<< To "Indian Foreign Affairs Journal" Main Page 

To the Publishers' website >>


FB.jpg                     Twitter.jpg


Vol 8, No. 1                     January - March 2013


Free Download full issue



The Arctic: Challenges, Prospects and Opportunities for India


Vijay K. Sakhuja: Director (Research), Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi

The Evolving Indian Narrative

There is a view that Polar Regions are “global commons” and the international efforts should be to preserve their ecology. It is also believed that if India joins the Arctic Council, it would result in accepting the rights of the Arctic littorals over the Arctic Ocean. The other narrative endorses the idea that India should build a good understanding of the evolving politico-legal-strategic developments in the Arctic region and formulate a strategy to exploit the Arctic resources. Another view argues that India being a strong advocate of nuclear disarmament, it should advocate for a demilitarized and nuclear-free Arctic. In essence, the Indian narrative on the Arctic region is still evolving.


KISHORE KUMAR: Consultant, Centre for Ocean and Environmental Studies (COES), New Delhi

Push for a ‘Global Commons’ Theory

The establishment of the research station Himadri has propelled India to the forefront of polar research in the world. Indian scientific research in the region is currently nascent, but could have a growing role in contributing to understanding the climate change impacts, monsoonal tele-connections, microbiology, as well as problems of pollution in the Arctic region. The region may seem distant, but there is growing recognition that far-reaching changes in this ecologically pristine region will have long-term impacts on India and the world. India cannot remain immune to these developments.

Like earlier developments in frontier areas like nuclear and deep-sea technologies, the Arctic regime is also seeking to deny access to presumed outsiders. There are voices within the country asking to join the international scramble for Arctic resources via membership of the Arctic Council with permanent observer status. This could imply India accepting the exclusive club of the Arctic and conceding their right to rampant economic greed and consequent degradation of the region, with long-term impacts. Instead, India needs to use its growing international economic and technological status to push for the global commons theory, for which it will receive widespread international support and acclaim.


Uttam Kumar Sinha, Fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and Adjunct Professor at the Malaviya Centre for Peace Research, Benares Hindu University

India and the ‘Age of the Arctic’

India’s Arctic strategy should be primarily to advance scientific research in the Arctic and simultaneously build strong bilateral cooperation with the “northern” countries such as Norway and Russia. The principal partner will continue to be Norway in scientific endeavour and Russia on the economic front. …

As to the economic opportunities in the Arctic, India does not have the resources to venture in a big way in the region. Having applied for observer status, India can think about ideas that can help in Arctic development, for example supporting the efforts to make the Arctic a military-free zone. Already, a seabed treaty forbids the stationing of nuclear weapons on the Arctic Ocean floor. The A5 have also acceded to the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 that makes Antarctica a nuclear weapon-free zone and a military-free zone. India could also advocate sustainable resource development and ecological protection in the Arctic, which the A5 are trying to promote cooperatively.

The Arctic, however, lacks a compact environmental protection regime – it is a collection of customary international law and varied bilateral and multilateral instruments, with no unifying connector. India can act as the unifying connector and help bring together a robust regime. This will require connecting science to policy and policy to people. With a toehold in the region, India can then gradually scale up its capabilities.


H. P. Rajan: Former Deputy Director, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, United Nations and former Advisor, Department of Ocean Development (now Ministry of Earth Sciences).

Arctic Governance Issues: India should take a Lead Role

Although India’s interest in the Arctic is relatively new, it has more than thirty years of scientific research experience in the Antarctic. This, coupled with India’s active involvement with the Law of the Sea negotiations for over fifty years, as well as experience in deep-sea exploration, makes its expertise unique. India is well represented in all the institutions established by the Convention. It is time for this country to take a lead role in the Arctic governance issues within the overall framework of the existing legal regime. The opportunity is ahead.






Kristy Hsu: Associate Research Fellow and Section Chief, Chung Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER), Taiwan

The RCEP: Integrating India into the Asian Economy

What will participating in the RCEP mean for India? India has limited trade and investment with ASEAN countries despite a dialogue partnership between India and ASEAN having been developed for two decades. The comparatively low level of tariff line elimination of the ASEAN-India FTA and prolonged delay in negotiating bilateral services and investment agreements keep India far from deeply integrating with the East and Southeast Asian economy when compared with other ASEAN FTA partner countries. The RCEP may provide an opportunity for India to accelerate its integration with the regional economy, but it may also bring political implications beyond economic engagement, particularly for India-China relations.


T.V. PAUL: James McGill Professor of International Relations at McGill University, Montreal, Canada; and, HAPPYMON JACOBAsst. Professor in Diplomatic Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Southern Asia, India, and the Gulf Region: Understanding the New Geo-political Interface

One common tie that binds the Gulf region and the Southern Asian region is their recent and phenomenal geopolitical, politico-security and economic transformations. When juxtaposed against each other, these two regions have the potential to generate powerful forces that may affect the global order, whether positively or negatively.

