Like South East Asia, South Asia, a region at logger heads with itself based or its internal fault lines, is likely to see itself engulfed in this great game between the West and the Rest – a game it not played right may undermine its economic and political future. It is here that the drama unfolding in the twin seas of South Asia – The Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal needs to be carefully monitored to ensure South Asia doesn’t risk becoming pawn in geopolitical clash between the two extra regional powers.
India’s military modernization, however slow it might be, will lead to a qualitative increase in defense cooperation with the United States and other strategic partners by enhancing the capabilities of the Indian armed forces for joint coalition operations, if they are in India’s national interest. Overall, India will gradually acquire the capability to act as a net provider of security in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. This positive development will allow strategic partners like the United States to reduce their military commitments to the region to a limited extent. Hence, India’s modernization efforts will enhance and further cement U.S.-India relations.
Restructuring and modernising the armed forces will require political courage, military astuteness, a non parochial approach and a singularity of purpose. With India’s defence budget now pegged at less than 2.0 per cent of the GDP, the funds available for modernisation of the armed forces are grossly inadequate.
Brahma Chellany tweets that “Wen Jiabao is coming with a large business team to fortify an asymmetrical trade relationship, even as China steps up its needling of India.” He further adds that “India largely exports raw materials to China and imports finished products, as if it were the appendage of a neo-colonial Chinese economy.”