It is interesting to note that even as US defence secretary Leon Panetta was promising India access to the latest weapons, in China, India’s external affairs minister S.M. Krishnawas uttering emollient expressions to soothe his nervous hosts.
For a change, India is managing two diplomatic fronts with aplomb. It should not, however, confuse means with ends: there is danger that some kind of “doctrine of balance” (Non-alignment 2.0?) is already cooking in the minds of some policymakers. This should be avoided.
India’s interests lie in modernizing its armed forces, and for that, a different, more one-sided, thrust is required.
Unfortunately, this may not happen. Indian policymakers continue to be muddled, and non-alignment—which ceased to deliver results a long time ago—continues to hold some inexplicable charm. These notions are best discarded and quickly at that.