1/Despite a lot of headlines about how India will be driven to “pick the US” because of the ongoing India-China crisis, here are some reasons I think little will actually change in the long-term and why India, in the words of its current EAM, will continue to pick its “own side.”
2/ First, India and the US have already aligned significantly in the last two decades, and the relationship is in a decently good place. Not sure either side wants or needs much of an overt upgradation. Militaries that operate together can fight together.
3/ Second, China is the world’s second largest economy, four times the size of India’s. It is difficult to envision how India can grow at its targeted rate without some relationship with China, whether for APIs in pharma or cheap TVs, which will still be cheap TVs.
4/ There may be some short term public backlash against China in India, but publicly, Pakistan swamps China as a perceived threat. The effects of this crisis, even if it slow burns, may be short lived amongst India’s public. And cheap TVs are still cheap TVs.
5/ Third, the speed bumps in the Indo-US relationship—immigration, trade, and, oh yeah, the fact that India’a three services operate frontline Russian equipment and have no way to unwind that—will not disappear overnight and not because of an unfortunate PLA escalation on 6/15.
6/ All this is to basically say, India’s foreign policy managers were already clear-eyed about China before this, and had already moved toward the US in various ways, slowly.
7/ IMHO, there is little reason to expect radical overt moves because of this crisis. Things will move in the direction they already were moving, with India cooperating with many over areas of mutual interest, and divergence on key issues that aren’t going away. RANT OVER.
8/ I guess not completely over.

It takes two to tango. And it strikes me for all of the Trump-Modi bonhomie, Trump doesn’t structurally value the relationship. Bolton mentions India maybe twice in his book, and neither mention is flattering. Dems have their own issues (HR?).
9/ So even if India “picks” the US more wholeheartedly, will a US that, at least under Trump, threatens its allies and embraces its adversaries, even know? Or be able to act on the opportunity and not blow it? I’m skeptical. Now I’m done.
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