     This article makes the following broad arguments. First, there has been a precipitous increase in the collective vulnerabilities of the states of both regions, and this could encourage enhanced mutual cooperation and interdependence between them. Second, larger inter-regional politico-security issues have the potential to recast existing political realities and mutual rivalries within the two regions. Third, the US is likely to adopt a restrained posture toward the Gulf States (and more broadly, the Middle East) as it is focusing more attention to East Asia. Finally, India, a rising power, may emerge as the key pivot of an inter-regional stabilising process. In elucidating these main premises, we take the position that intense regional conflict and military rivalry between rising powers such as India and China is not inevitable as many analysts predict. Oil-producing states, especially in the Gulf region can play an important role in generating harmony among rising powers by undertaking certain cooperative actions.


Satya R. Pattnayak: Professor of Sociology and Political Science, & Director, Latin American Studies, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Villanova University, Villanova, PA (USA)

Emerging Trends in Latin America, Rise of Brazil - and Potential for India

In 2008, the leaders of South America assembled in the capital city of Brasilia at the behest of the then President of Brazil, Luis Inazio Lula da Silva. As the leader of the largest and the biggest of Latin American countries, President Silva had asked other leaders of the region to form a bloc of nations, which once agreed to, came to be known as the Union of South American Nations or the UNASUR. At the meeting, the leaders voted unanimously to form a regional group of nations in order to champion three major problems bedevilling the entire region: poverty, energy, and infrastructure. In the not so distant past, such actions would have been unthinkable by leaders of Latin America. Very rarely had they acted in unison and without the presence of the colossus of the North – the United States of America.

     Much has happened in the past three decades that signifies a changing nature of the ties, not only between major Latin American nations and the United States but also among the countries of the region. The winds of change have been blowing in Latin America for quite some time and these can only be properly understood by examining the changing political, economic, and social conditions on ground. Several global, regional, and local factors have contributed to such transformation. These changes have opened up opportunities for emerging powers, such as India.


RANJIT GUPTA:  Former Ambassador of India to Yemen, Venezuela, Oman, Thailand, Spain and Head of the Indian Representation in Taiwan.

China, Myanmar and India: A Strategic Perspective

Given what has been happening in the recent past in Myanmar and the likely trajectory for the future, India is much better placed vis-à-vis the “China factor” for the first time in several decades. A democratic Myanmar, particularly one presided over by a person such as Aung San Suu Kyi with her personal connections with India, would obviously be a better prospect for India rather than China. Soft power may matter more than hard power and India has considerable advantages in that sphere. India once again has an opportunity to build a mutually beneficial Indo-Myanmar relationship, stronger than it has ever been in the past. However, India would need to be pro-actively involved on a continuing basis.

     There is no need for India to contest China's position in Myanmar or to compete with China in Myanmar. In view of developments in the past two years, there is no need for India to view its relationship with Myanmar through the China prism. India should simply concentrate on increasing its own footprint in Myanmar based on mutual advantage and benefit. The only way to effectively meet the China challenge is for India to provide Myanmar an attractive stake in its relationship with India.






Economic Diplomacy - Some Success Stories


Satinder Kumar Lambah

Former Ambassador of India to Russia, to Hungary and to Germany
 Former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan, and
Special Envoy of the Prime Minister (Since 2005)


Ambassador Lambah, during his Presidency of the Association of Indian Diplomats (2005-06), initiated an in-depth study of ‘Economic Diplomacy’ through a series of meetings within the Association and with the Apex Chambers and other academics and experts. The study and recommendations (click here to access the report) were submitted to the government also.

       In this Oral History narrative, he recalls some of the ‘success stories’ in economic diplomacy during his career.





SKAND R TAYAL: Former Ambassador of India to Republic of Korea and currently Visiting Professor at the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi

Prem K. Budhwar, Making of a Diplomat: Hone Your Skills, (New Delhi: Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd), 2012, Pages: 178, Price: Rs. 295.


YOGENDER KUMAR: Former Ambassador of India to the Philippines, to Namibia and to Tajikistan. Former Senior Directing Staff at the N.D.C., New Delhi

Muchkund Dubey, India's Foreign Policy: Coping with the Changing World, (New Delhi:  Pearson Education, 2013), Pages: 320, Price: Rs. 699.00


Gurmeet Kanwal: Adjunct fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, D.C.

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan,  Clashing Titans Military Strategy and Insecurity Among Asian Great Powers, (New Delhi: KW Publishers Pvt. Ltd.), 2012, Pages: 367, Price: Rs. 1,190.


