India As An Asia Pacific Power

Rukmani Gupta is a New Delhi based Defence and Security Analyst.
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  • September 2012
    Book Review

    India's rise as a regional and global power could potentially alter the geopolitical landscape of the Asia-Pacific. With its economic growth and concomitant investments in military modernisation, many see India as evolving into a strategic pole in Asia. David Brewster in this volume sets out to examine ‘the consequences of India's rise on the Asia Pacific strategic order’ (p. ix) and asks whether India will indeed join the ranks of major powers in the coming years.

    Clearly then, Brewster begins with the assumption that India is not currently a major power in the region. That this stance is at variance with the belief prevalent in Indian strategic circles is what is explored in the first chapter. The dichotomy in the ‘belief’ in India's destiny as a great power and the material as well as ideological constraints that impede its realisation form the core of the discussion on India's strategic culture. What emerges is the idea that rather than being recognised as a great power ‘now’, it is India's ‘potential’ to be a great power in the future that Indian analysts and officials premise recognition upon. Thus the author surmises that the ‘gap between India's ambitions and its capabilities is an oft-noted feature of Indian strategic behaviour’ (p. 3). The emphasis on ‘autonomy’ in foreign policy is seen as preventing India from aligning itself too closely with other countries, which in turn hinders India's active pursuit of great power status.