Indian Foreign Policy

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RayC
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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby RayC » 01 Aug 2009 12:00

With due regards to the PM, I wonder if he understands geopolitics to the extent that a PM is expected to know.

His 'India loves you, Mr Bush' and his Havana and Sharm al Sheik 'escapades' belie the idea that his understanding is beyond a cosy drawing room tête-à-tête that one has with friends over a debating issue! Reminds me of the serial, 'I Love Lucy'!

I am not aware of the backroom activity, but prima facie, we are in for troubled times!

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby pgbhat » 02 Aug 2009 03:18

Seasoned by terror, from Lanka to Lima - New foreign secretary only woman to tour entire border with China
On December 17, 1996, Rao, then envoy to Peru, was at the residence of the Japanese ambassador in Lima, attending a celebration of Emperor Akihito’s birthday.

Ten minutes after she left the reception for a dinner elsewhere, a dozen-plus members of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, disguised as waiters, broke in and took nearly 500 guests hostage, including Rao’s counterparts from Canada, Greece and Germany and Alejandro Toledo, who became Peru’s President five years later.
<SNIP>
The new foreign secretary is one of the few civilians and the only woman to have toured the entire forward area on the Indian side of the country’s border with China, so extensively as to know the boundary like the back of her hand.

So much so that in 2003, when Brajesh Mishra, who had just been appointed special representative on the border question, convened the first round of upgraded talks to resolve the boundary problem, he asked Rao to join his delegation.

Mishra’s decision was unorthodox in a set-up where turf is zealously guarded: Rao was then additional secretary in the ministry of external affairs (MEA) in charge of administration and had nothing even remotely to do with the border dispute.

If Mishra was an exception within the Indian government — where institutional memory is rarely acknowledged — Rao’s expertise on the Sino-Indian border is much more widely respected abroad. Her paper on the subject written during a year’s fellowship at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs is considered by Asian scholars as a seminal work on the border dispute.
<SNIP>
From Lima, she was concurrently accredited as ambassador to Bolivia, a country that India has never bothered much about. But Rao was quick to spot opportunities, which eventually led to a $2.1-billion private sector investment and a licence to mine 20 billion tonnes of iron ore deposits in that country’s El Mutun area.

In Peru, she managed to persuade President K.R. Narayanan to visit Lima and President Alberto Fujimori to be chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby John Snow » 02 Aug 2009 03:29

She was also very good in giving mooh thod jawab during TSP terror and Mushy visit to Agra and Dargas

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby svinayak » 03 Aug 2009 06:31

Indian Foreign Policy in the 21st Century
Rahul Sagar
01/23/2009
http://casi.ssc.upenn.edu/iit/sagar

If India becomes one of the leading powers of the 21st century, as is widely predicted, how will it exercise its power and influence? The answer to this question is being shaped by four competing visions of India’s place in the international system. The oldest of these can be traced to India’s struggle for freedom, when homage was paid to the notion that India ought to serve as a counterexample to the West’s role in international affairs. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, translated this urge into policy by seeking to have India set the standard for peaceful and cooperative behavior. He recommended non-alignment as a means to avoid the conflict associated with balance of power politics, and to allow India the freedom to speak and act morally. He also eschewed the cultivation of military strength, expressing unhappiness with the notion that peace must be sought through strength. The example of the freedom movement recommended to him was instead the use of reason as a means of resolving political disputes.

Should it continue to be influential, the desire to act in an exemplary or principled fashion will cause India to remain skeptical of alliances. It will also continue to take the lead in endeavoring to ensure that international regimes do not undermine the interests of the developing world. Above all else, it promises that India will continue to use civil means to challenge what it sees as discriminatory features of the international order. In other words, argumentative diplomacy will remain the leitmotif of Indian conduct. However, it is increasingly unclear whether India’s future conduct will be shaped by Nehru’s vision, as his policies face a growing chorus of criticism from those who wish to see India adopt stances that correspond to its cultural, military, and economic potential.

A second vision – the oldest and most trenchant of these critiques – has been authored by the Hindu nationalists, who are driven by pride in what they consider the self-evident importance of Indian civilization, and shame at its past subjugation by Muslim and British invaders, and at its continuing weak response to security threats. The only way to resurrect the glory of India and to prevent the reoccurrence of humiliation, they argue, is via the cultivation of national strength, which requires a unified and muscular Hindu society.

At present, this vision has decidedly limited purchase on the Indian mind. This owes, in part, to a deeply ingrained cultural preference for diffusing conflict through accommodation. In addition, the heterogeneity of Indian society, and the fractious identity politics this generates, has thwarted the electoral prospects of the Hindu nationalists. Moreover, even if they are able to expand their share of the national vote, they face significant obstacles in executing their vision. When in power, they have tended to focus on symbolic policies instead of actually taking the steps necessary to promote national strength. Should they overcome this defect and commit themselves to the hard task of governance, they will still have to face the challenge posed by the steady weakening of the Indian state, which is increasingly characterized by corruption and inertia, and is unlikely to be able to act purposefully any time soon.

A third vision for India emerges from the country’s nascent strategic community, whose members take the view that military power is the best guarantor of peace and security. They argue India must develop a credible second-strike nuclear capability and a comprehensive array of conventional military forces, including the capacity to project force beyond the subcontinent. Thus far, this view has found little support amongst India’s political elite, who are generally uneducated about strategic affairs. As a result, there is an undeniable sense in which the operative mentality in strategic affairs has been one of ad-hocism. This pattern of behavior is likely to remain undisturbed for the foreseeable future, as the growth of coalition politics encourages the adoption of policies directed at the exigencies of competitive electoral politics. It can perhaps only be altered by the experience of mass suffering, which alone could produce a nationwide constituency for strategic planning.

A fourth vision of India’s place in the world has come from liberals, who argue that economic power, rather than moral prestige or military strength, ought to be India’s objective, since the interdependence fostered by globalization rewards pragmatism and makes violent conflict unprofitable. Should the liberal vision prevail, India’s external policies will, correspondingly, be directed primarily toward ensuring access to resources and markets. India’s formative experiences, as well as its steadily deepening social and economic links with the West in particular, will make it unwilling to use force to obtain these objectives. Instead, it will strongly favor the development of multilateral regimes to regulate international trade and politics. Furthermore, the populist character of India’s democracy and political culture, as well as its enormous developmental needs, make it likely that trade surpluses will be invested in social, rather than military, programs. A prosperous India, in this respect, will more likely resemble post-war Europe than either contemporary America or China.

It is not clear, however, that the liberal vision will easily prevail. The gradual embrace of the market economy, which began in 1991, promises to transform India into one of the three largest economies in the world. But serious challenges loom on the horizon. Refracted through the prism of identity politics, pent-up needs and desires have begun to produce an impatient and increasingly rapacious democratic politics. The political class that is emerging from this churn revels in a fiscally lethal competitive populism and a constitutionally lethal politicization of public institutions. The most immediate consequence of these trends has been a steady deterioration in the rule of law, which ultimately threatens economic stability.

It is unlikely that any one of the four visions outlined above will monopolize the Indian worldview in the 21st century. What matters instead therefore is their comparative influence. With the moral fervor of the past quickly fading, and neither Hindu nationalism nor strategic thinkers able to gain a foothold in the national imagination, it increasingly appears that India will prioritize its quest for prosperity. Such a development could have significant positive implications for the international system. It could satisfy India’s desire for recognition and create new constituencies for peace and stability in Asia and beyond, founded on the prospect of mutually beneficial trade and investment.
While the attainment of prosperity will greatly depend on India’s own efforts, it would be naïve to imagine that it will not also depend on America’s and China’s willingness to countenance the same. Any effort on their part to thwart India’s quest will likely set in motion a contrary dynamic, as calls to enhance India’s military power will grow louder – and be heeded more closely. Hence, if the liberal vision is to ultimately prevail, it will require willingness on the part of the leading powers of today to rewrite the usual ending.

