Vol 10, No. 1
Jan - Mar 2015
Click Here to Download Full Issue
Changing Political Dynamics in Sri Lanka
and its Implications for India-Sri Lanka
Time for Change in South Asia
It is time for change in
South Asia. First, Narendra Modi came to the helm of affairs in India last
year, riding on the wave of change. That is now followed by Maithripala
Sirisena assuming Presidency in Sri Lanka after defeating his predecessor,
Mahinda Rajapaksa in a closely contested election on January 8
this year. In both cases, the electorate catapulted into power men who promised
change in all earnestness. In their election campaigns, both leaders
pledged to sound the death knell of corruption, nepotism, non-governance,
and concentration of power in the hands of a few in their countries. The
electrically charged environment in both nations also resonated with
assertions of good neighbourly goals. Although only time will tell the true
extent of any real change, with the leadership change, a new hope dawns for
improvements in India-Sri Lanka relations.
Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa Chair of
Excellence at the United Services Institution of India, New Delhi, a
veteran journalist and long-time Sri Lanka watcher
Sri Lanka and the India-China Conundrum
President Sirisena’s major task will be to re-calibrate
Sri Lanka’s relations with India in the wake of a decade long period of
China-friendly policies pursued by his predecessor, President Rajapaksa.
While India’s strategic interests in Sri Lanka are vital, it also has old
cultural and religious ties with the Sri Lankan society going back
centuries. A relatively new entrant to the island, China has made large,
strategic and commercial investments in Sri Lanka over the last decade,
thanks to the Rajapaksas who tried to play China against India. That
Sirisena, backed by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime
Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, is not exactly well-disposed towards
Beijing, is well known However, China cannot easily be shrugged off.
Consider this: between 2005 and 2012, China provided US$ 4.761 billion as
assistance to Sri Lanka. Of this, only two per cent is an outright grant
while the remaining 98 per cent is in the form of soft loans. By contrast,
a third of India’s US$ 1.6 billion dollars assistance programme to the
island comprises of outright grants.
R. HARIHARAN: a former MI officer, who served as head of
intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka during 1987−90.
He is presently associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and
the South Asia Analysis Group.
Change in Sri Lanka: Implications for India
At the strategic security level, apart from Sri
Lanka’s bid to renew relations with India, China’s concerns with the
Sirisena government relate to its ambitious power projection in South Asia
and the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Sri Lanka has emerged as a key strategic
pivot astride the Indian Ocean to further China’s 21st Century Maritime
Silk Route (MSR). Sri Lanka has already announced its support to the
initiative. China has recently announced an outlay of US$ 40 billion for
the MSR. With this huge investment, and those already made in port and road
infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, China simply cannot
afford any obstruction to the completion of MSR, which would increase its
strategic reach in keeping with its global ambitions.
China has tried to use its existing discounted
but firm relationship with Sri Lanka by turning President Sirisena’s desire
to rebalance Sri Lanka’s relations with India as an opportunity for
evolving a triangular relationship with India and Sri Lanka. This would
help China further its strategic objectives in IOR and South Asia, as well
as bring in India to join the MSR and turn it into a successful project.
J JEGANAATHAN: Assistant Professor, Central
University of Jammu
Lanka Relations in the New Era: Old Challenges, New Vistas
There is no doubt that the Modi government is
much more assertive and very articulate of its regional interests as
compared to the previous government. It has clearly indicated that India
would play a leadership role in South Asia, with less interference but more
involvement in the development sectors in its neighbouring countries. It
wants to make its footprint stronger in the economic development of
neighbouring countries. This is not necessarily only to contain China’s
aggressive inroads; rather, it is to expand both its shrinking markets as
well as its cultural identity. The ‘SAARC Yatra’ by the new Foreign
Secretary is an innovative strategy adopted by the MEA to strengthen
India’s role in the neighbourhood.
With its new leaderships, both India and Sri
Lanka should take a fresh look at each other; and it is high time they take
the bilateral relationship between the two countries to the next phase.
GULBIN SULTANA: Researcher, Institute of Defence Studies and
Analyses, New Delhi
Silver Lining in India-Sri Lanka Relations
With the election of Maithripala Sirisena as President of Sri Lanka,
and the formation of the National Unity Government, it is expected that
India’s southern neighbour will have a more democratic polity as compared
to the earlier one. In addition, there is also a general popular
expectation that, under the new government, there would be a greater
balance in dealing with developmental issues in various constituent
provinces of the island nation. There is also a general hope that there
will be a thawing in the almost frozen India-Sri Lanka relationship.
