Quad v AUKUS: Anglos & Allies

Synopsis: This article explains the Anglosphere and India’s approach in international relations.


The term Anglosphere includes a grouping of English-speaking countries. There is an aspect to the distinction between AUKUS and Quad that has not received adequate attention. AUKUS centres around the concept of an Anglosphere, but the Quad did not.

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How the Anglosphere creates a divide around the world?

While the US, UK and Australia have been able to maintain a relationship of trust that allows them to create an AUKUS, India and Japan still do not enjoy the required level of either trust or cultural affinity with the West that would give them access to defence-related nuclear technology.

English-speaking Africa is even more conflicted on relations with the US (English-speaking nations) and China than nations of Indo-China.

Singapore and Hong Kong were firmly within the Anglosphere earlier. But now they are busy redefining themselves (shifting away from Anglosphere) to deal with China.

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Does India, a member of the Anglosphere?

English is the shared language in India, and there is a vast and growing diaspora of Indians in the English-speaking world. But, a shared English inheritance is not enough for India’s entrance into the strategic Anglosphere.

The notion that India is a natural member of the Anglosphere was buried long back when Britain shied away from the idea of an India-led Commonwealth. Britain has continued to retain its leadership and continuing its ‘divide and rule’ policy within the group.

Apart from that, India also shifted from the English-speaking 20th-century to the vernacular speaking 21st-century. India’s re-imagination of itself as a civilisational nation limits the relevance of the notion of an Anglosphere.

How Vernacular India is helping India to build its international relations?

Both China and Russia have for a very long time established stronger links with vernacular India than with English-speaking India.

Japan’s former Prime Minister not only visited Varanasi and watched Ganga aarti on the Dashashwamedh Ghat, but also invested in a cultural centre in the holy city.

The French and Germans have been late to understand the significance of this non-English outreach but are learning fast.

How India is moving ahead?

At present, India is in no mood to trust the Anglosphere any more than other non-English nations. India is giving equal importance to English and non-English nations on equal terms.

Further, India is also rediscovering India’s ancient links with the world. For example, the recent visit by External Affairs Minister to Mexico for participating in the republic’s bicentennial celebrations.

India’s relations with the world will continue to be defined by its own self-image as a civilisational entity.

Source: This post is based on the article “Quad v AUKUS: Anglos & Allies” published in The Times of India on 30th Sep 2021.

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