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Vol 9, No. 1                Jan - Mar 2014


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India−China Relations: Conflicting Trends



Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India.

India and China in the New Era*

... Above all, India and China need a stable, secure and prosperous Asia Pacific region. The centre of gravity of global opportunities and challenges are shifting to this region. In the coming decades, China and India, together with the United States, Japan, Korea and the ASEAN Community, will be among the largest economies in the world. While this region embodies unparalleled dynamism and hope, it is also one with unsettled questions and unresolved disputes. It will be in our mutual interest to work for a cooperative, inclusive and rule-based security architecture that enhances our collective security and regional and global stability.

*Speech delivered by the Prime Minister, Shri Manmohan Singh at the Central Party School in Beijing, China, on October 24, 2013


C. V. Ranganathan former Ambassador of India to China and to France. Former Convener of the National Security Advisory Board

Meaningful Cooperation on Afghanistan- a Test of the Relationship

The approaching end game in Afghanistan, marked by the withdrawal of American and NATO troops, draws attention to the urgency of the pursuit of cooperation in the security sphere between India, China, Pakistan, and other neighbors of that country. Even as various diverse fields in bilateral relations between India and China continue to grow the issue of constructive and meaningful cooperation with regard to the future of Afghanistan should be considered an important test of the quality of the relationship, having a vital bearing on the peace, stability, as well as the economic and social development of the Indian subcontinent.


Nalin Surie: former Ambassador of India to China, High Commissioner to the UK and former Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs

Cooperation, Competition and Peaceful Confrontation

The India−China relationship is already not a zero sum game. The potential for collaboration to mutual benefit though is much greater whether from the perspective of learning from each other's socio economic programs and successes, for bilateral economic relations or cooperation in regional and international programs. However, for this to be realised in greater and greater measure will require the development of much greater mutual trust and a mindset change, especially in our largest neighbour.


Srikanth Kondapalli: Professor in Chinese Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Simultaneous Rise of China and India - The Way Ahead

The above brief depiction of the bilateral and multilateral interactions between India and China suggest that the new leadership in China views relations with India as being important but, overall, subservient to its equations with Washington. As China became the second largest economy in the world in 2010, and is poised to overtake the USA in GDP terms, Beijing is concerned with the possible negative outcomes of this ‘power transition’ – much like Germany and Japan faced in the 1930s and 1940s. For instance, Beijing has expressed concerns about USA’s ‘rebalancing in the Asia-Pacific’, although it is the major beneficiary of the G-2. In order to cushion its rise further in a sustained manner in the international and regional orders, China is working momentarily with other emerging countries on issue-based coordination. India in turn needs to evolve policies which are based on its own self-interest; make choices that contribute to its capacity build-up; make its territorial integrity more secure through conventional and nuclear deterrence; make active efforts to re-shape the regional and international environment conducive to its rise and avoid being marginalised at a minimum, as well as protect and expand its rightful place in the international system through an inclusive and democratic architecture.





Jagannath Panda:  Research Fellow and Centre Coordinator (East Asia) at Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), New Delhi

Maritime Silk Road and the India−China Conundrum: From the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean

India–China maritime dynamics are witnessing new developments and balance of power politics. Beijing’s economic and maritime posture continues to emerge as a challenge for India. In fact, underlying China’s Maritime Silk Road strategy is an orderly diplomatic, economic, and maritime quest for power that India must take note of. A core aim behind this strategy is to re-brand China as an economic, political and maritime power in IOR as well as in the neighbouring region. In official parlance, this enterprise is intended to integrate Beijing’s existing levels of cooperation in the region, and to look beyond. As Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, stated on 13 February 2014, “This is an initiative and idea of cooperation, which will help integrate all the on-going cooperation programmes, especially those in connectivity with the concept and spirit of the ancient Silk Road.”. India and other countries need to take note and respond to this discourse.


Obja Borah Hazarika:   Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Dibrugarh University, Assam

Evolving Dynamics of Federalism and Foreign Policy in India:  Engagement of States in External Affairs

Although, the central government in India has been constitutionally empowered to decide on foreign affairs, this article has attempted to portray that sub-national units have influenced and affected external engagements to a certain extent. The central government as well as foreign audiences have acknowledged the role of the states of India in external engagements and have often included them in discussions and negotiations relating to foreign affairs. Sub-national diplomacy has taken varied manifestations in India. First, states have embarked on economic diplomacy with foreign audiences. Secondly, states sharing an international border have influenced neighbourhood policy and thirdly, regional parties, which have served as coalition partners at the centre have often leveraged their status to exert pressure on the centre in certain foreign policy decisions. The centre, being the final authority on external affairs in India, must continue to conduct foreign policy with an aim to secure the national interest of the country as well as to ensure that the legitimate interests and concerns of the states are adequately accommodated.