VENKAT LOKANATHAN:  Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Master’s Program, Department of Political Science, St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore

Ajay Lele and Namrata Goswami (Eds.), Imagining Asia in 2030: Trends, Scenarios and Alternatives, (New Delhi: Academic Foundation and Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses), 2011, Pages: 580, Price: Rs. 1295




Vol 8, No. 2                        April - June 2013


Free Download full issue



India and Turmoil in the Arab World: Two years since the advent of the ‘Arab Spring’

 This 'updates' an  earlier debate carried 2 yrs ago on the subject

Click here for the 2011 debate


GULSHAN DIETL: ICSSR Senior Fellow affiliated to Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Formerly Professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The ‘Spring’ Has Had a Contagious Effect Much Beyond

On May 26, Turkey’s Taksim Square in Istanbul became the site of protests. What started as an opposition to the demolition of a park on the Square to construct a shopping mall quickly acquired a much larger agenda, a constantly swelling number and a spread beyond Istanbul.

    The scenes from Taksim seemed like a haunting action replay of the Tahrir. Thousands took to the streets, erected barricades and confronted the police. Others read out poems to them taunting, shaming and challenging them. The people had decided to be there for a long haul, considering the food packets delivered and distributed by the volunteers. The Turkish Spring was definitely in the air. It went on for two weeks, before the police cleared thousands of peaceful protesters in a swift operation. Overnight, all traces of a sit-in were removed.

On June 30, the first anniversary of Muhammad Morsi’s presidency, Egypt broke out into two sets of violent demonstrations, those by his supporters, and by his detractors. The Tahrir Square protestors are now divided into two. Their demands are irreconcilable and the outcome unpredictable.


RANJIT GUPTA: Former Ambassador of India to Yemen, Venezuela, Oman, Thailand, Spain and Head of the Indian Representation in Taiwan

Fallout of the ‘Arab Spring’: Challenges for India

India’s example as a successful, pluralistic, secular democracy in the world’s most diverse country with a very large Islamic persona and with a growing economy, is the best model for inspiration and emulation for the young generation of Arabs. In the context of a rising India, a long-standing traditional friend of the Arabs, having an empirically established and strongly proven mutually beneficial relationship, and greater socio-cultural compatibility with the GCC countries than any other major non-regional country, India need not fear adverse outcomes as a consequence of the tumult in the Arab world.

    Finally, given the deteriorating Iranian - GCC relationship, establishing a workable balance in relations between India and Iran on the one hand with that between India and the GCC countries on the other is likely to be the most important challenge for India in West Asia particularly in the next two or three years.


Rumel Dahiya: Deputy Director General, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi

Arab Spring and Future of Political Islam

The Arab Spring has transcended many seasons and is likely to continue on its trajectory for many more. The trajectory will inevitably be uneven as the objective conditions in each of the countries in the region, their capacity to respond and the interests of the external players will vary in each case. Absence of any tradition of democracy or functioning political parties, the existence of internal social and sectarian divides, and high levels of religious orthodoxy prevailing in the region will prevent quick democratisation of the whole region. The monarchies will resist the revolution affecting them by trying to confine the problem to other countries.

However, as events in Egypt and in Turkey indicate, no country will remain immune to the effects of the Arab spring. The sooner the ruling elites understand this, the more peaceful and controlled the transition will be.


SAMEENA HAMEED: Assistant Professor at the India Arab Cultural Centre, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi

International community should desist from attempting to tip the balance

India should wait and watch developments in Egypt and Tunisia as they undergo a ‘second revolution’. It has to avoid getting into situations that either directly appeases or impedes the interests of the Gulf States. This contribution to peace and stability in the Arab region through non-intervention, would not only serve its own national interests but also that of the Arab people.

Two years after the ‘Arab Spring’, it is evident, with the current rejection of the Islamist parties in Egypt and Tunisia, that the movement, originally devoid of any Islamic flavour, would revert to being just that – a revolution of all the peoples for a better tomorrow. The international community should desist from attempting to tip the balance in favour of any particular stakeholder. 


K. P. Fabian: Former Ambassador to Qatar, Finland and Italy

The Second Egyptian Uprising: The Beginning of the End?

Over all, India carefully balanced its interests, its support for democratic values, and its principle of non-intervention. India has started working with the new governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. India has had no special relationship with any of the ousted leaders. Also, what happens in the GCC countries is far more important to India. India took a cautious stand on Bahrain, not only because of the presence of a large Indian community but also because any prolonged turmoil in Bahrain can quickly and easily spread to the rest of the GCC - where there are over 6 million Indians. India’s import of oil from GCC is also a significant factor. India would prefer political stability and absence of discord in the Gulf.





DEB MUKHARJI: Former High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh and Ambassador of India to Nepal.

Transitions in Southern Asia: Implications for India

South Asia offers an extremely complex web of relationships. It cannot be equated with Europe where each nation had a distinct historical identity and experience. Some South Asian nations do, but not all. India itself cannot be compared to the Soviet Union, which was the successor to a Tsarist empire, many territories of which had only recently been acquired. It cannot be compared with China either, which resembles somewhat of an empire with all its provinces not happily or voluntarily integrated. India is a state born of an ancient idea of togetherness, even if amorphous, where each component has no difficulty in living together. Political unity may only have been occasional, but the underlying concept was always there. Happily, we take ourselves and our togetherness for granted. Nevertheless, we can also be at times a bit confusing to others. In addition, even among ourselves, we can be ambiguous to those who confuse unity with uniformity.