The Sirisena government is also likely to have a positive approach
towards India, already indicated by the few initiatives that his government
has taken. It will try to mend relations with India not necessarily by
jettisoning its relations with China. A deft political calculation will be
required by the Sirisena government on the issue of the implementation of
the 13th Amendment, as it has the potential to cause a significant
political loss by an upset Sinhala majority. The best way forward for Sri
Lanka would be in following a middle path in its foreign policy, keeping in
mind strategic concerns of an important neighbour like India.
GAUTAM SEN: The Author is a retired officer of the Indian
Defence Accounts Service, former Additional CGDA, who had served in the
High Commission of India at Colombo during 1988−1990.
In this paper, the author discusses the unique
conditions regarding the 'Hill Tamils' of Sri Lanka that is not often in
focus while discussing India n- Sri Lanka relations.
Revisiting the Issue of 'Highland Tamils' in the Changing
In this context, there is an apparent need for a
new appraisal of the status, both economic and political, of the Hill
Country or Highland Tamils of Indian origin in Sri Lanka. This community is
nearly 1.48 million in number, and constituted approximately 11.61 per cent
of the total Sri Lankan population as per the official Census data of 1971.
They continue to form an important part of Sri Lankan citizenry even though
their strength may have marginally declined in the years following 1971,
especially after some spells of repatriation to India consequent on the
Amendment of the Shastri-Sirimavo Accord of 1964, and after the
Indira-Sirimavo Agreement of 1974.
The Highland Tamils (also known as Malaiha
Tamils) are quite distinct from the Tamils of Northern and Eastern Sri
Lanka, and have led a practically disenfranchised existence for quite some
time since the country’s independence in 1948.
VIJAY SAKHUJA: Director, National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi.
Blue Economy is a relatively new concept and is resonating among a
number of countries across the globe.
It involves a number of interdependent sectors, which harness the
wealth of the seas for economic growth through sustainable development to
advance growth and enhance human security.
Blue economy is slowly finding reference in the national maritime
thinking among South Asian Countries and the national agendas acknowledge
the potential of the seas for economic development.
However, these countries face a number of technological and financial
constraints to pursue the Blue Economy; but a pan-South Asian approach can
help that dream come true.
DEEPAK BHOJWANI: Former Ambassador of India to Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Costa Rica,
Ecuador, The Dominican Republic, and Haiti, and former Consul General in
Sao Paulo, Brazil
America & India: Understanding Mutual Opportunities
The article outlines the relationship between India and that distant
region, with which India has enjoyed a cordial relationship that has
nevertheless not been as active as this emerging power has developed with
any other region. This is despite the complementarity that is evident in
the resource endowments of Latin America, India’s manufacturing prowess and
its enormous market, mutually beneficial technological capabilities, etc.
The article points out the areas of potential and urges a greater and
more focussed activism on the part of the official and business
establishments on both sides. The benevolent political environment, and the
recent Latin American interest in India should galvanise the upward spiral
of trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges.
M. GANAPATHI: Former Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, former
Ambassador to Kuwait, former High Commissioner to Mauritius and former
Consul General in Sydney, Australia
'Look East - Act East'
Dimension of India’s Foreign Policy
“Look East” is a passive adumbration. “Act East” incorporates greater
action and dynamism. This has been brought about in the recent statements
of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj
has expanded on this thought. When India looks at the region to
its east, barring few fulminations, this area is relatively peaceful and
cohesive for its engagement. This does not distract from India’s extensive contacts with the
countries in the Gulf, Europe and
elsewhere where it continues to be engaged economically, socially and from
a geostrategic point of view.
PARUL BAKSHI & SKAND R.
TAYAL: Scholar at the Department of East Asian
Studies, University of Delhi, and, former Ambassador to Republic of Korea
and Uzbekistan and currently a visiting professor at the Department of East
Asian Studies, University of Delhi, respectively
- ASEAN Economic Engagement and its Impact on Indian Economy
... [W]hether India can have an overall comparative advantage in
trade in the region as a whole is questionable. However, what could be
focused upon are the benefits, which India could gain from the regional
integration as the ASEAN and India become significant players in shaping
the regional trading architecture. How these agreements have an impact on
the Indian economy in the near future would largely be dependent on India
itself and its preparations to be able to optimally make use of the
opportunities presented to it. India probably needs to be more cautious
before deciding to further liberalise the current AIFTA, i.e. including
more products in the Normal Track list, which seems to be the eventual aim.
Domestic implications of such measures need to be taken into account rather
than merely following the decided time frames on liberalisation of various
ANUP SINGH: Vice Admiral, IN (Retd), former Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief,
Eastern Naval Command
Sanat Kaul, Andaman and Nicobar Islands :
India’s Untapped Strategic Assets, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press / Institute of
Defence Studies and Analyses , 2014), Pages 226, Price: Rs. 995
Former Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New
Delhi. Currently Visiting Faculty at the Centre for Japanese Studies,
School of Language, Literature & Culture Studies, JNU, New Delhi.
