India’s Stance on the ‘Asian NATO’: Between ‘Status’ and ‘Security’ Dilemmas

Dr Jagannath P. Panda was Research Fellow at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • January 2022

    ‘Security’ and ‘status’ complexities are critical impediments for any state’s foreign policy; and India is no different. This article argues that as the China threat looms large, New Delhi will not be in complete repudiation of an ‘Asian NATO’ (or “Indo-Pacific NATO”), despite strategically refraining from being party to a definitive military alliance and an age-old non-alignment principle. However, India’s support will be contingent on the future trajectory of its ties with Beijing. In this context, the article identifies two hypothetical ‘extremities’ – or scenarios – that may encourage New Delhi not only to endorse but also promote a militarized defence coalition in the Indo-Pacific: the outbreak of an India-China war 2.0, which cannot be entirely ruled out in the future, and China’s forceful occupation of Taiwan, that forces India to revisit or rethink its acceptance of the ‘One China policy. The ‘security’ and ‘status’ challenges would embolden India to embrace alliance politics with more gusto, even though such a scenario remains a distant possibility.