Rahul Sagar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. The full version of this article, entitled “State of Mind: What Kind of Power Will India Become?” will be published by International Affairs in July 2009.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby arun » 04 Aug 2009 14:25

Ramachandra Guha in the July 30, 2009 edition of the Hindustan Times.

The advanced age, all are over 75 years old, of the senior three individuals involved in Indian foreign policy, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna and National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan may be a factor in the recent foreign policy fiasco’s

Twilight years for our foreign policy

……………… At the risk of being accused of ‘age-ism’, one must ask whether the recent misjudgements in our dealings with Pakistan and the United States are completely unconnected with the age of our principal negotiators. For the worrying thing is that the prime minister, the foreign minister and the NSA are all the wrong side of 75. In the rocky ocean of global politics, the Indian ship of State can carry one old man, perhaps even two. But three? ……………............

Hindustan Times

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby putnanja » 14 Aug 2009 06:44

MEA calls meet of Indian envoys

The Ministry of External Affairs has called a meeting of the 120-odd Indian ambassadors and heads of missions (HoMs) from August 24 to 26, the first such meeting after the UPA returned to power. This will also be the first meeting of ambassadors since new External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao took over.
...
...
indications are that South Block will explain India's approach towards Pakistan in the backdrop of the Sharm-el-Sheikh joint statement which kicked up a storm at the domestic level. There could also be some “brainstorming” on the China policy in the face of “aggressive overtures” from certain quarters in Beijing.
...

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Rony » 22 Aug 2009 09:12

Book Review: Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri


The author correctly and carefully cautions India’s policy-makers in their dealings with the two major global players—the US and China. We are told that India cannot attain great power status by piggy-backing the US. In his assessment, China has always tried to keep India “boxed” in South Asia by pitting it against Pakistan and other smaller neighbours. To break out of this ‘box’ India must win over its neighbours through creative policies and economic generosity. After complimenting India for pursuing a vigorous ‘Look-East’ policy, Sikri strongly pleads for a dynamic ‘Look-West’ policy where India must engage with Iran, build cooperative relations with Central Asia and reinforce its strategic understanding and interaction with Russia. According to him, the real and sustainable road to great power status lies through building economic and strategic capabilities and sharpe-ning diplomatic resilience through bold and innovative moves.

The book strongly and passionately argues against the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. This is done on the fear that India’s independent foreign policy will be compromised, while arguing at the same time that there is need for India to develop ‘all round’ ties with the US and also that “the spirit of July 18, (2008) Agreement was fine”. Now that the deal is past by one year, one needs to review if the suspected “compromises” have been made in India’s policy on behalf of the US. The jury may still be out on this sensitive question, particularly in the light of the raging debate over the end-use monitoring agreement and the ‘enrichment and re-processing technology’ issues, though the in-house US intelligence assessment on India is that it would not tow the Washington line on any issue unless that is seen in its own interest. In the past, it was India’s subtle act in the balance-of-power exercise that made it lean towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War, as the Soviets were a comparatively weaker power. Now that the US power seems to have peaked and China is rising fast to catch up with it and possibly leave it behind, will it be advisable to argue to lean towards the US in the interest of the emerging global balance?

THE discussion on China in the book has been presented with a focus on the Tibet question. The author’s arguments are somewhat confusing when he says that India should withdraw its recognition of Tibet being a part of China if there is any change in the “autonomous region” status of Tibet. (p. 102) How can it be done and with what implications? Because the problem is in interpreting the meaning of “autonomous” status in this respect, that is, to follow the Dalai Lama’s definition or the Beijing definition. That is the crux of the problem. India in fact has substantially and materially diluted its position on Tibet over the years. In 2002, India reiterated that the “territory of the Tibet Autonomous Region is a part of the People’s Republic of China”. This was done in return for the softening of the Chinese position on Sikkim’s merger with the Indian Union. What India needs to do is to insist on the fact that the onus of resolving the Tibet issue is on China, and for that possibly raise an international campaign. Without the resolution of the Tibet issue, there cannot be any solution of the Sino-Indian border dispute. India simply cannot abandon the Tibetans and the Dalai Lama to let the Chinese deal with Tibet in a manner they want. Unfortunately, India’s position during the third Tibet uprising in March 2008 was not reassuring in this respect at all. While pleading for peaceful relations with China, the author prescribes moves that are bound to generate heat in Sino-Indian relations, that is, claim the ownership of Kailash and Mansarover, as also the Karakoram Highway and the part of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir ceded by Pakistan in 1963; build up counter pressures on China by mobilising support from the US and Japan; counter China’s capabilities in the Indian Ocean. There is an inherent contradiction between these arguments.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby putnanja » 26 Aug 2009 13:24

Posting it here for lack of relevant thread...

‘No accord signed during Antony’s visit to Maldives’

NEW DELHI: Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s visit to the Maldives last week seems to have stirred politics in the placid waters around Male, following media reports of an impending defence pact between the two countries to set up a chain of radars across some atolls in the island nation.

Though there has been no official confirmation here on this, Defence Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar on Tuesday said no agreement was signed during Mr. Antony’s August 20-22 visit.

...
...
Subsequently, reports from Male said President Mohammed Nasheed referred to these reports as speculation during his radio address last week.

Mr. Nasheed was quoted as saying that stories about the development were incorrect, and that his government would do nothing that would affect the country’s sovereignty and independence.

The President made the observations when Mr. Antony was in the country.
...

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Hari Seldon » 04 Sep 2009 09:50

India dares UNSC expansion opponents to straw poll

Hitting hard at the countries who have been blocking the expansion of UN Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, India today dared such nations to schedule a straw poll in the UN General Assembly to prove that they have the numbers.

"If there is genuine doubt about the basic premise that most delegations support expansion in both categories, then, my knowledge of mathematics tells me that we should test the hypothesis scientifically," Indian's permanent envoy to the United Nations Hardeep Singh Puri said.


:roll: Are we really that naive or merely playing naive? Just wondering only.

link

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Venkarl » 06 Sep 2009 23:44

Inside the Indian Foreign Service -- Kishan.S.Rana

A dated article..apologies if posted already.

IMO..its a nice educational stuff for the aspiring and young IFS officers.

Venkat.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Philip » 09 Sep 2009 11:25

The latest missive from Fin.Min. Pranabji ,turfing out in such an indecent manner our two most worthy heads of the MEA,SM Krishna and his deputy,Shashi Tharoor,from their temporary comforts in 7* hotels,while their official residences are being renovated "fit for habitation",smacks of jealousy.The Scrooge like FM has treated these worthy ministers entrusted with the safe keeping of India's foreign policy shabbily.How will the world have any respect for India's foreign policy and interests if their FM and his deputy are not attended to by charming hostesses and their precious backsides are not seated in the climate-controlled comfort of a 7* suite? If they are treated like serfs,the Chinese.with whom we are having problems with will have no respect for us whatsoever,not to mention the Middle East kingdoms and the EU bureaucrats of Brussels legendary for their lavish luncheons!

