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Tackling the dragon

Tackling the dragon

As the standoff goes from bad to worse between India and China, it can have a huge impact on the diplomatic as well as trade relations between these two giants of Asia. In Asia, the rise of China has turned into increased hardheartedness – in the ocean areas of both the countries. If China's alarming naval presence in the Indian Ocean, steadfast friendship with Pakistan, spreading tentacles in Nepal and Bangladesh and increasing border scuffle in Arunachal Pradesh are any indications, China has a dragon's design to arrest India's geostrategic and national interests. As the much-traded liberal argument that the deep-rooted economic engagements between the two countries would limit the possibility of the confrontation doesn't seem to convince anymore, the most decisive answer is to prepare for a disguised cold war in the region, which is on the cards by its early signs. To check the growing influence of China, India must reinvent its relationship with its neighbours. One of the direct ways to do it appears to

As the much-traded liberal argument that the deep-rooted economic engagements between the two countries would limit the possibility of the confrontation doesn't seem to convince anymore, the most decisive answer is to prepare for a disguised cold war in the region, which is on the cards by its early signs. To check the growing influence of China, India must reinvent its relationship with its neighbours. One of the direct ways to do it appears to reenergise quiescent regional multilateral initiatives, which have direct strategic implications. To India's advantage, there already exist forums which can be utilised to forge constructive partnerships. With the coinciding interests – counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, economic and trade issues, regional connectivity, and tourism, among others – on which entrenched partnerships can be built, they could serve as good entry points to further build up toward

To India's advantage, there already exist forums which can be utilised to forge constructive partnerships. With the coinciding interests – counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, economic and trade issues, regional connectivity, and tourism, among others – on which entrenched partnerships can be built, they could serve as good entry points to further build up toward defence partnerships. Apart from the existing arrangements, India should actively aim to create new ones and structure them in a manner that would best suit New Delhi's strategic interests.

These new arrangements must consciously focus on Afghanistan and Central Asian states. Unfortunately, the Central Asian states, despite being of critical importance and sharing deep civilisation connections with India have only tangentially appeared on India's strategic antenna. China, on the other hand, has a large presence in the region as compared to India. China no doubt has a geographic advantage of direct connectivity, which India lacks, but there are areas like counterterrorism and defense partnerships where a lot more can be achieved. However, India's proximity with the United States is a possible indicator that both nations share the strategic aim of checking an assertive China. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this bilateral relationship has taken a new turn; foundational agreements like the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this bilateral relationship has taken a new turn; foundational agreements like the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) are step toward a more robust relationship. And, despite their difference in many other spheres, their willingness to cooperate in their coinciding spheres of interest is prominent. As far as India's relation with Japan is concerned, political similarities and common strategic objectives between the two countries are bound to bring them closer. With increasingly aligned interests and Japan moving toward a more self-reliant and proactive

With increasingly aligned interests and Japan moving toward a more self-reliant and proactive defense posture, it goes without saying that Japan is India's natural ally. Apart from the extra-regional powers, India must forge greater defense partnerships with its immediate neighbors like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. India must create an atmosphere where the neighbors feel that they have lot to gain with their partnership with India. These entrenched networks of partnerships can provide the necessary clout required to play diplomatic games with China successfully. One more thing is clear as well as alarming: the rise of China has changed the geopolitical equations entirely. The consequent re-ordering of the world calls for new power dynamics. India must be ready to adapt to these changing dynamics. Under Modi, forging and strengthening new partnerships has given the right direction in the pursuit of a decisive policy towards China. One of the major changes Modi has brought to strategic thinking in India is that he has decisively halted the Nehruvian inertia in policy thinking. India under Modi is not apprehensive about experimenting with new power combinations. What India now needs is a framework to sustain this policy. India must continue its realism-driven geopolitical expediency if it effectively wants to checkmate China and safeguard its national interests. With speculations rife in the Chinese media over an economic backlash in India against Chinese companies, deficit impact the business ties between the two Asian giants is also in the air. China's big manufacturing sector has increasingly looked at the consumerist Indian middle class as a lucrative market. And, if India continues with its stand after the recent standoff, Chinese economists might suffer from insomnia. China must not forget that this economic backlash in India as territorial issues can easily stir up patriotic feelings in Indians.

The consequent re-ordering of the world calls for new power dynamics. India must be ready to adapt to these changing dynamics. Under Modi, forging and strengthening new partnerships has given the right direction in the pursuit of a decisive policy towards China. One of the major changes Modi has brought to strategic thinking in India is that he has decisively halted the Nehruvian inertia in policy thinking. India under Modi is not apprehensive about experimenting with new power combinations. What India now needs is a framework to sustain this policy. India must continue its realism-driven geopolitical expediency if it effectively wants to checkmate China and safeguard its national interests. With speculations rife in the Chinese media over an economic backlash in India against Chinese companies, deficit impact the business ties between the two Asian giants is also in the air. China's big manufacturing sector has increasingly looked at the consumerist Indian middle class as a lucrative market. And, if India continues with its stand after the recent standoff, Chinese economists might suffer from insomnia. China must not forget that this economic backlash in India as territorial issues can easily stir up patriotic feelings in Indians.

What India now needs is a framework to sustain this policy. India must continue its realism-driven geopolitical expediency if it effectively wants to checkmate China and safeguard its national interests. With speculations rife in the Chinese media over an economic backlash in India against Chinese companies, deficit impact the business ties between the two Asian giants is also in the air. China's big manufacturing sector has increasingly looked at the consumerist Indian middle class as a lucrative market. And, if India continues with its stand after the recent standoff, Chinese economists might suffer from insomnia. China must not forget that this economic backlash in India as territorial issues can easily stir up patriotic feelings in Indians.

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