Reshmi Kazi: Associate Fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

India’s Nuclear Doctrine: A Study of its Tenets

The aim of India’s nuclear deterrence capability has been to safeguard itself against blackmail and coercive diplomacy of adversaries. Its doctrinal principles of minimum nuclear deterrence and NFU are consistent with India’s declaration of a modest nuclear weapons policy. The official announcements, in the aftermath of the May 1998 tests indicated that India has set out on a pragmatic course of action. Sixteen years after the tests, the Indian government’s policies reflect this approach substantially.

The CCS in January 2003, proposed certain modifications in the draft doctrine. The committee made clear that in future if any biological and chemical weapons are used to attack India then it would retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons. This did receive criticism from some quarters. Such an explicit link can reduce the deterrence value of nuclear weapons and may enhance the value of chemical weapons.

Having failed in its efforts for decades to achieve global nuclear disarmament, India had to reluctantly resort to go down the nuclear path. India remains committed to pursue disarmament as the ultimate guarantor of peace amongst nations.


Rajiv Sikri: former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, and a former Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan

Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India's Foreign Policy

For some time now, there has been a buzz about India’s growing role in the world and a widespread feeling that India must play a much larger global role. Today, this feeling has become far more acute. It is important, then, that there should be greater, and more widespread, awareness of foreign policy challenges faced by India, as well as a deeper understanding of the stakes and options for India’s foreign policy. The public needs to be more knowledgeable about foreign affairs, which cannot be the concern only of those who exercise power in New Delhi. It is something in which every citizen should be involved. It is also essential that there should be a vibrant and constructive debate, especially involving the young, on where we are headed and why, because unless there is public support our foreign policy will not be successful. Some recent incidents pertaining to our relations with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh where the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal respectively forced the hand of the Central Government illustrate this point. I am glad that the BJP manifesto talks about having a “Team India” that brings together the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers of States.

My conversation with you today is a small effort to create this awareness, perhaps stimulate your imagination and set you thinking.





C. MAHAPATRA: Professor and Chairperson, Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Mohammad Badrul Alam (Ed.), Contours of India’s Foreign Policy: Changes and Challenges (New Delhi, Reference Press, 2014), Pages: 325, Price: Rs. 975.00


Rajeev Agarwal: Research Fellow, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi

PR Kumaraswami (Ed.), Persian Gulf 2013: India’s Relations with the Region, (New Delhi, Sage Publications, 2014), Pages: 305, Price: Rs 795.00


Venkat Lokanathan: Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Master’s Programme, Department of Political Science, St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore

Chandra, Vishal (ed.), India’s Neighbourhood: The Armies of South Asia, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2013) Pages: 167, Price: 795


PUSHPITA DAS: Associate Fellow, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi

David Kilcullen, Out of the Mountains: the Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla, (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2013), Pages: 342, Price: Rs. 1,317.12


Sheel Kant Sharma: Former Ambassador of India to Austria, Former Secretary General, SAARC

P. P. Shukla (Ed.),- India US Partnership - Asian Challenges and Beyond, (New Delhi,  Wisdom Tree, 2014), Pages: 208, Price: Rs. 716.00


BALAKRISHNA SHETTY: Former Ambassador of India to Senegal, to Bahrain and to Sweden

Rumel Dahiya (ed.), Review of Developments in the Gulf Region, Pentagon Press, (2014), New Delhi, Pages: 210, Price: Rs. 695




Compendium of Contributions

Published in Volume 8, 2013



Vol 9, No. 2               Apr - Jun 2014


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'Indo-Pacific': An Emerging Geopolitical Construct
India’s Interests, Stakes and Challenges


SANJAY SINGH: Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, and, Former Ambassador of India to Iran

Indo-Pacific – A Construct for Peace and Stability

The emergence of India in the 21st century completes the creation of a composite region which could best be described by the term ‘Indo-Pacific’

As the global fulcrum of power shifts further towards Asia, it would also bring about change in the dynamics within the Indo-Pacific region. Taking cognisance of this, we would need to work towards creating a security construct, and an economic architecture that leverages the civilizational linkages to expand cooperation and build partnerships across the Indo-Pacific. India naturally will be an important participant in the process.


