The broad currents of international politics at any given point of time have direct bearing on foreign policies. The difficulty in conducting the foreign policy arises because states do not have sure means of controlling the behaviour of other states. The Cold War era (1945-90) has determined in a big way the foreign policy of most countries. India’s efforts in expounding the policy of non-alignment were directly a response to this emerging polarization in the international environment.
The Cold War was the defining characteristic of world politics for nearly 45 years. Arms race, especially in the nuclear field, typically represented the height of suspicion and the impending disaster., India’s policy to take up nuclear disarmament emanated from the imminent and perpetual threat to human civilisation if those weapons were to be accidentally or deliberately used. Related to nuclear field, India’s successful testing in 1998 of nuclear weapons was justified as a necessary response to the fast changing international environment that sought to dismiss the demand for nuclear disarmament and sanctify the inequitable hierarchy between the nuclear weapon powers and non-nuclear weapon powers.
After the sudden end of the Cold War followed by the disintegration of the Soviet Union, India’s foreign policy underwent appreciable shifts on numerous counts — lack of enthusiasm towards the non-aligned movement, eagerness to accommodate the American concerns, resumption of full diplomatic ties with Israel, emphasis on economic aspects of relations with Europe, Southeast Asia and even South Asia. Again, in the post-cold war era, the increasing sensitivity in international quarters to the issues of terrorism and human rights (along with the widely spread claims of self-determination) impelled necessary adjustments in India’s foreign policy. The 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on American targets in New York and Washington presented new opportunities to India to push its anti-terrorist foreign policy with greater conviction.
Apart from what we have discussed, in the foregone phrases; still there are other considerations that could not be straitjacketed into any categorical imperative and had to be considered individually. Most of the following therefore are India’s specific considerations vis-à-vis the concurrent developments that has the potentiality to affect and guide the FP and IR domain. So, we intended to bring this under different and separate category. Any added information will be given as and when we discuss that particular nation in detail further down the text. This will in a way act as the starter for the whole text and conceptually make the readers appreciative of the events and issues as and when it comes up later in the write up.
Foreign Policy Considerations
The burgeoning size and growth of the India economy is drawing so much attention in the world’s psyche and in the international arena, that whether there is commensurate enhancement of India’s political influence and military power is not being studied and analysed in proper perspective. Given the subcontinental geography and years of history witness to invasions and incursions through the thousands of miles of land and sea frontiers, a suitable perspective might view India isolated amongst the large
GIVE CITIZENSHIP TO SRI LANKAN TAMILS:
KARUNANIDHI TO PM
Claiming that Tamils in Sri Lanka are being treated like “second class citizens”, DMK chief M Karunanidhi has written to Pnme Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that New Delhi should move a resolution
in the UN General Assembly and the UNHRC for bestowing rights” to Lankan Tamils to “decide a political solution by themselves”. He has also asked the government to employ ‘allPossible diplomatic strategies” to drum up support for the resolution.The DMK chief’s letter, handed over to the Prime Minister by a delegation of DMK MPs led by its parliamentary party leader T R Baalu, contained demands which were part of the resolutions adopted at the controversial conference his party organised in Chennaiearlier to highlight the plight of Tamils in Lanka. In his letter, Karunanidhi has demanded that all Sri Lankan refugees living inIndia should be granted Indian citizenship or permanent resident status.He has said the UN protocol on refugees should be followed in India, He has also asked the Centre to send a team to Sri Lanka to monitor use of Rs 500-crore rehabilitation aid, avoid training Sri Lankan defence personnel and ensure steps to “protect’ Indian fisherman from attacks by Sri Lankan Navy. Karunanidhi has said India should “play its primary role’ in implementing the soiubons. Including release of imprisoned Tamils, free and safe homecoming for the overseas Sri Lankan Tamils, and restoring Tamil traditionand culture.The camps and even the localities where Tamils live today are like military controlled areas with the presence of ArmyPersonnel all over the Tamil traditional h iomeland. Lacking n civic facilities., Sri Lankan Tamils have no democratic space to air theirgnevances, speak out and protest peacefully. The situation is such that they live in constant fear of apprehension and 3riguish,” he wrote.
economies of the world, faced with an unfavourable environment outside its boundaries, and not possessing the aggressive politico-military power projection to protect and sustain peaceful national development.
