ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India and the Indo-Pacific

Eastward Ho? India’s Relations with the Indo-Pacific edited by E Sridharan, Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2021; pp 487, `1,650.

Light gains make heavy purses” is a quote from Eastward Ho, an early Jacobean-era stage play written by George Chapman, Ben Jonson, and John Marston. Though E Sridharan’s edited volume Eastward Ho? India’s Relations with the Indo-Pacific has nothing to do with the 17th century satirical play of Chapman et al, the implication of the quote is clear enough: small steps fetch big gains. Plausibly, Indo-Pacific is a geopolitical expanse with both economic opportunities and strategic chall­enges, and how an emerging power like India can gain a foothold in this terrain is a critical question.

Indo-Pacific is a newly reconceptu­alised entity in international relations—encompassing the vast maritime space covering the Indian Ocean, the littorals of East Asia and the Western Pacific Ocean. Sridharan presents the volume in the context of varied geopolitical and geoeconomic realities in the Indo-Pacific. A running theme of the essays in the volume is China’s rise as a major power and the United States (US) rebalance towards the Indo-Pacific. Sridharan places two major questions for in-depth analysis and the essays in subsequent sections deal with different aspects of these questions. In his introductory chapter, Sridharan seeks to analyse the strategic fallout of the Asian economic integration and the economic consequences of the lack of a security consensus for Asia. This obviously has implications for India’s relations with a range of actors in the Indo-Pacific. Sridharan says that over the years, the Indo-Russian arms deals did not bother the US. There was a decline in the US’s closeness to Pakistan also, even as India was becoming a strategic partner of the US. The validity of this argument seems to be debatable today with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to him, while India’s quest for security against the Sino-Pak strategic ties continues, it also aspires to become a major power in the world, besides seeking to ensure its strategic autonomy. 

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Updated On : 17th Oct, 2022
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