G. V. C. NAIDU: Professor at the Centre for Indo-Pacific Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

'Indo-Pacific' as a New Template of Analysis

The Indo-Pacific also offers enormous scope for regional multilateralism to play a more important role than it has so far. Once it is recognised that economic cooperation, shared prosperity, and security challenges are no more sub-regional in nature but span the entire region, the Indo-Pacific will be better appreciated. Thus, the Indo-Pacific needs to be viewed in the larger perspective of offering more opportunities for cooperation than competition. Moreover, it is a reflection of the rapidly changing geopolitical reference points. Thus, instead of looking at the Indo-Pacific idea with skepticism, it should be welcomed and promoted.


RAGHAVENDRA MISHRA: Research fellow, the National Maritime Foundation (NMF), New Delhi. 

India and 'Indo-Pacific': Involvement rather than Entanglement

While the Pacific pole of the Indo-Pacific is important, the primacy of the Indian Ocean in the national strategic calculus is far more critical due to energy dependency on the Middle East, increasing economic linkages with Africa, and the security of major sea lines of communication passing through the western Indian Ocean. In conclusion, the Indian strategic policy framework should factor the nuances of emerging multi-polarity, and a deepening of ‘vertical and horizontal intermeshing’ brought about by the globalisation process. While the stance of ‘strategic autonomy’ remains inviolate, the tenets of maintaining equidistance and balance among the power centres may prove to be a constraint. The simultaneous management of mutually opposing paradigms across the strategic threads of politics–diplomacy−economics−security could be best served by a ‘functional transactional approach’ instead of a rigid straight-line, single point of departure policy.


MONISH TOURANGBAM: Assistant Professor at the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University, Manipal.

Indo-Pacific and the Practice of Strategic Autonomy

What makes the Indo-Pacific construct appealing to Indian policymakers and the strategic community is that it gives ample scope for the practice of India’s strategic autonomy. It gives space for it to drive the emerging debates as a more direct stakeholder rather than being seen as a co-opted partner in America’s rebalancing strategy in the Asia-Pacific region. While the term ‘strategic autonomy’ needs to be defined based on India’s capabilities and aspirations, it will augur well for India’s own interests to take into confidence other countries in the region (besides the major powers) regarding the viability of this new geopolitical and geo-economics construct. India’s rising capabilities and a sober analysis of its strategic autonomy denotes India’s ability to take foreign policy steps commensurate with its national interests. This includes striking partnerships and coalitions as and when it suits India’s priorities of balancing uninterrupted internal development amidst a stable and secure external environment in the Indo-Pacific region.


R. S. YADAV: Chairman, Department of Political Science, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra

'Indo-Pacific': Likely to be Peripheral for India

... India’s interests in the Indo-Pacific region seem to be limited in terms of both its foreign policy priorities and its lack of capability as a major power. Though it is making progress in attaining the status of a rising power, yet it has to establish such a claim through a threefold manifestation in the form of its hard power position; its soft power status; and its demonstrative capabilities. Besides, Indian interests are more or less limited towards its immediate and extended neighbourhood. ...

In such a context, India’s stakes in the Indo-Pacific region are not much. While it may continue to link up this area, inhabited by people of Indian origin, in terms of socio-cultural ties  in no way would it should associate itself with security issues. India does not face many challenges in this region. This region is likely to remain peripheral for its foreign policy outlook and orientation in the near future.  


ARVIND KUMAR: Professor of  Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University, Manipal.

Challenges to Indo-Pacific Security Architecture: Emerging Role for India

... India should play an active role in seeking to address the challenges to the creation of a new and acceptable Indo-Pacific security architecture. Over the years, the aspirations and ambitions of India have grown. It has been acknowledged as a predominant power in South Asia, and an emerging power in the whole of Asia. Its desire to be a leading power in the Indian Ocean Rim cannot be questioned. However, India cannot shy away from assuming responsibilities and playing a more proactive and positive role, especially if it desires to be an influential player in Asian and world affairs. India’s strategic orientations need to be adjusted to go beyond the Indian Ocean region to the Pacific Rim.


A. VINOD KUMAR: Associate Fellow, The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

'Indo-Pacific': India Will be a Fringe Player

... [I]nclusion of the IOR in the Indo-Pacific paradigm only underlines the coming future of great powers attempting to spread their writ in this expanse. Already reeling under continental security challenges, a looming economic crisis, and a tardy defence modernisation process, India will need to toil in the coming years to sustain whatever leverage it already has. While economic considerations will be a driving factor in India’s effort to enhance cooperative relations with major actors in the Pacific, the expectation is that it will be a mere fringe player in the strategic dimensions of Indo-Pacific for some time to come.





Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty: Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and former High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Thailand

India’s Foreign Policy in the Neighbourhood

The new Indian government, backed by a majority in the Lok Sabha, will be in a position to take bold initiatives in the domain of foreign policy. An early signal of this was the invitation to SAARC leaders to attend the swearing–in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi.  .It was an adroit move, with a strong potential to pay future dividends in India’s neighbourhood policy. It was also, perhaps, the first step to catapulting Prime Minister Modi from being a charismatic provincial leader to a global statesman.

India’s journey to becoming a major power has begun. Though a long haul, this historic transformation will be completed in this century, marking India’s much awaited tryst with destiny..


Sadhana Relia, Arabinda Mitra and T. Ramasami: Head of the International Cooperation (Multilateral / Regional); Head of the International Cooperation (Bilateral); and (till recently) Secretary to the Government of India at the Ministry of Science and Technology respectively

Science and Technology Perspectives for India’s Foreign Policy

The soft power of science and technology in public diplomacy in the global knowledge economy could well become a handy tool. Science diplomacy offers itself as a tool to reckon with for India’s foreign policy on the basis of our scientific and technological strength. The foreign policy of India could include building strategic Science, Technology, and Innovation alliances for the country with highly innovative but small economies. The Indian science sector seems to be ready now than ever before for this win-win formula. 

The article is based on a lecture on the subject delivered by Dr. T. Ramasami,  at the regular meeting of the Association of Indian Diplomats on  22 April 2014 at New Delhi.


Ashok Chawla: Chairman of the Competition Commission of India and former Finance Secretary

Global Business and Competition Law in India

Competition law and policy in India is emerging as a tool to enhance economic development, promote competition and protect consumers in India. In order to give impetus to the evolutionary phase of competition law and policy in India, the government of India is considering wide-ranging amendments to the Act and also a National Competition Policy. The National Competition Policy aims to specifically deal with policy distortions and impediments that hinder healthy competition. Further, CCI hopes that its pro-active role in India in uncovering cartels and other anti-competitive agreements would go a long way in encouraging fair market practices, deepening competition in markets and contributing to economic growth with equity.

The article is based on a lecture on the subject delivered by the author at the regular meeting of the Association of Indian Diplomats on 21 May 2014 at New Delhi.


RAJARAM PANDA: Former Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi and presently, a Japan Foundation Fellow, at Reitaku University, Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, Japan

India–Japan Relations: Dawn of a New Relationship?

India and Japan are both important players in Asian political scene. During the Cold War era, ideological differences and alignments perhaps prevented both countries from closely honing their economic and strategic complementarities. After India liberalised its economic policies in the early 1990s, this equation changed noticeably, and moved towards a stronger relationship in economic and strategic domains. Though the growth momentum was not at the desired level - as compared to India’s economic engagement with, for example, China, South Korea and Australia - recent political changes in both the countries is expected to pave the way towards greater cooperation. Moreover, the strategic factor seems to have emerged as the prime driver in the bilateral ties between the two countries.





VINAY KAUSHAL: Research Fellow, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi

Rajesh Basrur, Ajay Kumar Das and Manjeet S. Pardesi (Ed), India’s Military Modernisation Challenges & Prospects, (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2014), Pages: 311, Price: 950.00


Dalbir Ahlawat: Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (PICT) Macquarie University, Australia

Soraya Caro Vergas,  India-Latin America: An Alliance for the Future, New Delhi: Vitasta Publishing Pvt Ltd, (2014), Pages: xxvii + 248,  Price: 740.00


Gunjan Singh: Research Assistant, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan and Daniel A. Porras (Eds.), Awaiting Launch: Perspectives on the Draft ICOC for Outer Space Activities; New Delhi, Observer Research Foundation, 2014, Pages: 275  



Vol 9, No. 3                        Jul - Sep 2014


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Indian Foreign Policy and Diplomacy:

The First few Months of the New Government


BHASKAR BALAKRISHNAN: former Ambassador of India to Greece. and  Cuba, and Member National Security Advisory Board. The views expressed here are personal

India’s Foreign Policy and the New Government

The coming to power of a majority government led by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi opens up new possibilities in India’s foreign policy and external relations. India’s engagement with the outside world has lagged during the past five years, hamstrung by a weak coalition government preoccupied with managing internal cohesion and keeping afloat. This drift has been apparent in internal governance as well, with decisions on many key issues left dangling. The negative impact of this on economic growth, internal security and national morale has greatly diminished India’s role in the increasingly complicated and competitive global environment.


