US-China Trade War Pushing Close US Allies In Asia To Force Ties With India

There is a growing tendency among the most developed countries of Asia to decrease their dependency on China and look to India as an alternative in the wake of the trade war between the United States and China.

The trade war is likely to hit the export oriented economies of countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia and these countries are trying to diversify their economies by reducing dependence on China. All of these countries are close allies of the US.

The entire manufacturing supply chain of Asia and of these countries mentioned above are vulnerable to the trade ware because most of the countries get their products assembled in China before exporting them to other parts of the world.

Many economists see that the best safeguard for these export oriented countries against the threat from the trade war is to increase trade within Asia. This is what has prompted Japan, South Korea and Australia to shift their focus into some of the neighbouring countries – specifically India, said Termsak Chalermpalanupap, lead researcher at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, a Singapore-based think tank.

Harsh Pant, a distinguished fellow at Indian think tank, Observer Research Foundation said the outcome of the trade war is that Asian countries “do not have the luxury of continuing with their traditional approach.” “They need other actors like India, which has been highlighting its credentials as a responsible security and economic partner.”

In July an ambitious “India Economic Strategy” was announced by the Australian government. Under this program., the Australian government aims to make India its top importer as well as the third biggest Asian destination for outward investment by 2035.

A plan which is known as “Southern Policy” was announced by South Korean president Moon jaw-in late last year. This program is aimed to specifically focus on increasing relationships with countries of Southeast Asia. And even though India is not technically a part of the targeted region, it would be Seoul’s “key partner for cooperation” in line with the plan, Moon gad said during a visit to New Delhi in July.

Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu said at a briefing organized by Brookings India on Monday that improved relations on defense and development, strengthened maritime ties and personal relations form the primary areas of cooperation between India and Japan.,

And under the New Southbound Policy, announced in 2016 by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a number of companies form the country, including Foxconn, the world biggest contract manufacturer, have already invested in India.

Dhruva Jaishankar, foreign policy fellow at Brookings India, wrote in a note this month that “the stars are aligning in Asia for the acceleration of India’s economic growth,” from the political point of view.

He said that another factor that could be working in India’s favour is “Beijing’s use of its economic muscle for political purposes”.

“Whereas in the past, India was coy about suggesting a larger regional role, today, India talks of itself (as) a leading global player,” said the Observer Research Foundation’s Pant.

(Adapted from CNBC.com)

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Categories: Economy & Finance, Geopolitics, Strategy, Sustainability

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