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Strategic Posture Review: India

Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011

"The world is beating a path to your door," said British Prime Minister David Cameron when visiting India last July. Cameron's words were not mere rhetorical flourish: During the second half of 2010, the leaders of all the permanent U.N. Security Council members passed through New Delhi, underscoring India's increasing importance in the global system.

Significantly, all the visiting dignitaries either affirmed support for India's claim to a permanent seat on the council or, in the case of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, made a statement "supporting India's aspirations for a greater role in global affairs." Indeed, the reordering of global institutions to accommodate India is a key thrust of India's engagement with the world. Such a shift is seen by the Indian elite as necessary to enhance India's "strategic autonomy," a central doctrine pursued zealously since independence by all Indian governments across the political spectrum. New Delhi considers that the past decade's shift of global power from West to East, coupled with the global financial crisis, has only sped up the timetable for this process. As U.S. President Barack Obama put it in his address to the Indian parliament, "India isn't emerging. It has already emerged." ...

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