SATISH CHANDRA: Dean, Centre for National Security and Strategic Studies, Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), New Delhi, Former Deputy National Security Advisor, Permanent Representative of India to UN Offices in Geneva, Ambassador to the Philippines and High Commissioner to Pakistan.

The Style and Substance of Modi's Foreign Policy

Prior to his becoming Prime Minister, there was, understandably, considerable uncertainty about the nature of Narendra Modi’s foreign policy and the manner in which he would conduct it. While some may have felt that it would be overly assertive, others may have believed that since he was a newcomer to the national scene, it would be diffident and tentative.

In a little over five months as Prime Minister, Modi has set to rest all speculation and provided clear indications of the style and substance of his foreign policy. In the process, he has demonstrated that he has taken to foreign policy as a duck takes to water, that he has definite views in this area, and that he is prepared to boldly act in keeping with them.


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

Assessing Modi Government’s Foreign Policy

‘Continuity’ has been a part of India’s foreign policy and a change in government can only bring in certain nuances in the conduct of that policy. The political environment that a new government brings in certainly creates some expectation from the government, but, any change in the foreign policy would be contingent upon a change in the strategic environment in which a state functions. Yet, the BJP led NDA government’s policy is keenly watched and there is an expectation that this government’s foreign policy would be different in style and direction, if not in substance


D. SUBHA CHANDRAN: Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), New Delhi.

The New Government & India’s Foreign Policy: Old Issues, Firmer Resolve

When the new government assumed office there was a general expectation, both within the country and outside, that there would be a new vigour in India’s foreign policy. Led by Narendra Modi, the new government did take steps to reinvigorate the external relations. While it is early to judge the intent and the outcome of the decisions taken so far, a trend can be easily identified.

Instead of analysing the efforts taken by the new government in terms of individual countries, it would be useful to identify the broad parameters under which the relationships are being pursued and their effectiveness. In this context, three distinct trends could be identified, in terms of strategies adopted by the new government – the core, outer core and the periphery. Rather than looking through the geographic prism of the immediate neighbourhood, the extended region and the rest, the relationships should be viewed based on their importance and impact.


CHINTAMANI MAHAPATRA: Professor and Chairperson, Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies, School for International Studies, JNU, New Delhi

Modi’s Foreign Policy: Difficult to Theorize, Easy to Understand

First few months of Narendra Modi Government has created a series of historical milestones in India’s engagement with the international community. Invitation to all SAARC heads of government for Prime Ministerial inauguration, first foreign visit by Prime Minister Modi to Bhutan, sudden postponement of an announced visit to Japan, while going ahead with a visit to Brazil to attend the BRICS summit, and spectacular summits with three major powers—Japan, China and the US are undoubtedly new and unprecedented historical moments in early months of any new government formation in India.





AJEY LELE: Research Fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

Autonomy in Satellite Navigation Systems: The Indian Programme

India is developing an Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to provide itself and neighbouring countries with the Position Navigation and Timing (PNT) service. This project is likely to become operational by 2015. Initially, the system will have seven satellites, and the number will later go up to 11.  IRNSS will be an independent 7 satellite constellation, built and operated by India with indigenous capability: three in GSO and 4 in non-GSO (inclined 29 degrees with equatorial plane).  India has already launched three satellites of their constellation and one thereafter, thus making the initial phase of this system operational. 

The IRNSS will provide an absolute position accuracy of approximately 20 metres throughout India, and within a 2,000 km region around it.  The system is expected to provide two types of services: one for civilian use, and another as a restricted encrypted service for specific users.


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

Recent Developments in West Asia: Implications for India

... [I]ndia’s national well-being is heavily dependent on stability in the Gulf region of West Asia. Unfortunately, volatility here is going to continue increasing in the foreseeable future. Any major disruption of normalcy in the GCC countries would result in disastrous consequences for India. What is happening in Iraq and Syria must not spill over into the GCC countries. However, the unfortunate reality is that there is nothing that India can say or do to influence events on the ground. But the least that India can, and must, do is to convey through actions that we have a keen interest in a strong relationship with the GCC countries.


