Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Jan 2019 12:24:34

THE manner in which India is pursuing its Indo-Pacific agenda has won it quite many plaudits in global diplomacy. Even though India is safeguarding its own interests, it is not doing so at the cost of a common agenda upon which most nations have loosely agreed. Promoting the idea of multilateral effort to attain and retain peace as a necessary condition for overall regional development, India has been able to make the quadrant with the United States, Japan, and Australia a meaningful cooperation that is able to dissipate hostility and push the idea of peace-for-growth concept.

Minister of External Affairs Mrs. Sushma Swaraj was able to communicate this ideology to the elite gathering at the first Annual Disarmament and International Security Affairs Fellowship Programme in New Delhi. Her idea was to communicate to the world how India believed firmly in the principle of multilateralism in conflict resolution and international cooperation in tricky areas such as Indo-Pacific. Mrs. Swaraj highlighted very well how the four-nation cooperation of India, US, Japan and Australia is forging a new hope of enduring peace.

One of the most important concerns India shared with the rest of the world was about how the two Koreas and the United States handled the mutual issues including denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and the overall role the US has been playing there. In the past two years, as if without any actual reason, the US and North Korea entered an awkward phase, triggered mostly by uncalled for stridency of the leaderships of both the countries. The exchange of hot words between the two leaders led the world to think that they were pushing everything to the brink of a collapse.

It is against such a background that India, Japan and Australia tried to establish a sense of pacifism so that the regional environment remains less hostile. There is no doubt that China, too, has been playing certain role in keeping things on the tenterhooks. Yet, acting as a counter-weight of whatever merit, India has offered its own contribution to keep things in an atmosphere of peaceful co-existence. Most other nations do recognise that India is playing a role that is commensurate with its military footprint. Thanks to India’s growing military capabilities and mature diplomacy, the world has begun respecting the Indian participation in global affairs. In the Indo-Pacific region, this role has assumed a much greater presence than ever before.

In Indo-Pacific region, however, China has its own agenda that somehow militates against the overall agenda for peace. The Chinese stance in the South China Sea area and the manner in which the Chinese are building up their military presence and machinations, make it necessary for other nations to be get rather startled due to Beijing’s aggressiveness. The best counter to the Chinese overtures is the tool of multilateralism that seeks and ensures involvement of many nations in the effort of conflict-resolution in the area. As India promotes multilateralism and asks more and more countries to participate in the developmental discourse, its role is getting appreciated by most countries, including China, though somewhat grudgingly. So cogent is the Indian argument that everyone, including the US and China, seem to agree in principles if not no details.

This effort will have to be continued for a long time so that both, the US and China, are not able to inflict major damage to the regional peace and cooperation. Fortunately for the region, overall diplomatic movement appears acceptable to all interests. If this mood continues, then much can be achieved by way of a common agenda in the Indo-Pacific region. That India has got the opportunity to play a good role there, is not a matter of Lady Luck’s good work, but of successful Indian diplomacy.