As for our dandy of an FM,and his reassuring remarks about the border being as peaceful as a baby's bottom,no wonder he cannot see any looming threat with China when he is safely and serenely esconced in 7* comfort in his suite at at the Maurya,running up a 3 month bill of 90 lakhs (probably costing far more than the renovations to his official residence),while his junior partner in the MEA,the ex-UN diplodocus ran up a smaller bill of only around 40 lakhs at the Taj! With the two ministerial worthies of the MEA conforming to perfect protocol in the fastidousness of their surroundings-one cannot have them staying in Western Court rubbing shoulders with fellow parliamentarians beneath them in protocol's pecking order,we are fortunate to be reassured that with them so well ensconced and well groomed,they will do their diplomatic duty with elan and elegance.On seeing Krishna's sartorial cut (and thrust we hope) and the equally elegant Tharoor in native attire,the Chinese diplomats will be definitely outdressed ,lose face and will realise their inferiority,sending their troops scuttling back across the border in disgrace!
What eminent diplomatic strategy from our MEA top mandarins.They could teach Chanakya,and the British MPs all combined a thing or two about "expenses"!

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 09 Sep 2009 12:05

Philip wrote:The latest missive from Fin.Min. Pranabji ,turfing out in such an indecent manner our two most worthy heads of the MEA,SM Krishna and his deputy,Shashi Tharoor,from their temporary comforts in 7* hotels,while their official residences are being renovated "fit for habitation",smacks of jealousy.

Philip, your hatred of the current ministerial setup, including Sri PM, is well-established. Sri Tharoor in his blog has said that he is paying for the hotel stay from his pocket. Plus, the new place of stay which he is now consigned to will COST the exchequer money, in contrast to the previous one where he was paying out of his pocket. Nothing is known about the case of Sri FM. I do not have a reason to disbelieve Sri Tharoor, unless you bring more datapoints to this. From what I have seen so far, the reason why Sri Pranabda asked em to move out was more out of a symbolism of ministers staying in 7* hotels in a country with a large number of poor. So why this venom?

Btw, what does this have to do with foreign policy?! How does it matter whether Sri Krishna has an eclectic taste for sartorial stuff or not?

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Philip » 09 Sep 2009 12:26

I have no "venom" Stan for any of our good members of the GOI,but a critical eye for a failure by any of them to remember that they are first of all servants of the people and not their "rulers".The other on-going scandal where MPs can fly Business class (34 tks per year),while babus have been brought down to economy is another outrage.It cuts across all parties.Uncle George used to always fly economy and had just one aide accompanying him.If you see a convoy of a VVIP these days in India,it outnumbers by a factor of a hundred what a head of a developed country like Britain for example travel with.Just as British MPs said that they would pay for their inflated "expenses" after being caught out,so too Krishna's statement that he would pay for his expenses (90 lakhs!) is an afterthought in a lame attempt to defuse the expose.It also indicates that if he is gong to pay for his piddling hotel bill of 90 lakhs,he has a bounteous fortune stashed away somewhere.I wonder what the stated figures of his wealth are? It certainly is reassuring to the Indian taxpayer that in these days of recession the Foreign Minister is so well-heeled,as is his deputy,but he at least earlier lived off a fat UN salary.As for sartorially perfect ministers and their performance,remember another worthy who headed the Home Ministry during 26/11,what was his name?

In case anyone on BR missed it,we are a free country and freedom of expression for all is guaranteed by the Constitution.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby RayC » 09 Sep 2009 12:31

The Congress is cosmetic is my opinion.

First, they give a diktat that none can use their title - as if that makes any difference.

Now, they are bothered where the Ministers, with their own money, stay.

Public perception?

Now about their not using govt aircraft, helicopters and cars and stay in the JJ colonies? And stop wearing designer clothes, including the good old Madam 'Maharani'?

The Indian public is not that stupid as they think it is!!

What about organising govt accommodation before appointing Ministers?

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby amardeep_s » 09 Sep 2009 12:41


Stan_Savljevic
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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 09 Sep 2009 13:00

Philip wrote:In case anyone on BR missed it, we are a free country and freedom of expression for all is guaranteed by the Constitution.

The value of freedom is understood only by those who have fought to win it, not by those who assume it to be a god-given right. In any case, freedom of expression is a valid excuse only till that freedom is not abused.

Till now, all reports only say that the ministers have paid on their own. So what bothers people IF by the power of their positions, the hotels reduce the rates for them and the ministers can pay from their pockets without making a big dent. Surely unethical, but not a crime. It is an agreement between the hotel and the guest. All data points (as below) point to such an agreement:
Both pay their own bills but neither of them — nor the hotels — say how much they have paid so far. According to their poll affidavits, Krishna has assets worth Rs 18 crore and Tharoor Rs 15 crore.

Neither minister is a pauper and can afford to pay the bills. There is a RTI act to find if really the tax-payer is paying for these guys comforts. Before we start accusing ministers of stupid-ass things, we need to verify the claims and have a valid excuse lest we make this forum a travesty and a rona-dhona forum.

PS: I still dont understand why in Foreign Policy thread. Good governance maybe.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Philip » 09 Sep 2009 14:55

In a country like India symbols are very important,especially when the majority of our countrymen can afford only one meal.To see their "rulers " roosting like maharajahs grates on the mind.One can't mention names and instances here fro obvious reasons,but it is commonly known that the richest Indians today are the political class who have sucked blood from the poor.We are in a list of favourites for being the most corrupt in the world.The fact that the ministers have left the comforts of their hotel suites for govt. guesthouses speaks for itself! I also wonder why they could not have been put up by the GOI in the Ashoka or any other hotel run by ITDC? I know that standards there are probably below par for the course,but the GOI could've evolved a mechanism for housing its ministers who have the problem quite often of getting former incumbents of ministerial posts vacating their official residences.I do not think that I've abused at all my right to free speech on the issue.As Churchill famously said,"When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticise or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home. "

Back to Foreign Policy.In the telly debates on the Chinese incursions,we see a clear disticntion between the attitude of the diplomatic fraternity and that of the security apparatus.The diplomats seem to take the view that since the border is disputed,we can't make too much noise about incursions! This is simply absurd.By the same yardstick the Pakis can likewise make incursions into India,the most famous in recent times was that at Kargil by Gen.Mush-a-rat.We know what time and cost it took to evict the Pakis.We were on the brink of a wider war and only ABVs insistence that we not cross the LOC prevented a wider war.One can argue that in the case of the border dispute with China,there is no agreed upon LOC,therefore the Chinese are taking advantage.But if this continues,as said elsewhere,"Possession is 9/10ths of the law" and the Chinese will landgrab by might ,whether they have the right or not to do so.In the Ladakh/Aksai Chin sector,China has been ceded land occupied by Pak.and is now building another highway link to Pak.What is the GOI's stand on the issue? Do we take it lying down? There should be at least some strong symbolic diplomatic protest for the record.

It is here that the Indian MEA is behaving like a bunch of losers.We have no agressive counterattack attitude whatsoever.This places a massive burden on the military who are deliberately kept out of foreign policy decisionmaking being used only for firefighting when the situ explodes.This attitude would never have happened during Mrs.G's time.I don't think that it would've happened during Rajiv's either.Both the good doctor and his FM display weak leadership styles and the enemy is making maximum use of their apparent aversion to taking tough decisions.This display of apparent weakness (which might not be the case during a crisis) however, leads to a false perception that we are a weak state and mischief can be let afoot and mistaken perceptions lead to mishcievous actions.I say this not out of any "venom" for the good doctor and his FM,but we've just witnessed their extraordinary own goal at S-al-S which had the entire nation in uproar! It is to be viewed in this context therefore,that the lifestyle of our top mandarins of the MEA reinforce in the eyes of the enemy that we are not only weak but also soft.As Stalin supposedly said,"when you find mush,push the blade in hard,but if you find steel,withdraw".China is pushing hard with their bayonets in the Himalyan heights nd finding no resistance.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby kshirin » 09 Sep 2009 23:45

Philip wrote:If you see a convoy of a VVIP these days in India,it outnumbers by a factor of a hundred what a head of a developed country like Britain for example travel with.Just as British MPs said that they would pay for their inflated "expenses" after being caught out,so too Krishna's statement that he would pay for his expenses (90 lakhs!) is an afterthought in a lame attempt to defuse the expose.It also indicates that if he is gong to pay for his piddling hotel bill of 90 lakhs,he has a bounteous fortune stashed away somewhere.I wonder what the stated figures of his wealth are?


