After China started to imitate the US, India has its own strategies ready to give a bloody nose to China.
Learning lessons about political realism in international relations, India is also making strategies to deal with its enemies in its own way. Although hostile with two nuclear-armed neighbours India is trying to change the battlefield and make its enemy feel the heat in their neighbourhood.
India with ASEAN countries
In a Special Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (SAIFMM), the foreign minister of India, S Jaishankar has highlighted the country’s commitment to securing the ASEAN’s central role in the Indo-Pacific region. Speaking on the same, the Foreign Minister said that “ASEAN’s role today is perhaps more important than ever before, given the geopolitical challenges and uncertainties that the world faces”.
The other key issue of discussions included Covid-19 & Health, Trade & Commerce, Connectivity – physical and digital, Education & Capacity Building, as well as implementation of the ASEAN-India Joint Statement on Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)
Cooperation with ASEAN
The constant consultation and cooperation of India with all ASEAN countries individually as well as ASEAN organization as a whole is inclined toward India’s Act Policy. India sees all these Pacific Ocean countries as key partners in the development of India. With the focus on development of trade and investment, the other developing area of cooperation is security and defence.
Although, ASEAN as a group will not be inclined towards security cooperation but individually India is building a strong security and defence architecture in the neighbourhood of China. Due to the aggressive economic and military expansion of China in the Indo- Pacific region, every country in conflict with China is trying to build security and defence cooperation with like-minded countries like India, USA, Japan, and Australia. (QUAD)
Owing to its muscle-flexing bully behaviour and manufactured boundary conflicts with almost all countries in its neighbourhood, China now seems to be sidelined by every other country in the Indo-Pacific region. This discontentment about China has provided a great opportunity for India to have a strong defence, security, and economic cooperation with its neighbours.
The recently announced Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is one of the major organizations which are leading the way ahead. Except China, almost every country in the Indo-Pacific like the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam have been included and have formed this alliance to make a strong economic cooperation against China.
Further, India at an individual level is also making silent strong cooperation with these countries like selling of world’s best cruise missile Brahmos to Vietnam, Changi Naval Base in Singapore, and strategic use of Sabang port of Indonesia have almost choked China in its own neighbourhood.
Following the necklace of diamonds, China was trying to encircle India. But, India has not only freed the south Asian region from the influence of China but also encircled China in its own neighbourhood with the cooperation of Indo-Pacific countries. And now the regular consultation and cooperation meetings with ASEAN are a way forward in the direction of snatching these countries from the jaws of China. This engagement in the neighbourhood of China has also shifted the battleground from Indian Ocean region to South China Sea.
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