India's Remarkable Year: Economic, Military, and Diplomatic Ascendancy

Pujit Siddhant

Dec 05 2023

<div style=' background:#FFFFFF;color:#000000;font-family:Verdana;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span><p>2023 has proven to be India's year of ascension, marking its strengthened position economically, militarily, and diplomatically. While the multipolar world order remains a goal, India finds itself uniquely positioned with economic and military prowess, along with diplomatic and soft power influence.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p><p>A Historical Perspective:&nbsp;</p><p>As a post-colonial nation and a founding member of the nonaligned movement, India has traversed a significant journey. In the Cold War era, its diplomatic influence stemmed from leading the nonaligned world. Today, India boasts economic and military potential, positioning itself strategically amid the United States-led Indo-Pacific strategy to counter China's rise.&nbsp;<br></p><p><br></p><p>Diplomatic Dexterity:&nbsp;</p><p>India's foreign policy emphasizes independence and multipolarity, avoiding alignment solely with the West. While deeply aligned with the U.S., India actively participates in non-Western groupings involving Russia and China. This dual engagement signals India's commitment to strategic autonomy and its message to both Western and non-Western nations.&nbsp;<br></p><p><b></p><p>High-Profile Global Engagements:&nbsp;<br></p><p>The last 12 months have witnessed India's active participation in numerous high-profile events, solidifying its position on the global stage. From convening the Global South virtual summit with 125 countries to hosting the G20 summit, India has been at the forefront of international discussions. Its involvement in the Quad summit, G7 meeting, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit highlights its diverse engagement strategy.&nbsp;<br></p><p><br></p><p>Geopolitical Dynamics:&nbsp;<br></p><p>India's role in the Global South has become crucial in the geopolitical dynamics between the U.S. and China. As China seeks influence in the Global South, India's historical ties within the nonaligned developing world make it an attractive option for nations seeking alternatives to Western influence.&nbsp;</p></p><span></div><div style=' background:#FFFFFF;color:#000000;font-family:Verdana;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span><p>Economic Priorities:&nbsp;</p><p>India's global standing benefits from its priorities aligned with humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and developmental aid. Initiatives like "vaccine diplomacy" during the Covid-19 pandemic underscore India's commitment to global well-being. The expansion of BRICS and the G20 to include countries from the Global South aligns with India's vision of leadership among the world's have-nots.&nbsp;<br></p><p><br></p><p>Strategic Alliances:&nbsp;<br></p><p>In addition to multilateral engagements, India has diversified its diplomacy, forming alliances like I2U2 (India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the U.S.) and unveiling the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC). IMEC aligns with U.S. interests in a stable Middle East, less dependence on Russian energy in Europe, and providing India access to energy, investment, and markets.&nbsp;<br></p><p><br></p><p>U.S.-India Partnership:&nbsp;<br></p><p>India's global ambitions align with America's grand strategy to counter China. The Biden administration's strategic bet on India is evident through high-profile visits, defense and technology collaborations, and a willingness to share advanced technology. India emerges as a potential rival to China, with democratic credentials, economic potential, and soft power influence.&nbsp;<br></p><p><b></p><p>Regional and Global Engagement:&nbsp;<br></p><p>India's bilateral engagements extend beyond the U.S. to include the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Free-trade agreements with the UAE and ongoing talks with Israel showcase India's commitment to diverse partnerships. Defense sales, enhanced regional connectivity, and strengthened diplomatic ties position India favorably in the evolving geopolitical landscape.&nbsp;<br></p><p><b></p><p>Challenges and Future Trajectory:<b>&nbsp;</b><br></p><p>While India rides high on global popularity, challenges persist. Protectionist economic policies and regulatory hurdles may impact its attractiveness to foreign investors. The historical preference for a basket of military suppliers, including Russia, faces scrutiny as Moscow aligns closely with Beijing.&nbsp;<br></p><p>India's trajectory in the coming months and years hinges on leveraging its popularity while addressing economic reforms, human capital investment, and military modernization. As the world courts India, the nation must focus on solidifying its position as a global power, contributing not only to the balance of power but also to the well-being of nations in the Global South.</p><span></div>

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