India's Foreign Policy: Series - 2, 2016

Editorial

The recent election victory of Donald Trump as the new US President will have a significant impact on foreign relations all over the world, especially in the Middle East and South Asia. He plans many out-of-the-box solutions such as investing in US infrastructure to generate American jobs and simultaneously cutting back on the sizable US expenditure currently going to the Middle East to secure that region’s oil supplies in line with the perceived US oil needs. Meanwhile, US shale oil production has stabilised, creating local jobs and prosperity. Oil is now easily available in the countries of North and South America. While the US would have higher added-on costs associated with meeting all its oil needs locally, these would be somewhat offset by the creation of US jobs. With the US and world at large looking to natural resources to generate clean energy, demand for oil is on a downward slope. At the same time, supply of oil is set to increase with China starting to get Siberian oil from Russia via the Arctic route. These trends will lead to a drastic reduction in the importance of Middle East oil & gas and diminish the ability of various Middle East countries to fund trouble in different areas. As Donald Trump says, the US will ask countries to pay for the security the US provides. It is conceivable that rich industrial nations like Japan and South Korea would start to build their own military infrastructure instead of paying. South Korea might invest in massive defence infrastructure for self-protection, including the nuclear infrastructure they have in place for peaceful uses, as they are frequently threatened by North Korea. Saudi Arabia is in a different league; it remains to be seen what the US asks of Saudi Arabia in exchange for US protection. Freedom is contagious across borders. Indian Prime Minister Mr. Modi has energised the Baloch people by giving a call of support for them. This has also given a fillip to the Pashtuns and Kurds, spread across different countries, to seek their own country and rights and correct the forces of history that have so divided them. This will create a lot of tension in the area, affecting China in a big way. The question is how will China react? If it looks for trade hegemony it will have to sacrifice aspirational territorial hegemony, since it cannot fight and expand territorially and still have the world available as a market for its goods. The world is the Chinese market, but for how long? Developed countries are now looking inward to build manufacturing facilities that will employ their own people. Most goods that are cheaply exported by China will be locally manufactured in countries at higher cost with tariffs to protect domestic industry. To remain competitive, China is now investing in massive technological manufacturing upgradation by replacing workers with robots, thereby reducing cost and increasing quality. The Indian Prime Minister’s bold step of demonetising 500 and 1,000 denomination of Indian Rupees (which constitute about 85% + of the money in circulation) and replacing them with new notes to manage unaccounted money and counterfeit notes, will go a long way toward stopping the funding of terrorism from across the border. Since the demonetarisation began, banks are depositing about Rs. 1 lakh crore (about $ 15 billion) with the Reserve Bank of India (India’s Central Bank) daily. By the time this drive ends, the Indian Central Bank should have about Rs. 10 lakh crore (about $ 150 billion), enough to recapitalise all lossmaking Indian banks. This is a master stroke by The Prime Minister in fine tuning our sagging banking sector and at the same time curbing the role of black money in terror financing. With all these issues in play across the globe, in most developed countries farright parties and their leaders are looking inward to country-specific issues and the betterment of their people. How the US moves next will largely decide the foreign policy of the world and will also guide the course of action that India’s new trade-oriented foreign policy takes. As it seems today Trump, Putin, Modi and Xi will be the major determining players to shape the destiny of the future world. We are thankful to our millions of readers across the world for appreciating our special India’s Foreign Policy editions every year. Wishing you all: Happy New Year 2017!!!

India's Foreign Policy: Series - 2, 2016


China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the Central Asian Response
Prof. Nirmala Joshi and Kamala Kumari

In the coming years, progress in the SREB project would depend on changes at the global level, as well as on the new elite; the youth which is coming up in Central Asia and who may have their own ‘Dreams’.

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India’s Foreign Policy in a Neo-Liberal Mould and its Pursuance by Modi Regime
Prof. Kuldip Singh

The present paper examines the conduct of India’s foreign policy in neo-liberal paradigm in the post Soviet phase. It looks at forces which resulted in what is called the transition from Cold War era to post Cold War period. It also analyses how Modi Government in search of more intensified engagements with the US, with which its global activism is closely linked, has tried to recast non-alignment. It is argued here that the traditional notion of nonalignment which was seen at odds with close engagements with the US is being shed in a big way though the strategic autonomy is still a key pursuit of India.

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Economics and Trade Driven Foreign Policy
Anil Kamboj

As Indian businesses invest more in SEA for integrating deeper in RVCs and take advantage of the upcoming trade agreements, Indian diplomacy for the region needs to shift its efforts and focus to greater understanding of regional business systems, economic practices and institutions. This is a major imperative given that SEA is preparing to come together as a common market through the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) framework. 

