World News

He contends that the US must rethink its policy in order to fully capitalise on the advancing relations because it cannot pursue an ideological agenda and balance China at the same time.

On a state visit to the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was greeted enthusiastically at the White House.

In a light-hearted manner, Prime Minister Modi also encouraged Republican and Democratic Congressmen by joking that he could “help them reach bipartisan consensus,” alluding to the bipartisan backing India enjoys in Washington.

The fact that India-US relations have improved recently, including under President Joe Biden, is significant. It has been referred to as the “most important bilateral relationship of the twenty-first century” by both the White House and various Biden administration officials, including the Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

The National Interest claims that the Biden administration has recently made some decisions that markedly differ from those made by its predecessors up until last month, going back to “Washington’s old ways: myopic democratic interventions, benevolent outreach to adversarial nations, and partisan bickering.” Because of this, Washington’s main Indo-Pacific allies, Japan and India, have taken the brunt of these errors.

In a last-minute change of plans, Biden postponed his planned trip to Australia and Papua New Guinea in order to address the Washington debt limit situation, in which Republicans are preventing the Democrats from lifting the debt ceiling.

Although Secretary of State Antony Blinken went ahead with his trip to Papua New Guinea and inked an important defence agreement with the Pacific Island country, The National Interest argued that Biden’s decision to postpone his trip was not the greatest way to send a message to an area that is increasingly coming under Chinese influence.

However, PM Modi carried out his agenda as scheduled and used the occasion to highlight India’s place on the world stage. The leader of the Global South, according to the president of New Guinea, is Modi.

The leader of the island nation stated, “We are victims of global powerplay, and you [Modi] are the leader of the Global South,” in an apparent dig at the US and China. We will support your leadership at international forums.

The Indian administration had previously resolved to accommodate Biden’s visit and shorten their visits as a courtesy to the incoming American presidential delegation before Biden’s cancellation.

While this was a little setback for a concerted effort to counter Chinese expansionism in the Pacific, the geopolitically more intricate Indian Ocean threat remains.

If Bangladesh does not have free and fair elections in 2024, Blinken had threatened sanctions earlier in May.

The National Interest said that if the sanctions do materialise, India and Japan will be placed in a difficult situation because they have continuously positioned Bangladesh as a gateway connecting the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia for supply chain and infrastructure connectivity activities.

Geographically, Bangladesh is tucked between the northeastern provinces of India to the east and the state of Bengal to the west, abutting a narrow swath of land known as the “chicken’s neck” that joins the rest of India to the northeast. As a result, communication between the heavily populated nation and the rest of the world is carried out via India, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean.

Both New Delhi and Tokyo have made investments in the region’s infrastructure and have long-term ambitions to contribute to the development of Dhaka. Recently, Japan and India decided to work together to construct Bangladesh’s Matabari deep-sea port as a “strategic anchor” for the Indian Ocean.

The Japanese investment is essential to the growth of South Asia. Bangladesh is a significant partner in infrastructure and development for Northeast India.

When describing his country’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy in New Delhi at the beginning of March of this year, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida advocated for deeper ties between Bangladesh and India’s Northeast to create a unified economic zone.

Using the Bay of Bengal region, Japan is likewise attempting to seize the market share of companies leaving Southeast Asia’s more expensive markets. The Modi administration’s initiatives have been nicely complimented by Japan’s regional policy.

The National Interest claimed that PM Modi changed the previous “Look East” policy into a “Act East” programme that aims to increase geopolitical and economic engagement with Southeast Asia as a countering force to China’s participation in the region.

This transition has been patiently supported by Tokyo. One example is the “India-Japan Act East” forum, which Tokyo and New Delhi are organising to discuss cooperation on a number of projects that will improve connectivity between Northeast India and Southeast Asia.

The National Interest claims that due to the complicated history of India’s northeast, only parties with a long-term outlook or a vision for the area are permitted to invest here. Japan just so happens to be one of these parties.

Intriguingly, as an extension, both Japan and India are interacting with Myanmar, Bangladesh’s immediate neighbour to the east of Bangladesh and India.

After receiving sanctions from the United States, Myanmar has few allies on the international scene. To keep the country from completely falling under Chinese influence, Japan and India have maintained contact with the military junta.

According to The National Interest, American sanctions also have an impact on Indo-Japanese interests in this area.

The Sittwe port in Myanmar’s Rakhine state was officially opened by India and Myanmar earlier in May. India supported this port in order to improve sea lanes communication between Myanmar and India’s eastern states. However, as a result of the restrictions, Indian businesses were forced to leave Myanmar completely or face criticism for doing business with the military junta-led government.

According to The National Interest, who used earlier-released satellite photographs, another worry is the Chinese military’s expanding military presence in Myanmar’s Great Coco Islands.

Any potential militarization of the Coco Islands by the Chinese could pose a serious threat to India’s security in the Indian Ocean as they are located less than thirty miles north of India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

India cannot afford to abandon Myanmar in this geopolitical scenario. However, The National Interest claimed that US economic statecraft is undermining India’s crucial regional alliances.

Henry Kissinger, a former US Secretary of State, succinctly put the situation this way: “It may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal.”

Recent US actions—discussion in Vienna, Blinken’s change of plans to visit Beijing, and the official abandonment of economic “decoupling” in favour of the less combative “de-risking”—have displayed “signs of softening” towards China.

“Furthermore, doubts about the motivations behind such actions are raised by Washington’s biassed punitive policies towards democratic backsliding in a few states while urging for dialogue with authoritarian China. The United States continues to conduct significant business with Beijing despite having sanctioned Chinese officials who are thought to have violated human rights in Xinjiang. The National Interest article by Akhil Ramesh stated, “This selective censure simply serves to further isolate allies and strengthen Chinese involvement with the sanctioned nations.

Rob York, the Pacific Forum’s director for regional affairs, described this misguided approach as “a holdover from America’s unipolar moment that we [America] need to outgrow.” The advantages of siding with Washington and America’s moral authority are no longer taken for granted; instead, they must be sought out, and sanctions must be used much more carefully than they have in the past.

Such a realisation of the multipolar nature of the world system should alert Washington to the dangers and naiveté of its foreign policy choices.

US sanctions and other economic measures should not be used to interfere in democratic processes but rather to intimidate the US’s adversaries. If not, The National Interest article said, the United States will have few allies in its strategic rivalry with China.

Related Posts