Singapore: Despite the steep fall in the value of the Indian rupee and the mood of despondency in the country over the economy, the world will witness over the next two decades the emergence of three large single-state economies, namely China, U.S. and India, but the relationship between them will be "uneasy", a leading Indian strategic analyst suggested.
The bilaterals between the three states are leavened by a complex triangular relationship - the uneasy critical strategic triangle of the early 21st century, wherein cooperation and contrarian compulsions shape the policy response, said Bhaskar, a former acting director of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Society for Policy Studies (SPS).
India's most challenging strategic interlocutors over the last five decades have been China and the U.S., he said. In the first phase, the security policies of these two states and their Cold War strategic orientation were perceived to be inimical to India's interests.In South Asia, the strategic partnership/major ally status accorded to Pakistan by both these states and the tacit endorsement and direct support given to the latter's nuclear capability only served to exacerbate Indian anxiety and misgivings.
A tentative rapprochement was effected with China during the Rajiv Gandhi years and despite the fact that there has been no tangible movement on the complex territorial and border dispute - the Sino-Indian dyad remains relatively stable, intrusions across the Line of Actual Control (LOAC) notwithstanding, Bhaskar said.
However, despite the growing trade ties and the high-level political contact - this is an uneasy and contradictory relationship, he noted.
With the U.S., an acrimonious bilateral relationship had been described as one between “estranged democracies”.
The Indian nuclear tests of May 1998 resulted in a review of the relationship and the Clinton visit to Delhi of March 2000 marked the beginning of the thaw. However the more radical decision to admit India into the global nuclear framework was enabled by then U.S. president George Bush in mid-2005 and reached fruition in late 2008.
"The strategic culture and political pedigree associated with each of these states, played out against the inexorable imperative of globalization, will define the contours in which this lattice - while seeking equipoise - will more likely experience episodic turbulence and contestation in the security and strategic domain," Bhaskar concluded.