Nath Ram (ed.), India's Asia-Pacific Engagement: Impulses and
New Delhi, Indian Council of World Affairs / Manohar Publication,
2015 Pages: 324, Price: ...
KHATOCH: Maj. Gen. (Retd), Till recently Director,
Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi.
Misra (Ed.), Core
Concerns in Indian Defence and the Imperatives for Reforms,
(New Delhi: Pentagon Press / Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses,
2014), Pages: 374, Price: Rs. 1,095.00
former Ambassador of India to Greece and Cuba.
D. Muni and Vivek Chadha (Eds.), Asian Strategic Review 2015: India
as a Security Provider, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2015), Pages: 408,
Price: Rs. 995.00
COMPENDIUM OF CONTRIBUTIONS
Published in Volume 9, 2014
10, No. 2 Apr
- Jun 2015
Click Here to Download Full Issue
Indo-US Strategic Partnership
Trends and Expectations
KANWAL SIBAL: Former Foreign Secretary of India,
former Ambassador to Russia and to France.
Partnership: Transformation is Real
The India-US strategic partnership
is unequal. The US is a global power and India is, at best, a regional one.
The USA would want to fit India into the jigsaw puzzle of its global
interests, whereas India can only hope that the USA would increasingly
align itself with its regional interests. Even achieving this would be
difficult as the USA has historically pursued policies in our neighbourhood
that have been detrimental to our interests; even now it is unable to
overcome the legacy of the past, or go beyond the traditional ties it has
developed with particular countries in our region, and the geopolitical
need to maintain a certain regional balance so that its primacy is
maintained. Nevertheless, the transformation in ties is real. If a
realistic, and not an idealised, view of the relationship is taken, the
overall assessment of the strategic partnership and its future seems to be
positive in all objectivity.
OBJA BORAH HAZARIKA: Assistant
Professor, Department of Political Science, Dibrugarh University, Assam
India-US Relations under Modi and Obama: Caveat Riddled Convergences
these contentions, cooperative relations between India and the US have
become the mainstay of their relations in the post-Cold War era and the
Modi government seems keen to further bolster the ties. India hopes to get
US support to emerge as an economically, technologically and militarily
vibrant country and the US views India as a valued partner, which can
further the American vision of a stable Asia. Steps taken by Modi and
Obama, however incremental, are symptomatic of the leaders’ understanding
that India and the US have stakes in shaping the Indo-Pacific region in
particular and the world in general in terms favourable to them, which will
be best achieved through cooperation between the two nations.
Professor, Department of International Relations, Jadavpur University,
Indo-US Partnership: Have
Rarely Been More Promising
India-US strategic relations have rarely been more promising, India under
the present government is showing an autonomous stance and is following it
up with good relations with all countries that matter to India’s interests,
whether in the neighbourhood, in the region or anywhere in the world. New
Delhi’s interests on specific issues or regional problems often differ from
that of the US, and so far as the country is concerned, the attitude is
“India first”. However, it is in the mutual interest of both India and the
US to develop strategic ties; both countries realise this and are working
to build on a rich foundation. For doomsayers it may be sufficient to say
that a lot of initiatives have been taken within a short time, and more
time is needed for these to bear fruit. The point is that an environment is
in place where the two countries can agree to disagree on certain issues
(since no two national interests will ever be the same) without disengaging
or allowing relations to stagnate
TOURANGBAM: Assistant Professor, Department of Geopolitics and
International Relations, Manipal University, Manipal.
Strategic Partnership: Who’s Afraid of an Alliance?
at the end, the question really is not ‘who’s afraid of an alliance’, but
‘who needs an alliance’. Given the current geopolitical and geoeconomic
dimensions involving India and the USA, Cold War type strict alliances –
with clear demarcations about who’s on who’s side, and based on the idea of
the existence of an ‘absolute other’ on all vectors of the relationship –
may not be how it plays out. Alliances presume a threat perception and,
given the nature of India-China, Sino-US, and India-US relations, and the
complex interdependence that entwines them, building alliances and counter-alliances
may not be the best answer to both India’s and America’s strategic needs.
way to a sustainable and stronger strategic partnership can only be built
through a comprehensive and inclusive convergence aimed at progress, and
through a single track strategic rationale of a threat from China’s rise.
