The importance of India in the Indo-Pacific region has recently become widely recognized, particularly in the West, and has almost replaced the old cliche of poor, postcolonial and Asiatic state. Russia also realizes this change and geopolitical importance of India, but Russia sees mainly India through the prism of the West and China confrontation and Biden’s determination to increase America’s position in that part of the world by engaging India on American side. India is developing its own geopolitical conception and it is totally based on Indian political view of the global world.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, India began to modify its traditional geopolitical concepts because the international environment dramatically changed in the world.
The foreign political facet of India’s strategy began with the “Look East” policy of the Prime Minister Narasimha Rao government in 1991. He tried to develop diplomatic relations with Southeast Asia, it was a new region for exploration and India need new places for the expansion after the Cold War. It was also seen as an essential point of India’s strategy to open its national market and take pross of the developing Southeast Asia market.
India’s national policy was structured by the notion that it has significant problems with Pakistan to its west and China to the north, which restricts Indian overland communications and trade with those states. On the side, India concentrates attention towards east and the south.
The roots of India’s modern Indo-Pacific policy were laid at the turn of the twenty-first century. After the military coup in Pakistan in 1999, the United States of America start a new policy with India, which led to partnership between them. The next in Indo-US interaction occurred in the wake of the terrible tsunami of, 2004, which killed thousand people also in the southeast side India. The US send the humanitarian aid to those affected provinces of India.
The rise of China and its power brought development in the East and South China Seas, as well as it became the reason of the essence of the Asia-Pacific region as a whole and it has triggered several policies moves by different states. The US has a desire to balance China’s growing power and its expanding authority, the US created a plan to bring New Delhi into the strategic struggle with China. To achieve that, the US reformed his strategic conception in the Indo-Pacific.
Certainly, India is not a great power, but it has an advantage in its unique geolocation that makes India as an important factor in the Pacific and in Indian Ocean. India shares maritime and land borders with four out of the ten ASEAN states and jutting out 2,000 kilometers into the Indian Ocean, India also dominates in the western end of the Malacca Straits.
ASEAN countries including India do not worry about the US presence in the region, but since they also receive the material profit from close economic cooperation with China, India do not really dream to participate in any military confrontation with Beijing. India involves itself in the US strategy and pressed Washington to take moderate course. President Joe Biden consider China as the main concern to US planetary leadership, and he wishes to create a collation of American oriented states against China in all fields, but priority will be economic competition.
Washington needs a powerful and strong partner on the Asian continent and in the Indian Ocean area. The United States think that it will be useful to exploit the potential of India and its resources. New Delhi has a different point of view and India does not want to be toy in future US-China escalation. Unlike the other Asiatic nations, India has old philosophical thought and avoid military scenarios with China. But India will not hesitate to take advantage from the friendship with US to increase its own international image in the region.
However, New Delhi does not have strategic sources to play an influential role outside its native region. Compete with somebody 5,000 kilometers away is not efficient and India has the conventional enemy with the nuclear weapon, Chinese are also problem for the northeast lands. Therefore, India behind China in almost all elements of comprehensive national power, including its military. For that reason, India can at best has a diplomatic role as an ally of the United States and apply its own economic growth program and take all possible benefits form the U.S.-Chinese confrontation. India has considerable natural advantages in the region, but the individual creation of security is very hard task for India. Finally, India’s future success in the region depends mainly on the development of its economy.