Facing the Challenge of China, Should India Embrace the U.S.?

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by asianobserve, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    By ISHAAN THAROOR
    Time
    February 9, 2012


    India’s Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna was in Beijing this week, inaugurating his nation’s new $10 million embassy and meeting with his Chinese counterpart as well as a range of high-ranking Communist party officials. The biggest headline to emerge from the visit was invariably about the two countries’ commitment to reach $100 billion in bilateral trade by 2015. Sino-Indian summitry is notorious for its tiresome platitude-speak, full of stiff statements promising respect for the other’s sovereignty and even stiffer appeals to friendship and bonhomie between the two Asian giants. This is understandable. Presiding over vast, conspicuously nationalist publics, both governments need to tread lightly in order to stave off conflict. But there are reasons to expect a hardening of the geo-political divide, despite Beijing’s and New Delhi’s talking points.

    An AP feature on India’s revamping of its military turned heads this week. While it may seem routine for a budding power to upgrade its arsenal, India is conspicuously the world’s largest arms importer. And it’s clear that its recent acquisitions — including 126 French fighter jets for an initial $11 billion and a flotilla of Russian submarines, including one nuclear-powered one — are geared towards rivaling China, the second biggest military spender after the U.S.

    The two countries fought a bitter, wintry war in 1962 over stretches of the Himalayas. They have yet to settle their differences over the disputed land border, which remains one of the world’s most militarized frontiers. A somewhat alarmist Indian press routinely reports incidents of Chinese border incursions, while Beijing claims almost in entirety the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as a southern extension of Tibet, a longstanding contention that has been revived in recent years by Chinese officials. Not surprisingly, New Delhi has set about enlarging its troop numbers there and elsewhere along the glacial boundary line with China.

    While war may not be in the cards, there’s a growing sense that both countries won’t be able to rise on the global stage without butting heads. Indian wariness of China is echoed as far away as Washington; the Obama administration is trying to spend this year “pivoting” U.S. security interests away from the Middle East toward Asia-Pacific, a move that is a thinly-veiled reaction to the increased capabilities of the Chinese navy. In private, many senior Indian military officials make no bones about their suspicions of China’s intent, heightened, in part, by the opacity of the authoritarian Chinese state and its military, in particular.

    To outsiders, a closer, more overt alliance with the U.S. would seem to make natural sense. But that furrows as many brows in New Delhi as the specter of China does. Relations between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest still bear the baggage of the Cold War, during which India was closer to the Soviet Union than the U.S. In many corners, the traditional skepticism of an “imperialist” America remains. One of the most repeated pieties in Indian politics is that of the country’s desire to maintain an autonomous foreign policy. This is a relic of a time when, much weaker and much poorer, India resisted joining the competing blocs of the Cold War and helped forge the Non-Aligned Movement in the 1950s, a putative (now moribund) alliance of recently independent states that sought to stride boldly into the future free of Western hegemony and Soviet meddling.

    Sadanand Dhume, a fellow at the right-of-center American Enterprise Institute in Washington, writes a piece worth reading in the Wall Street Journal, urging India to get over the hang-ups of its non-aligned past. The geo-political map has changed greatly, but in Dhume’s estimation, New Delhi still clings to old habits — seeing the relatively new BRIC grouping (a linking of Brazil, Russia, China and India dreamed up by an economist at Goldman Sachs) as a kind of bulwark against the West. Dhume writes:

    Will it prop up the ridiculous BRICS grouping, or see it for what it is, the figment of a Goldman Sachs analyst’s imagination that serves as a vehicle for China’s anti-American drive for power? Are India’s core interests—the eradication of poverty and the maintenance of a multireligious democracy and open society—best pursued in opposition to the West or, despite occasional differences, under the rubric of a liberal international order underwritten by American power?

    That last question is worth raising, though something of a false dichotomy. India’s Communist parties — which, at least when it comes to discussing foreign policy, do still exist in the Cold War — are much diminished in parliament. Rarely do Indian politicians advocate action “in opposition” to the West. But there remains a question of values. The pluralism of India’s mutlilingual, multiethnic society stands in stark contrast to the ethnocentricism of Beijing, and in far greater kinship with the democratic ideals projected — if not always embodied — by the U.S. over half a century of global superpower-dom.

    Realists will shrug their shoulders and argue that India should do what’s only in its strategic interests and through whatever channels it sees fit, especially in a geo-political environment that is as “multi-polar” and fragmented as it is today. But there are increasing signs that the U.S. and India may be inching toward a tacit consensus in Asia. This week, the Indian Navy will conduct exercises with navies from 14 other Asian states, including many democracies. China, though, is not invited. India is also pushing its interests in the South China Sea, a pivotal conduit of international trade over which Beijing exercises sovereign claims. It’s a challenge welcomed in Washington.

    As a member of the Security Council this year, India also voted in favor of last weekend’s U.S.-backed resolution on Syria, which was vetoed by the Russians and the Chinese. That position signaled New Delhi’s new intent to engage with global crises and rise up as an actor on the international stage. India scholar Sumit Ganguly writes:

    Having finally demonstrated the necessary firmness at the Security Council when confronted with a potentially risky choice, it should now continue to display a similar willingness to play a more active and dexterous role there. Such a posture may enable it to garner the support that it so desperately seeks, and so urgently needs, to obtain an eventual permanent seat in a reformed and expanded Security Council.

    Security Council reform (and a permanent spot on it for India) may be as distant a prospect still as colonies on the Moon, but New Delhi has much to gain by raising its unique voice more articulately than it has in recent years — the imperatives of both competing and cooperating with China reduced its position on, say, supporting the junta in Burma to that of Beijing. While avoiding hostilities with its neighbor to the north east, India should not hide from standing apart from China on critical international issues. This may not mean falling into the U.S.’s lap either. But it’s far better for India to wage a contest of ideas — rather than a race for arms — in the decades ahead.



