Defining Strategic and Critical Vulnerabilities in Asymmetrical Trade Interdependence




As the world becomes more economically integrated, a complex web of asymmetric interdependences has emerged, allowing some states to wield disproportionate economic power. Consequently, recourse to economic coercion as a tool for compellence, deterrence, or co-optation has become much more frequent in current times. Debates around dependence-induced strategic and critical vulnerabilities have thus gained traction with an end objective to reduce or mitigate them. But a lack of conceptual framework underpinning the ideas of dependence, vulnerabilities, and strategic and critical vulnerabilities plagues the present decision-making apparatus, which runs the risk of treating subjects under each of these categories as synonymous. To prevent a one-size-fits-all approach emanating from the lack of conceptual differentiation, this paper presents a framework, in the form of a series of tests, to understand whether trade in a certain commodity between countries can be classified as a critical vulnerability.


Dependence, Asymmetric-Interdependence, Strategic Vulnerability, Critical Vulnerability, Decoupling, De-risking, Trade, India-China


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Author Bio

Amit Kumar, Takshashila Institution

Amit Kumar is a Research Analyst with the Indo-Pacific Studies Programme at the Takshashila Institution


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