India’s foreign policy in the Asian Century
The 21st-century Asian order has entered a long interregnum between the hub-and-spokes security bilateralism of the US-engineered San Francisco system and the re-emergence of East Asia’s pre-modern international system. To harmonise the interests of individual states with the requirements of the system at large in the decades ahead, the foremost challenge in the Asian Century will be to nudge the region’s geo-politics toward cooperation — perhaps even a loose concert of powers — as opposed to competition, conflict and division.
India’s role and strategic orientation within this 21st-century order presents something of a conundrum. It was a non-participant within the San Francisco system and bears only dim familiarity with the earlier workings of the East Asian international system. Yet without the rise of India, on course to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2025, the Asian Century will not progress very far.
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