In the coming decades, the largest economies in the world should comprise the United States, China, Japan, India, the European Union and the Russian federation. Of these India stands out alone outside the cover of defence alliances or the military tradition of countries, which have owed their national developments during -the 19th and 20th centuries to the strength of military machines, and in authoritarian regimes as the political arm of the ruling power. Industrial development in India progressed only after Independence and in the tradition of then Non-violent ethos of the freedom struggle, and indeed of the peace-loving citizens of democratic India, military industrial complexes, as established in the other large economies, were not even contemplated.
India after Independence was not fully prepared for the interplay of global
- forces, politico-military, ideological rivalries, extraterritorial ambitions of aggressive authoritarian Powers, erupting like the Russian Federation. India has long years of time-tested .friendship, the perfect sense of high responsibility, which is the hallmark of India’s policy towards nuclear non-proliferation.
In spite of the dramatic strides made in political and economic cooperation between India and the United States and with the European Union, the developing country priorities of over-riding importance to India are still being resisted by the advanced countries. The United Nations which in its early years had a composite agenda for economic development lost the initiative and control to the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which are now controlled by the industrially advanced States, either because of their trading power or by virtue of their voting .rights as in the World bank and the IMF. It is in this overall context that foreign policy has the challenge of promoting strategic partnerships that enable for mutual satisfaction in the political, economic as well as in the development and world trade fields.
Even though it took longer than necessary for moving beyond the im mediate neighbourhood in the decade of economic liberalization and globalization, the Look East policy has been very successful indeed, bringing the Association of South East Asian Nations and East Asia so close to India as to have seen four India-ASEAN Summits, as well as India’s participation last year in the first East Asia Summit. ASEAN has been in detail analysed in the write-up. It is as well a matter of proactive foreign policy that Japan and India have also moved to not only closer economic cooperation but also politically strategic partnership in the evolving Asian dynamics.
In West Asia however, the immense fund of goodwill for Indian foreign policy in the Arab world, and incon’ trovertible fact till the end of the 20th century, is now no longer perceived by the Arabs as an interminable feature of Indian diplomacy. This is because of the Arab perception that India is no longer as visible or perceptible when there are crises in Iraq, or in Palestine, or in Lebanon, or when a crisis situation is confronting Iran. In the Arab world to recognize the dynamics of democratic India’s foreign policy we have taken an analytical bent of mind.- Also we look at the whole flora and fauna of IR in the region under the backdrop of Arab Uprising.
Even as your writes, the scene keep on unfolding with newer geopolitical realities in Syria where now even nations like Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran (for sure) are taking sides according to their own pragmatic cost benefit analysis. How does India stand out in all this has been discussed in detail.
The directional content of India’s foreign policy in Africa, as also in Latin America, is also a challenge for Indian diplomacy and demanding when compared with the international role played by other major powers. India’s aspirations for being a Permanent member of the United Nations Security Council are not flying with the Indian flag on the African continent which has than 50 countries, while the Indian flag flies in resident diplomatic missions in less than half of this number.
On the other hand all other major Powers-China, Russian Federation, France, United Kingdom and the United States have each of them resident diplomatic missions in than 40 countries of the African continent. In 1978, the Estimates Committee of the Parliament of India, in its report on the functioning of the Ministry of External Affairs, recommended establishment of iesident diplomatic missions in as many countries as possible, as it was considered by the Estimates Committee that India’s interests: political, economic, commercial, cultural cannot be effectively promoted and advanced by Indian Embassy officers visiting one or twice a year from another neighbouring counh–y_
As a result of these recommendations, a number of Indian diplomatic missions were established in Africa, as in other continents in the 1980s. However, in later years these missions were closed because of budgetary constraints, which