Hence, both sides need not be receptive and protective of all that each
side says and does. Having said that, an initiative should not also be
discarded just because it is American in origin – especially if it passes
the test of interest and operational convergence. Though a constant
reminder of what each country has done for the other is not a recipe for a
sustainable relationship, a businesslike attitude towards why the two
countries need each other, and how both could complement each other in the
short, medium and long term, could be a pragmatic perspective on how to go
K. P. Vijayalakshmi:
Professor for American Studies, School of International
Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
USA: A New Moment in Strategic
being “estranged democracies” to sharing a “Declaration of Friendship”,
India and the United States have indeed travelled a long distance. The
regularity and importance accorded to the annual strategic dialogues (five
till date) are testimony to the increasing engagement between the two
countries. The evolving Indo-US strategic partnership has been described as
a vital component in the foreign policies of both India and the United
States and one that is poised to gain increasing importance as Washington
seeks to reorient its foreign policy with its rebalancing strategy towards
the Asia-Pacific. Numerous reports have concluded that the rise of a
powerful and democratic India in the Asian region and on the global stage
is in the interest of the United States and also that American influence
globally and in Asia in particular is in the interest of India
Vision Statement for the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership: September
India-U.S. Delhi Declaration of Friendship: January
US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and
Indian Ocean Region:
January 25, 2015
SAMEENA HAMEED: Assistant Professor, India - Arab Cultural Centre, Jamia Milia
Islamia, New Delhi
India’s Economic Diplomacy in South Asia
For the past few years, India has made constant efforts to reach
out to its neighbours by funding infrastructure projects to improve
connectivity between India and its others neighbours in South Asia. It has
already announced zero duty access for the least developed countries in the
SAARC region, and has constantly pruned its sensitive list along with doses
of economic aid. The present Government has made unambiguously clear that
the prime focus of India’s economic diplomacy will be India’s immediate
neighbourhood. The Prime Minster invited leaders of Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka to his
swearing ceremony, made Bhutan and Nepal his first international travel
destinations, and resolved a seven-decade long territorial dispute with
Bangladesh in December 2014. At the SAARC summit in November 2014 in Nepal,
India backed three pacts to enhance connectivity and energy cooperation in
DILIP SINHA: Former Special Secretary, Ministry of
External Affairs, Ambassador of India to Grece, Ambassador and Permanent
Representative of India to the UN, Geneva.
India, BRICS and the World
BRICS is not an organised coalition seeking to create its own
international order. It lacks adequate homogeneity and shared ideology for
that. It is a pressure group of countries which want to be included in the
decision-making forums of the international financial system. They feel
that they have earned their place, and their credentials must be
recognised. The slowdown in the growth rate in all BRICS countries, except
India, has prompted many western experts to predict its demise. This
appears to be an expression of desire rather than the result of objective
The future shape of BRICS will depend on how the high priests of
the present order react to their legitimate demands. What began as a
prescient tip of a farsighted investment banker may either result in the
reorganization of the existing system or lead to the setting up of a rival
structure. The world would be better off in both eventualities
PANKAJ JHA: Director
(Research), Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi
India and APEC
The forthcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) summit in the fourth quarter of 2015 in the Philippines might
witness India gaining entry to the economic grouping. APEC is an international
grouping of 21 countries including the United States and Japan, which
promotes free trade among its members. With a new government in India, it
was felt, that the Obama administration had an opportunity to revitalise
its economic ties with India by the latter’s inclusion in the Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. In January 2015 when President Obama
visited Delhi, it was hinted that US would support India’s membership in
APEC.3 The 13th meeting of RIC (Russia, India, and China) foreign ministers
held in February 2015 also echoed similar views. External Affairs Minister
Sushma Swaraj had added, “India’s participation in APEC has been welcomed
by both China and Russia”.
KANT SHARMA: Former
Ambassador of India to Austria, Former Secretary General, SAARC
Chandra (ed), India and South Asia: Exploring
Regional Perceptions, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press /
IDSA, 2015), Pages 319, Price
S. PRAKASH: Former
Ambassador of India to Brazil and to Uganda.
Stuenkel, The BRICS and the Future of Global Order (Maryland,
USA, Lexington Books, 2015) Pages: 212, Price: $ 85.50
Professor, Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies, School for
International Studies, JNU, New Delhi.
Bhojwani, Latin America,
the Caribbean and India: Promise and Challenge,(New
Delhi, Pentagon Press / ICWA, 2015). Pages: 212, Price: Rs. 795.00.
Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Former Ambassador of India to
Japan, to Belgium, to the EEC and Luxembourg.
Confucius in The Shadows, (New Delhi, ICWA / Knowledge
World, 2015), Pages: 284, Price: Rs. 830.00
Associate, Indian Pugwash Society, New Delhi
Politics: Indian Political Parties and Nuclear Weapons, (New
Delhi: Kalpaz Publications, 2015), Pages: 326, Price: INR 950.00.
