Eastwards Ho? India’s Relations with the Indo-Pacific

Mr Akash Sahu is a Research Analyst with the Centre for Southeast Asia and Oceania at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA), New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • September 2022
    Book Review

    Eastwards Ho? India’s Relations with the Indo-Pacific edited by E. Sridharan comprising 15 essays by renowned experts on Asian geopolitics, seeks to place India on the strategic map of the evolving Indo-Pacific region as an economic and geopolitical power. At the outset, the editor provides a succinct overview of economic integration in Asia, particularly of China with its neighbours reflected in a massive increase in bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs). He points out that despite the absence of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-like security umbrella, East Asian countries have managed to strengthen intra-regional economic integration (p. 6). China’s actions have been belligerent but Asian countries do not stand decoupled from China in terms of their economy. In fact, one may argue that NATO-like military alliances do more harm than good. Especially as Russia’s primary contention has apparently been over NATO’s expansion in Europe, leading to the Ukraine crisis. In relation to India’s diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific, Sridharan suggests enlargement of the Indian Foreign Service, strengthening ties between government, academia and think tanks, boosting Diaspora linkages, and increasing institutionalized involvement of India’s states in foreign policy (p. 15).