ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India and the World

A Geoeconomics Perspective

Strategic autonomy in an interdependent world is secured through creating mutually beneficial relationships of interdependence, not from the mere assertion of one's independence or non-alignment. It is the fruit of economic growth and development pursued in a globalised world wherein a nation is able to utilise the benefi ts of interdependence while managing the costs this imposes. Hence, the concepts of "autonomy" and "self-reliance" have to be defined in the context of the economic interdependence of nations, and India's need and ability to draw on the economic opportunities the world presents to us.

This article is based on the National Maritime Foundation Lecture that was delivered at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on 26 October 2012. It is dedicated to the late K Subrahmanyam and the late Brajesh Mishra. My thinking on Indian strategic and foreign policy has also benefi ted from my interaction with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The most forthright articulation of the view that India’s rise as a modern power is contingent upon its economic performance was made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his very first union budget speech of July 1991, when he said, quoting Victor Hugo, “No power on Earth can stop an idea whose time has come. I suggest to this august House that the emergence of India as a major economic power in the world happens to be one such idea.”1

In relating India’s rise to its “economic power” and performance, Manmohan Singh was echoing a thought expressed by Jawaharlal Nehru, who told the Constituent Assembly in December 1947, “Talking about foreign policies, the House must remember that these are not empty struggles on a chessboard ...foreign policy is the outcome of economic policy”.2

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