As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a confidential, nonpartisan basis. Since yesterday, there have been a flurry of reports in Indian media about the latest CRS report, on India, titled India: Domestic Issues, Strategic Dynamics,and U. A persual of the report would indicate that it is based not on any field work but almost entirely on collation of open-source material, mainly news and even op-ed articles in Indian media, referenced in the footnotes. However, given the interest this report — particularly the analyses in the chapter titled India Domestic Policy Setting page 38 to 48 has generated in some sections —we thought of making it available in full for our readers and it appears here courtesy www.
Alan Kronstadt Paul K. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store. India's concerns about a powerful China would exist irrespective of whether China were a democracy. Australia wants to see China succeed in its economic reforms and to play a constructive role in the region and the world.
But we also want to see a strategic system in the Indo-Pacific which is anchored in the rule of law and which recognises the stability which United States strategic engagement brings to the region.
In this our views are broadly shared by India as well as by the United States and Japan. It is this shared perspective which underpins groupings such as the Quad United States, Japan, India and Australia and also trilateral arrangements such as Australia, India and Japan. These fledging groupings reflect the emerging reality that United States strategic predominance in the region is weakening and that, as China becomes indisputably the largest economy in the world with corresponding strategic heft, the region will look for balancing mechanisms which can help ensure that regional stability holds as profound shifts in economic weight rearrange strategic relativities.
None of this should be seen as an inherently anti-China move. Rather they are efforts to find a new strategic equilibrium in the Indo-Pacific which accepts the growing strategic weight of China but also seeks to ensure that the interests of open democratic states committed to a rules based order are protected. How quickly such a new equilibrium can be established will depend in part on how forcefully the rules based system in the Indo-Pacific is challenged.
Should that challenge further sharpen, the need for defenders of the system to work more closely together to meet the challenge will grow. Balancing China however is not the sole basis for a strategic partnership between Australia and India. There are two other important issues which bring us closer together. First, India is for the most part a supporter of the liberal international order. This matters because the defence of that order is crucial for a country like Australia which can neither buy nor bully its way in the world.
International law, a rules based system, the promotion of public goods, all these are important to Australia. They provide a measure of protection against the law of the jungle prevailing in international relations. Second, Australia and India share an interest in developing regional institutions in the Indo-Pacific, especially the EAS, which promote economic integration and strategic stability. Strengthening them is a high priority for Australia and India. Strong institutions cannot stop conflict but they can help at the margins to ensure that strategic competition does not spill over into confrontation.
They also have an important role to play in pushing out the boundaries of trade and investment integration in a way which both expands prosperity and raises the cost of conflict. Very importantly, the EAS and other regional institutions offer a framework for engaging China, giving it more space to match its economic weight and signaling that containment of China is a policy dead end. Another area through which Australia's strategic partnership with India could be strengthened would be to work more closely with India on some of the broader global multilateral challenges that we face.
In the past Australia and India had limited common ground in relation to much of the global multilateral agenda. But that too is changing.
Our perspectives on nuclear non-proliferation are now closer. We may not yet agree on the complicated details of those reforms but we do support India taking a seat on an expanded Security Council. There are also opportunities for Australia and India to work more closely on the large challenge of climate change. Again, our respective positions may not be identical but we both recognise the need for the effective implementation of the Paris accords on climate change and the need for all countries to play their part in a global effort.
Working more closely with India on the multilateral agenda where our interests are similar will send a positive signal about the Australia India partnership and our shared commitment to an international order which seeks to accommodate the interests of all states. The extent to which Australia recognises a growing strategic convergence with India is best reflected in the way our own strategic focus has shifted from the Asia-Pacific to the Indo-Pacific.
It is not often that a country changes the geographic definition of its primary strategic environment. But that is precisely what Australia has done in recent years by replacing the Asia-Pacific with the Indo-Pacific.
India: Domestic Issues, Strategic Dynamics, and U.S. Relations. Congressional Research Service. Summary. South Asia emerged in the 21st. This report discusses the relationship between U.S. and India, particularly regarding the following: India as a counterweight to China; arms.
The Asia-Pacific, with Northeast Asia at its strategic centre, has been the conceptual foundation of Australian strategic thinking for most of the post-Second World War period. The Asia-Pacific was seen as a coherent strategic system bringing in the major powers and also reflecting a long period of trade and investment integration, best captured by APEC.
Australia saw this economic integration as giving the Asia-Pacific added coherence. The Asia-Pacific construct provided a framework for thinking about the management of major power relationships, especially the vital United States-China relationship. It was our frame of reference for charting the strategic impact of shifting economic weight, most notably the extraordinary expansion of the Chinese economy.
In more recent years, however, we have moved from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific to describe the crucible of our strategic environment.
This matters because the defence of that order is crucial for a country like Australia which can neither buy nor bully its way in the world. Identifier Unique identifying numbers for this report in the Digital Library or other systems. Fifth, India is committed to increase significantly its defence capability to buttress its strategic autonomy. Another area through which Australia's strategic partnership with India could be strengthened would be to work more closely with India on some of the broader global multilateral challenges that we face. Very importantly, the EAS and other regional institutions offer a framework for engaging China, giving it more space to match its economic weight and signaling that containment of China is a policy dead end.
And a large part of that shift is driven by how we see India. The concept of the Indo-Pacific as a single strategic system is very much a work in progress.
It is both an act of imagination and a recognition of an emerging structural shift in our strategic environment. First, that the maritime environment is likely to be the primary focus of strategic planning and strategic competition over the next several decades. Secondly, that India's strategic focus will, over this period, shift well beyond India's immediate neighbourhood and embed India in the strategic dynamics of the region in a way it has not in the post-war period.
These two propositions do not, in themselves, create a coherent Indo-Pacific strategic system. But they do suggest that the idea of the Asia-Pacific needs to adapt to accommodate them. In this sense, the idea of the Indo-Pacific is best understood as an evolution of Australia's Asia-Pacific bearings, not a rejection of the Asia-Pacific. It does not, for example, treat the Indian and Pacific oceans as a single strategic system.
Nor does it seek to bring all of South Asia into the old Asia-Pacific strategic system. For now the Indo side of the Indo-Pacific is really just India and it is more about bringing India to the Asia-Pacific than stretching the footprint of Australia's primary strategic focus all the way to the western reaches of the Indian Ocean. Over time, more structure and integration may evolve in the Indian Ocean such that it might become a coherent strategic system akin to its counterpart in the western Pacific. But that is a long way off, so for the foreseeable future when we think about the Indo-Pacific we are thinking of an Asia-Pacific which finds room to accommodate India as a strategic player, and an India whose strategic and economic interests will increasingly draw her into acting as such a player.
The Indian Ocean provides a meeting point for Australian and Indian interests. It extends the scope of our growing strategic congruence. India has always seen itself as an Indian Ocean power whereas Australia has traditionally placed a greater emphasis on the Pacific as the ultimate arbiter of our strategic stability.