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Black Money, Demonetisation and Foreign Policy
Dr. Binod K. Sarangi

The recent economic measures of Modi in curbing black money augur well to entrench India’s global positioning as a significant player as far as reform measures are concerned. Foreign policy of India will largely be re-shaped and governed by Modi’s stubbornness in pushing through the transition phase that India is currently facing. Modi has to see that the balances to equate his foreign policy measures with that of his domestic economic sustainable steps are maintained.

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Between the Region and the World: Understanding India’s ‘Complex’ Multilateral Diplomacy
Dr. Rahul Tripathi

India faces a very complex foreign policy dilemma concerning its regional and multilateral diplomacy today. On one hand it is logical that it should see strengthened regionalism as part of its global push for greater recognition and outreach. Therefore the importance of India’s regional engagements through vehicles such as SAARC, BIMSTEC and related sub regional projects can hardly be ignored. On the other hand its simultaneous thrust towards greater voice in International bodies such as the IMF and World Bank, WTO and even United Nations related agencies is part of a progression that has consistently been part of its foreign policy agenda for long. In between, it continues to pursue transregional initiatives such as BRICS, IORA and partnerships with EU as well as ASEAN.

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Modi’s South Asian Foreign Policy: Issues and Concerns
Dr. Latha A Pandit

Relations with and policies towards neighbours is of paramount importance in determining the regional and global role of a nation.  Peace and security on this front determines the regional environment and strengthens the links of co-operation.  Given the asymmetry between India and other states in South Asia, India’s neighbourhood policy determines her capabilities at the regional and global level.  Even the world judges a regional power through the prism of the perception of its neighbours. The Modi Government that came to power in 2014 not only continued the previous governments’ policy of good neighbourliness but set a new precedent by inviting the Heads of State of all SAARC countries to the swearing in ceremony and announcing its “Neighbourhood first” policy. 

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India’s Pakistan Policy from Slugfest to Surgical Strike: Is It Mutating?
Dr. Alok Kumar Gupta

Geography cannot be changed, and it cannot be undone. Pakistan is neighbour to India and Afghanistan is the fact of geography and both these countries have been paying the price for being its neighbour. It is well neigh impossible to calculate the cost of being Pakistan’s neighbour as the country has increasingly become a manufacturing industry of terrorists. More startling fact is that Pakistan is by now a terrorist territory, armed with nukes. World community has come to realize that the most dangerous combination for an eminent threat to world peace continues to be a terrorist with either a dirty bomb in its hand or in possession of a nuclear bomb of any denomination.

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India’s Strategic Autonomy: Past Experience and Contemporary Challenges
Dr. Arunoday Bajpai

The above arguments on both sides of debate view ‘strategic autonomy’ in ‘give it up or take it away’ framework, which ignores its dynamic nature, which results from the prevailing strategic scenario and the capability and the desire of states to address the same. Kalyanaraman rightly remarks, that in effect, the practice of strategic autonomy is a function of the power capabilities possessed by a state and of the structure of the international system in a particular historical era. It is true that the principle of ‘strategic autonomy’ has deep ideological moorings in India as its spirit was carried forward under the rubric of non-alignment during cold war. However, this principle should not be taken as an end or a fixed goal post but as the means to realize India’s core national interests.

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Look East Policy: Beyond Economic Diplomacy Renewed Efforts to Restore Cultural and Ethnic Ties between North East India (NEI) and Southeast Asia (SEA)
Dr. Tenepalli Hari

India has several plus points to engaging with the Southeast Asian (SEA) counties. Look East Policy (LEP) in its last three decades experiences has proved that fact. LEP though incorporating NEI in its policy frame work has further enhanced its chances for achieve its desired objectives and aims. LEP has also incorporated much stress to exploring various advantages NEI has to strengthen its strong bond with SEA. Due to its various similarities and common features, NEI is considered as the starting point to SEA.LEP through placing much emphasis on restoring cultural ties between NEI and SEA it has further enhanced its chances to materializing its desired goals and NEI development.

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Modi’s Foreign Policy: Towards muscular pragmatism!
Dr. Sudhanshu Tripathi

Thus India, instead of meekly following the USA, must confidently assert through its bold and vibrant foreign policy assertions for protecting and preserving its national interests against all challenges and project itself as a responsible and muscular power, capable enough to protect its national security and interests defined according to its own priorities. While misuse of power is certainly wrong and unethical and is also a crime inviting due punishment according to law of the state, the non-use of power by a country even at the cost its own existence or survival is certainly an unpardonable crime as well as sin which none on the earth or THE AUTHORITY (THE ALMIGHTY) above this world will ever forgive. 