TITLI BASU: Researcher at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi

India-Japan relations: An Enduring Partnership

... [E]volving geopolitical realities are shaping the India-Japan relationship. While the ‘China threat’ theory and declining US influence in the region is making Abe explore alternatives like India, India is expected to pursue its quest for multi-polarity, great power identity, as well as pragmatically engage with all the important players in the fast altering security environment to ensure regional peace and stability so critical for facilitating development. Japan is vital in India’s Look East, Engage East, and Act East policies. Shared values and a convergence of interests in the post-Cold War era, as discussed earlier, has pushed the relationship from one of mutual reluctance to deep-rooted trust and cooperation.


AMITAVA TRIPATHI: formerly India’s Ambassador to Brazil, Switzerland and the Vatican.

The future of Regional Cooperation - A South Asian Perspective

The optimist views South Asia as a half-full glass while the pessimist views it as half-empty. The realist, however, drinks the water in the glass, and wisely quenches his thirst. If we remain stuck in a quagmire of despondency over runaway population growth, grinding poverty of a huge section of the population, and endless squabbles over historic wrongs, the future looks grim. But, if we think of the region as overwhelmingly youthful, charged with vitality and a can-do mentality, well-integrated into the global economy thanks to its large diaspora, brilliantly positioned between the energy rich West Asia and the manufacturing hub of East and South-East Asia, and fully committed to inclusive developmental goals, then South Asia can be the region of the future.






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

Skand R. Tayal, India and the Republic of Korea: Engaged Democracies, New Delhi: Routledge, 2014, Pages: xvii+295, Price: Rs. 795.00.


VIVEK MISHRA: Research Scholar, US Studies Programme, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Jakub Zajączkowski, et. al. (eds.), India in the Contemporary World: Polity, Economy and International Relations, New Delhi, Routledge, 2014, Pages: 522, Price: Rs. 696.50


SHREYA UPADHYAY: Research Scholar, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi        

Adesh Pal, India and Her Diaspora in the South Pacific, (New Delhi, Creative Books, 2013), Pages: xvii+295, Price: Rs. 795.00.


SYLVIA MISHRA: Researcher, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi

Rudra Chaudhury, Forged in Crisis: India and the United States since 1947 (New Delhi: Harper Collins, 2014), Pages: xii +368


T. V. PAUL: James McGill Professor of International Relations at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

T.P. Sreenivasan: Applied Diplomacy: Through the Prism of Mythology, New Delhi, Wisdom Tree, 2014. Pages 330; Rs.895.00



Vol 9, No. 4                      Oct - Dec 2014


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Regional Cooperation in South Asia

The Present and the Future


SHEEL KANT SHARMA: Former Ambassador of India to Austria, Former Secretary General, SAARC

The Revitalization of SAARC

The business-as-usual option forces member states and the secretariat to, willy-nilly, reduce the entire regional exercise to a talk shop of many levels, the summit being the topmost. At the same time, it is difficult to abandon this framework since no country would take the blame for doing it. While there are a number of other regional and sub-regional options actively considered and debated in think tanks and academia, the brute fact is that their praxis may not differ much from that of SAARC. This is because it is the same ministries and personnel in the capitals who deal with even the new formats, and mostly the same ideas and initiatives resurface. Take, for example, BIMSTEC. In the past several years, even BIMSTEC has fallen in a similar groove of a well trodden economic agenda, trade and infrastructure, investment, banking, etc., and similarly, a fledgling secretariat fumbling for staff and resources, and not much to show. The Indian Ocean Rim outfit has even larger membership, but similar handicaps.

It is, therefore, unrealistic to see alternatives to SAARC emerge successfully unless very high level interest is taken in a continuous process which begins with a doable and less ambitious agenda hooked to the quick delivery of results. In this sense, there is no doubt that bilateral cooperative processes move faster; but, should that put an end to regionalism?


RAJIV BHATIA: Former Ambassador of India to Myanmar and to Mexico, High Commissioner of India to South Africa and to Kenya. Presently the Director General of Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi

India, and SAARC: Some Future Determinants

South Asia’s environment, both internally and externally, has been changing rapidly. The growing Chinese presence in South Asia can be seen both positively¾as ‘a benign extension of influence’. Or negatively¾ as ‘ingress’ with ‘a larger strategic purpose’. However, the important point is that it cannot be ignored. Nor can it be addressed with the mindset of yesterday. A judicious blend of resilience and the steady accretion of internal strength seem to be the best pathway for India.


YOGENDRA KUMAR: Former Ambassador of India to  Tajikistan and to the Philippines. Former High Commissioner of India in Namibia.

