New Delhi, Mar.10 (ANI): India's identification with the United States has clear limits and it will resist any notion that it can be used as an instrument of US policy or as a counterweight to China, says leading international strategic expert, Mr. Adam Ward.
Mr. Ward, Director of Studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, says "India is not deterministically pessimistic about its relations with China. But the balance of suspicion lies in the direction of Chinese not American objectives".
"To an outside observer, India's foreign policy will be driven by an independence that is historically informed, as well as by the requirements of a very stringent regional security environment, and a sense of scepticism about the justice of certain international institutions and regimes. India' attachment to multilateralism will be coloured by the shape of institutions that give multilateralism formal expression," Mr. Ward said during his keynote address at the "Global Governance 2025: EU-U.S.-India Dialogue" organised at Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.
The day-long dialogue was organised jointly by the National Intelligence Council, Atlantic Council, Institute for Security Studies, Transatlantic Policy Network and ORF.
Noting that India's diplomacy has gone trough several stages since the cold war: the process of dehyphenation from Pakistan; the development of a regional role in South Asia; and now the expansion of its international reach to the east and the west, Mr. Ward said for it, at issue is how it is to shape its strategy amid the changing global dynamics and what objectives it will define for itself as a consciously rising power.
"India's status as a rising power is underpinned by economic dynamism but also the diplomatic deftness with which it has leveraged US and Chinese misgivings about each other to be taken seriously by both and thus to extract some strategic benefit," he said.
He said it would be ludicrous to suggest that America's relative decline will be rapid and stark. "In aggregate form its capabilities are enormous. But there are increasingly valid questions to be asked about whether the US can not only successfully set the international security agenda but summon the means to achieve specific and critical outcomes. The assumption must be that it will be able to do so less and less outside of the acquiescence or open support of other major powers. And it will have to haggle more-with less."
"In theory, America's predicament opens up new vistas of strategic opportunity for those who would seek to occupy the ground. The irony however is that this opportunity has coincided precisely with a certain loss of nerve and a loss of that sureness of touch for which China's diplomacy has long and rightly been famous. At the height of the international financial crisis, in which Chinese stability and assurance stood in such contrast to the risk of a Western meltdown, Beijing resisted the evident temptation to grasp at a more explicit leadership role. Pleased to have its influence acknowledged and its views more deferred to, China however had no wish to assume the onerous burdens and distracting entanglements of leadership," he said.
Mr. Ward said there is little to suggest that China will pursue reckless policies, but it does seem more likely to assert its interests more actively. It may move from the pretence of a foreign policy supposedly built on a values free, omni directional, win-win approach to the hard reality of tough choices. In making these, Beijing will probably be less inclined to seek an international respectability whose terms are defined by other states. It will probably also be more sensitive to the evolution of a multipolar Asia whose organising principle, to the extent that it has one, is a certain precautionary alignment against China.
"To break out of this confinement it may explore new diplomatic avenues. Fresh attempts to peel some major American partners away from alignments with Washington may follow," he said.
Mr. M.K. Rasgotra, former Foreign Secretary and President of ORF Centre for International Relations, said there was an immediate need for drastic changes in the United Nations structure, taking into account the reality of today's world power balance. He also underlined the need for better and stronger international cooperation to fight menaces like terrorism and drug trafficking.
Mr. Sunjoy Joshi, Distinguished Fellow, ORF, called for joint research and development (R and D) efforts from big nations to tap new forms of energy, especially solar, to transform the world scenario.
Other participants included Mr. Banning Garrett, Mr. Mathew Burrows, Mr. Giovanni Grevi, Mr. James Elles, Mr. William Burke White, Mr. Luis Peral, Rear Admiral (Retd) Raja Menon, Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Amb. Chinmaya Gharekan, Amb. TCA Rangachari and Mr. Siddharth Varadarajan. (ANI)