As Indian strategic analysts increasingly accept the need to counterbalance China’s growing military power and assertiveness, there is little consensus on how this can be realistically achieved. India will not be a peer competitor to China because its aggregate military power will lag far behind China's for the foreseeable future. Although defense relations with the United States hold much potential to expand Indian military power, it often lacks  a coherent strategic rationale.

Arzan Tarapore will introduce the concept of “strategic leverage” in the Indian Ocean, which would allow India to consolidate its relative military power—and organize its defense relationship with the United States—in a way that would be both, a potent counterweight to China and achievable within India’s means. Rudra Chaudhuri will then initiate a conversation with Tarapore to further examine these issues. Following this, the floor will be open for a discussion with the audience.


Arzan Tarapore is a non-resident fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research and an adjunct defense analyst at the RAND Corporation. His research focuses on strategy, military effectiveness, and Indo-Pacific security issues. Prior to his scholarly career, he served in the Australian Defence Department for thirteen years. 


Rudra Chaudhuri is the director of Carnegie India. His primary research interests include the diplomatic history of South Asia and contemporary security issues.