Vol 8, No.
January - March 2013
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Arctic: Challenges, Prospects and Opportunities for India
Vijay K. Sakhuja: Director
(Research), Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi
The Evolving Indian
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
KISHORE KUMAR: Consultant,
Centre for Ocean and Environmental Studies (COES), New Delhi
Push for a ‘Global Commons’
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
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
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
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
Research Fellow and Section Chief, Chung Hua
Institution for Economic Research (CIER), Taiwan
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.
McGill Professor of International Relations at McGill University, Montreal,
Canada; and, HAPPYMON
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
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.
R. Pattnayak: Professor of Sociology and
Political Science, & Director, Latin American Studies, College of
Liberal Arts & Sciences, Villanova University, Villanova, PA (USA)
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.
GUPTA: Former Ambassador of India
to Yemen, Venezuela, Oman, Thailand, Spain and Head of the Indian
Representation in Taiwan.
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
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
Diplomacy - Some Success Stories
Satinder Kumar Lambah
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)
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
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.
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
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.
April - June 2013
Free Download full issue
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
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
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.
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
should desist from attempting to tip the balance
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.
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
P. Fabian: Former Ambassador to Qatar,
Finland and Italy
The Second Egyptian
Uprising: The Beginning of the End?
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
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.
‘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
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.
Administration II & India
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.
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.
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: Intricate Moments during the
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
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
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
BAL ANAND: Former
High Commissioner to New Zealand Former Ambassador to Armenia and to Panama
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.
Jul - Sep 2013
Free Download full issue
Post 2014: India’s Options
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,
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,
Coping with Afghanistan's
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
... 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.
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
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
Partnership: Building a New Growth Model
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.
Central Asia’ Policy: Building Cooperative Partnership
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.
‘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’
of a ‘Fly on the Wall’
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.
as Director (Foreign Secretary's Office)-1980-82 and Joint Secretary
(Prime Minister's Office)-1992-96
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
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.
Oct - Dec 2013
Free Download full issue
Bangladesh Relations: What lies in Store?
'updates' an earlier debate carried 2 yrs ago on the subject, titled
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.
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
Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi.
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.
Essential for Pursuit of Long Term Gains
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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
Spring’ and Democracy: Possibility or an Elusive Idea
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.
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
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, 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.
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.
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.
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
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.