India and the Anglosphere Written by:
C Raja Mohan Topic in syllabus:
Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora. (GS-2) Analysis about:
This editorial talks about importance of India’s relations with the west, particularly Britain.Introduction:
How to understand Anglosphere?
- An Anglosphere — or the world of English-speaking people bound by common political beliefs, similar legal traditions, and shared geopolitical interests — was among the main ideas that animated the political movement in Britain that successfully pulled London out of the European Union.
- Sceptics have derided the Anglosphere as naive nostalgia for a long-lost empire. But with Brexit done and a trade deal in place with the EU, the Anglosphere is now likely to acquire some gravitas in British foreign policy.
Why is it beneficial for India to engage with the Anglosphere?
- Defining the ambit and mechanics of the Anglosphere will certainly take time. The idea of the Anglosphere has a long lineage in Britain’s history. In the late 19th century, Britain confronted deepening challenges to its global economic primacy and growing threats to the stability of the empire from within and rising powers from without.
- One response was to build a “Greater Britain” with imperial trade preferences and a common defence system. There were sweeping ideas of a single nation-state for the vast empire governed by a parliament sitting in London. But none of them was realistic. A modest version of this idea passed onto the Commonwealth as Britain’s main international vehicle after the Second World War.
- The contemporary debate on the Anglosphere encompasses several ideas. One is the notion of a liberal, free-trading Britain that stands apart from the regulatory state and closed market that Brussels was building. Reinforcing this idea was the notion of a “Global Britain” that reclaims its global maritime orientation, and rebuilds its deep linkages with the English-speaking world.
- For some, five nations — the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — are at the core of the Anglosphere. Others define it more narrowly — the so-called CANZUK group that excludes the United States. A broader view sees economic and strategic collaboration with other states like India, Ireland, Singapore and Japan as part of rebuilding the Anglosphere.
- At present, only one institution reflects the possibilities of the Anglosphere — the so-called “Five Eyes” arrangement for intelligence sharing between the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
- Britain and India today are at roughly $2.7 trillion and occupy the fifth and sixth places in the GDP rankings. But India is well on its way to overtake Britain in the next few years and emerge as the thirdlargest economy in the world in the next decade.
- While the Indian elite continues to rant against colonial Britain in public, it relishes, in private, the deep comfort with the Anglo-Saxon elite. There is no such hypocrisy in the Indian middle classes that have unhesitatingly embraced the English speaking world. The US, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand remain the preferred Indian destinations for study, work and emigration.
- The Indian diaspora is thriving in these nations and is very much part of the political life in the Englishspeaking world. Kamala Harris will soon be sworn in as US Vice President. Three of Johnson’s cabinet rank ministers are Indian and four of Justin Trudeau’s ministers are of Indian origin. Indians are among the fastest-growing minorities in Australia and New Zealand. India is already tied deeply to the Anglosphere, whether Delhi wants it or not.
- Two other factors are equally important — the emerging economic complementarity between India and the Anglosphere as well as the shared geopolitical interest in constructing a stable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific. These imperatives have already nudged India into a greater bilateral commercial and security cooperation with the prospective members of the Anglosphere.
- The Indian elite could emulate the Chinese in transcending the colonial mindset. Delhi today can deal with the Anglosphere on its own terms and for mutual benefit. Unlike China, India does not have to work too hard to realise the natural potential of its cooperation with the Anglosphere.