India’s dilemmas in an Asian century
#GS-02 International Relations, PSIR Optional
How Asia is becoming the centre of power:
Currently two major powers, Russia and China, are trying, though in varying degrees, to alter the global balance of power.
This has been made possible through various factors such as
- U.S.’s withdrawal military presence from much of continental Asia.
- The aggressive rise of China, both economically as well as militarily.
- The rise of several regional powers such as Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
India’s future in an Asia Centric World:
- While India may speak like a revisionist power, it is deeply status quoist and risk-averse.
- The Asia centric world probably is not favourable to India since, there can be no meaningful Asian century in a unipolar world.
- An alternative to a unipolar world is a multipolar world with regional powers such as Russia, China, Japan, India etc, asserting themselves on the global stage.
- However, another alternative is a China-dominated Asia which won’t serve India’s geopolitical interests.
- Even a multipolar world is not necessarily useful to Indian interests.
- This is because a multipolar world will result in new and shifting alliances; formal, informal, secret, open and in-between pacts; and competing coalitions vying for dominance.
- This in turn will result in the collapse of the relative ‘stability’ existing in the current world order.
Multipolarity India wants:
- India values a multipolar international order, underpinned by international law, premised upon respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, resolution of international disputes through peaceful negotiations, and free and open access for all to the global commons.
- While India believes in and wants a more democratic, orderly and rules-based world order, we must also recognise that major systemic changes could are almost always accompanied by chaos.
- Hence it is better to have a slow, peaceful and consensual transformation of the system unlike the current change.
- While a multipolar world may emerge for a short period of time, it could very well be soon replaced by a bipolar world dominated by the U.S. and China.
- Such a bipolar world may result in great power accommodation between the U.S. and China.
- If the U.S. accommodates China as an equal, it could mean the U.S. accepting China’s sphere of influence.
- Hence it is evident that regardless of whether the U.S. and China compete or accommodate each other in a bipolar world, India has reasons to worry.