The ‘unique’ position of India in South Asia is very well known. Besides our rather forbidding size, we are the only country to have land and/or sea borders with all the other countries. With the exception of Nepal with Tibet, Bangladesh with Myanmar and Pakistan with Afghanistan, none of the others has any common frontiers except with India.


DINOJ K. UPADHYAY: Research Fellow, ICWA, New Delhi

Emerging Dynamics of Climate Change: Post-Doha Climate Gateway

India has taken a number of initiatives to reduce its GHG emissions. But there is a need for comprehensive and coordinated efforts at the global level, though several key concerns of India have been incorporated in the discussions at Doha meet. As a prominent actor in climate change negotiations, India appears determined to push forward the issues that are important for its development as well as those of other developing countries. The climate change underpins almost all aspects of economy and society and is intrinsically connected to global trade, security, technology transfer and energy. Thus, India should enhance its diplomatic activities with countries that share common climate concerns, while mainstreaming such concerns in its foreign policy.


CHINTAMANI MOHAPATRA: Professor of American Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Obama Administration II & India

Optimists in India and the US believe that the “strategic partnership” is maturing by the day. Absence of big-ticket items, high profile frequent summits and occasional hiccups on diplomatic and economic issues does not mean that the two countries are stepping back.

Pessimists argue that developments in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and China are crucial to Indian security and unless Washington goes beyond sympathising with Indian interests and concerns, and coordinates its policy with New Delhi, no strategic partnerships worth its salt can materialise.






The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: Intricate Moments during the Negotiations

Arundhati Ghose

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to UN Offices in Geneva during 1995-1997, Former Ambassador of India to Egypt and to the Republic of Korea


In January 1994, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) set up an Ad-Hoc Committee to negotiate the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) - that had eluded the international community for decades.

    The “mandate” for the Committee included the need to intensively negotiate “a universal and multilaterally and effectively verifiable … (treaty) … which would contribute effectively to the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects, to the process of nuclear disarmament and therefore to the enhancement of international peace and security.” Negotiations began in the Ad Hoc Committee in February 1994.

    Ambassador Arundhati Ghose was India’s Permanent Representative to UN Organizations at Geneva from mid-1995 till 1997. By the time she reached Geneva, the negotiations were at a decisive stage - which she found quite unfavourable to Indian interests.

    In this frank tête-à-tête with the Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, Ambassador Ghose describes these intricate moments during negotiations of the Treaty.






ALOK BANSAL: Senior Fellow, Centre for Land Warfare Studies and Hony. Executive Director, South Asian Institute for Strategic Studies.

Nukhbah Taj Langah, Poetry as Resistance: Islam and Ethnicity in Postcolonial Pakistan (New Delhi: Routledge, 2012), Pages 271, Price: Rs 695.00.


BAL ANAND: Former High Commissioner to New Zealand Former Ambassador to Armenia and to Panama

Man Mohini Kaul , Vibhanshu Shekhar (Eds.), India And New Zealand In A Rising Asia: Issues And Perspectives (New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2012), pp. XIV + 201, Price: Rs. 895.00.


SAVITA PANDE: Professor of South Asia Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Nalinikant Jha and Subhash Shukla (Eds.), India’s Foreign Policy: Emerging Challenges (New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2012), Pages: xxxvi+295, Price: Rs. 995.





Vol 8, No. 3                     Jul - Sep 2013


Free Download full issue




Afghanistan Post 2014: India’s Options


The Journal, 2 years ago, had examined the emerging scenario of the Post 2014 Afghanistan’, in the debate section of its July–September 2011 issue titled, “Afghanistan: Post-US ‘Draw-Down’ and India. This up-dates the earlier debate.

Click here for the 2011 debate


SATISH CHANDRA: Former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan and former Deputy National Security Advisor, presently a distinguished Fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi.

Coping with Afghanistan's Uncertain Future

India has, over the last decade or so, been a bit player in Afghanistan, and its influence on political developments there has been marginal. Accordingly, it has been on the fringes of international consultations on Afghanistan. It is not surprising, therefore, that its bitter opposition to talks with the Taliban was ignored. In comparison, Pakistan has been a much more important player and exercised far more influence than India at regional and international fora in the evolution of policies pertaining to Afghanistan. This is partially explicable by Pakistan’s extensive border with Afghanistan, age old tribal links, deep rooted linkages with the Taliban, the Haqqani group and Al Qaeda, and a long and tortured history of incessant interference in that country. India’s comparative lack of influence is due to the fact that though it has been proactive in bilateral diplomacy vis-à-vis the government of Afghanistan, it has been relatively inactive in reaching out to all shades of opinion in that country, maintaining close contacts with all key external players, and devising innovative and workable strategies for restoring peace and tranquillity in Afghanistan. It is time that India sheds its comparatively reticent posture on Afghanistan and becomes more involved on issues relating to developments there, as otherwise Pakistan will retain its dominant influence, which will obviously work to our detriment.


