India may not need a formal “Look West policy” to realize the new opportunities in the region if New Delhi views the Middle East on its own merits, pays sustained political attention, and delivers on the Indian economic and security commitments made at the highest levels.
Beyond just military power and humanitarian relief, India’s capacity to serve as a first responder to crises in the region also requires the strategic will and skill to help solve neighboring countries’ political conflicts.
The unfolding crisis in Maldives draws attention to the perennial question about whether and when India should intervene in the internal politics of its neighboring countries.
For New Delhi, the challenge is to patiently address the domestic concerns of its partners and develop frameworks for military cooperation that both are in fact, and are seen to be, mutually beneficial.
As India reaffirms the centrality of ASEAN for Asia’s peaceful future this week, New Delhi must back its words with concrete proposals for stronger defense and security cooperation with the region.
The challenge for India lies in finding the right balance between competing imperatives in the volatile Middle East amidst the pursuit of enlightened self-interest.
Ambassador Juster’s remarks focused on how he envisions building a more durable India-U.S. relationship over the coming years. They covered a range of bilateral issues, including defense cooperation, economic and trade ties, energy, and health care.
In the face of unexpected and significant pressure from the United States to deliver some top militants of the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, the generals in Rawalpindi are locked in a serious debate.
New Delhi and Moscow must move toward a practical relationship that focuses on give and take wherever possible.
India’s problem is not about competing with China in South Asia, but managing its messy interdependence with the neighbours with some strategic vision and a lot of tactical finesse.