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India-USA Build Stable Asian Balance of Power

Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden recently reached agreements that outlined a broad vision for India-US cooperation. These accords represent a significant transformation in the bilateral relationship because they include a variety of topics, including multilateralism, climate change, and technology cooperation.This newly discovered alliance between India and the US sets the path for the development of a strong Asian balance of power, which has significant geopolitical ramifications for Asia.

Relevance: 

GS Paper 2 : Bilateral Relations

Mains Question

Examine how China’s most recent policies and actions have influenced the relationship between India and the US. Discuss the significance for regional geopolitics of China’s objections and assertive behaviour in bringing India and the US closer together. (250 Words)


Geopolitics

Geopolitics is the study of how people and physical geography on Earth affect politics and international relations.Specifically, territorial seas and land territory in relation to diplomatic history are the focus of geopolitics, which is concerned with political power related to geographic space.

Building a Multipolar Asia with Enough Deterrent Capabilities to Protect the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of All Regional States:

Rather than attempting to contain Beijing, this partnership aims to establish a Multipolar Asia, equipped with Enough Deterrent Capabilities to Safeguard the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of All Regional States.India’s patient engagement and the US’s efforts to set up barriers against rising tensions show that both countries understand how important it is to keep positive ties with China.

Overcoming Past Disagreements:

  • In the past, India and the US struggled to build a successful partnership because of divergent perspectives about Asia’s geopolitical situation.
  • Disagreements covered opinions on Communist China, Soviet Russia, Cold War alignments, and US assistance for Pakistan during 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War between India and Pakistan. India’s internal economic priorities hampered attempts to reduce political polarisation through economic involvement.
  • Even while there were sporadic opportunities for cooperation, such as after the Chinese attack on India in the 1960s and the creation of the Quadrilateral Forum in 2007, persistent worries in both Delhi and Washington constrained the possibility of more extensive strategic cooperation in Asia.
  • However, the two countries’ current defence cooperation reflects a fusion of geopolitical and geoeconomic objectives. In order to strengthen India’s military capabilities and increase its deterrence against China, the US is supporting modernising India’s defence industrial base, including joint manufacturing of the F414 fighter jet engine in India and the delivery of advanced ammed drones.
  • This partnership emphasises Indian companies’ engagement in American defence supply chains, which includes both goods and services, and goes beyond the sale of weaponry.
  • Role of Xi Jinping’s Policies: Ironically, it is Xi Jinping’s forceful policies that have brought India and the US closer than ever.
  • China’s opposition to earlier initiatives like the civil nuclear initiative and India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group highlights Beijing’s concerns about strategic cooperation between Delhi and Washington. This is in spite of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to keep the two countries apart.

India’s Shift Towards Strategic Partnerships:

  • India had to reevaluate its strategy in light of the parallel crises with China in Doklam (2017) and Galwan (2020).
  • The US has changed its Asia policy away from a strictly bilateral relationship with Beijing, revitalising historic alliances and forming new coalitions.
  • India has sought closer strategic partnerships with the US and its allies in order to increase deterrence against China. A significant variable in Asian geopolitics has been altered by this realignment of policies, which has permitted advanced technology transfer and defence collaboration with India.
  • Bilateral commerce has expanded between India and the US as a result of greater links in industries like ICT, engineering, and medicine. Recent developments in India-US relations. With $78 billion in exports and $50 billion in imports from the US in 2023, the US is India’s largest trading partner.

Enhanced Economic Relations:

  • With $10 billion in direct investments, the US is India’s largest investment partner. High-tech goods can now be exported to India thanks to the US’s approval of Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1) designation. Export restrictions on products and technologies with dual uses have also been loosened.
  • Counterterrorism cooperation: The US has been a major backer of India’s counterterrorism initiatives. In particular following the death of Osama bin Laden, the US’s economic and strategic support for Pakistan has decreased, aligning it more closely with Indian endeavours in this area.
  • Increased Diaspora: Through knowledge-based employment and remittances, the Indian diaspora in the US has experienced tremendous expansion, aiding in the economic prosperity of both nations. The wealthy Asian Indian diaspora has a significant impact on politics and the economy.

Strategic and Defence Relations:

  • The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) are three significant defence agreements that India and the US have signed. These agreements make it easier to share intelligence, assist logistics, communicate securely, and swap technology.

Key Obstacles:

  • Despite the encouraging advances, India-US ties continue to face obstacles. Economic connections have been strained by trade issues, particularly high tariffs and protectionist practises.
  • Concerns over intellectual property rights have been expressed, and the US has criticised India’s policy in this regard. India still has concerns about US backing for Pakistan, despite its reduction.
  • Tensions have arisen because of differences in relations with Russia, particularly because India purchased the S-400 missile defence system. Additionally, India’s strategic interests are impacted by US sanctions against Iran, notably with reference to oil imports.

Way Forward

  • For both countries to concentrate on resolving trade disagreements, addressing concerns about intellectual property rights, and promoting stronger collaboration in areas of shared interest like defence and counterterrorism.
  • Regular discussions and forums, such as the US-India Trade Policy Forum, can aid in resolving problems with bilateral trade and investment.
  • The collaboration will be strengthened by embracing new technology and advocating for aggressive legislation regarding data protection and equitable taxes.

Conclusion

  • The collaboration and agreements reached between US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signal a fundamental shift in India-US ties.
  • The geopolitics of the region will be greatly impacted by their combined efforts to create a stable Asian system of power relations. While fostering positive ties with China, this partnership in flux aims to create a multipolar Asia.
  • Beyond defence sales, the US and India’s cooperation places a focus on long-term cooperation and mutual advantages. Overall, the newly formed US-India security alliance has enormous potential to influence the design of the Asian architectural future and bring stability and balance to the region.

June 2024
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