Explaininig the orientation of India's foreign policy in the Indo-Pacific area

Document Type : Research Paper


University of Isfahan, Faculty of Administrative Sciences and Economy


Extended Abstract
Over the past decade or two, it has often been argued that the center of gravity of power has shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In political-security literature, this development is a kind of geopolitical change. Therefore, both the cause of the change and the consequences of the change can be very important. For example, the reason for the change could be a reduction in the security puzzle in the Atlantic Ocean and, conversely, an intensification of the security puzzle in the Pacific. The consequences of this change can be many, complex and even dangerous. One of the consequences of this change is the formation of two geopolitical axes in the Asian region, which can be said to be almost as important as the eastern and western axes during the Cold War and perhaps even more so. The two axes are Indo-Pacific with a focus on the United States and India and Asia-Pacific with a focus on China and Pakistan.

The question is, what is India's foreign policy orientation in the Indo-Pacific area and what factors influence this orientation? The hypothesis of the paper is that India's foreign policy in Indo-Pacific follows a "counterbalance strategy" and is due in part to the particular sensitivities of the Indo-Pacific region to India's interests.
The present article is considered as a development research in terms of type and purpose. The method of the article is descriptive-analytical.
Results and Discussions
India has to strike a balance between a range of interests and considerations in the Indo-Pacific area, and doing so has left Indian politicians with a complex dilemma. On the other hand, China's growing growth, with the Belt-Road Initiative actually designing a new regional and international order map, worries New Delhi and pushes it to play a role in Indo-Pacific geopolitical architecture. Has forced. On the other hand, India fears that its entry into alliances and alliances against China will provoke the country's sensitivity and force Beijing to create problems for India. So India is trying to behave in such a way that while creating strategic restrictions for China, it will prevent Jane from confronting India in various forms.
The Indo-Pacific idea is essentially an American idea for the discipline and geopolitical architecture of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. The origin of this idea is the reduction of threats in the Atlantic Ocean and the increase in threats in the Indo-Pacific area. In other words, the US move from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the Indian Ocean is precisely because the Soviet Union collapsed as a rival to the United States, and China emerged as a new rival challenging the hegemonic position of the United States. The theoretical significance of this geopolitical shift is that no geopolitical change occurs without considering the reduction or increase of power in different parts of the world.
In this sense, China's growing power has given it a more prominent role in the world, and in the United States it has been translated as China's attempt to become a hegemonic power and overthrow the hegemonic position. Under such circumstances, hegemonic power has to deal with four types of emerging power: engaging in emerging power through war, limiting emerging power through containment policy, accepting emerging power, and cooperating in the management of world affairs. , Giving in to the shift of power in the international system.
Among the four options, the United States appears to be putting an end to emerging power. Security-political axes such as the Washington-Seoul axis, Washington-Tokyo, Washington-Taipei and triangles such as the Washington-Taipei-Tokyo triangle, and Washington-Seoul-Tokyo, and squares such as the United States-Australia-India-Japan It is one of the initiatives that the United States has taken to limit China.
There is no doubt that India alone, and within the framework of the alliances and alliances it has made with the United States, is a very important weight in balancing China with the United States within the framework of the China Restriction Project. From this point of view, India, due to its previous differences and pessimism, has the necessary motivation to balance itself with China, and this is pursued both by increasing its power and by allying with others. The "policy of the Indian Ocean", the "policy of action in the East" that has evolved into Indo-Pacific today, and the "policy of cooperation with the United States" can be assessed in exactly this context.
Despite the fact that India is very concerned about China's growth, the problem is that India is reluctant to act in a way that provokes China's sensitivity. For this reason, it seems that India intends to act in such a way that it does not suffer the least damage from China while pursuing its goals and plans. That's exactly what the "China Confidence Strategy" is all about.

Based on this, the term "elusive balance" can be used to describe India's behavior in Indo-Pacific. The term is often used to describe the behavior of countries that want to take advantage of all opportunities with the least threats, even in a complex strategic environment. From this perspective, India has to balance its behavior with the United States in order to maintain the support of this hegemonic power. At the same time, India needs to attract the attention of Southeast and East Asian countries, and one way to do that is to point the finger at a common threat, China. At the same time, New Delhi has tried to maintain a balanced relationship with neighboring countries with its "first-class" policy. And it has, as has been said, pursued a "reassuring strategy for China" towards Beijing. Thus, it seems that New Delhi must be very delicate in order to play a role in the Indo-Pacific area, as if it wants to move on the edge of a razor.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 18 February 2021
  • Receive Date: 08 April 2020
  • Revise Date: 18 February 2021
  • Accept Date: 18 February 2021