    Read more: Facing the Challenge of China with Its Revamped Military, Should India Embrace the U.S. Instead? | Global Spin | TIME.com
     
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  3. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    India and China are neighbors, we need to sort out our matters on our own. Old knowledge tells us not to invite a treacherous third person whose neutrality is questionable to sort out our differences. Indian Kingdoms committed the same mistake when they invited British to fight their war "Divide and Conquer", in the end the British captured the whole subcontinent.
     
  4. Razor

    Razor CIDs from Tamilnadu Senior Member

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    Its better to face your enemies like a lion than to live as somebody's dog.
    Of course that doesn't mean we can't co-operate but we will not take orders. We won't be spineless Japan or d!ckless phillipines.
     
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  5. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    There will be no "embracing", no open alliance.

    Such an "embrace" is possible only if a relationship of absolute equality is established.

    And I do not see that happening anytime soon.
     
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  6. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    Facing the Challenge of China, Should India Embrace the U.S.?


    NO!
     
  7. Nirvana

    Nirvana Regular Member

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    Hell No !!
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The headline may speak of 'embrace' to sell, but then the issue of 'embrace' does not arise.

    The issue is mutually beneficial strategic interactivity without loss of sovereignty.
     
  9. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Dont worry asienobserve no self respecting Indian will ever agree to a situation where India is subservient to anyone else. This is the difference between Indians and pakis. We have self respect! we will rise with self recpect even if it takes a bit longer rather than quickly while being lackeys. Pakis allow drones from another country to cross the border and kill its citizens...such a thing would never be tolerated in India even if the persons being killed were terrorists. We'd go in ourselves.
     
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  10. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    For the US, there is not such thing. For them, an ally means a slave country that will tow its line in international foreign policy.

    Even if the US shows sincerity in an equal relationship, there is a lot more they have to do, starting with UNSC reforms, declaring Pakistan as a terrorist state and slapping economic sanctions on them until people like Hafiz Sayid are handed over etc.
     
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  11. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    The days of cold war style alliances are over. Since the end of the cold war and the new age of intricate globalization the entire dynamic of friends and adversaries has undergone a paradigm shift. The Sino American and Sino Indian relationships are indicators of the new age of frenemies; inexorably linked by commerce but divided by ethos and underlying enmity. Unfortunately the only ones who have internalized the change and are advancing within the parameters of the new game are the Chinese through aggressive and astute polices. India and the US on the other hand are floundering, victims of their own bloated past, unable to let go of old habits and grab on to new ideas.

    In the US our old guard or rather the sclerotic guard has to let go of these ridiculous notions of client states and strategic asset states and instead foster relationships on the people to people level. It just so happens that the people to people relationship enjoyed with India is the strongest we have outside that of Western Europe. We need to realize that our partnership with India cannot be forged on the backs of F-18s but on civilian technology and infrastructure projects.

    Indian babus on the other hand have to let go of this nationalistic bravado (which is nothing more than insecurity in disguise). The hypocrisy and the dichotomy is pathetic... on one had riling up populist sentiment and taking antagonistic stances toward America, but on the other hand making a beeline for the US embassy to get visas. Let's get real here, India needs American FDI, India's economic rise would not have been possible without the USA and neither will it's future growth. Immaturity, corruption, useless and self defeating economic policies and populism are the main impediments in the Indo- American relationship. There can be no meaningful partnership if a country can't institute simple business policies that promote investments and trade. The US went to lengths to get India nuclear privileges, but what change has actually happened on the ground? Very little, it has only been a big show and nothing more.

    As far as the US is concerned our salvation vis a vis China lies not in carrier battle groups but in our ability to reduce debt, fix our education system, boost our industrial capacity and let go of horse$hit issues which paralyze congress. Similarly India's main defense against China won't be Sukhois but rather internal reform, proactive economic liberalization, better governance, promotion of industrial growth, maximizing the entrepreneurial spirit of its people and most of all getting into the habit of talking less and doing more.

    Point is that India and the US can very much work together out of mutual benefit, which in many ways also goes beyond containing China.
     
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  12. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    You're partly right. But please remember, Chinese did the same thing when faced with USSR. They jumped the US bandwagon worse than the 50 cent party taunts us everytime for our strategic partnership with US. :lol:

    You need to correct your history mate. Indians didn't invite the British to conquer. It was only post their trading set up that the conquering started. And this was because the ruler of Bengal then was an idiot enamored by the Brits. Mind you, Brits came only later. It was the Portuguese vermin that came in first and screwed everything up.

    Had these kings not been over generous to the traders by granting them so many concessions, we'd not have had foreigners.


    But I tell you something; The European invaders were much more civilized than the Islamic savages that ransacked our country, brought no technology, no development nothing and instead skewed our history with the birth of an inferior cowardly breed of Indians called secularists.

    Europeans look pretty generous when compared to the Islamic tools that came from Central Asia.
     
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  13. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Only pansies embraces someone when challenged. No, we are not those people.
     
  14. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Economically India was hundred times better off than under the british. Dont let emotions get in the way of facts.
     
  15. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    "Economically India was"

    "hundred times better off"

    "than under the british."


    Wow, these are a lot of facts... :laugh:
     
  16. Nagraj

    Nagraj Regular Member

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  17. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
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  18. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    The fact that it was the Europeans who were trying to find a trade route to Asia and not the other way around tells you where the wealth was in pre-colonial times.
     
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