German Marshall Fund of the United States

Challenges of a Multipolar World: The United States, India, and the European Union in the Asia-Pacific

Introduction

As the United States has grown concerned about escalating tensions in the Asia-Pacific and increased its involvement in the region, it has sought to enlist the help of two of the largest economic and military powers in the world: India and Europe. However, these two powers are not proving to be the forthcoming partners Washington would like. India and Europe share ambitions of global leadership and many of the United States’ broad interests in the Asia-Pacific. In addition, Europeans are the United States’ closest military and diplomatic partners. But both India and Europe also have security priorities closer to home, and they do not see eye to eye with Washington — or with each other — on the best way to pursue some of their interests.

This paper explores the similarities and contrasts between the European and Indian positions toward the Asia-Pacific in order to highlight the challenges for the United States of international cooperation in an increasingly multipolar world. It will also recommend how, in light of their differences, both powers and the United States can best work together in the region.

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