Vol 10, No. 3
Jul - Sep 2015
- Bangladesh Relations:
Click Here to Download Full Issue
After the visit
of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh in September 2011,
the Journal had invited a few top experts on the subject to express
their opinion. Please Click Here for the 2011
India and Bangladesh – a New Phase in Bilateral Relations" -
'Debate' was further updated in end 2013, just before the impending
national elections, first in Bangladesh and soon thereafter in India, when
the experts were asked to examine the status of the relations. Please Click Here for this 2013
- Bangladesh Relations: What lies in Store?" -
successful visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh, in June
2015, had prompted the journal to invite those experts - and a few
others, to comment on the outcome.
The views of the experts, now titled "India - Bangladesh
Relations: Scaling Newer Heights" has been
carried in the latest issue.
DEB MUKHARJI: Former
High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Nepal.
A Clear Paradigm Shift
been a clear paradigm shift in Indo-Bangladesh relations over the past few years,
as now exemplified and concretised by the agreements signed during Prime
Minister Modi’s visit to Dhaka in June 2015. As Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina said some time ago, it is the season of friendship in
Indo-Bangladesh relations. It remains now to build further on the
foundation that has been laid.
PINAK RANJAN CHAKRAVARTY: Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and former High
Commissioner of India to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Thailand
The Land Boundary Agreement (LBA), finalized during the recent visit
of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in June this year,
justifiably received top billing in the media. So did the Teesta water
sharing agreement which could not be signed, thanks to domestic politics in
India. The LBA has been implemented and enclaves, adverse possessions and
demarcation of the land boundary implemented on August 1, 2015 in a
time-bound manner. A lingering ghost of the post-colonial era has finally
been exorcised, freeing Bangladesh-India relations from the shackles of the
past. The Teesta water sharing agreement, however, is enmeshed in political
horse trading, as well as disagreement between the Central government and
the West Bengal State government on the water sharing formula.
SMRUTI S. PATTANAIK: Research
Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi.
Moving towards Greater Synergy
two countries at present share cooperative bilateral relations and there is
a great degree of mutual understanding regarding the mutual aspirations.
India’s Development Partnership Agreement with Bangladesh in 2011,
underpins economic aspirations of the two countries away from the security
centric approach that had once governed the bilateral relations.
Teesta issue appears to be the stumbling block at this moment, West Bengal
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's assurance on the Teesta issue is likely to
pave the way for future resolution perhaps after the State Assembly poll.
Unlike the past, India has a willing partner in Bangladesh that is not
hesitant to engage its bigger neighbours in a mutually beneficial
relationship and appreciative of the fact that their common future lies in
greater cooperation. India needs to grab this opportunity and ensure that
this relationship benefits Bangladesh as a true partner that dared to dream
of a common destiny with a large neighbour.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata.
'All-Time High' Relations
Herald Greater Regional Integration
and Bangladesh have made significant progress on several matters, all of
which certainly merit applause. However, more interesting is the progress
made on sub-regional cooperation in the region. The bilateral connectivity
will, no doubt, expand in the region, with other states like Nepal and
Bhutan benefitting from the access to two Bangladeshi ports as well as
trade through the Indian corridor. Matters of water sharing, trade and commerce,
including energy, will soon go much beyond the bilateral prism. The recent
motor vehicle agreement signed between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal
is just a first but critical step towards a sub regional initiative that
has gathered momentum amongst the South Asian neighbours. Certainly
bilateral matters will continue to dominate and be seen as more critical
between any two neighbours. The sub-regional cooperation process will
ensure that incentives to find resolutions to certain outstanding bilateral
matters will assume greater salience.
Former High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India, former Additional Foreign
Secretary of Bangladesh, and currently Advisor to World Bank on South Asian
Regional Integration and Distinguished Fellow, Vivekananda International
A Dramatic Turnaround
last six years, India and Bangladesh have surged ahead steadily in multiple
sectors. Security cooperation between the two has never been better; indeed
it is exemplary. Both have amicably resolved disputes, and completed the
boundary demarcation on the land, in rivers, and in the Bay of Bengal.
India has unilaterally extended duty free and quota free access to
virtually all but 26 Bangladeshi products in the Indian market, resulting
in a substantial increase in the volumes of bilateral trade. Eight border
haats (markets) have been set up, to date, along Bangladesh’s borders with
Meghalaya and Tripura, thus reconnecting and reviving historic economic
connections that had existed between peoples and communities on both sides
before they were disrupted. Many more are under active consideration.
Indian investments in Bangladesh have surged dramaticallyinitially
in the garments and textiles as well as telecom sectors, and now expanding
steadily into the power and infrastructure sectors also.
