India’s Strategy of Strengthening Ties with the West to Counter China

China and India relationship is a mixture of cooperation and competition. Both countries cooperate on some matters such as climate change where there exists cooperation between them. There is also competition between the two countries. Both of them compete for influence in the region and have taken significant and sufficient measures to meet their goals. Where both of them worked together on economic matters and diplomacy. They also have the dispute over the territory in the past as well as in the present

A recent clash occur between them in June 2020.  Both countries militaries clashed in the region known as Gulwan Valley, which is the remote area along the disputed border between both countries. This clash has made Indian policymakers worry about the possibility of Chinese forces taking further military actions. China is of the view that border disputes must be put aside and cooperation on other aspects such as economy and diplomacy must be resumed. India has the view that border disputes cannot be put aside as they see peace and calmness at the border as preconditions for a normal Sino-Indian relationship. This security concern has also been demonstrated in domestic policy where government moves from increasing economic ties with China to imposing restrictions on the activities of them.

To make its position in international politics more prominent and to counter China and maintain its influence in the region. India seeks to expand and develop its ties with the West, especially with the United States. In the past, they have their strategic autonomy by adopting the policy of non-alignment with major global power. But this thread poses by China as well as to improve its position at international forums. India has started to align with the West such as it has started to cooperate more closely with the US. It also signed a geospatial intelligence agreement with the US in October 2020. They are also conducting high-altitude exercises with the US in the Indo-Pacific region to alter the balance of power in the region. India has also become more involved in the Indo-pacific partnership known as QUAD which includes Australia, Japan, India, and US. Moreover, it is also cooperating with other partners in the West to offer diplomatic, security, and economic alternative as India has the largest market for foreign goods

As the interests of both countries, the United States and India align which is to counter China so they are cooperating. India is also encouraging the presence of the U.S navy and armed forces in the Indian Ocean as well as in South Asia as it has welcomed a US Maldivian defense agreement that allows the refueling of American reconssiance aircraft in Andaman Island at the Bay of Bengal. As US interest is also to counter the Chinese influence in the region and the US needs an ally in that region. India is a valuable option for them. It is using that leverage in developing its defense system, economy, and its position at the international level for instance last year President Biden’s administration launched an initiative on critical and emerging technologies last year which aims to fundamentally transform the cooperation between the two countries’ governments and businesses. This struggle includes a wide range of fields such as cyberspace, artificial intelligence, and quantum technologies.

Thus India is using the West to achieve its objective and it is allowing the presence of foreign countries military in the region, especially of the US army which is perceived by the Chinese government as a threat. It is resulting in jeopardizing or relationship between China and US and also destabilizing the region.

The best option for India is to maintain ties with all countries in the region and develop friendly ties with China as both the country’s economies are vital to the overall development of the region.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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