ARVIND GUPTA: Director General, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi.

Afghanistan’s Uncertainties

What happens in Afghanistan post 2014 is uncertain. The situation being highly dynamic, it is difficult to make accurate forecasts. Most forecasts are gloomy, and predict political instability, a worsening security situation, a weak economy and violence. However, this pessimistic scenario need not materialise if post 2014 security mechanisms, economic assistance, and a stable political system are put in place. The outcome of the presidential elections on 5th April 2014, the nature of security uncertainties after 2014, and the success or failure of Karzai’s efforts at reconciliation with Taliban would influence the situation post 2014.


GURMIT KANWAL: A Delhi-based strategic analyst and Adjunct Fellow, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington D.C.

India must Provide Maximum Assistance - including Military Aid

Ensuring that there is peace and stability in Afghanistan is of vital national interest for India. It is a country with which India has traditionally enjoyed warm and friendly relations. Since the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001-02, India has contributed immensely to the international reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. It has spent over US $2.0 billion in constructing the Delaram-Zaranj highway, building and running schools and hospitals, and in training the fledgling Afghan administration.

As an aspiring though reluctant regional power, India must overcome its fear of overseas military interventions, occasioned by the ill-advised and unsuccessful foray into Sri Lanka in the 1980s, and stand up and be counted as a genuine rising power that is willing to discharge legitimate regional responsibilities. Under the right conditions, which includes the Afghan government’s concurrence, the UN flag, and viable logistics support, it should be possible to persuade India. This will present formidable challenges for logistics, but none that cannot be overcome with methodical planning. At the very least, due to the Indian army’s immense experience in counter-insurgency operations and cultural affinities that make it easier to train new recruits, India could be invited to train ANA personnel in Afghanistan itself.


GULSHAN SACHDEVA: Professor of European Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. As a regional cooperation advisor, he headed the ADB and The Asia Foundation projects at the Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul during 2006−2010.

India Should be Prepared for an Enhanced Engagement

Irrespective of what happens between Afghanistan and the US on bilateral security agreement as well as on the Afghan peace process, it is clear that a new phase in the Afghanistan project is going to begin from 2015. Within this context, most analysts and international reports indicate that, in the post-2014 phase, the country is going to face major challenges in three major areas: security, political and economic. Enhanced Indian engagement in Afghanistan could help the country meet the difficult challenges in all these areas during its decade of transformation (2015−2024).


RAVI SAWHNEY: Distinguished Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi and a former Deputy Chief of Army Staff and a former Director General Military Intelligence.

India must bolster the National Forces of Afghanistan

If India has to stay relevant in Afghanistan, it must do all to bolster the national forces of Afghanistan. This can be done by combining India’s considerable soft power with that of other regional countries, and pool together diplomatic, political, and military resources with other countries to support Afghanistan’s war against disruptive forces. Banking only on things like an UN-mandated international security force or a regional treaty which forswears interference in Afghanistan, is a futile game because it will have no worthwhile mechanism for enforcement.

Unfortunately, whether out of naiveté, or out of an ignorance of forces at play in Afghanistan, or due to a self cultivated image of being the perpetual ‘nice guy’ (an image our adversaries do not take seriously anyway, and which our friends find frustrating), India has proclaimed to limit its assistance to non-lethal military operations. In other words, India is willing to build hospital, roads, power plants, schools, etc., but is not open to supplying the much needed military support and assistance (short of putting boots on the ground) that will strengthen Afghan National Security Force. One can only hope that all this is just posturing, and not national policy.


ALOK BANSAL: Senior Fellow, Centre for Land Warfare Studies and Honorary Executive Director, South Asian Institute for Strategic Studies

Best Option for India is to Bank on the ANA

Many analysts perceive that India should evolve a joint strategy with the Central Asian States to counter both the Taliban and Pakistani influence in Kabul. However, this has the grave disadvantage of being perceived as anti-Pakhtoon in Afghanistan’s fractured ethnic mosaic. Similarly, any coalition with Iran is likely to be perceived as anti-Sunni by the dominant sect in Afghanistan. In addition, considering the current state of US-Iran relations, any relationship with Iran has a risk of running afoul of the USA. The best option for India is to bank on the ANA and pro-India politicians in Afghanistan. India must not allow it to be side-lined on Afghanistan as was done in the Turkey and London Conferences. There are many Afghan politicians who are willing to do India’s bidding.