Declaration between Bangladesh and India during Visit of Prime Minister of
India to Bangladesh: June 07, 2015
R B GROVER: Vice Chancellor, Homi Bhabha National
Institute and Member, Atomic Energy Commission, former Principal Adviser,
Department of Atomic Energy.
nuclear programme: the last one decade and near-future outlook
Epoch making changes during the past one
decade on the nuclear front have ended India’s nuclear isolation. Along with several others, Dr. Ravi B.
Grover has been intimately associated with shaping the changes.
This article is based on a lecture on the
subject delivered by the author at the regular meeting of the Association
of Indian Diplomats on 29 May 2015 at New Delhi.
His talk recapitulated crucial details
beginning with the India-US Joint Statement of 18 July 2005, India’s
Separation Plan, India-Specific Safeguards Agreement and Additional
Protocol. It was followed by developments subsequent to adjustment by NSG
of its guidelines facilitating civil nuclear trade with India. India’s
civil nuclear liability regime was covered in detail. The talk ended with
future technology options and challenges ahead.
Associate Professor of Japanese Studies, Centre for
East Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi.
- Japan Relations: The Economic Advantage
India-Japan relations have the advantage of no
historical baggage, no territorial issues, and strong spiritual affinity.
However, to use these as reasons for growing intimacy of India-Japan
relations is an overtly simplified narration. Japan showed scant interest
in India for a long time, and Indian economic policies of import
substitution and self-sustained development encouraged little or no
interaction till the turn of the century, when Prime Minister Mori visited
India. The entente in the relationship was brought about by Prime Minister
Koizumi who included the term ‘strategic’ while describing the relationship
between the two countries, and pushed for a yearly meeting of the Prime
Ministers of the two countries. In his first term, Prime Minister Abe
followed this by giving strong consent to the 8 point initiative, and thus
established the two pillars - economic and strategic - on which the
Professor, Department of African Studies, Mumbai University, Mumbai.
Relations: Evolving Past to a Promising Future
The contemporary India–Africa relations, although built on strong historical,
cultural and political relations, is driven today by economic and
geopolitical concerns. Although this relationship has evolved significantly
over the years, it had never taken on a strategic nature as it has today.
With African nations becoming more assertive and playing host to emerging
nations such as China and Brazil, India’s aim of becoming a partner in
African development faces competition of sorts. It is imperative therefore,
to create new and more productive engagements with Africa, ones that extend
beyond the current milieu.
RANJAN DEBATA: Assistant
Professor, Centre for South, Central, Southeast Asian & Southwest
Pacific Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi.
- Central Asia Relations, The Economic Dimension, (New
Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2015), Pages 236, Price Rs. 895.00
BHATTACHARYA, Consultant Editor, Millennium
Post, New Delhi.
Uttam Kumar Sinha and Jo Inge
Bekkevold (ed.), Arctic: Commerce,
Governance and Policy, (London: IDSA/Routledge,
2015), Pages 319, Price: $145.00
Vol 10, No.
4 Oct - Dec 2015
Interventions and Internal Instability In West Asia: Implications For India
Click Here for Downloading
West Asia, including the Persian Gulf region, is presently
undergoing extraordinary upheaval. Civil wars in Syria and Yemen; foreign
interventions, especially by the US and some NATO members in supporting
elements opposed to the present Syrian regime; the advent of 'Daesh', recent dramatic entry of
Russia into the Syrian scene as well as the spat between Russia and Turkey;
reported internal squabbles within some Gulf States; mass exodus of
refugees; regional rivalries, such
as between Saudi Arabia and Iran; fallouts of the recent accords between
Iran and the P5+1, the on-going Israel-Palestine issues; dwindling oil
revenues; etc. have further deepened the precarious
situation and have led to heightened anxieties around the world.
Given this situation, India, that has had intricate
relations with West Asia in general and the Persian Gulf, in particular, is
India needs to find ways to navigate this flux and balance
relations with the mutually antagonistic sides.
The Indian Foreign Affairs Journal invited
four experts in the field to offer their views.
AHMAD: Former Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia, to the U.A.E,
and to Yemen.
in West Asia: Challenges for Indian Diplomacy
In his brief opening remarks at Fortaleza, Prime Minister
Modi devoted at least half of his speech to West Asia. He said “The region
stretching from Afghanistan to Africa is experiencing turbulence and
conflict. This is causing grave instability that is seeping across borders.
This impacts us all. Remaining mute spectators to countries being torn up
in this manner can have grave consequences. … The situation in West Asia
poses a grave threat to regional and global peace and security. India is
particularly concerned because this affects the lives of seven million
Indian citizens living in the Gulf region”.