I agree the real issue is how are our elected reps able to pay such bills? RTIs should be filed on income sources.

Also, it is clear that MEA is not allowed to run foreign policy on the key issues anymore.

Regarding luxurious lifestyles, when you look at Delhi, and the MCD scandal of missing persons on the payroll, or you probe in any government department, such cover ups will be found. Whistleblowers are punished. Government provides many opportunities for patronage and free rides. The poor man's blood is indeed being sucked dry. The tragedy is that no one needs to be poor in this country - there is so much welfare money sloshing around but ending up in the wrong people's hands. We have to collectively stop this rot or it could eat up our fighting abilities and moral backbone. Thats is why this discussion does belong in this thread.

Could I know why exactly you reduce the font size in spite of repeated requests
not to do so ?
Rahul.
Last edited by Rahul M on 09 Sep 2009 23:50, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edited font size for readability.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby svinayak » 15 Sep 2009 02:24

http://polaris.nationalinterest.in/

What should be the role of think tanks and the independent policy analysts they house?

by Dhruva Jaishankar

Introspection and Questions

We are in the midst of a period of considerable introspection within India’s strategic community. Such introspection is only natural in periods of marked change (think of the existential angst pouring forth on the perceived demise of the American newspaper http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008 ... t_alterman). India’s growing strategic clout and the concomitant underdevelopment of a supplementary policy infrastructure has led to renewed attention paid to the state of international studies (Mutthiah Alagappa http://pragati.nationalinterest.in/2009 ... l-studies/, Amitabh Mattoo http://pragati.nationalinterest.in/2009 ... l-studies/), the necessity of an adequate ideas industry (Rohit Pradhan and Sushant K. Singh http://southasia.oneworld.net/opinionco ... hink-tanks), and the reorganisation of the Indian Foreign Service (Satinder Lambah http://igovernment.in/site/IFS-cadre-pr ... Hyderabad/).

Now, just as the calls for expanding, financing and empowering India’s strategic community multiply, Neil Padukone of the Observer Research Foundation (http://www.observerindia.com/cms/sites/ ... acmaid=818) contributes a sharp critique of the think tank industry. Many of the complaints think tank experts have of Indian policy, he says, are just as applicable to their own burgeoning sector:

The common conclusions [of the strategic community] do not necessarily speak to a lack of diversity in thought, but rather to an important consensus across a broad spectrum. These conclusions are simple, yet meaningful—if not of the utmost importance for India’s future:

—India lacks a vision of itself in the world; it needs one.
—India has a very reactive strategic culture, unsure of its own potential; this should change.
—Indian government is too stove-piped; to harness its full potential, government must be integrated and coordinated across disciplines (to this I would add, across scales).
—Weak governance processes inhibit policy execution; these processes must be fixed.
—Plans too often remain in office cabinets and hard drives; they must stop gathering dust and be implemented.

But however important these insights and recommendations, the ‘strategic community’ does not practice what it preaches; moreover, we often blame others for what are essentially our own shortcomings. Think of the answers to a few, seemingly simple questions:

What is the role of think tanks and non-governmental ‘strategic analysts’ in Indian affairs? Are they publishing houses? Academic havens? Shadow governments? “Not quite sure…to inform public opinion?” Never mind that no one outside our clique listens, or is involved in the process. Quite a vision.

How should we go about enacting the policies and ideas we recommend? “The government should just take our policy suggestions; it’s up to them how to implement it.” Criticizing is just the easy part…so much for a focus on process.

Why haven’t these ideas been integrated and cross-pollinated with economists, education policy planners, business, climate scientists, development practitioners and others to forge a vision of where India should be?“Because the same people attend the same conferences saying the same things…” More integrated and coordinated, eh?

Why aren’t we acting on any of these ideas? “The government does not listen to us; there is nothing we can do.” It seems our plans are gathering dust because we’re waiting for others to act…Reactive indeed. [Observer Research Foundation]

Padukone’s objective is not simply to expose double-standards, but to suggest fresh approaches. Yet, in the process, he asks a vital question that advocates of a more robust Indian foreign policy infrastructure, amongst whom I count myself, must consider: What should be the role of think tanks (and the independent policy analysts they house)? Should they be academic havens, shadow governments or publishing houses? Or something else altogether?

Think Tanks, Government and Academia

Some of the confusion surrounding the role of think tanks in India results from their peculiar evolution. Independent Indian think tanks—like those almost anywhere—developed in conscious emulation of American (and, to a lesser extent, British) institutions. In the United States, think tanks can and often do serve all three purposes: they engage in academic scholarship like universities, they produce written material for government and public consumption, and they act as homes for those out of power. In addition, they serve a fourth valuable purpose: that of convenor, bringing together policy-makers and experts from different countries, and allowing for interface between officials and non-officials. Yet, these arrangements are all premised on a certain kind of government, one that has mechanisms for incorporating large numbers of non-career government officials, is open to considering ideas generated outside of government, and is willing to interface regularly with independent experts.

This arrangement is a rarity in any country, including India. And it doesn’t always work so well in the United States either. Two recent articles provided sobering indictments about the relationship between those making policy in the United States and those attempting to shape it from outside government; the fact that they were written by individuals whose names carried weight with both communities lent them added importance. In January, Eliot Cohen, emerging from his first tenure in the senior levels of government, observed in The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123267054604308313.html) that “government pays only intermittent attention to talk on the outside. To a remarkable extent, in fact, government talks only to itself.” In other words, as much as us policy wonks would like to think otherwise, our work does little to achieve our desired objectives.

Three months later, Joseph Nye wrote in The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 02260.html): “Scholars are paying less attention to questions about how their work relates to the policy world, and in many departments a focus on policy can hurt one’s career.” The academy, the traditional centre of scholarship, has ceded territory to think tanks, a development that Nye argues has diminished the policy process.

Bridging the Gap

How differences are to be overcome between policy-maker and policy expert is central to the question of what role think tanks ought to play, in India or elsewhere. More than fifteen years ago, the late Alexander George, then recently retired from Stanford, addressed this very question in his book Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in Foreign Policy (http://books.google.com/books?id=4I7Aid ... q=&f=false). While concerned mostly with American foreign policy, much of his analysis of the interplay between ideas and practice has wider applications, outside the United States, and to domestic social and economic policy.

George outlines biases that policy intellectuals and policy-makers have about one another. Academic analysts are seen as prone to over-intellectualization, abstraction and incomprehensibility, not to mention dismissive of political factors; policy-makers are regularly accused of a tendency to simplify, an ignorance of history, and an oversensitivity to perceptions and politics, among other weaknesses. While an expert’s objective is rational decision-making, a policymaker’s goal is effective decision-making, which takes into account political and bureaucratic limitations.

To overcome these biases, external experts need to listen to what policy-makers need, and understand also what they are best-equipped to provide. What they are not well-equipped to provide is policy prescriptions. Really, when you think about it, the idea that someone sitting at a think tank, no matter how much of an expert on a given subject, should spell out what a government should do—with no responsibility, no knowledge of political considerations and no access to classified material—is faintly absurd. Yet that is something think tanks everywhere spend much time and energy doing.