SAVITA PANDE: Professor at the Centre for South Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

India Should Work with Like-Minded Countries

... India could reconsider its refusal of arms to the Afghan Army. The caveat here could be that these would be meant for the defence of Afghans only. This could be in the same vein as the assurance Americans have been giving India whenever they supply arms to Pakistan. Extending this logic, India can also station Indian troops around Indian and Indian-built institutions. Just as the USA has said that it would be maintaining a residual force in Afghanistan post-2014, India also can explore similar options in tandem with the USA, while supporting the “gradual, managed force reduction” of US-NATO forces as proposed at the 2012 Chicago summit.

... ... ...

India has to keep in mind the protection of its interests in line with the convergence of interests with like-minded countries such as Russia and Iran (notwithstanding differences regarding the length of the stay of US forces post 2014). Iran stands to be India’s best option, particularly in the context of connectivity and transportation. At the same time, India will need to build further relations with Russia to check the growth of Chinese influence in Afghanistan. While not banking upon it, India should also be a part of the multilateral efforts of the SCO, CSTO, NATO, etc. so that it is in the know of things, as well as prevent anyone else from taking advantage should it be absent from any of these fora.


VISHAL CHANDRA: Associate Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

India Should Stay the Course

As the Afghan war is far from over, India must take a long-term view of developments in its turbulent north-western neighbourhood. Based on certain assumptions about the likely course of the Afghan war, it is often argued that India may soon have to revisit its policies and priorities in Afghanistan. However, given the constraints and prevailing uncertainty, India may not be in a position to bring about any radical shift in its Afghan policy, at least not in the short-term. The Afghan situation is extremely fragile at the moment in view of the fragmented nature of its polity, overlapping transitions, and strong external dimensions to the conflict, all of which do have a direct impact on India’s security and, at the same time, restrict its options.

A big challenge for India could be how to sustain the momentum of its engagement in post-ISAF Afghanistan. India’s continued involvement in Afghan reconstruction depends largely on local security conditions. The following factors could be considered as critical here: (i) sustenance of the current political system; (ii) composition and orientation of the next government; (iii) nature and level of Western engagement in the post-transition period; and (iv) the strength of India’s ties with various Afghan factions. Among these, Afghan perceptions about India’s role, and the presence and the sensitivity of the next political set up in Kabul to India’s concerns are of critical importance. Depending on developments both within Afghanistan and Pakistan, either new opportunities could open up for India to strengthen and further widen its engagement or it might have to contend with a more restricted role in the future.





KRISTY HSU: Associate Research Fellow and Section Chief, Chung Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER), Taiwan

India-Taiwan Economic Partnership: Building a New Growth Model

Taiwan, a dynamic democracy and home to the world’s leading ICT technology and manufacturing base, is now looking beyond its traditional trading partners and investment destinations, namely China and Southeast Asian countries, towards India as one of its most strategically important economic partner in its revised “Go South” policy for the next decades. As suggested by the new term of IT -- I stands for India and T stands for Taiwan, growing business interests in Taiwan, starting with ICT industry and expanding to other sectors, have driven considerable Taiwanese business delegations visiting India exploring emerging trade and investment opportunities.

     India has adopted a Look East policy since 1990. Despite the compound economic GDP growth rate between 1990 and 2010 reached 6.6 percent, the total trade linkages and economic integration between India and the Southeast and East Asia have yet met the business community’s expectations. Being an active player in the region, Taiwan has all the potentials to be India’s strategic economic partner in the “Era of Asian Economic Integration”. It is therefore of timely significance to review the India-Taiwan trade and economic relations and provide new policy directions for policy makers and business leaders of India for enhancing bilateral economic relations.


MEENA SINGH ROY: Research Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

India’s ‘Connect Central Asia’ Policy: Building Cooperative Partnership

During the past few years, New Delhi has stepped up its engagement with the Central Asian Republics with the aim of building a long term partnership - both bilaterally and collectively under the frame work of newly pronounced ‘Connect Central Asia’ policy.

The ‘Connect Central Asia’ policy is based on pro-active political, economic, cultural and people-to–people engagement with the countries of Central Asian region. At present the South, Central and West Asian region is exposed to completely new set of challenges. These new developments make a case for India to evolve a calibrated and co-ordinated response in its engagement with the regional countries to further secure India’s core national interests. It is in this context that present article attempts to examine and evaluate various facets of India’s ‘Connect Central Asia’ policy.




Reminiscences of a ‘Fly on the Wall’

 Prabhakar Menon

former Ambassador of India to Netherlands, to Ireland, to Senegal, to (the then) GDR and Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the U.N.

Reminiscences as Director (Foreign Secretary's Office)-1980-82 and Joint Secretary (Prime Minister's Office)-1992-96


Ambassador Prabhakar Menon served as advisor on foreign affairs to Prime Minister Shri P. V. Narasimha Rao when he was privy, on numerous occasions, to high-level interaction between our Prime Minister and his counterparts around the world.

       He had also served earlier as Director of the Foreign Secretary’s office where again he was an eyewitness to some significant developments.

      In this conversation with the Journal, he recounts some of the events that shaped India’s Foreign Policy postures – as he saw from close quarters (as the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’) during those two tenures.






