Indian Navy in the western Pacific is a signal China won't miss
SummaryOur naval manoeuvres in these waters annoy China but such bold signalling plays a role in safeguarding national interests
Signalling is important international relations. How a nation is perceived by its friends and adversaries, in large measure, shapes its role in strategic spaces. For a long time, India, through its actions, had given an impression that it remains reluctant to challenge China, while China, through its actions, had been categorical in challenging India’s vital national interests. This asymmetry had given rise to perceptions of India as a nation that is diffident when it comes to taking on China. Of course, the capability differential between the two nations limits New Delhi’s space for strategic manoeuvres, but perceptions of India walking on eggshells not to antagonize Beijing did not do New Delhi any favours. While the rest of the world saw India as a country unwilling to challenge the status quo, Beijing itself could not be appeased.