Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

Opportunity to expand ties with West

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Opportunity for India to expand ties with the West

The article takes an overview of the growing convergence of India’s interest with the West in the changing geopolitical scenario and opportunities it offers to India.

Significance of G-7 Summit for India

  • Summit of the G-7, the Group of Seven industrial countries, will be hosted by the United Kingdom this week.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate digitally in this summit.
  • This participation also marks an important step towards a new global compact between India and the West.
  • The global financial crisis of 2008, the rapid rise of China, divisions within the West during the Trump years, and the chaotic response in North America and Europe to the Covid-19 pandemic, were the factors that indicated the decline of the West.
  • In his first tour abroad as the US president wants to demonstrate that the collective West is an enduring force to reckon with under renewed American leadership.
  • For India, the G-7 summit is an opportunity to expand the global dimension of India’s growing partnerships with the US and Europe.

Convergence of interests between India and the West

  • The challenges from an increasingly aggressive China, the urgency of mitigating climate change, and the construction of a post-pandemic international order are generating convergence between the interests of India and the West.
  • India’s current engagement with the G-7 is about global issues.
  • The idea of a global democratic coalition that is based more broadly than the geographic West has gained ground in recent years.
  • And India is at the very heart of that Western calculus.
  • For India, too, the G-7summit comes amidst intensifying strategic cooperation with the West.
  • This includes strong bilateral strategic cooperation with the US, France, UK as well as the Quad and the trilateral partnerships with France and Australia as well as Japan and Australia.
  • India has also stepped up its engagement with the European Union.

China factor

  • India’s increasing engagement with the US and the West has been triggered in part by the continuous deterioration of the relationship with China.
  • Besides the threat to territorial security, India finds that its hopes for strong global cooperation with China have taken a big beating in recent years.
  • China is the only great power that does not support India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council and blocks India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • At the end of the Cold War, India believed that China was a natural partner in the construction of a multipolar world.
  • India now can’t escape the conclusion that China is the greatest obstacle to India’s global aspirations and the West is an emerging partner.
  •  India has relied on Western support to fend off China’s effort to internationalise the Kashmir question after the 2019 constitutional changes.
  • India walked away from RCEP due to the growing trade imbalance with China and the negative impact of Chinese imports on India’s domestic manufacturing.
  • After China’s aggression in Ladakh last April, India has also sought to actively limit its exposure to Chinese investments and technology.

Way forward

  • The convergence of interests between India and the West does not mean the two sides will agree on everything.
  •  There are many areas of continuing divergence within the West — from the economic role of the state to the democratic regulation of social media and the technology giants.
  • It will surely not be easy translating the broad convergences between India and the West into tangible cooperation.
  • That would require sustained negotiations on converting shared interests.

Consider the question “The idea of a global democratic coalition that is based more broadly than the geographic West has gained ground in recent years. This offers India an opportunity to expand the global dimension of India’s growing partnerships with the US and Europe. Comment.”

Conclusion

While India continues to strengthen its partnerships in Asia and the global south, a more productive partnership with the West helps secure a growing array of India’s national interests and adds a new depth to India’s international relations.

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