Monday, June 29, 2009

India's foreign policy - facts and dreams

Each and every country in this earth, have its own foreign policies influenced by its own interest. Foreign policy is about protecting its own national interests and deplomacy is the way it is protected. Foreign policies will have a continuity inspite of the change in Government but deplomacy is always dynamic. And in this interconnected world where things happening in one part of the world will affect seriously to the other part its very important to have a strong and independent foreign policy.

India - the home of civilisation; world's largest democracy and second most populous country, gone through many u turns in its history and reached in this age of globalisation. After independence India follwed a socialisticpolicy and much more associated to te socialist world. It have very good relation with China untill the Indo - China war. From the time of partition onwards India and Pakisthan doesnt have any good relationship. Nepal and India was very much close to each other but what will happen after the new role of Maoists rise as a major political party is yet to see. And things in Srilanks are not at all good, recently China replaced India as the major supplier of arms to Srilanka. Relationship with other neighbouring countries are good now. For western countries we can discuss later.

Foreign policy is the place where India have to do a lot of works; After the Pokran 2 and imposing of sanctions, India became more and more friendly to US, and is moving away from her traditional allies like Russia. India's policies became US centric. But what India gained from these relation is stll disputable - apart from the Indo - US neuclear deal which yet to finalise.

In his book 'Riot' Sashi Taroor through the character of US business man's voices says that "I will tell you what your problem in India; You have too much of history far more than you can use peacefully. So you end up wielding history like a battle axe against each other". That is what happens we are looking here and there without having a clear vision on what to do. We ask US to pressure Pakisthan to stop terrorism but what they can do, when its not possible for them to normalize the situations in Afganistan and Iran with their forces?

But look at Pakistan they gained much even if they are playing with double edged sword; Pakistan is accused of sponsoring and exporting terrorism whenever some blasts occured in India. And India started to give proofs for that, Pakistan first disagrees and then agrees and arrest people who are accused for the blasts then release them later, US coming to the scene and ask India to keep patience and then give some statements and force Pakisthan to do something. As the time passes issues lost its importance untill another blasts occures. But here comes the power of Pakisthan's power in foreign affairs; acually we have to learn some lessons from them. They negotiate US and utilise the situation to its full extend, in such a way that it help them to float their economy and at the same time maintain a good relationship with China. They have some card to play like US want them for their Afganisthan operations and China want them for protecting its interests.

India too had many advantages before we completely went in to the US camp. At that time Russia was trying to regain its position, growing trade and economic relation with China, increased participation in South East Asia gatherings. and most importantly her emerging economy.

In Nepal - which remained a traditional ally of India [India - Nepal border is the only open border in south Asia], India remained silent at the initial rise of Maoists even if it supported the monarchy. [India is the major supplier of arms to the country]. After palace massare and civil rights India played high quality deplomacy and successed in forming a government there. In the end and after elections Maoists gained majority and formed the government. But along with that China got more grounds to play and their influence increased but later in the issue of Napalese army general conflicts started again. The negotiation related to water power and other treties is stll in shelf.

In Myanmar after the crack down on Democratic marches, China increased her influence over Myanmar and they leased Coco islands[In 1994] from Myanmar and built a maritime reconnaissance and electronic intelligence station from where they can monitor Indian naval facilities and their movements across eastern Indian ocean. China also signed a gas treaty with Myanmar in 2006 created alarm in India whic is rich in natural resources. In 1998 in signed agreements for Agricultural development and technology and in 2000 India begin the salesof non lethel military sales and in 2006 militar sales too started, It is yet to see how far Indian deplomacy can soften Burma's military Junta.

As far as Japan is considered talks are going on in creating a maritime and economic corporation but how long it will take to form a complete shape is yet to see. I dont think Russia like the more than close Indo - US relation, which once was India's friend and major military partner. In Srilanka Indian deplomacy is on its worse states and China gained her influence at the expense of India. In the case of all these neighbours like Nepal, Srilanka etc India have many problems historically. As in Srilanka it cant support LTTE as it is considered as a terrorist group and which also killed the former Prime Minister of India Mr Rahiv Gandhi and at the same time it cant support the crack down on LTTE as it is also take a tool on the Tamil civilians.
In Nepal it cant support Maoists and at the same time it cant oppose them if they elected to power, as India is a democracy and have to recoginse people's verdict and at the same time, if India not supporting the governmentit will go under Chinese sphere of influence. China doesnt have these problems and whatever success they got its major gain for them. And they gained much in many countries and now building the 'strings of pearl'.

Relations with US is another case, in the times of cold war India was not a member in US group.But after Neuclear deal India become more and more agreeing and accepting US foreign policies. India using all its deplomaic efforts successfully negotiated Neuclear Deal but after that failed in effectively pressurising US to act against crack downs on terrorist establishment in Pakistan nor any permenent security counsil seat. Pakistan launched attackes to regain Swat under severe pressure from US, but according to latest reports it also released the wanted terrorists.

What India have to do in forweign policy is that Indtead of focussing on US alone, it have to establish itself as the first and formost ally for South East asian countris, and instead of being considered as a counter weight to China, India have to form its own ground. Along with that India have to excersise her full political powers and deplomatic relations in the energy sector too, where China is gaining highly. Joint ventures which happened in the past too is a very good option.

India attained major deplomatic victories in the past but in the new situation she have to form her own ground and look towards the future.


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