There can be little doubt that, as new political crises
emerge or present problems get aggravated, BRICS will take cognisance of
them, develop consensual positions and take action; there will be no room
for “mute spectators” as derided by Mr Modi in his remarks.
In this background and taking into account the deep concerns
that animate the BRICS’ leaders and their understanding that urgent
remedial action is required, the case has been made in this paper for a
BRICS diplomatic initiative, led by India and supported by China to engage
the GCC as a grouping and Iran bilaterally, on the lines of similar
interactions held with African and South American leaders. This is to be
followed by an active diplomatic effort to prepare platforms for dialogue
between the contending parties to promote mutual trust and confidence.
BRICS is both prepared and well-equipped for this initiative.
GUPTA: Former Ambassador of India to Yemen, to Venezuela, to Oman,
to Thailand, to Spain, and was also the Head of the Indian Representation
Pragmatic Approach: Best Way Forward for India
Many in India’s strategic community advocate India
displaying greater activism, including exercising a “leadership role”
without suggesting any specific actions to be taken. Such a role would
almost certainly be counterproductive and potentially even disastrous. The
indisputable reality is that anything that India says or does will not even
marginally influence the actions of any individual player in the context of
the highly complicated political situation in West Asia. India does not
have the institutional capacity, is not structurally equipped and lacks
national political consensus for the huge strategic leap required for such
a role yet. Policy should always be consciously tempered by a mature
recognition of the limits of one’s capabilities and influence at any given
point of time. India has not faced any criticism from any of the countries
of the region for its current policies in the context of the ongoing
conflicts in the region. Given the proliferation of violent, irresponsible
and irrational non state actors, India becoming intrusively involved could
provoke them to harm Indian interests and may attack the very large Indian
community in the region. India has to be very careful about potential
blowbacks. Reticence or so called policy passivity in an unpredictable,
changing and volatile environment does not reflect absence of decision
making, abdication of “leadership”, or of being a “freeloader”. It is
simply being sensibly prudent.
India’s non-intrusive low key profile, and pragmatic
approach has yielded very satisfying results and there is absolutely no
need whatsoever to change the broad contours of this policy. This is the
best way to preserve India’s excellent relationships and protect its
interests in the Gulf region.
DAHIYA: Deputy Director General at the Institute for Defence
Studies and Analyses, New Delhi
and West Asia: Challenges and Opportunities
India’s capability and enthusiasm to play the role of a
responsible world power should be emphasised and spread in the intellectual
discourse and among the policy makers in the region. Similarly, to give a further
boost to the diplomatic presence in the region and spread Indian culture
among the West Asian countries, India should seriously consider
establishing India Cultural Centres and India Chairs in universities
throughout the region. India needs to use its soft power such as cultural
exchange, holding inter-faith dialogues and developing language skills. One
dynamic step in this regard would be to bolster the teaching of Arabic and
Persian languages and produce a crop of youngsters who can engage with the
region at a level beyond that of skilled workers.
As the situation is still unfolding in West Asia, India
should remain prepared for any exigencies emerging from the region. India
has two choices: be passive and reactive as the region takes new shape; or
be proactive, and help shape the region, keeping its own interests in mind.
Most countries in the region want India to play a more proactive role in
keeping with its rising profile albeit without asking for specific help.
India’s substantial interests in the region would compel India to be
proactive, and not be a bystander. India will have to carve out a well
thought out strategy towards the region. It is important for India to
maintain a calibrated approach towards all the important players in the
region - such as Iran, GCC states and Israel - as India has huge interests
with all of them. India should approach emerging West Asia as providing
opportunities to play a more effective role in the shaping of the new
architecture in the region. If India misses out, it’s political, economic,
and security interests will be affected. India cannot deal with West Asia
alone. It should coordinate its policies with the countries in West Asia as
well as external players like the USA, China, Japan, the EU, etc.
PANT: Former Professor, Centre for West Asian Studies, Jawaharlal
Nehru University, New Delhi and a former Vice Chancellor of the Doon
Business as Usual: Calculated Risks Required
India should recalibrate its policy in a frame which
promotes economic engagement bilaterally but looks at politico-strategic
issues in a regional perspective. The Gulf has to be relocated in the frame
of the Persian Gulf – meaning thereby Iran, Iraq and Yemen along with the
GCC countries. These should be seen as mutually interfacing entities, and
not as mutually exclusive ones. Today, the region is moving away from the
Western and is looking more towards Asia – the civilisational space to
which it has always belonged.
This kind of vision may require more proactive and
out-of-the-box diplomatic initiatives. The Prime Minister who encourages
moving beyond the beaten track can surely push the idea of an Asian Peace
Architecture (not security) as an alternative to failing Western moves in
West Asia. Envisioning a rising Asia demands bold initiatives and a
collective response from Asia towards the escalating conflict in West Asia
– something which could undermine the very idea of the Asian Century. It is
time to take a calculated risk.