MANPREET SETHI: Senior Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi.

Jasjit Singh, India's Security In A Turbulent World, (New Delhi: National Book Trust, India, 2013), Pages: 174, Price: Rs. 75.


SITAKANTA MISHRA: Research Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi

Shrikant Paranjpe, India's Strategic Culture: The Making of National Security Policy, (New Delhi: Routledge India, 2013), Pages: 204, Price: Rs. 680.




Vol 8, No. 4                     Oct - Dec 2013


Free Download full issue




India Bangladesh Relations: What lies in Store?


This 'updates' an  earlier debate carried 2 yrs ago on the subject, titled
"India and Bangladesh – A New Phase in Bilateral Relations


Click here for the 2011 debate


DEB MUKHARJI: Former High Commissioner  of India to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Nepal.

Developing Multiple Areas of Mutual Advantage

To revert, in conclusion, to the theme of the debate-namely what lies in store for Indo−Bangladesh relations-the present assessment would be that they are currently on an even keel with positive movement in several areas. However, not all expectations have been fulfilled, for which the major responsibility, unfortunately, lies with India. The Awami League government has shown courage and farsightedness in fostering relations with India, and addressing our core concerns on security. Should it return to power, the trend would hopefully continue. Should the mantle of governance be assumed by the BNP, India would have to closely observe and monitor its actions, overt and covert and, unlike the inaction of the past, be prepared to react appropriately if our national interests are affected. Statements by the BNP with regard to India have been qua-positive, and there have been assurances that our core concerns would be addressed. However, despite similar assurances in the past, its record vis-à-vis India has been dismal.

One must hope that, with the development of multiple areas of mutual advantage to the countries, the BNP, should it come to power, would adopt a more positive approach to India. As far as India is concerned, as stated in the concept paper, Bangladesh will always remain an area of the greatest interest, and it must explore all avenues to promote bilateral relations in all spheres, not least in people to people contacts.


SMRUTI S. PATTANAIK: Research Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi.

 Sagacity of the Leadership to Determine the Future

Regime change is part of democracy, and India cannot, and should not, have party-centric relationships. It is true that India−Bangladesh relations saw a down turn during the BNP regimes; but it is important to be seen engaging with BNP as a political party to bridge the gap in perception. The more the Indian strategic community rues the possibility of Awami League being voted out of power, it makes it increasingly difficult for the BNP to even contemplate a new beginning. This will feed into the campaign by vested interests, which famously use ‘save sovereignty’ in their campaign against the Awami League.

As the last election in Bangladesh indicated, the approach towards India is not a determining factor affecting the electoral prospects of a party. It is the geographical reality and the cultural proximity, coupled with the political sagacity of the leadership in the two countries in an increasingly globalized world that would determine the future of India−Bangladesh relations. Connectivity, in its multiple meanings, is the political keyword.


SREERADHA DATTA: Director, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata.

Political Linkages Essential for Pursuit of Long Term Gains

As has been argued earlier, while political linkages may witness a downslide or an upswing depending upon the government in Dhaka, issues of trade and commerce continue to enjoy a momentum irrespective of political relations. While BNP leader Khaleda Zia’s visit to India last year was hailed as successful, India has not as yet been able to overcome its baggage of being tagged as a close Awami ally. As yet, the political contacts between the two states remain limited to certain sections. Indian political leaders, representing varied ideologies, need to reach out to a broader political spectrum. The continued perception of India’s proximity with certain sections of Bangladeshi political leaders has far reaching ramifications. At the same time, to expect that the BNP will move away from its traditional hostility towards India and start afresh and begin to closely work together with India is a simplistic argument that does not correctly reflect the complex nature of Bangladeshi domestic political compulsions. India surely needs to reach out far more, and project ways that it plans for its bilateral course.

The bilateral road map that has been laid out in 2010 can only be sustained through further planning and collaboration. Irrespective of the nature of governments in Dhaka or New Delhi, tangible improvement and developments in peoples' lives will override all other consideration. Going by the recent past, a non-Awami government will perhaps not be cognisant of Indian security concerns as was Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. But, areas of bilateral convergence for future cooperation may not vary too much. Having seen the benefits of closely engaging with India, it is highly unlikely that Bangladesh will want to roll back all bilateral achievements of the recent past. The criticality of continuing with long term projects that have been introduced cannot be over emphasised. Thus, there is no doubt that political linkages are essential for the pursuit of long term gains, and both sides need to work out a sustainable strategy towards the same.


ANAND KUMAR: Associate Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi.

Strong Foundation for Future Relations

Clearly, a change of dispensation in Bangladesh may not prove positive for India−Bangladesh relations. It is also possible that, under a new government, bilateral relation might actually suffer. But it is also true that, in the last five years, Sheikh Hasina’s government has seriously tried to improve relations with India, with a whole gamut of issues being identified. An unfavourable political dispensation would only stall progress for some time, and perhaps take a few steps backwards. But India–Bangladesh relations will make positive moves in the years to come, whenever they find themselves in a friendly ambience.

