India’s Eurasian Policy: A Continental Strategy

The Ukrainian crisis has changed the dynamics in International relations and with the growing proximity between China and Russia, the geopolitical significance of Eurasia has increased. The Indo-Pacific policy and Eurasian Policy are the two most crucial aspects of India’s foreign policy. The Indo-Pacific policy establishes India’s maritime geopolitics and Eurasia’s policy  will build a continental strategy. 

India’s Eurasian Policy: A Continental Strategy
Image Source: The Indian Express

Eurasia comprises the enormous landmass of Asia and Europe but there is no international agreement that constitutes the boundaries of the region. The physical geographers were unable to define the regions that form Eurasia, it can be broadly said that it stretches from China in the east to Europe in the west and the Arctic Ocean in the North to the Indian Ocean in the south. 

Eurasia has been one of the growing economies with an annual per capita growth rate of around 4% over the past few years. Eurasia is home to nearly 5 billion people in over 90 countries which consists of 35% of earth’s surface and 65% of the global GDP.  

India’s Integrated approach towards Eurasia

India’s approach towards Indo-Pacific policy was accomplished by the establishment of the QUAD which gives it both institutional as well as political shape to our foreign policy. There is a need for an integrated approach as the Eurasian states are rich in natural resources. It ensures energy security for us by maintaining long-term relations which improves our economy. 

The approach towards Eurasia has its strategic motive as well. India is keen on reducing its dependence on Russia and China because of their current geo-political scenario. China’s growing assertiveness and increasing expansionary policy toward world domination are alarming. India needs more partners with stability which will help in expanding its power on the global front.

India is a developing country with a booming tourism industry that can garner tourists from the Eurasian region. It can use its proximity to the region for its advantage and attract tourists. Another area that gives us scope for expansion would be the pharmaceutical industry in which India plans on setting up a Central Asian e-network linking all the five Central Asian states with the main hub in India. 

The cultural ties with Eurasia go way back to the Buddhist Era which will help in building ties with regions in Central Asia. India looks to achieve stability in the region by doing its part in the growth and security of the region. 

Core Elements in India’s Approach 

  1. India should have a strategic role in having relations with the European Union and NATO, focusing on the Eurasian security which can be under threat because of  the different regions involved.
  2. India should focus on having better relations with Russia concerning Eurasian security because Russia believes Eurasia to be the neighborhood of the former Soviet Union.
  3. India needs ties with Iran because of its location and connectivity which is important to have better relations with Central Asia and the influence of the Arabs in the region is consequential.
  4. India should facilitate shipping links between ports in India and Chabahar. 
  5. India should strike a balance between the Act East policy, the Indo-Pacific policy, and the Eurasian Policy. 

Challenges ahead

Eurasia as a growing economy has several challenges. The growing economic influence of China which involves the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is an infrastructural project spanning multiple countries, is part of its expansionary policy. China’s growing proximity with Russia is prominent with BRI and also the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). 

Regional stability is under threat with the involvement of major powers without any proper definition of the boundaries. India needs to work on the security aspect before strategically involving itself in the power struggle. Even though the US and other countries like Japan and Australia are restricting their influence in the Indo-Pacific region. 

The emergence of Eurasia as one of the growing economies on the global front is very important to India strategically as well as politically. India needs to establish itself as a global power that emphasizes the growth and development of the country. Eurasian Policy is the need of the hour after its Indo-Pacific policy. Foreign policy and diplomacy involve mutual relations and benefits for both the regions involved.

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