ABDUL NAFEY: Professor and Chairperson, Centre for Canadian, US and
Latin American Studies, School for International Studies, JNU, New Delhi.
Financial Architecture: Politics and Diplomacy
A new financial architecture, centred on China, is fast
emerging, and is shaping the infrastructure map of Asia and the world at
large. The US$ 50 billion New Development Bank (NDB) of BRICS and the US$
50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), launched on 31
March 2015 to finance infrastructure development within the BRICS and in
Asia respectively, would both go operational by the end of 2015. Besides, a
US$ 40 billion fund would finance the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st
Century Maritime Silk Road, of late referred to as 'One Belt One Road'
(OBOR) projects spanning three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe. The
development bank of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), long proposed
by China, would, as and when it materialises, become the fourth pillar to
undergird the mammoth Asian infrastructure network. It would spread
infrastructural connectivity in the Eurasian region.
This essay describes and analyses the politics and diplomacy
of infrastructure in Asia. The principal arguments presented are two: (i)
finance is shaping policy choices and development preferences as
connectivity opens up prospects of further national economic growth and
interdependence; in other words, geopolitics, in combination with finance,
remain strong determinants of future actions; and (ii) there are
opportunities for an emerging economy like India to benefit from Asian
infrastructure development; it is being called upon to craft appropriate
responses to changing geopolitics, most importantly in terms of its ties
B. BALAKRISHNAN: former Ambassador of India to Greece and Cuba.
India’s Engagement with the Pacific Islands
India has recently stepped up its engagement with the Pacific Island
Developing Countries (PIDC). This may be seen as an extension of its “Look
East - Act East” policy, and enhancement of its role in the Pacific region.
While relations with Fiji have developed well keeping in view special
historical factors, India’s relations with the other Pacific Island
countries offer much scope for further expansion. Development assistance
trends to the region are briefly surveyed in this article, including that
from China. The recently launched Forum for India Pacific Islands Cooperation
(FIPIC) process and India’s India’s economic engagement with the Pacific
islands is also examined
RAJIV BHATIA: Former
Ambassador of India to Myanmar and to Mexico, High Commissioner of India to
South Africa and to Kenya
A Critical Evaluation of
Third India-Africa Forum Summit
India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III), held in New Delhi from 26−29
October 2015, was a memorable milestone in the above-mentioned journey. It
is not that African leaders came to India for a conference for the first
time; they had come in substantial numbers earlier to attend the
Non-Aligned Summit in 1983. But, in October 2015, India hosted a historic
summit where all 54 countries of Africa were represented, 41 of them at the
level of head of state or government.
This was unprecedented, making it the largest gathering of Africa's
high representatives on the Indian soil. Their presence under one roof at
Indira Gandhi stadium in Delhi on 29 October 2015 was a message in itself.
attempts to delve deep in order to evaluate the outcomes of the summit. Did
the conference achieve tangible results - both from the Indian and African
perspectives? It will first delineate the immediate backdrop and context,
and then trace the highlights of the two previous summits. The stage will
thus be set for an in-depth examination of how the third summit was
organized; how it unfolded; and what it achieved and/or failed to achieve.
The overall purpose is to take stock of India's Africa engagement at the
end of 2015, and reflect on the road ahead that leads to the fourth summit
Director General, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi
Kate Sullivan, Competing
Visions of India in World Politics: India's Rise Beyond the West (London,
Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Pages: 224, Price: £58.00
MENON: Former Ambassador of India to the Netherlands, Ireland,
Senegal, (the then) GDR and Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the
P. J. S. Sandhu (ed.), 1962: A View
from the Other Side of the Hill, (New Delhi, VIJ
Books, 2015), Pages: 228, Price: 900.00
Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management, New
Rajiv Dogra, Where
Borders Bleed: An insider’s account of INDO-PAK relations,
(New Delhi, Rupa, 2015), Pages: 288, Price: Rs 500.00
L. NARAYAN: Former High Commissioner of India to Malaysia and Canada;
Former Ambassador of India to Poland and Qatar.
Rumel Dahiya and Udai Bhanu Singh
Dialogue VII : ASEAN-India Shaping the Post-2015 Agenda (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2015), Pages: xlvi +
204, Price: Rs. 995
P. FABIAN: Former Ambassador of India to Qatar, Finland and Italy.
David M. Malone, C.
Raja Mohan, Srinath Raghavan (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Indian Foreign Policy, (Oxford, Oxford University Press, July
2015), Pages: 746, Price: GBP 95.00