With tensions seething between China and India over the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh region, Australian media says that Indian has the most powerful partner on its side – the United States.
The report states that India and the US are the world’s two biggest democracies, sharing common interests in free trade, defending the strategic sea lanes of the Indian Ocean, and preventing China’s growing ‘negative’ influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Ties between India and the US had been marred by distrust for decades with New Delhi extensively opposing ‘extensive engagement’ with the US.
However, Indian PM Narendra Modi looks determined to change that, making moves that once would have been seen as unimaginable.
In January 2015, Modi invited then-president Barack Obama as the guest of honour at India’s annual Republic Day celebrations – the first time a US president had accepted to be the chief guest at the event.
Next year, Obama formally confirmed India as a major defence partner, and the two nations went on to sign a pact for deeper defence ties.
Under Donald Trump, ties continued to get strengthen. Last year, Indian PM publicly admired India’s ties with Washington, claiming the US as India’s most significant partner. Trump has earlier referred to Modi as his “dear friend”.
India has opened itself up to increasing volumes of bilateral trade with the US, and earlier this year accepted to acquire $US3 billion in US military equipment, in a sign of increasing political co-operation.
The two nations are now seen as “engaged democracies” rather than “estranged democracies”, as they were known during the Cold War days.
C. Raja Mohan, Director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at NUS, said that India has now come to understand that China is “bound to expand its influence … at Delhi’s expense”.
Mohan also noted that India was “moving into an ever-closer partnership with the US in an attempt to rebalance the Indo-Pacific region – a manoeuvre that’s quickened under PM Modi.
But he also notes that the Indian is wary of the unpredictability in the US under Donald Trump and is thus keen to retain the traditional security pact with Russia.