Q19. ‘The expansion and strengthening of NATO and a stronger US-Europe strategic partnership works well in India.’ What is your opinion about this statement? Give reasons and examples to support your answer. (15m)
India is increasingly becoming the ‘centre of gravity’ in an increasingly multi-polar world. As a democratic country, it needs to develop good relations with the West for a ‘rules-based, fair and peace enduring’ economic, political, and security order.
NATO expansion and strengthening working well for India:
- Deterrence against Aggression: A strong NATO can act as a deterrent against potential aggression by state actors thereby directly benefiting India.
- Ex.-Discouraging China’s aggression.
- Norms and Values: It will help reinforce the founding principles of NATO i.e., democracy, human rights and Rule of Law. These are in alignment with India’s commitment to democratic governance and human rights.
- Counter-terrorism: NATO is a leading contributor to peacekeeping operations. It can collaborate with India both in peacekeeping and as a force multiplier in UNSC against terrorism.
- Ex.- UNSC 1267 (1999) and 2253 (2015) committees against ISIL.
- Maritime Security: NATO’s expansion and strengthening would complement India’s vision of SAGAR in tackling piracy and illegal activities in Indian ocean waters.
Stronger US-Europe strategic partnership working well for India:
- Balance of Power: Countering China’s aggressive stance in Europe, Asia and Indo Pacific.
- China’s ‘Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’.
- Security and Stability in Europe: It would create a more favourable global economic environment, helping India in attracting investments for further Industrial development.
- Technology Transfer: The two are leaders in military technology and innovation. Their closer cooperation would help India gain ease in the transfer of complementary military technologies.
- Ex.- India-US pact for transfer of 80% of jet-engine technology by value this year.
- Climate change: The US and Europe are committed to addressing climate change as evident from the US’ Inflation Reduction Act and EU’s Fit for 55, can help India in combating climate change and reducing emissions.
- Ex.- India established the International Solar Alliance in collaboration with France.
- Multilateral Diplomacy: Both the US and Europe are active in International organziations such as G20 and the UN. They can help India with opportunities to engage on global issues, even furthering India’s claim to the UNSC permanent seat.
- Ex.- The US supported India in the past with NSG’s clean waiver.
- Healthcare: India’s pharma industry produces generic medicines for the US-Europe and the strategic partnership between them would help India continue to expand its Healthcare industry.
- Ex.-India’s production of Astrazeneca’s vaccine under brand name CoviShield.
Expansion and strengthening of NATO and a stronger US-Europe strategic partnership may create concerns for India as:-
- Geopolitical Complexities in the Indo-Pacific: Strengthened NATO and a stronger US-Europe might introduce competition between regional powers such as China and India.
- Ex.- China’s Yuan Wang-5 spy ship near Kudankulam Nuclear Power plant of India.
- Regional dynamics: India has a complex network of relationships in the region. The increasing closeness with NATO and the US-Europe might cause damage to India’s delicate balancing of these relations.
- Ex.- India being a member of SCO on one hand and that of Quad and West Asian Quad on the other.
- Trust deficit with Russia: May create trust deficit in Indo-Russian relationship which are at low due to India’s closeness with the West.
- Ex.- Russia and Pakistan signed a deal to boost economic cooperation recently.
- Interest Alignment: India’s interests aren’t always in alignment with the US and/or the Europe.
- Ex.- India benefited from the discounted Russian Oil during the Russia-Ukraine war while it had to comply with the US’ CAATSA against Iran.
- Cold war like situation: as China along with Russia will look to counter the stronger NATO.
Thus, India’s strategic autonomy will remain a guiding light to navigate the great power rivalries and pursue its National interest.
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