George concludes that there are three kinds of knowledge useful for policy-makers that academic experts are well-equipped to provide. To expand somewhat on them (he was writing specifically on foreign policy), these are (i) abstract conceptual models (big ideas, like ‘deterrence’ or ‘containment’) that provide starting points for strategies, (ii) general knowledge produced by systematic and cumulative empirical research (historical, economic, etc.) which leads to identifying favourable conditions to enact policy, and (iii) detailed studies of specific problems grounded in fine-grained or local knowledge meant to provide policy-makers with better understandings of an individual challenge. Most else is of little use to the policy-maker given his or her position and objectives. The first category of knowledge lends itself to strategic thinking bordering on the philosophical, the second to amassing and analyzing large quantities of data and drawing insights, while the third may require specialized skills, including language training, or field-work. All take considerable time and effort that most policy-makers can scarcely afford. All three complement rather than attempt to replicate (or replace) the policy-making process.

Streams, Windows and Entrepreneurs

One notable shortfall, articulated by Padukone among others, is the absence of studying processes of policy-making. Most such research is difficult to accomplish and often mind-numbing in its dryness. There are, however, a handful of examples of accessible and informed writing on the subject. Stephen Krasner, previously director of policy planning in the U.S. State Department, offers one good example (http://books.google.com/books?id=V9z4sw ... q=&f=false). He describes a model of policy ’streams’ and ‘windows,’ developed by other scholars before him (he abjures responsibility for the unfortunate mixed metaphors).

At the risk of oversimplification, the model essentially consists of three parallel but independent ’streams’: policy problems, policy alternatives and politics. Only when the three are aligned, does a ‘window’ open for policy to be enacted. You can have a set of policy alternatives in place, but it is not unless the political situation is right, and that there is a related problem to be faced, that any of those alternatives can be seriously considered. To actively force through a given policy requires the efforts of a ‘policy entrepreneur,’ who can work to create the right conditions or increase the likelihood of the streams’ alignment.

George’s refinement of the types of knowledge useful for policy-makers is valuable but also rather limiting. The model that Krasner describes suggests areas where independent policy wonks can exert leverage and influence. They can identify and inform potential policy entrepreneurs, they can assess the prospects of alignment of the three streams, they can (within limits) provide policy alternatives, and they can anticipate potential challenges.

India is at a distinct advantage, in the sense that its independent strategic community is developing late, and has the ability to draw on the cumulative experiences of other countries with richer histories. A vibrant strategic community is naturally desirable, but developing one in blind emulation of the United States or anywhere else is folly given the difference in the natures of various countries’ policymaking processes. Yet, some of the lessons learned (or not learned) by the American strategic community over a matter of decades, while not universal, are certainly widely applicable. Before jumping headlong into developing a large but ineffectual think tank industry, budding idea entrepreneurs should step back and consider what role such institutions can best serve.

Dhruva Jaishankar researches U.S. foreign policy towards South Asia in Washington DC. He also writes regularly for The Indian Express and Pragati, and occasionally for other publications.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Philip » 15 Sep 2009 18:10

Good Q.What is India's interests and what is the "vision" that we have for India? Kalam might have come in for some recent criticism,but after Nehru,he has been the only articulate visionary that we have seen.Gandhi also had his vision for India,rooted in its ancient heritage.Had his vision been followed,we would've been a proud nation similar to Cuba (no disrespect to Cuba or Castro,but a nation where material wealth and rapid technological development thanks to capitalism was considered less important than social welfare).Nehru's vision was a modern India,where its new "temples" would be the giant industries run by the state like its steel plants,etc.He also gave us the foundation of our nculear industry in giving Dr.Homi Bhaba a free hand in charting out India's roadmap to nuclear self-reliance and independence. Kalam has given us his dream of India becoming a global "knowledge" superpower,using Indian native intelligence coupled with technology and good managaement to implement his dream.In this he has been very successful at igniting the dreams of lakhs of Indian schoolchildren.

Our foreign policy must be an instrument of our national 'dream" and has to be a dynamic one,as the saying goes,"a week is a long time in politics",and the global situation is as fickle as the weather.A long term vision of India's relations with the global community and the range of options to achieve them, taking into account the uncertainities of life and kingdoms,is waht the MEA should present to its rulers.In recent years however,the MEA appears to have sublet or outsourced key decisionmaking to the PMO,where the NSA appears to run "back channels" independent of the MEA as we are seeing right now with respect to Pak,merely administering the ministry.A strong creative foreign office/MEA that is the spearhead of Indian interests is sadly absent today.Equally absurdly,the final line of India's defence,its armed forces, are deliberately kept out of foreign policy in an asinine dog-in-the-manger attitude by our IAS tribe.When the sh*t hits the fan,everyone runs to the armed forces to bail them out and forgets them immediately after the crisis has past.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Hari Seldon » 17 Sep 2009 04:33

We have arrived, janta! Get out the dhols and the gulaal....the mishti and the baraat....

India lobbies hard for UNSC seat, hopes to end 18-year drought

And then we notice....
India is lobbying hard for a non-permanent seat to the UN Security Council, when the Asia seat comes up for renewal at the end of next year, hoping to end a drought that would have lasted 18 years by the time elections are held in October 2010.

India’s main rival for the Asia seat is Kazakhstan, which has never won a seat to the Security Council. India has already been elected six times, the last time as long ago in 1991-92, when the world was a completely different place.

The last time India sat on the Council, the Soviet Union was still a country and the first US invasion of Iraq was a taste of things to come in the new world order. As a non-permanent member at the time, India had little choice but to go along with the Security Council resolution sanctioning the Iraq invasion.

The Security Council consists of five veto-wielding permanent members — US, Russia, China, UK and France — and 10 non-permanent members, not allowed a veto but elected for two-year terms, from regions like Asia, Africa, eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and western Europe.


Yawn.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby sid_ashar » 17 Sep 2009 18:57

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8260230.stm

Hope indian foreign policy makers (though I doubt India has any of those since we dont have a coherent policy these days, seems to be made up as we stumble along) are taking note of the American way of doing things. Should give anyone a pause for thought before giving any critical defence contracts to american companies.

America will ditch you at a whim, if it serves their interests (there is nothing wrong with that, as long as we do the same) and to trust them is a mortal mistake. Obama has many reasons for such a dramatic U-turn after years of trying to convince Russia and the European states have failed miserably but the bottom line remains, the US just cannot be trusted for anything..

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby csharma » 09 Oct 2009 23:28

K Bhadrakumar raises some valid questions. What is the India US strategic relations and what is it getting for India apart from arms sales.

http://news.rediff.com/column/2009/oct/ ... sarray.htm

Why India's diplomacy is in disarray


India has a substantial policy crisis on its hands with the US indicating that the Taliban [ Images ] did not pose a direct threat to its interests, writes M K Bhadrakumar

The United States couldn't have chosen a worse moment to reveal its mind on the Taliban than on Thursday evening even as the details were filtering in regarding the car bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. Worse still, the Taliban lost no time claiming responsibility for the attack, which claimed 17 lives.

A senior US official in deep-briefing in Washington unveiled the thinking prevailing in the White House: The Taliban did not pose a direct threat to the US and, therefore, America's war on terror in South Asia would rather focus on tackling Al Qaeda [ Images ] inside Pakistan.

Of course, he added, Washington will "not tolerate their (Taliban's) return to power," but the US would only fight to keep the Taliban from retaking control of the central government and from giving sanctuary to Al Qaeda. The official further said Washington was bowing to the reality that the fundamentalist movement is too ingrained in Afghan national culture, as it has been for some time, and needs to be accepted in some role in parts of the country.

We have the first official signal that the Barack Obama [ Images ] administration is now inclined to send only as many more troops to Afghanistan as are needed to keep Al Qaeda at bay.

