It has become a cliché that every US presidential election is more significant than the previous one, not only for the future of the US but for the rest of the world, including India. Yet, like most clichés, there is more than an element of truth and ample proof that the 2016 election will be unlike any other that the US has seen since at least 1940.
The ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague against China’s claim on the South China Sea in a case brought before the court by the Philippines should prima facie have remained a bilateral matter between the litigants. In reality, however, it has become an exemplar of China’s role in the ongoing contest to determine the world order. China’s shrill and bellicose response during and after the ruling has only served to heighten alarm over Beijing’s intentions and behaviour among all the major powers, including India.