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‘Indians rate themselves high about their global influence’

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Six-nation survey reveals India responds most positively to American influence in the Trump era

Indians engage in a lot of wishful thinking about their own global influence even as other countries rate India very low on influence, said foreign policy experts. Instead, most Asians see the Chinese as more influential than India, they maintained.

P.S. Raghavan, chairman of the National Security Advisory Board, said that a popular perception is that American influence is important to balance the Chinese power game in Asia. Taking part in a panel discussion Tuesday, he said that Indians were drawn to US President Donald Trump’s campaign promises of suppressing China’s influence in the region.

The discussion, which was based on a six-nation survey released in May, was organised by the Brookings India. Of all the countries surveyed, India responds most positively to American influence in the Trump era. It is also the only outlier country that believes the US’ best years to be ahead of it, with 61 percent of Indians endorsing this optimistic view as opposed to Japan’s 19 percent and China’s 29 percent.

The survey was based entirely on public opinion and is indicative of how the citizens of countries in the Indo-Pacific region view the US.

Earlier, Gordon Flake, CEO of the think tank Perth USAsia Centre that brought out the survey, highlighted some of its key findings, which include assessments of American influence and free trade agreements on the countries surveyed.

The discussion revolved mainly around why the focus of the survey is on the Indo-Pacific
region, and how the knowledge of its public opinion is important to thrive “in an uncertain
world”, as the former Australian defence minister Stephen Smith put it.

He also lauded India’s efforts to diffuse the border stand-off at Doklam. Smith said that India should focus on countries where Indian potential remains unexplored, like Indonesia or Australia.

The survey can be accessed here.


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