India and Bangladesh may not have been able to sort out all issues during the tenure of Shaikh Hasina’s government; but it would be unfair to judge progress made in the bilateral relationship on the basis of just one or two issues. Actually, a strong foundation for the bilateral relationship has been laid during the present Awami League government, and if the new governments in both countries stay on this course after the elections, India–Bangladesh relations are really headed for a bright future, and could become a model in the Sub-continent






P R KUMARASWAMY: professor at the Centre for West Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and,  Honorary Director of Middle East Institute, New Delhi

Can India Mediate the Middle East Peace Process?

Various leaders and personalities from the Middle East have been asking India, at regular intervals, to play a pro-active role in the Middle East peace process. Given India’s political, economic, energy, cultural and strategic interests, the Middle East is too important to be ignored. Yet, is there a role for India in the Middle East peace process? What are the impediments for India in playing such a role?


RUP NARAYAN DAS: Senior Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi

The Resilient Sino-Indian Relationship: Assessing the Prime Minister’s 2013 visit to China

In spite of India’s engagement with China, there should not be any complacency or flippancy with regard to military preparedness in dealing with China. India, not withstanding its consistent policy of engagement with China, can deal with the mighty northern neighbour only from a position of strength, not from position of weakness or vulnerability. China can behave in an unpredictable manner depending on the domestic economic and political situations. In any situation of threat to the hegemony of the Communist Party of China, the ruling regime can resort to fomenting trouble for its neighbour or any other foreign power to distract the people’s attention from domestic trouble and to keep a grip over the party. At the same time, the momentum of dialogue at various levels should be maintained.


RAJEEV AGARWAL: Research Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi

‘Arab Spring’ and Democracy: Possibility or an Elusive Idea

The new emerging regimes and their people are realising that it was easy to throw out the old order, but the challenge is now to see that the old order doesn’t resurface (maybe under a new name) or worse, a new and even more repressive political order doesn’t take roots. Democracy is a long term evolving process and therefore, the people have to be patient and alert. New models for governance have to be built from scratch. This calls for skilled political leadership to guide reforms. With growing awareness and social discourse all over the world, it is difficult to imagine the return of dictators. Yet, until democracy finds space for itself, there may be periods of unrests and turbulence, but then societies do not change overnight. With trials and errors, protests and retributions, repeated dismissals of governments, parliaments and constitution, people in the region may find their own flavour of democracy.


OLIVER STUENKEL: Assistant Professor at the Center for International Relations, School of History and the Social Sciences, Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), São Paulo (Brazil)

Emerging India: A farewell to multilateralism?

Given India’s notable success over the past two decades, Indian foreign policy makers increasingly need to confront the question of whether and how their country will contribute to dealing with global challenges such as climate change, piracy, failed states and economic volatility. India’s growing might will fuel others’ expectation for India to engage in global burden sharing. Unless it is ready to do so, India may easily lose support of developing countries that have long formed the core of India’s followership, as they no longer see India defending the poor countries’ interests on the international level. It constructive role in the G20 clearly shows that India does not have to be obstructionist. Instead of focusing on status, as it has often done in past decades, India’s foreign policy is likely to become more pragmatic. For example, rather than in engaging in fixed partnerships, India will pursue its national interest in its growing sphere of influence, and align with whomever it deems convenient – be it other emerging countries such as Brazil in one moment, and the United States in the next.





The India-China Parleys (1979-82)

Eric Gonsalves


Ambassador Eric Gonsalves, during his 35 years (1952 – 86) in the Indian Foreign Service, served as Ambassador of India to Japan, to Belgium, to the EEC and to Luxembourg and in senior positions at the Headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi.

During June 1978 to July 1982, he served, first as Additional Secretary (Asia), and, then as Secretary in the Ministry if External Affairs, that included China amongst his areas of responsibility.

During those 4 years he was personally involved in various efforts towards improvement in India – China relations – including the visit of the then Foreign Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee to China in February 1979, the visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister in June 1981 and the following two rounds of bilateral talks with China in 1981 and 1982.

In this conversation with the Journal, he recounts some of the discussions / negotiations, that perhaps laid the seeds of ‘peace and tranquillity’ on the border, to be achieved after many more rounds of visits and negotiations.






B. S. PRAKASH: Former Ambassador of India to Brazil and to Uganda

Talmiz Ahmad, The Islamist Challenge in West Asia: Doctrinal and Political Competitions After the Arab Spring, (New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2013), Pages: 145, Price: Rs. 695.00.


RESHMI KAZI: Associate Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

R. Rajaraman (ed.), India's Nuclear Energy Programme: Future Plans, Prospects and Concerns (New Delhi: Academic Foundation, 2013), Pages: 278, Price: $ 59.95.


. ________________________________________




last updated November 07, 2014