The US Finally Realized The Futility Of Trying To Force India Into Vassalhood
Observers should appreciate the US’ newly pragmatic approach towards India since it proves that there isn’t any realistic chance of Delhi dumping Russia or going to war with China at Washington’s behest.
Two recent opinion pieces in leading Mainstream Media outlets prove that the US finally realized the futility of trying to force India into vassalhood after a full sixteen months of attempting to do so since the start of Russia’s special military operation in February 2022. It was always a political fantasy to imagine that India would dump Russia on America’s demand, let alone join “NATO Plus” and subordinate its security to the US, but now it’s clear that these efforts to pressure it in those directions have ended.
Award-winning Indian broadcast journalist Barkha Dutt told the Washington Post (WaPo) on Tuesday that “Sorry, America. India will never be your ally”, while Dean of George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs Alyssa Ayres said the day after that “India Is Not a US Ally – and Has Never Wanted to Be” in a piece for Time Magazine. Both platforms at which these experts published their latest work are regarded as very close to the Biden Administration and are regularly read by its officials.
While these esteemed ladies’ views are their own and independently arrived at as a result of their expertise, the narrative dam first began to break in early May when influential policymaker Ashely J. Tellis published his widely discussed piece at the Council on Foreign Relations’ official magazine. Titled “America’s Bad Bet on India: New Delhi Won’t Side With Washington Against Beijing” and analyzed here, it was even referenced by a senior Biden Administration official during an event earlier this month.
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said during the Center for a New American Security’s annual conference two weeks ago that his article had generated a lot of attention. The recent sequence of events is therefore as follows: 1) Tellis published his insightful analysis in early May; 2) Ratner referenced it a month later proving that officials had debated it; and then 3) Dutt and Ayres shared related points in the media ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.
Amidst the unveiling of America’s newly pragmatic approach towards India, there’s also no denying that the liberal–globalist faction within the US’ permanent policymaking bureaucracy that opposes this for ideological reasons is still around. They’re making their displeasure known by taking potshots at their rivals via critical pieces in the press such as these two from CNN and a recent one that WaPo likely ran for the sake of balance, but this is done out of desperation due to them feeling powerless.
The pragmatic faction obviously beat them in the competition over who’ll shape American policy towards India this decade as evidenced by the Biden Administration’s feting of Prime Minister Modi and the three previously cited pieces in support of his state visit. What’s so important about those articles is that they temper expectations about the Indian-US Strategic Partnership so that there aren’t any false hopes that inevitably lead to disappointment and thus risk an emotionally driven policy reversal.
India’s hard-earned strategic autonomy in the New Cold War that it solidified via its masterful practice of multi–alignment between key players in the global systemic transition is sacred to that South Asian Great Power’s policymakers. Anything that attempts to erode this like America’s liberal-globalist faction had incessantly tried to do over the past sixteen months is viewed with the utmost suspicion since it’s interpreted as a serious strategic risk due to the national security stakes involved vis-à-vis its neighbors.
Observers should appreciate the US’ newly pragmatic approach towards India since it proves that there isn’t any realistic chance of Delhi dumping Russia or going to war with China at Washington’s behest. This declining unipolar hegemon finally respects that rapidly rising South Asian Great Power’s independent foreign policy and the strategic autonomy that comes with it, which is an unparalleled achievement by Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.