India’s prime minister returned home two days ago after altering the geo-strategic balance in southwest Asia, this is significant given the stakes involved. Since its Independence from an exhausted, faltering Britain, India always promoted itself from within the confines of the “non-aligned”, this was primarily do to its geography. Indian strategic consciousness is inward and predominately northwest. Its industrial war base was conventional, and its interests sprang from an abundant need not to be encircled as a peninsula. Nukes, airplanes and digital life changed this calculus.
Although Indian institutions are still shaped within the archaic confines on non-alignment, meaning India foreign policy praxis aimed at disengagement from the wider world with skittish caution in domestic affairs, all that too has changed. Given the moribund status of the Indian Congress Party, a convergence of new interests has emerged and Modi is consolidating. Let’s enumerate.
India’s investment in Afghanistan is portrayed as encirclement in Islamabad, New Delhi’s spear is to reach Central Asian corridors of former Soviet satellites while linking naval, rail, natural gas ports to Iran. All this effort parallels Beijing’s own $46 billion dollar energy/transport infrastructure throughout Pakistan, linking Beijing to Iran via Pakistan.
What Modi succeeded in doing was gaining international recognition as a nuclear state; welcoming India to the 34 member nations comprising Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is politically, strategically important, for it designates India as a responsible nuclear partner in a region known for militant Islamism. Next up is Modi’s Indian approval in the 48 nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), non-membership humiliates New Delhi, it denies India access to civilian technology and markets. Given India’s size, strength and sound record on preventing nuclear proliferation, the U.S. will mid-wife India’s grant in NSG.
America remains India’s indispensable nation in a region fraught with nuclear brinkmanship. Modi now returns home to consolidate electoral wins amid renewed alliance with the U.S.