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Daily-current-affairs / 06 May 2024

India's Global Rise and Regional Decline in Contemporary Geopolitics : Daily News Analysis



India's foreign policy presents a paradox: while its global stature is on the rise, its influence in the South Asian region is declining. we look into the intricacies of India's global ascent and regional descent, exploring the underlying factors, implications, and proposed strategies to address this challenge.

Global Rise: Power Dynamics and Geopolitical Significance

India's ascendancy on the global stage is marked by several key indicators of power and influence. The country has witnessed robust economic growth, bolstered military capabilities, and maintains a youthful demographic profile. Its inclusion in prestigious international forums like the G-20 and active participation in multilateral groups such as the Quad, BRICS, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation underscore its geopolitical significance. India's centrality in the Indo-Pacific region further enhances its global prominence, positioning it as an indispensable player in ensuring strategic stability.

Peer Accommodation and Geopolitical Dynamics

India's global rise is facilitated by peer accommodation, except from China, and favorable geopolitical dynamics. The shifting focus towards the Indo-Pacific highlights India's pivotal role in balancing power dynamics and maintaining stability in the region. However, this heightened global engagement comes with its own set of challenges, particularly concerning India's regional influence.

Regional Decline: Challenges and Dynamics

       India's diminishing influence in South Asia juxtaposes its global ascent, posing a significant paradox in its foreign policy calculus. The emergence of China as a regional superpower, coupled with shifts in geopolitical dynamics, has eroded India's traditional primacy in the region. Various extraneous factors contribute to this decline, necessitating a reassessment of India's regional strategies.

       The exponential growth of China's influence presents a formidable challenge to India's regional dominance. China's proactive engagement in South Asia, combined with the withdrawal of the United States, tilts the regional balance of power in Beijing's favor.

       Consequently, smaller South Asian nations adopt diverse strategies, including balancing, bargaining, and bandwagoning, to navigate this new geopolitical landscape. India's inability to counter China's influence effectively exacerbates its regional decline, necessitating a paradigm shift in its approach.

Navigating the Paradox: Strategies for India's Foreign Policy

Addressing the paradox of India's global rise and regional decline requires a nuanced and proactive approach. By acknowledging the evolving geopolitical realities and leveraging its inherent strengths, India can recalibrate its foreign policy to mitigate the challenges posed by China's ascendancy and safeguard its strategic interests.

       Acknowledge the profound shifts: First and foremost, it is imperative to acknowledge the profound shifts that have occurred in the region, including the transformation of neighboring countries and the evolving dynamics of regional geopolitics over the past fifteen years. Ignoring these changes will only exacerbate existing challenges.

       Leveraging Strengths: New Delhi should prioritize leveraging its inherent strengths rather than futilely attempting to match the sheer might of the People’s Republic of China across all domains. Crafting a fresh approach to engagement with the region that capitalizes on India's traditional strengths and adapts to the altered realities is crucial. Reclaiming aspects of India's Buddhist heritage exemplifies this strategy.

       Embracing Maritime Opportunities: While India faces formidable obstacles in its continental strategy, its maritime domain offers abundant opportunities for enhancing trade, fostering minilateral alliances, and forging issue-based coalitions. Capitalizing on these maritime advantages is essential to offsetting the limitations of India's continental pursuits. Engaging smaller South Asian neighbors in Indo-Pacific strategic dialogues can further this agenda, drawing them away from China-led regional initiatives.

       Adopting a Non-Centric Lens: New Delhi's newfound openness to viewing the region through a non-centric lens signifies a departure from Cold War-era apprehensions about external powers in its neighborhood. This shift in perspective presents an opportunity to collaborate with friendly external partners in addressing shared challenges across the Indian Ocean and South Asia, thereby mitigating the effects of India's regional decline.

       Utilizing Soft Power: New Delhi should employ creative approaches to harness its soft power resources in order to uphold its influence in the region. Encouraging informal interactions between political and civil society actors in India and neighboring South Asian countries is one such avenue. Facilitating informal conflict management processes, particularly in contexts where direct state involvement may be problematic, exemplifies the potential of this strategy, as illustrated by the case of Myanmar.


In conclusion, India's paradoxical position of global rise and regional decline underscores the intricacies of contemporary geopolitics. While the country enjoys newfound prominence on the global stage, its influence in South Asia faces unprecedented challenges, primarily due to China's ascendancy. By redefining its regional engagement strategies, leveraging maritime advantages, and harnessing soft power, India can navigate this paradox and emerge as a pivotal player in international politics. However, addressing this dichotomy requires proactive measures, innovative policies, and a nuanced understanding of evolving geopolitical dynamics. Only then can India realize its full potential as a global power while safeguarding its interests in its immediate neighborhood.

Probable Questions for UPSC Mains Exam-

1.      How do India's traditional strengths, such as its cultural heritage and historical ties, play into its efforts to recalibrate its regional engagement strategies amidst the challenges posed by China's ascendancy in South Asia?  (10 Marks, 150 Words)

2.      In what ways can India effectively leverage its maritime advantages to counterbalance the limitations of its continental pursuits and foster closer ties with smaller South Asian neighbors, thereby drawing them away from China-led regional initiatives in the Indo-Pacific? (15 Marks, 250 Words)

Source- The Hindu