The stunning news is that the US has reframed the question 'who is the US's adversary?' What we are now to believe is that the Al Qaeda terror network is distinct from the Taliban and the US military has been for eight years fighting the Taliban even though it posed no direct threat to America.

In the history of wars, such an incredible somersault has never probably been attempted by human ingenuity. The US diplomats will now fan out from their embassies in world capitals and propagate that the Taliban has no agenda to harm other countries. This was exactly what they used to propagate a decade ago until their own embassies in Kenya and Tanzania got bombed and a gaping hole was put into USS Cole by a jihadi.

Clearly, Obama is content with ensuring that Al Qaeda doesn't regroup in Afghanistan as was the case before the 9/11 attacks. The limited American mission implies that the US will in immediate terms require only a small increase in its troop levels in Afghanistan. Most important, the US has decided to pivot its regional strategy by strengthening the Pakistani military and encouraging it to take the battle to extremists inside its borders.

All this adds up to a very substantial policy crisis for our government. The much-touted US-India strategic partnership is in tatters. The partnership is an illusion when the two sides cannot even see eye to eye on what constitutes a threat to their national security.

Curiously, the greatest irony of it all is that this should happen on the first anniversary of the nuclear deal breathing life. No less ironical is that we are still being hoodwinked about the so-called strategic partnership merely because the US President has decided that the first state banquet of his presidency will be held in honour of our prime minister.

The American gesture is completely comprehensible insofar as in all the 62 years of India's independent history, the US never had such a fabulously good fortune to have an Indian political elite ensconced in power in New Delhi [ Images ] that would bend with an ease and agility that will put David Beckham [ Images ] to shame, to ingratiate India into the US geo-strategies. Even then, as the Americans say, there is nothing like a free lunch.

After the dinner in the White House in November, our prime minister is sure to feel some pressure on his elbow as the American arm-twisting begins on awarding the upcoming multi-billion dollar defence contracts to Rayethon or Lockheed or Northrop. That is indeed going to be the price the nation will pay for our prime minister being honoured with the first state banquet of the Obama presidency.

What bothers us is how does the US-India strategic partnership work for the country's interests? We are sick and tired of this spin that our prime minister is a tall figure in the world community and that he rubs shoulders with Obama. What matters is what do we get at the end of the day out of the never-ending photo-ops in London [ Images ] or L'Aquila or Pittsburg.

It is a pathetic sight that we are today, one year down the lane, saddled with a nuclear deal that is best kept mothballed in a cloistered chamber as far away from public view as possible. We sacrificed our friendly ties with Iran on the altar of this nuclear deal. And what we find today is that the nuclear deal lies in limbo and Obama is bending over backwards to engage Iran while we don't know how to clear the debris of our lost friendship with Tehran.

India's regional isolation today is total and that is the price we have paid for aspiring to work 'shoulder to shoulder' with the US, to quote our prime minister. The Obama administration is gearing up to engage Iran, Russia [ Images ], China and the Central Asian states over the Afghan problem but will neatly sidestep India in deference to Pakistani sensitivities.

Gone are the days when we used to daydream about becoming the 'Asian balancer' in the international system.

Gone are the days when we fancied we would have a quadripartite alliance of Asian democracies with the US, Japan [ Images ] and Australia [ Images ] with a view to 'contain' China.

Gone are the days when Washington would have us believe that the US is single-mindedly working to make India a first-rate world power.

Gone are the days when we believed that the US regarded India as the pre-eminent power in the Indian Ocean region.

Gone are the days when we fancied that the US recognised India, finally, as a nuclear power and lifted the 'nuclear apartheid'.

Like autumn leaves, we are left with a huge, miserable-looking heap of broken dreams. Whoever thought a day would come when we couldn't even agree with the Americans as to who were the Taliban we both have been fighting against all these years?

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby ramana » 09 Oct 2009 23:50

Those days were gone on May11, 1998 when the S-I fizzled and was covered up for so long and continues. No wonder all take India for granted.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Prem » 10 Oct 2009 00:05

ramana wrote:Those days were gone on May11, 1998 when the S-I fizzled and was covered up for so long and continues. No wonder all take India for granted.


Fault, Dear Ramnana, lies in us not in them . We know the enemy and it is us, we still keep arguing like Chauhans and Solankis while mortal enemy/ies gather strength. Egarly wating for Dec 2012, it shal bring joy to many and lets not call S1 Fizzle or Sizzle , its in between i.e Tizzle .

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Paul » 10 Oct 2009 00:07

Ramana Saar, I remember you giving this guru gyan at a BRF meet in 2002 in Bay area....Blinded by patriotic jingoistic lenses, it did not make any sense to me then.

It is finally coming together now.

Thank you very much.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby SSridhar » 10 Oct 2009 11:40

csharma wrote:http://news.rediff.com/column/2009/oct/09/why-indias-diplomacy-is-in-disarray.htm

Why India's diplomacy is in disarray

. . .The United States couldn't have chosen a worse moment to reveal its mind on the Taliban than on Thursday evening even as the details were filtering in regarding the car bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. Worse still, the Taliban lost no time claiming responsibility for the attack, which claimed 17 lives.

A senior US official in deep-briefing in Washington unveiled the thinking prevailing in the White House: The Taliban did not pose a direct threat to the US and, therefore, America's war on terror in South Asia would rather focus on tackling Al Qaeda inside Pakistan.


This did not come as a surprise at all. Last Ramadan the US goaded King Abdullah to invite the Taliban and Karzai's representative to Jiddah to sort out differences. Karzai has been proclaiming that he was not averse to sharing power with Taliban. There has been the talk of 'good' and 'bad' Taliban for almost two years now. Pakistan has been propounding this line persistently and has once again charmed the Americans. The Americans themselves had had long years of fruitful dealing with the Taliban. They never objected to their brutal human rights records, except after the Kenyan/Tanzanian Embassy bombing and that too after the Taliban refused to help the Americans. They allowed UNOCAL to negotiate a deal and the US government tacitly supported the negotiations knowing fully well that the Taliban had allowed Al Qaeda and the Pakistani terrorist outfits to operate training centres in Af-Pak borders. So, Americans do not have a problem with the Taliban. If the Indian MEA thinks the American approach as a sudden U-turn, it is not a good advertisement for the brains within the South Block.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby csharma » 10 Oct 2009 12:04

One thought I have is that whether India becomes an Asian balancer or not depends on how India's economy grows and how its military modernization shapes up. As long as US does not active oppose these two, India should be on its way to be a balancer. There does not seem to be any evidence of US doing that since the nuclear deal is still on and India has access to US weapons.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby RayC » 10 Oct 2009 12:54

I am no expert on foreign policy or aware of the intricacies of application.

All that I understand is that we must have the wherewithal to exert our ideals where it is necessary.

To do so, we must be strong and stabilised internally and have the wherewithal to exert it externally.

In short, the bottomline in very basic terms would be that others must realise that they keep us happy so that it keeps them happy.

What is therefore the prescription?

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby csharma » 10 Oct 2009 13:17

Based on KS's prescription which is somewhat obvious, the current focus of India has to be to grow fast economically (military modernization kind of flows from here) and also increase trade and integration so that India gets allies in key places.

The main objective is to emerge as an Asian power that can stand up to China and by doing that India becomes an independent pole in the emerging multipolar world.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Virupaksha » 10 Oct 2009 13:28

csharma wrote:Based on KS's prescription which is somewhat obvious, the current focus of India has to be to grow fast economically (military modernization kind of flows from here) and also increase trade and integration so that India gets allies in key places.

The main objective is to emerge as an Asian power that can stand up to China and by doing that India becomes an independent pole in the emerging multipolar world.

