There is a case to be made for an India-led initiative in the Indo-Pacific that displays greater commitment to upholding international law than to ‘inclusivity’ as well as willingness to take on a wider ambit of regional responsibilities in the security and political domains
In the second Modi term, New Delhi will have to do a better job than issuing statements on the BRI or ignoring it altogether and be willing to offer credible alternatives if it is retain any standing among its neighbours and further afield.
Jabin T. Jacob and Hoang The Anh (editors), China and Its Neighbourhood: Perspectives from India and Vietnam (New Delhi: Pentagon, 2017).
The recent visits of Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Vietnam are signs of a growing convergence of concerns that these countries have about China. But no strategic grouping can be sustainable without also developing linkages at multiple levels.
If “much of the history of the 21st century will be written in Asia”, then New Delhi will need to find the energy and resources to focus not just on its troubled western frontiers but also on its sprawling and diverse eastern neighbourhood.