GS Paper II- International Relations.

Missing the Asian tailwind? {op-ed}

Context:
There has been a tectonic shift in the global geopolitical economy, to which powers such as the U.S., China and Russia have responded.
However, India is yet to formulate a worldview even as Asia, after a gap of 260 years, is again set to become the centre of the world.

How do we achieve our potential?

Recognising global trends:

  1. The “Look East Policy” enunciated in 1992 does not have much to show for it other than the sale of coastal patrol craft to Vietnam.
  2. In the west, India’s investment of $500 million in the Chabahar port, is minuscule compared to China’s investment of $46 billion in the  CPEC ending in Gwadar, a port just 100 miles away.
  3. Despite investments in Afghanistan, political discussions there exclude us.
  4. In South Asia, only Bhutan can still be considered to be in our “sphere of influence”.

India now finds itself increasingly isolated in continental Asia

  • Russia and the Central Asian countries are linking their infrastructure to China’s OBOR launched in 2013.

Background-
Till 1757, India was the richest country with its wealth based on textile export: India clothed the world.
British secured the “Diwani” of Bengal. The loot oiled the Industrial Revolution (textile production), and brought about colonisation and impoverishment.
In 1950, India was richer than China; now it is a fifth the size of the Chinese economy.
China will soon surpass the U.S. as the largest economy, and a young and digital India can overtake China by 2050.
How do we achieve our potential?