Re-invigorating SAARC

It is now universally recognised that the regional cooperation in South Asia is far less developed in comparison to other regions. There is irony in this situation, as countries in the region have very strong historical and civilisational links even as they occupy the same economic space. These regional commonalities were sought to be fleshed out through the establishment of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in December 1985. It was expected that these commonalities would provide a strong enough basis for significant regional integrationas, indeed, it was before 1947and for socio-economic progress, thereby strengthening regional political stability by keeping the negative tendencieslike backwardness, obscurantism and extremismat bay.

Yet, the sad reality is that other regional organisations, such as the European Union and the ASEANcomprising an even more diverse group of countrieshave been far more successful than SAARC. Indeed, the latter could, perhaps, be less favourably compared even with more recent organisations such as the African Union or the ECO. As an organisation, SAARC has underperformed throughout its history, and the level of regional integration is woefully short of its promise. Even its summits are becoming irregular. Perhaps, the unsatisfactory level of regional integration can partly be considered as a contributory factor in the prevailing situation where the region represents a microcosm of the range of security threats being faced by the world at large. This reality appears even more distressing, given the considerable ongoing movement of peoples in South Asia across borders, and the phenomenon of very easy social relationships overseas amongst members of the respective Diasaporas.


AMITA BATRA: Professor, Centre for South Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

SAARC and Economic Integration in South Asia

Economic cooperation and integration became a part of the SAARC work agenda when the council of ministers of the member countries signed an agreement to form the South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) in April 1993. The move was prompted by a desire of the South Asian economies to dismantle trade barriers following unilateral trade liberalisation as part of the systemic economic reforms initiated, first, in India, and later undertaken by other economies of the region. The economic reforms set the tone for both, a greater global integration of the South Asian economies as also increased growth momentum in the region. In the subsequent two decades, South Asia experienced high growth averaging over 5 per cent annually accompanied by a rapid pace of trade integration with the global economy. The rate of global trade integration of South Asia was the fastest among all regions in the world between 2005 and 2007.

The Indian economy emerged as the second fastest growing economy in the world. The economic dynamism and rapid global trade integration did not, however, translate into a higher level of economic integration among the South Asian economies; and intra regional trade remained at a low of around 5 per cent of the region’s total trade. The region, endowed with geographical, historical, cultural and linguistic proximity- all parameters that make the member economies the most natural trading partners, is today the least integrated region in the world. The process of economic integration in South Asia is marked by many contradictions. These are discussed below followed by the compelling regional and global imperatives to accelerate the pace of economic integration in South Asia. Finally,  sub regionalism is presented as a possible way forward for regional cooperation in South Asia.


T. P. SREENIVASAN: Former Ambassador to Austria, to Fiji, and, High Commissioner of India to Kenya. Presently the Director General of the Kerala International Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Regional Cooperation in South Asia: Present is depressing and the future is gloomy

SAARC has not really realised its full potential because conditions do not exist in the neighbourhood for economic cooperation. Bilateral disputes plague the association and, without mutual trust, no regional organisation can function effectively. India has gained more by its association with the ASEAN rather than with SAARC. Even the declarations of SAARC are rarely implemented

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAARC becoming a corner stone of India’s foreign policy has already suffered a setback. Pakistan raised bilateral issues on the floor of the United Nations even in September 2014, thus violating the spirit of bilateralism and regional cooperation. Other states in the region are also not ready yet to work in a spirit of cooperation. In the meantime, SAARC can operate only on the basis of the lowest common denominators among its members. India would continue to improve its relations with each of its neighbours so that SAARC could become a true regional organisation like the European Union or the ASEAN. In the current situation in the Asia Pacific, characterised by rivalry between the US and China, such a transformation may be hard to accomplish.


KANWAL SIBAL: Former Foreign Secretary of India, former Ambassador to Russia and to France.

Pakistan at the heart of SAARC’s failure

What of the future? Most importantly, unless Pakistan changes course radically towards India, SAARC as SAARC will essentially limp along. Even if India takes initiatives in the interests of the region, Pakistan will stymie them as it will not want India’s ‘hegemony’ to be consolidated. Pakistan’s attitude will not change unless it’s internal polity changes. This is not likely to happen given the dynamics inside Pakistan and the broader Islamic region with which it associates itself.

At the Kathmandu summit, India warned that regional integration will proceed with all, or without some, which suggests that if Pakistan does not cooperate, others can go ahead without it. If that happens, it will mean, of course, the emasculation of the idea of SAARC. However, Pakistan will not be easily isolated, as most other SAARC countries will seek to keep it involved in order to balance India’s weight. Side-tracking Pakistan will also mean that the integration of Afghanistan into SAARC will become practically impossible. BIMSTEC, which groups all SAARC countries except Pakistan and Maldives, provides an option for regional cooperation for India and others, with the added advantage of providing a seamless link to Southeast Asia through Myanmar and Thailand, the other two members of BIMSTEC. The SAARC charter does provide for sub-regional cooperation, but with the concurrence of the rest. This makes Pakistan’s role a major road block.


