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India will only be a subordinate if it becomes a US Ally, which is unacceptable to Indians

The US-India "2+2 dialogue," which scheduled to be held on July 6 was once again postponed. Although the two governments attributed it to scheduling changes, the public did not buy the reason. Some Indian scholars linked it to the US concerns over India's purchase of S-400 air defense missile system from Moscow and oil from Iran, and its retaliatory measures against US tariff hikes. As the US struggles to win over India to build an Indo-Pacific partnership, the fragility shows up.

Japan has been an advocate of the US Indo-Pacific strategy, and Australia has shown anti-China sentiment for more than a year. Whether India will actively join the Indo-Pacific strategy is vital to the plan's success. But Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue is likely to be the main reason why the US is slamming the brakes on ties with India.

Modi said that "India does not see the Indo-Pacific Region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. Nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country. A geographical definition, as such, cannot be."

Modi's statement disappointed Washington and Tokyo that want to pull India together to form an Asian version of NATO, but the statement is in line with India's strategic interests.

The Indo-Pacific strategy is not conducive to the Indian economy. India has a population of 1.3 billion, with a third of the world's poorest living there. Developing the economy, improving people's livelihoods and consolidating national strength are its top priorities. The Indo-Pacific strategy may split Asia into two camps, which will inevitably exacerbate conflicts in the region and damage the milieu for India's development.

If engaged in confrontation with China, India has to divert resources from infrastructure and education to defense, which will be a drag on economic growth. On the contrary, joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) helps India secure a safe passage to Central Asia, ensuring oil and gas supply. Cooperating with China is more suitable for India's infrastructure and manufacturing base.

The Indo-Pacific strategy won't help India achieve its great power aspiration. India had a rich civilization in ancient times and made great contributions to human progress in science and technology. Although having been colonized in modern times, its people have never given up the dream to be part of a great power.

The Indo-Pacific strategy, aimed at containing China, will only enhance US-led unipolarity. Only when the world is multi-polar can India become one of the big countries. Therefore, Modi declared at the Shangri-La Dialogue that he had shared views with Russian President Vladimir Putin on "the need for a strong multi-polar world order for dealing with the challenges" of the times.

The Indo-Pacific strategy will harm India's strategic autonomy. If the US, Japan, Australia and India form an alliance, Washington will be heading it and will inevitably require others to fall in line with its foreign policy, which contradicts New Delhi's principle of strategic autonomy. The US will demand India not only join in to contain China, but also support sanctions against Iran, alienate Russia, condemn Syria, and even more. In the Indo-Pacific strategy, New Delhi can only be a subordinate, which is unacceptable to Indians.

The Indo-Pacific strategy will lead to a stepped up presence of the US and Japan in the Indian Ocean. Indians have always thought that only India should lead Indian Ocean affairs and US military presence in the water body has threatened India's leadership in the region. Accepting the Indo-Pacific strategy will give more reason to the US to increase its presence in the region and strengthen its dominant position.

In recent years, India has appeared to get closer to the US, which has a lot to do with the Washington's attempts to win over New Delhi to balance China's influence. However, in general, India's diplomacy is still underpinned by a tradition of non-alignment. Its foreign strategy is relatively stable and predictable. The attraction of Indo-Pacific concept is far from enough to make India significantly adjust its diplomatic principles. New Delhi has its own independent views on world affairs, which is the biggest difference between Indian and Australian approaches.

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