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Creation Of ISA Is Illustrative Of India’s Global Ambitions: Alyssa Ayres

India has declared a Foreign Policy and ambition of primacy in the Indian Ocean region. And to do that it is in a process of developing its naval capacity, maritime capacity

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For a very long time now India has desired to be among the major superpowers in the world. With the current government in power it does not look like a very far-fetched dream. In her latest book launched by the Oxford University Press, Our Time Has Come: How India is Making Its Place in the World – Alyssa Ayres, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations explains the scope of India’s foreign policy ambition, India’s economic engagement with the rest of the world, and India’s most ambitious project-ISA (International Solar Alliance). Ayres also underlines India’s defence and maritime policies and India’s interest in primacy across the Indian Ocean region.

In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, Ayres says it all.

Edited excerpts from the interview. 

Give us a brief about your book? What parts of Indian foreign policy does it talk about? What significant details does it highlight? Take our readers through our book.

So basically, the book is written for an American reader, an American audience that is interested in International Affairs, Foreign Policy but may not focus on India. So, my book walks through India’s recent past. It talks about India’s engagement for the rest of the world economically. The rise of Indian business, deepening ties with the United States. I also look at the issue of Non-Alignment and what it has meant for India’s theory of Foreign Policy orientation over decades.

How do you view India’s current position in the Indian Ocean region, given China and Russia's constant rise in the region?

India has declared a Foreign Policy and ambition of primacy in the Indian Ocean region. And to do that it is in a process of developing its naval capacity, maritime capacity. I think you see India is now looking to have a much more outward-going maritime capability across the Indian Ocean region.

Let us talk in detail about India’s ambitions. The ISA, India has ambitions of gaining one trillion dollars on the ISA by 2030. Can we call it India’s most ambitious business deal so far?  

When I take a look at that 2015 Paris Climate Change agreement, India took a very different type of diplomatic posture to those negotiations. The creation of the ISA is an example of that. With this India is showing a new kind of leadership globally. So I definitely think that the creation of ISA is illustrative of India’s global ambitions, also in the climate change front. But with this India has taken up a different type of leadership role. I have written about this extensively in my book.

Initially the ISA was only meant to be for countries that fall between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn, but now it is open to all. Does that dilute the whole charter of ISA? 

Not at all. The presence of other countries will help make the Solar Alliance able to draw upon capital from all over the world. I wish the US would join. I think this is the type of alliance that is willing to bring together all the countries which want to work on this kind of agenda. It will, in fact, be very good. We can really look to see the expansion of Indian interest in forging broader and deeper ties with African regions.


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