India’s pragmatic foreign policy!
Paper No. 6192 Dated 07-Nov-2016
Guest Column by Dr. Sudhanshu Tripathi
Though foreign policy of any country happens to be a well-planned and pre-calculated statement of its ideals and goals but their constant application some-times create challenges before the decision-maker due to occasional differences regarding them. It is in this context, the new Indian Prime Minister began his innings expressing his firm commitment to the proclaimed objectives of India’s foreign policy viz. peace, non-violence, non-alignment etc., founded by the architect and first Prime Minister of independent India, Late Jawahar Lal Nehru.
Notwithstanding its glorious decades after India’s independence, the global scenario after the end of Cold War witnessed a sea-change, with the USA moving from Super-Power role to become the first Hyper Power in the world- controlling even the ideas of people. Unfortunately the disintegration of the erstwhile USSR, at this time, made India opt for close relations with the US as an effective security-architecture against evolving Beijing-Islamabad axis. Thus India’s shift towards Washington for protection of its national interests was justified.
As India is a largest-successful and vibrant democracy having ahuge population consisting of world-class intellectuals and professionals, skilled labourers, booming economy, state of the art R&D facility, advanced industries, powerful army and also being a founder-member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)- known as the largest movement of humanity- it deserves to be recognised as an emerging global power and, consequently, be designated with a responsible role in all significant international and global forums, so that it may- while working in consonance with its ancient cultural ethos- contribute towards establishing peace, prosperity and security in the world, which today bears the brunt of macabre threats of terrorism and religious fundamentalism, besides several other explosive dangers.
India cannot occupy a permanent seat the United Nations Security Council and membership of other prominent groupings like G-8, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Nuclear Suppliers Groups (NSG) etc. without the US’ concurrence. India also needs American support for modern technology, latest armaments and other economic gains and also for exerting pressure on the global terror-outfits like Jaish-e-Muhammad; Hijb-ul- Mujahideen; Haqqani terror-network; Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and upon Pakistan’s exported cross-border terrorism too
Indeed, India is one of the worst sufferers of terrorism which had already lost two very promising prime ministers in the past. It has also suffered the worst terror attacks viz. Bombay Stock Exchange, 26/11 in Mumbai, Banglore Bakery attack, Delhi High Court etc., besides regular ongoing terror-strikes including burning of schools and fierce attacks on army and para-military base camps and residential villages in Jammu and Kashmir and innumerable cease-fire violations by Pakistan along LOC, particularly after India’s successful surgical strikes into the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Hence, India needs a very strong and effective mechanism for its security against cross-border terrorism and global terrorism, which requires close monitoring and information-sharing regarding movement of terrorists and their future targets, in which cooperation by the US, Russia, England, France and Israel will definitely be very meaningful.
Though India under PM Modi acted enthusiastically for forging closer relations with America in economic, security and other important areas and made significant compromises in its principles with view to accommodate the American concerns, but the US had not always been quick to support India - perhaps for its own policy of by creating a working balance with Pakistan as well as China.
While foreign support is necessary, India will have to depend on its own strength and capability by what one would call as “muscular pragmatism”. Considering the prevailing challenges after India’s surgical strike, Islamabad appears hell-bent to enact a massive retaliation, and in this effort China’s full-fledged support to Pakistan is highly worrisome. Further, Beijing’s anti-Indian role was apparent in the recent BRICS summit in Goa where Beijing stalled India’s sincere efforts for elimination of terrorism, on the ground, that any country’s name should not be associated with terrorism and also that one must not forget the great sacrifices rendered by Islamabad in the global fight against terror.
Further, China blocked India’s efforts in the United Nations to name Maulana Masood Azhar as a terrorist and also expressed its ambivalence for India’s candidature for permanent membership in the UN Security Council, besides having already stalled India’s entry into NSG. Indeed, all these Sino-Pakistani overtures portend bad-omen for the peace and security of not only India but for the entire Indo-Pacific region wherein China is particularly interested to dominate the South China Sea into its maritime territory. China’s claims have already been rejected by International Court of Arbitration at the Hague.
Thus India, instead of meekly following the earlier policy of “strategic restraint”, has started asserting itself as a responsible power capable enough to protect its national security.
India’s earlier commitment for its self-imposed doctrine of non-alignment, while exercising freedom of action and independence of judgment, had served India well in the past and may do so in future. Yet for the present India’s response specially after the Uri attack is the best that can be done given India’s own responsibility in the region.
(Dr. Sudhanshu Tripathi, Associate Professor, Political Science, M. D. P. G. College, Pratapgarh (UP)