While former President Donald Trump's administration was proactive in expanding the scope of US-India partnership through economic initiatives, US President Joe Biden's administration needs to build on this to solidify India's role as the primary regional balancer in the Indo-Pacific region against China, writes Akhil Ramesh for South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Declassified documents on the US strategy for the Indo-Pacific that was released earlier this year clearly outline India's role as a regional balancer in the region.
India can play the role of regional economic balancer by partly absorbing the supply chains moving out of China, which will enhance its economic ability to take on China and serve as an alternative market for Quad nations, that is the US, Japan and Australia.
Ramesh writes that India has been one of the most vocal critics of China's foreign policy initiatives. From the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and standing up to China militarily at Doklam, to promoting the idea of issue-based coalitions in the maritime sphere and rejecting the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), India has made it possible to envision an Info-Pacific order not dominated by China.
He further wrote that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led administration's vision of a multipolar world and in particular a multipolar Asia fits well within a US strategy that positions India as a regional balancer. Furthermore, India's large army, its territorial dispute and deteriorating relations with China make it an ideal regional balancing candidate.
Looking from India's perspective, US investment and enterprise bring much-needed capital and jobs for its young population. Sharing advanced American defence and commercial technologies will further strengthen India's regional competitiveness, according to SCMP.
In this case, Biden should build on initiatives such as the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative and the Blue Dot Network, while encouraging American firms to move out of China, as Japan recently did with its businesses by offering subsidies.
Ramesh opined that the newly sworn-in president should also design a trade bloc that includes the Quad countries to complement the resources of each economy. The US should improve people-to-people ties, as unlike China, India has a free press and a vibrant civil society, and is unlikely to take an authoritarian turn.
Ramesh also mentioned that the members of the Quad have to reduce their dependence on China.
( With inputs from ANI )
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