SABITA HARICHANDAN: Associate Professor of Political Science, BJB Autonomous College, Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

SAARC: Not a Forum for Clearing Indo-Pak Distrust

SAARC is not a forum for clearing Indo-Pak distrust; it stands for far greater regional interests. No country should be allowed to be a spoiler of this serious agenda. Being the two most important members of the regional association, both India and Pakistan shoulder a special responsibility to instil new life and vigour in regional cooperation and go beyond paying lip service to it. Subramanian Swamy, the Chairman of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Strategic Affairs Committee, commented in The Hindu on 25 November 2014, “Since India constitutes 70 per cent or more of SAARC’s area and population, and has political conflicts with all its neighbours, India has to redefine its role, from seeking reciprocity in bilateral relations, to being prepared to go the extra mile in meeting the aspirations of all other SAARC nations.”. The greater regional interests should not be sacrificed at the altar of the intransigent attitudes of some member nations of SAARC.






TALMIZ AHMED: Former Ambassador of India to Saudhi Arabia, to the U.A.E, to Kuwait and Yemen.

India’s Energy Security Challenges

The changing geopolitics of energy in favour of Asian countries, the crucial dependence of the latter on West Asia for their energy security, and the interest of the USA in sharing the responsibility for regional security, these developments have thrown up new opportunities for Asian countries to pursue shared interests that would bring the USA, other Western powers, and the principal Asian powers - China, Japan, Korea and India - in a new cooperative paradigm structured around the GCC countries, Iran and Iraq.

The challenges in realizing this strategic paradigm would require the principal regional players to give up their present postures of confrontation and hostility, and engage with erstwhile rivals on the same platform for dialogue, the establishment of confidence building measures, and the addressing of issues that divide them in a free and frank environment.

Before this happens, the four principal Asian countries would themselves have to develop the habit of dialogue as well as the development of consensus amongst themselves - a daunting task in itself since Asian countries have little experience of strategic dialogue with each other on Asian issues.


ABDUL NAFEY: Professor and Chairperson, Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies, School for International Studies, JNU, New Delhi.

The Shale Revolution: Its Impact and Implications for India

Production of shale oil and gas had begun in North America around 2007; however, its full impact began to be felt only around 2011. Its advent has been likened to that of the sighting of a ‘Black Swan’, an event that is rare, unusual and unexpected, and which is transformational of the ways in which the world lives and believes. Understandably, therefore, it has come to be described as a ‘revolution’. Nearly every one concurs that the shale revolution is to here stay. This essay examines two major issues associated with the shale revolution which bear scholarly significance: (i) its meaning in terms of global energy security, and the structural change that this revolution is bringing about in the global balance of power, the prospects of economic development, and climate change negotiations; and (ii) its impact and implications for India’s energy security, besides whatever else it may hold in terms of geo-political and economic opportunities.  


ARENLA: Doctoral Candidate in the Centre for Indo-Pacific Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

India and the East Asia Summit

As the EAS completes ten years of its existence this year, India expects to enter into a more holistic cooperation with the EAS. Apart from economic ties, greater cooperation on the challenges of human resource development, renewable energy, transportation infrastructure, public health and scientific research are some of the potential but crucial areas where greater efforts from the stakeholders and respective governments are required. For India, it may also imply that it needs to act fast and in a comprehensive way, if it wishes to engage in the EAS forum to use it as a part of a wider platform to cause a paradigm shift towards “Act East” from its usual “Look East.”





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

T.V. Paul: The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World, (New Delhi, Random House, Pages 257; Price Rs 499.00


RAJEEV AGARWAL: Formerly Senior Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi

Vishal Chandra: The Unfinished War in Afghanistan: 2001-2014, New Delhi, Pentagon Press, Price: Rs. 1495


ANKIT KUMAR: Research Associate, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi

David Brewster: India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership (New York: Routledge: 2014), Pages: 244, Price: Rs. 7058.00.




 The Journal has so far published 32 Oral Histories. Work is in hand to compile and re-publish these accounts in a book form - in 2 volumes. Pending publication of the compilation, the 'Oral History' Section of the Journal will not appear for the next few issues.


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last updated 22 October 2015