The asterik in your comment being, the military modernization should be minimum of the quantity that we do not compromise on any level with respect to our core interests during this period.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby pgbhat » 18 Dec 2009 01:48

A foreign policy for our times ---- M . K. Bhadrakumar
Is Turkey under Mr. Erdogan moving away from the West? He recently quoted the 13th century Sufi mystic and poet Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi: “In my religion one end of the compass needle is fixed, but with the other end of the needle, I roam the 72 nations.” He elaborated: “Turkey is exactly in this position. Our doors are wide open. Turkey cannot lose the West while looking towards the East; cannot lose the East while looking towards the West; cannot lose the South while looking towards the North; cannot lose the North while looking towards the South. Turkey has the power to take a 360-degree look at the entire world.” Mr. Erodgan’s “Nehruvism” comes alive with startling freshness.

It is difficult to tell today whether Turkey is closer to NATO or Russia. Moscow and Ankara have a shared interest in keeping NATO out of the Black Sea, in ensuring the stability of the Caucasus, and in the routing of the Caspian pipelines. Turkey was an old rival of Russia. They fought three wars. But Ankara knew it was a matter of time before the Russian genius would rise from the ashes of the Soviet Union. And it began tenaciously building content into a multidimensional relationship with Moscow. Whereas India’s trade with Russia stagnates at around $4 billion, Turkey’s is nearing $40 billion and may jump to $100 billion in a four-year period. Three million Russian tourists visit Turkey annually. Russia provides 68 per cent of Turkey’s gas. Turkey has allowed the new Russian energy pipelines (rivalling the U.S-sponsored Nabucco project) to southern Europe to be routed through its territory. Now Russia is looking for a lead role in Turkey’s lucrative downstream sector, business in building nuclear power plants and a breakthrough as arms supplier in a market traditionally dominated by the U.S.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby ramana » 30 Dec 2009 11:40

From Ram Narayanan



http://epaper.mailtoday.in/epaperhome.a ... e=29122009

MAIL TODAY, DECEMBER 29, 2009

KEY FOREIGN CHALLENGES WILL REMAIN LARGELY UNCHANGED

NO EASY POLICY OPTIONS FOR 2010


by Kanwal Sibal

Three relationships -- with the US, Pakistan and China -- dominated India’s external agenda in 2009. The year 2010 will be no different.The US has been for decades the most powerful external player in South Asia, influencing political relationships and shaping events in the region. Pakistan and China are India’s direct neighbours. Both are antagonistic towards India, collaborate with each other to contain India’s rise and threaten India’s security. India’s other relationships have their own importance, but as they do not present the same challenges to us, they attract less public attention. As 2009 ends, a broad survey of developments in our relationship with these three countries during the year would be instructive, if only to assess what we can expect in this regard in 2010.

With the US, of uppermost concern was whether the new Administration would be as friendly and accommodating to India as the previous one. This anxiety about India’s standing with the Obama Administration appeared excessive. If enlightened self-interest guides relations between countries, the transformation of India-US ties under the Bush Presidency should have been seen not as a unilateral act of generosity by the US, but as a calculated political step with longer term strategic considerations in mind. We should have reasoned that the Obama Administration would not deny itself a share of the lucrative Indian defence market or jeopardise the opportunity for the US nuclear industry to supply nuclear reactors for producing 10,000 MWs of power in India, by downgrading the relationship with India as part of reversing Bush’s legacy. Nor would US business interests want to turn their backs on the enormous potential identified in coperating with India in the areas of Energy, Agriculture, Science and Technology, Health and Education. We should have exhibited a greater sense of confidence in dealing with political change in the US, for the simple reason that we are not seeking a patron-client relationship. Besides, without mutuality of interest, no worthwhile long term bilateral relationship can be built. By appearing nervous we increase our vulnerability to pressure by the stronger partner and are liable to obtain less consideration than we would otherwise.

On the ground that India has already obtained more from the US than it deserved, US strategic lobbies are putting us on the defensive by arguing that the ball is now in our court for moving the US relationship forward, and that we must now show what we can do for the US. Notwithstanding the nuclear deal, such arguments exaggerate US steps to build bridges with India and overlook the radical overhaul of Indian attitudes towards the US. In any case, various ends of the nuclear deal still require tying up, whether it is the Reprocessing Agreement or India fulfilling the non-proliferation requirements -- over and above the 123 Agreement -- of Section 810 of the US nuclear legislation before US nuclear companies can be licensed to set up nuclear power plants in India. US companies also require the enactment of appropriate Indian legislation to limit accident liability, a step likely to run afoul of Indian Supreme Court judgements as brought out by a former Attorney General.

Oddly, some India entities still remain under US sanctions. In the dual/high technology area, Indian industry is disappointed that of the 16 parameters drawn by the US Department of Commerce for denial of such technologies, India still figures in 11 of them. Space cooperation remains limited because of MTCR related issues. Stepped up counter-terrorism cooperation between the Indian and US agencies is welcome, but on Mumbai we have seen how relatively ineffectual US has been in forcing Pakistan to bring the perpetrators to justice even though US nationals figured amongst the victims. PM’s US visit in November served to alleviate Indian doubts about the state of India-US ties under Obama, but the gap will remain between Indian expectations on several fronts where adverse US policies towards India still require course correction and US readiness to deliver. The agenda for 2010 should be to progressively close this gap.

In 2009 the stalemate with Pakistan could not be broken despite Prime Minister’s initiative to resume high level political contacts with its leadership in the hope that such an overture might induce action against the masterminds of the Mumbai terror attack and create an opening to resume the suspended dialogue. His anxiety to remove any Pakistan argument for resisting action on India-directed terrorism produced the Sharm el Sheikh joint statement. The domestic reaction against it, coupled with Pakistan’s two-faced policies on terrorism and mounting instability in Pakistan itself, has deepened the stalemate. The tone of Prime Minister’s recent statements on Pakistan reflects India’s frustration. Apart from stating that there is no clear interlocutor today in Pakistan, the Prime Minister has publicly chided Pakistan for using terrorism as an instrument of state policy, a long abandoned language that contradicts India’s position expressed at the Islamabad and Havana summits as well as Sharm el Sheikh that both India and Pakistan are victims of terrorism.

With domestic terrorist attacks bleeding Pakistan and political confusion becoming worse confounded by the invalidation of the NRO by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, concerns about Paksitan’s internal stability are mounting. Is Pakistan headed for an army takeover again, or will the country begin to unravel? It is doubtful if the Pakistani establishment is ready to concede that time has come for Pakistan to end its confrontation with India and abjure its ambitions in Afghanistan if it is to save itself. With the US sending confused messages about its Af-Pak policy, the Pakistanis may feel time is on their side. 2010 will not give us any respite from our Pakistani migraine.

Our uneasy relationship with China became more uncomfortable in 2009, with China stepping up its claim on Arunachal Pradesh more pugnaciously bilaterally and multilateralizing it in the ADB. It attempted -- to the credit of our government unsuccessfully -- to browbeat India into stopping Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh in November. Its state controlled press published offensive commentaries on India. The Chinese administered a new affront to India’s sovereignty by issuing only stapled visas to Kashmiris. The message about the new assertiveness of China was not lost on India’s leadership, despite attempts to play down differences, with the PM expressing such a view publicly in Washington in November. Along with eruption of these tensions, the high level dialogue between the two countries continued, with leaders meeting in Thailand, at G-20 gatherings, in the RIC and BRIC formats. At the December Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, India and China worked closely in the BASIC format, giving hope that this collusion of interest might help improve the climate of India-China relations. Such thinking overlooks longer term trends linked to the rising profiles of both countries, the impact on China’s external conduct of its rapidly developing economic and military muscles, the complex nature of the border differences where China has the upper hand and China’s continued use of Pakistan as a proxy to destabilize India and thwart its ambitions. The present dichotomy in India-China ties will continue in 2010, with tensions and engagement cohabiting with each other.

