the post-War era and Delhi’s relations with Tokyo have never been as rounded as they are today. They are also fellow members of the Quad.
Way forward for India
- This wide-ranging engagement with the West should help Delhi convey two important messages to its partners this week.
- Not undermining the larger goal: India needs to remind France, Australia, the UK and US of the shared interests in securing the Indo-Pacific and the dangers of letting the current quarrel undermine that larger goal.
- Effective deterrence in Indo-Pacific: The other is to highlight the region’s vast requirements for effective deterrence in the Indo-Pacific;
- And that there is enough room for the US, UK, France, and Europe to collaborate with Indo-Pacific partners in overlapping coalitions to develop high technology and defence-industrial cooperation in all the areas highlighted by AUKUS — effective underwater capabilities to AI, quantum computing and cyber warfare.
- Deeper cooperation: India’s interests lie in deeper strategic cooperation with France and Europe as well as the Quad and the Anglosphere.
India’s diverse relationships in the West must be deployed in full measure to prevent a split in the Indo-Pacific coalition.