Question: India’s role in Indo-Pacific goes beyond the traditional economic leadership. Explain in context of China’s growing presence in the region.
Answer: India has been asserting its position in Indo-Pacific by getting involved in multiple activities and not just economic leadership. This has allowed change in perception about India as a reliable multi-role partner for countries.
India’s changing role in Indo-Pacific
- Trade relations
India is taking steps to improve trade relations with multiple countries in the region. This has strengthened the economic relations.
- Infrastructure development
India is helping countries to build quality infrastructure in their countries at lower cost. This has helped them achieve prosperity.
- Disaster response
India is the first responder during disaster in the region. It will help in rescuing citizens and also provide aid in the form of food and medicines.
- Regional security
Strengthening security of countries can be assured by building surveillance infrastructure. This will keep the region free from threats.
China’s growing presence
- Belt Road Initiative
The BRI is a multi-sectoral connectivity project to link Asia, Africa and Europe through road, shipping and airways. This route targets vulnerable island countries in Indo-Pacific.
- Debt diplomacy
China offers loans to small nations at high interest rates. When the countries are unable to pay, China occupies the region in form of long-term lease.
Neutralizing Chinese threats
- Grouping of regional countries
Countries of South Asia, Oceania and South-East Asia must come together to oppose Chinese presence. It can counter-balance hegemony.
- Reduce economic dependence
China’s economic might can be challenged by reducing economic dependence on it. This will be a prelude to economic boycott.
Thus, it is necessary that status-quo of Indo-Pacific is maintained. This is necessary for achieving world peace and prosperity.