The writer is a former Foreign Secretary(sibalkanwal@gmail.com)


So he is saying it will be more of the same. However events are happening in all three countries which could change the dynamics.

As for ISRO sanctions etc until India shows it can go ahead without the need to import crucial instruments such sanctions will be there.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby Stan_Savljevic » 04 Jan 2010 14:06

In foreign service, rise of F-force ----- Two pioneers are no more but a legion of women are now in charge
They’ve lost their top two, but they are 129 rich and going places where no woman has gone before. Time took away India’s pioneering foreign service women in the latter half of last year — C.B. Muthamma and K. Rukmini Menon, the first and the second women of the IFS — but they’ve left a legacy of leading ladies peppered across the frontlines of foreign policy.

Not least among them is foreign secretary Nirupama Rao who says the likes of Muthamma and Menon were “role models for all junior IFS officers, particularly the lady officers”.

Menon, along with Muthamma, had all their careers chipped away at making the foreign service less of a male preserve. Today, there are 129 of them — an unprecedented 21 per cent of all IFS officers. In fact, 2009 has been a watershed year. India got its first full-term woman foreign secretary in Nirupama Rao. There had been Chokila Iyer in December 2000, but that was for barely a month, more a ceremonial first than a real one.

“But it isn’t just the foreign secretary. Look at the number of women in key positions,” says an official in the ministry of external affairs, referring to the many missions abroad and key South Block desks that are headed by women. Meera Shankar is India’s ambassador to the US. Sujatha Singh is the high commissioner to Australia. Bhaswati Mukherjee is ambassador/PR to Unesco. Riva Ganguly Das is India’s consul general in Shanghai. Primrose Sharma heads the Indian mission in Lisbon. Chitra Narayanan is ambassador to Switzerland, and Mitra Vashisht is ambassador to Cuba. Vijayalatha Reddy is mission head in Thailand, Ruchi Ghanshyam in Ghana and Lavanya Prasad in Cyprus.

Back home, Latha Reddy is secretary (east) and Parbati Sen Vyas is secretary (European region). In addition, women have come to hold additional secretary and joint secretary posts in never-before numbers. In 2001, the present foreign secretary had contributed her bit. Rao took over as the officer in-charge of the MEA’s interface with the media, forcing journalists to use the gender neutral “spokesperson” to describe her than the usual spokesman.

The march to the top has not come easy. Women officers -- as in the case of Menon and Muthamma -- would invariably find themselves posted as ambassadors in Africa or other missions considered less significant or hard postings. Muthamma was not somebody to accept the discrimination quietly. She moved court when in the late 1970s, she was told that she cannot be promoted to the secretary grade for she was not meritorious enough. Service rules Muthamma challenged included: women officer should take permission in writing of the government before marriage, a woman officer may be asked to resign if the government feels her marital responsibilities hamper her duties and no married woman shall be entitled as of right to be appointed to the service.

A bench headed by V.R. Krishna Iyer heard the case. The government gave in, stating that Muthamma had been empanelled. The bench castigated the government for the discriminatory rules and naked bias. Since Muthamma had been empanelled, the bench dismissed the case. “We dismiss the petition but not the problem,” stated the court. The MEA’s website, however, is yet to awake to the fact of women coming to the fore in the service. “The present cadre strength of the service stands at approximately 600 officers manning around 162 Indian missions and posts abroad and the various posts in the ministry at home,” states the website. There is probably a case to use a more suitable word.

http://telegraphindia.com/1100104/jsp/f ... 939851.jsp

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby SSridhar » 04 Jan 2010 16:05

Stan_Savljevic wrote:In foreign service, rise of F-force ----- Two pioneers are no more but a legion of women are now in charge

A bench headed by V.R. Krishna Iyer heard the case. The government gave in, stating that Muthamma had been empanelled. The bench castigated the government for the discriminatory rules and naked bias.

http://telegraphindia.com/1100104/jsp/f ... 939851.jsp


Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer had recently written an article in The Hindu after Ms. Muthamma passed away on how he heard the case and why he came to the conclusion he came to etc. I salute these pioneering women for steadfastly fighting their just ca(u)se, and also Justice (Retd) Krishna Iyer for the way he handled it .

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby putnanja » 10 Jan 2010 09:18

Tharoor Nehru quip raises brows

...
New Delhi, Jan. 9: The Congress today expressed surprise at junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor’s partial criticism of the contributions of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru to India’s foreign policy.

Tharoor said last evening that India’s foreign policy, drawing on Gandhi’s and Nehru’s thoughts, had earned a reputation as a “moralistic running commentary”.

...
...
Tharoor’s remarks came at an event to honour Bhikhu Parekh, political theorist and Labour MP in Britain’s House of Lords. The event was organised by an association of Indian diplomats at Delhi’s Indian Council of World Affairs. Parekh, in his speech “India’s place in the world”, called Nehru’s foreign policy a mistake.

“Nehru’s policies gave India an exaggerated sense of self-importance and moral self-righteousness. He even developed Indian foreign policy as though it was speaking for the whole of Asia, homogenising the entire continent and ignoring internal conflicts,” the MP said.

Parekh added that Indira Gandhi’s foreign policy lacked “strategic thinking”. He said: “Indira’s policies had no real desire to play a global role and shape the world. Her interests were more regional.”

Tharoor later said: “I think his (is a) very clear summary for us of the way in which Indian foreign policy drew from our founding fathers’ sense of our civilisational heritage, the extraordinary contribution of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru to the articulation of that civilisational heritage, the manner in which that both enhanced India’s standing in the world and gave us the negative reputation for conducting foreign policy as a sort of moralistic running commentary on other people’s behaviour.”

The Thiruvananthapuram MP said Parekh and he came from the same school of thought. “That Lord Parekh and I have fought alike on issues of India’s identity and domestic arrangements as well.… So we do, I am afraid, come from a similar outlook of the world.”


...

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby ramana » 11 Jan 2010 23:35

I think both the guys should not be honored for dissing MKG and JLN.

Tharoor should resign if he came to Parekh's views.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby negi » 11 Jan 2010 23:47

Tharoor's comments made sense to me the high moral altar on which Nehru was standing only isolated India in the name of farce concepts like NAM and 'panch sheel'. However Parekh was completely clueless when he said "Indira’s policies had no real desire to play a global role and shape the world. Her interests were more regional.” :lol: I mean one obviously has to first consolidate one's regional position for strategic thoughts to yield results.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby ramana » 12 Jan 2010 00:06

He cant make such statements and still be in the Union Cabinet. If he wants to criticse JLN's policies he should do that without and not within. Its the issue of being in the UPA Cabinet of which INC is largest party and criticising the founding policies.

Again if it was a non-INC govt (like NDA or UF) its par for the course. he cant be in INC and act like opposition! :mrgreen:

Dont lose sight of the real issue because he is saying what you feel.

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Re: Indian Foreign Policy

Postby negi » 12 Jan 2010 00:25

ramana wrote:Don't lose sight of the real issue because he is saying what you feel.
I have not lost sight of the issue my criticism or approval of Tharoor ,INC or even JLN has been issue based I have been critical of the above on issues which I felt deserved to be criticized and on a similar note admired the policies/qualities worthy of praise of course all imho.

Good thing about Tharoor is he states his pov if nothing else it at least gives the electorate and common man a general impression of the person and since he is a part of the cabinet it will be interesting to see if that impression is indeed in line with his actions on ground.


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