There is uncertainty in India’s trade policy, which is partly because of disruption trade is causing across the world, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has said.
Subramanian was participating in a discussion on the topic, ‘Can India ever become a great power?,’ at the think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC.
“We have had lot of reforms…the barricades have come down significantly, our trade has extended, but when it comes to trade policy, there is a kind of genuine ambivalence on how rapidly India needs to open up domestically…and to engage internationally whether it is the WTO or the TPP..There is an ambivalence within India,” the CEA said.
Carnegie senior associate Ashley J. Tellis’s new paper ‘India as a leading power’ argues that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for India to become major power shows change in how the political leadership considers India’s role in international politics.
Tellis said imagining India as a great power would catalyse the country’s material aspiration and military ambitions. “The key question is whether India can actually achieve that. I argue that it is possible,” he said, while admitting considerable uncertainties that loom.
Tellis’ key argument is that Modi’s vision, when fulfilled, will mark the “third epoch in Indian foreign policy.” In the first, India survived the U.S-Soviet cold war hostility through nonalignment, which was “essentially defensive;” and in the second, starting from 1991, India pursued strategic partnerships with more than 30 countries and emerged as a ‘balancing power’ that can influence outcomes in international debates.
“Modi seeks to transform India from being merely an influential entity into one whose weight and preferences are defining for international politics,” he argues.
Subramanian and Devesh Kapur, Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania, pointed out that increasing challenges to globalisation and trade from different parts of the world could have a negative impact on India’s global ambitions.