INTERNATIONALTOP NEWS

India would help frustrate China’s ‘hegemonic ambitions’: US Senator

WASHINGTON

A wealthy, powerful and democratic India would help frustrate China’s “hegemonic ambitions”, a senior US Senator has said, amidst a war of words between Washington and Beijing on a range of issues.

The US and China are engaged in a major confrontation over issues like the origins of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Beijing’s security crackdown in Hong Kong and the communist giant’s aggressive military moves in the disputed South China Sea.

John Cornyn — a Republican Senator from Texas — on Thursday tweeted that “A wealthy, powerful and democratic India would help frustrate China’s hegemonic ambitions.”

Cornyn also shared an op-ed written by Walter Russell Mead in The Wall Street Journal in which the US academic argued that helping India lift its long-term growth rate should be one of America’s top foreign policy goals.

“America won its most important Cold War victories by helping democracies become rich in ways that advanced its own security and prosperity.

It’s high time to revive that approach, and India is the place to start,” he wrote.

Mead, the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and the Humanities at Bard College, said India is a natural US ally in the new Cold War with China.

He noted that without a strong push by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling BJP party, India’s growth could stabilise at a rate that would keep Indian incomes rising but leave the country falling ever further behind China.

“That wouldn’t be good for the US and Asia, or good enough for the hundreds of millions of poor Indians whose elevation from poverty would be hastened by faster growth. But Indian society is complex and difficult to govern.

“Reforms that challenge powerful constituencies aren’t easily imposed,” Mead said.

“Helping democratic India lift its long-term growth rate enough to narrow the gap with China should be one of America’s top foreign-policy goals,” he added.

Mead opined that achieving it will require working with Indian officials and experts to find regulatory changes and forms of American assistance that could smooth the path of reform.

It will mean working to avoid the kind of environmental devastation that followed China’s industrialisation.

“Those who rightly urge a ‘whole of government’ approach to countering China should think hard about what such an approach to India’s development would look like and which allies to enlist in the effort to make a more peaceful, prosperous and securely democratic world,” he said.

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