The Indo-Pacific and India: Strategic Imperatives for a Nation Seeking Leadership

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China’s economic rise in the last decade has seen its influence grow in the Asia Pacific: if it has wooed some countries with benefits, it has made others anxious. Corresponding to this, the US has shifted its focus from the Asia-Pacific to the Indo-Pacific, indicating a vision of a strategic partnership with India, a country that echoes shared democratic values. India, with less resources, but a sound standing in the region, has to enhance its own alliances in order to achieve the objectives of an Indo-Pacific strategy.
A YEAR INTO THE Presidency of Donald Trump, US policy on the Indo-Pacific remains unclear for many. Despite not belonging to the area geographically, the US over the years has amassed extraordinary influence in the region by offering massive development assistance, and establishing listening posts and around 800 military bases. In the Asia-Pacific, the US maintains robust relationships with key allies like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and the English speaking New Zealand and Australia. Ever since General Douglas MacArthur laid down the US plan for the region, every successive US President has undertaken programmes, policies and visions to maintain its hard and soft influence in the region, the last one being the “Pivot to Asia” initiated by President Barack Obama.

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