March 1, 2021
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New orientation
Antony’s three nations visit and its significance At a time when the US Defence Secretary Chuck Hegel was elaborating the Pivot to Asia policy renamed as Rebalancing Asia, during the Shangri- la dialogue in Singapore in the first week of June, the Indian defence minister A K Antony was visiting those countries prominently included by the US in its rebalancing Asia strategy. The visit to Singapore, Australia and Thailand by the Indian defence minister drew the attention of strategic observers in China and other parts of the world which was indicative of the strategic direction India might take in the coming years. Coming immediately after the game changing visit to Tokyo by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in late May, Antony’s visit to the three countries reconfirmed India’s new strategic orientation. Though India would never commit to become a US Pivot to Asia but the way India has moved with the three US partner countries of the Rebalancing Asia policy, India seems to have tilted the balance in the US favor. Since India would not like to irritate or antagonize China it cannot apparently seem to be tilting the US balance in the Asia Pacific region but the joint statements issued after the interactions with the defence ministers of Australia, Singapore and Thailand was testimony to the fact that India would like to partner with the three countries to safeguard its maritime interests. With Singapore and Thailand, Indian
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