Author: Satish Kumar, S D Pradhan, Kanwal Sibal, Rahul Bedi, Bidisha Ganguly.
Kumar, Satish and Pradhan, S D and Sibal, Kanwal and Bedi, Rahul and Ganguly, Bidisha. November 2011. "India’s Strategic Partners: A Comparative Assessment." 17. New Delhi: http://fnsr.org/files/Indias_Strategic.pdf
The 21 century has witnessed a new pattern of international relationships in which
nations enter into freewheeling partnerships with other nations based on complementarity of interests in specific but vital areas. These partnerships, unlike the Cold War type of alliances, do not bind nations to support each other on all strategic issues in all situations. The partnerships are entered into in those areas of common interest where mutual help and collaboration can be of long-term benefit to both. Being bilateral in nature, they do not have the stigma of a multilateral alliance, which may be presumed to be a power bloc meant to countervail some big power or another power bloc. These partnerships are considered strategic in nature because of the importance of the issues involved and the long-term nature of cooperation that is visualised.
India has entered into strategic partnerships with more than a dozen countries in the last 10 years. They pertain to core areas of national interest like supply of defence equipment and technology, military exercises, cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, trade and investments, diplomatic support on critical issues, cooperation in science and technology, education, agriculture, information and communication technology, banking, insurance, and various other sectors. Each partnership has a specific character focusing on certain issues. It is in the nature of things that some partnerships are more comprehensive than others, depending on the number of areas in which the two sides can fruitfully and actively engage to mutual benefit and the scope and depth of their relations.
In view of the large number of these partnerships and the importance of issues involved, we thought it necessary to undertake an assessment of how well these partnerships are working and what kind of potential they have in future. To begin with, as a pilot study, we decided to select those partnerships which are most active in the fields of defence cooperation, economic cooperation and political-diplomatic cooperation. That led us to identify the following six countries for this study: United States, Russia, France, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan.
Thus, strategic partnerships with all these countries would be evaluated on the basis of three variables, namely, defence cooperation, economic cooperation and political cooperation. Each variable would be subjected to three parameters, i.e. one, how substantial the cooperation has been in the last 10 years; two, how sustained the cooperation has been; and three, how much potential it has for future.
The performance of each strategic partner on each parameter in the respective variable would then be evaluated on a 10-point scale. The total score out of 90 points (see table) will indicate the trend with regard to the overall value of each strategic partner. The scores will be decided on the basis of a consensus among a team of five experts well known in their respective fields of specialisation.