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India in the Asia-Pacific: Rising Ambitions with an Eye on China

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It is almost a conventional wisdom now that the centre of gravity of global politics has shifted from Europe to the Asia-Pacific in recent years with the rise of China and India, gradual assertion by Japan of its military profile, and a significant shift in the US global force posture in favour of Asia-Pacific. The debate now is whether Asia-Pacific will witness rising tensions and conflicts in the coming years with various powers jockeying for influence in the region or whether the forces of economic globalization and multilateralism will lead to peace and stability. Some have asked the question more directly: Will Asia's future resemble Europe's past?1 It is, of course, difficult to answer this question as of now when major powers in Asia-Pacific such as China, India and Japan are still rising and grappling with a plethora of issues that confront any rising power in the international system. But what is clear is that all major powers are now re-evaluating their policy options vis-à-vis the Pacific. This paper examines India's foreign policy in the Pacific as it has emerged on the last few years. First, the emerging balance of power in Asia-Pacific will be examined in light of the theoretical debate on the issue followed by a broad assessment of the role that India envisages for itself in the region. Subsequently, India's relationship with the three major powers in Asia-Pacific - China, Japan, and the US is analysed. Finally, some observations will be made about the future trajectory of Indian foreign policy in the region.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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