India aspiring to Be a Global Power
Is India a global power? Two decades of growth has propelled it into the world’s top ten economies, and it is naturally searching for a larger international role commensurate with its size. Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, here traces India’s bid for its “rightful place” in the world.
Since Jawaharlal Nehru’s death, India has been gradually moving from non-alignment to a focus on “strategic autonomy” and now to a multi-alignment approach to the world. Not only does it seek a larger role in global bodies, such as a permanent UN Security Council seat, it is trying to build its “natural” role as the pre-eminent Indian Ocean power. New Delhi is forging strong partnerships with Western liberal democracies, the US included. But, Ayres argues, it is doing so cautiously, as the Gandhi-nehru tradition of non-alignment and non-intervention lingers.
Is the world ready to accept India as a global power? Ayres sees the gap between where it sits and where it aspires to sit as never more apparent, as India’s growing external power is coupled with glaring internal weaknesses. In particular, the recent rise of majoritarian, extremist Hindu nationalism poses challenges. If exclusionary identity politics intensifies in India, which is likely as ruling BJP politicians exploit communal conflicts in upcoming elections, what will be the outer face of its Hindu nationalism?
Ayres sees the gap between where India sits and where it aspires to sit as never more apparent.
Our Time Has
Come: How India Is Making Its Place in the World
By Alyssa Ayres
Oxford University Press, 2018, 360 pages, $22.15 (Hardcover)