By Arun Kumar, IANS,
Washington : Striving for a multi-polar international system, India will seek to emerge as one of the poles while serving as a political and cultural bridge between a rising China and the US, according to a US intelligence study.
“India’s growing international confidence, derived primarily from its economic growth and its successful democratic record, now drives New Delhi toward partnerships with many countries,” said the National Intelligence Council’s “Global Trends 2025 – A Transformed World” report released here Thursday.
However, these partnerships are aimed at maximising India’s autonomy, not at aligning India with any country or international coalition, added the report based on a global survey of experts and trends by US intelligence analysts.
Timed to be ready for the administration of US President-elect Barack Obama, who takes office Jan 20, the report said: “Indian leaders do not see Washington as a military or economic patron and now believe the international situation has made such a benefactor unnecessary.”
“New Delhi will, however, pursue the benefits of favourable US ties, partly, too, as a hedge against any development of hostile ties with China.
“Indian policymakers are convinced that US capital, technology, and goodwill are essential to India’s continued rise as a global power,” the report said.
The US will remain one of India’s largest export destinations, the key to international financial institutions such as the World Bank and foreign commercial lending, and the largest source of remittances.
“The Indian diaspora, composed largely of highly skilled professionalism, will remain a key element in deepening US-Indian ties,” it said. “The Indian market for US goods will grow substantially as New Delhi reduces restrictions on trade and investment.”
India’s military also will be eager to benefit from expanded defence ties with Washington, the report said. “Indian leaders, however, will probably avoid ties that could resemble an alliance relationship.”
At home, with India remaining confident that it can contain the Kashmiri separatist movement, regional and ethnic insurgencies are unlikely to threaten India’s unity, but the growing reach of the Maoist movement would lead to heightened violence and instability in several parts of the country, it said.
“Regional and ethnic insurgencies that have plagued India since independence are likely to persist, but they will not threaten India’s unity We assess New Delhi will remain confident that it can contain the Kashmiri separatist movement.
“However, India is likely to experience heightened violence and instability in several parts of the country because of the growing reach of the Maoist Naxalite movementl,” the report.
On the economic front, it predicted that India probably will continue to enjoy relatively rapid economic growth.
“Although India faces lingering deficiencies in its domestic infrastructure, skilled labour, and energy production, we expect the nation’s rapidly expanding middle class, youthful population, reduced reliance on agriculture, and high domestic savings and investment rates to propel continued economic growth.
“India’s impressive economic growth over the past 15 years has reduced the number of people living in absolute poverty, but the growing gap between rich and poor will become a more important political issue.
“The general direction of India’s economic policymaking is unlikely to be reversed, but the pace and scale of reform will fluctuate,” the report said.
“We believe Indians will remain strongly committed to democracy, but the polity could become more fragmented and fractious, with national power being shared across successive political coalitions.
“Future elections are likely to be multi-sided affairs yielding awkward coalitions with unclear mandates,” it added.