India Comes Out of its Shell

February 12, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
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The world’s largest democracy is methodically becoming more involved in regional issues.

India, a nonaligned nation long reluctant to involve itself in the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region, has begun to increase its involvement with the United States and other nations of the dynamic region. This development comes at a time when India’s decisions on critical foreign policy issues will have an increasing degree of importance, according to members of a panel on the Indo-Asia Pacific region at West 2015, being held in San Diego, February 10-12.

Former military flag officers compared today’s India to when they were in active duty, and they found a considerable difference in the country’s willingness to join international activities. Adm. Timothy J. Keating, USN (Ret.), former commander, U.S. Pacific Command, related several observations about the world’s largest democracy. Located on the western flank of the region, it is a huge country with a growing population.

India can be tough to work with, the admiral offered. Yet, “fiercely nonaligned, India is coming around gradually to the clear realization that we are an essential partner,” Adm. Keating observed. Panel moderator Dr. David M. Finkelstein, vice president and director, China Studies, Center for Naval Analyses, also stated that India is rethinking its role in the region.

Vice Adm. Doug Crowder, USN (Ret.), former commander, Seventh Fleet, said that the past five years have seen a slow progression of India coming out of its shell. He described it as “a budding change of significance in that area.”


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