As the largest economy and biggest military power, it is largely up to India to shape the future of Indian Ocean regionalism.
Delhi’s current realism on China is a welcome departure from the past, when India used hide problems in the grandiose rhetoric on global solidarity. Under the new approach, there is no fudging of differences.
The 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign has caused mounting concern and skepticism about American foreign policy commitments toward Asia.
As the Indian Ocean re-emerges at the heart of global trade and becomes increasingly integrated with the Western Pacific, the Bay of Bengal is likely to emerge as a critical linkage between the two oceans.
New coalitions like India, Japan and Australia will still lack sufficient weight to balance China on their own. But in developing an agency of its own and taking a larger share of the burden of Asian security, the India-Japan-Australia coalition will send strong messages to both China and the United States.
An India that grows its domestic capabilities will be in a better position to address American concerns about jobs at home and benefit in turn from the current U.S. lead in most advanced technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology.
The Bay of Bengal’s littoral states must find a way to build appropriate institutions that provide a framework for engaging with extra-regional powers and building havens of cooperation.
The road map to realizing China’s Maritime Silk Road project has serious underlying strategic implications for India.
Despite India’s impressive economic growth rates in the mid-2000s, the long-term magnitude and sustainability of this progress remains uncertain.
As one of the world’s oldest civilizations whose comprehensive national power has rapidly risen, China has the right to play a leading role in shaping the global order. Beijing’s current unilateralism, however, is likely to limit China’s global possibilities.