Countering China: India’s Pacific Predicament
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University of Calcutta
Publication date: 2020-06-30
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2020;56(2)
The term ‘Indo-Pacific’, while mingling the Indian and the Pacific Ocean geopolitics in the 21st century, also attempts to integrate India with the Pacific region geopolitically. India has increasingly integrated economically with the Pacific world since the unveiling of her Look East Policy in 1994, rechristened as the Act East Policy in 2014. Growing hostility between the country and China compelled India to turn to the ‘contain China’ approach in the Pacific region, which is the cradle of Chinese naval prowess. However, India’s deficient naval strength with its focus on the Indian Ocean and her land-oriented security priority amid Chinese and Pakistani threats are major handicaps to India’s geo-strategic aspirations in the Pacific region vis-à-vis China’s rise. Therefore, India, unable to pursue an offensive realist approach to contain China in the Pacific, has opted for a ‘balance of threat’ approach, forming alliances with the China-wary countries of the Pacific region, albeit only informally, in order to avoid Chinese retribution.
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