Topic – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
4) Critically analyze whether an alliance such as a Free and Open India Pacific (FOIP) would benefit India, if India were to be a part of it?(250 words)
Why this question
The article discusses the idea of FOIP, and analyzes the pros and cons of the idea from India’s point of view. The importance of Asia Pacific for geopolitics has only increased and as the polarity of the world changes in the months and years to come, the challenge will be in front of India to take all factors into consideration and decide on the future course.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to give a little explanation of the idea of FOIP, and the position of the major stakeholders. Thereafter, we need to analyze the pros and cons of the idea for India and discuss the way forward.
Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain the idea behind FOIP and that the idea is gaining currency, especially with US President throwing his weight behind the idea
- Give a brief background of the position of various stakeholders with respect to FOIP. From the US perspective, FOIP is an initiative for gathering a group of ‘like-minded’ countries into an anti-China alliance and a counter to BRI From the US perspective, such countries include its military partners in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Japan and Australia, as well as a major strategic partner like India and the adverse views of China on FOIP considering that it considers US presence in the area and such alliance as an attempt to obstruct it’s rise
- Discuss the pros and cons for India when it comes to deciding India’s strategy for the Indo Pacific and its overall foreign policy with respect to the major powers. On the pro side we can talk about the unilateral approach of China in case of BRI and the need to counter it etc. On the cons side one can bring out the fact that The fundamentals of Modi’s vision are based on being a ‘free, open, inclusive region’ – note the equal emphasis on ‘inclusive’ – in pursuit of progress and prosperity, therefore, not to be ‘directed against any country’, nor is it to be seen as a ‘grouping that seeks to dominate’. This region ‘includes all nations in this geography, as also others beyond who have a stake in it’. We should also highlight that such a strategy may backfire with respect to China etc
- Discuss the alternatives to FOIP that would enable India to fulfill its own vision for FOIP.
Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on the situation and discuss way forward.