Exit that Strategy

Book: Nonalignment Redux: The Perils of Old Wine in New Skins

Author: Ashley J. Tellis

Publisher: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Available at: http://bit.ly/NrWrch

As China becomes the second most important power and its relations with the United States become less predictable, how should India position itself? Amid China's rapid rise and the belated US determination to assert its primacy in Asia, dealing with the uncertain dynamic between Beijing and Washington has become central to India's national security strategy.

Some in Delhi have argued that India must join the distant power, the United States, to prevent the dominance of a rising hegemon next door. Ancient maxims on strategy, from both China and India, would suggest this is the natural and inevitable course for Delhi.

Many in Beijing suspect that India is simply emulating China's strategy of coping with America and Russia in the final decades of the Cold War in the last century. During the 1970s and '80s, Beijing aligned with "the far" (the United States) to defeat "the near" (the Soviet Union).

Strategic realism comes naturally to Chinese leaders, but the Indian political classes tend to resist unless no other option is left. Delhi, not surprisingly, has been deeply conflicted about its response to the unfolding power play between China and the US.

Ashley Tellis confronts the Indian establishment's ambivalence on this very important question. India-born Tellis is one of America's leading strategic thinkers and is closely associated with the transformation of the bilateral relationship between Delhi and Washington over the last decade.

The new monograph from Tellis on India's great power relations is structured as a response to a report called "Nonalignment 2.0" issued in Delhi earlier this year. The document, written by a group of influential Indians, reviewed the nation's challenges and opportunities in a changing world and offered guidance on how Delhi should conduct its foreign and security policies.

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