Rising India, China not yet ready to assume global role: US panel

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington: The rise of China and India suggests an emerging multi-polar great-power balance, but no rising power stands ready to assume the global role played by the US, according to a congressionally mandated panel.

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“The increasing importance of China and India suggest an emerging multi-polar great-power balance,” said the Independent Panel’s Assessment of the Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR), a legislatively mandated review of Department of Defence strategy and priorities.

“The rise of China and India also reflects and further foreshadows a shift in the geostrategic locus of power toward the Asia-Pacific region,” it said noting: “While the United States will likely remain the pre-eminent power, its superiority (including its military superiority) relative to others is diminishing.”

“At the same time, no rising power stands ready to assume the same global role played by the United States in maintaining a persistent and stabilizing forward presence in crisis or conflict,” the panel said in its final 159-page report to the Congress.

The panel to assess the 2010 QDR, which was released in February, is co-chaired by former defence secretary William J. Perry and former national security advisor Stephen J. Hadley, who was specially charged with developing a strategic relationship with India during the previous Bush administration.

The “combination of the increasing demand, particularly from a China and India on the rise, for and diminishing supplies of hydrocarbons and the increasing global water scarcity will tend to link geopolitical trends”, the panel said.

Noting that the emerging powers of the previous decade are now key players and global economic powers, the panel said as “Asia, led by a dynamic China and India, has emerged to lead the global economic recovery, it will be essential for America to engage with Asia in all areas-economic, security, and energy”.

“These relationships will lead to collaboration and partnership, but also exceptional diplomatic and political complexity,” the panel said suggesting strengthening of force structure in a number of areas to counter anti-access challenges and conduct post-conflict stabilication missions.

“As a Pacific power, the US presence in Asia has underwritten the regional stability that has enabled India and China to emerge as rising economic powers,” the panel said suggesting “the United States should plan on continuing that role for the indefinite future”.

Turning to radical Islamist extremism and the threat of terrorism, the panel said: “Salafist jihadi movements, wedded to the use of violence and employing terror as their primary strategy, will remain both an international threat to the global system and a specific threat to America and its interests abroad.”

“Some associated movements will pursue lesser and more local goals, with the biggest danger to Pakistan, where the ruling elite (including the army and intelligence services that helped create-continue to tolerate and aid-such groups) is vulnerable to an Iranian-style revolution that Islamists would exploit,” it warned.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])