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Critical Gaps in Indian Foreign Policy: Thoughts to Share
Dr. Gouri Sankar Nag

Now a day it has become a fashion to ride on the bandwagon of neo-liberal line as we get to hear talks in which some neophytes project a kind of weltanschauung that ‘it’s time for us to get our business correct and the benefits would be as much ours as it would be for global corporate capital’. So it’s wisdom to put on corporate identity and India should configure her policies not only domestically but also need to reposition internationally. But if one deeply perceives, the lacuna in this logic would be amply clear. It’s because we cannot just get on simply with business hype when the quality of education and the resultant human resource in India are not simultaneously at par with the surging ambition. India spends very less for R&D. So, the next level of reforms cannot be neo-liberal, rather it ought to promote quality education for building quality man power, for neoliberalism only exposes us to compete but it does not enables to compete well. With this reference point what is being sought to suggest is a crucial need to shift our thinking towards addressing educational and skill exchange programme in our current foreign policy lexicon.

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India’s Policy towards the Islamic State: The Way Forward
Dr. Saleem Ahmad

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a Sunni militant jihadist group predominantly active in Iraq and Syria. The group subscribes to an extreme version of Islam and promotes sectarian violence in keeping with its jihadist ideology. All non-Muslims and even Shi’as are denounced by the Islamic State as infidels and apostates. The main ambition of the jihadist group is to create a united, transnational pan-Islamic State, a Shari’a based caliphate, stretching mainly across Iraq and the Levant region. 

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Advocating for a Better Future of BIMSTEC: India Doing it Right
Dr. Sampa Kundu

BIMSTEC is a geographically-linked region and there are many problems which are common to BIMSTEC members. To refer from the stated objectives of BIMSTEC, its primary drives include creating an enabling environment for rapid economic development through identification and implementation of specific cooperation projects in the priority sectors; accelerating the economic growth and social progress in the sub-region through joint actions in a spirit of equality and partnership; promoting active cooperation and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in every fields of life including economy, society, science and so on; helping each other through training and research facilities in the educational, professional and technical spheres; cooperating more effectively in joint efforts that can support the national development plans of member nations which result in concrete benefits to the people in increasing their living standards, including employment generation and improved transportation and communication infrastructure; retaining close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes and finally, ensure best use of available synergies among BIMSTEC member countries.

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Indo-U.S. Strategic Partnership: Road Map Ahead Under President Elect Donald Trump
Dr. Rajesh Kumar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met U.S. President Barack Obama recently during G-20 Summit held in China.. This was fourth meeting between both the leaders within a span of two years, and it reflected new heights and maturity attained in Indo-U.S. relations. Both the countries also signed long impending historic LEMOA agreement that brought U.S and India further closer to each other. All such developments have the potential of  upsetting  many countries like Pakistan and China. Things may  not  remain same as U.S. has just got Donald Trump as their new President Designate. Till now, strategic partnership with U.S. and Japan has resulted into creation of new balance of power situation in the Asia Pacific region. With new President in China things might change in Asia Pacific region. 

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India’s Synergy with Neighbouring Countries through SAARC: Contributions and Challenges
Dr. Bharti Chhibber

Recent setback notwithstanding it is high time that SAARC should move from potential to performance. Even after three decades of existence SAARC members have failed to cooperate fully and take advantage of regional opportunities. Better infrastructure facilities like development of means of transportation will certainly help. South Asian countries should also abolish non-tariff barriers so that there is free flow of trade apart from cooperation in the area of customs procedures.

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India and BRICS: Towards a New Phase of Diplomatic Outreach
Dr. Netajee Abhinandan

The BRICS Summit, hosted by India for the second time this year in Goa, took place in the backdrop of important regional and global developments, financial issues, deteriorating India-Pakistan relations, economic problems affecting the European Union after Brexit, and the US presidential election, among others. At the Summit, India strongly pitched for isolating Pakistan as the “prime perpetrator of terrorism in the region” — an assessment shared by most countries in the region. In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Uri army base in Jammu and Kashmir, and ‘surgical strikes’ by the Indian army on Pakistan’s terrorist ‘launch pads,’ India vociferously raised the issue of terrorism and emphasized the need for collective efforts to combat all forms of terrorism in a concerted manner. Prime Minister Modi passionately called for isolating Pakistan, the ‘mother -ship of terrorism’.

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India-Bangladesh Relations beyond the Land Boundary Agreements
Dr. Prasanta Sahoo

Finalizing the ratification of Land Boundary Agreement (2015) is like falling of the “Berlin Wall” between India and Bangladesh which is considered as the golden chapter in their bilateral relationships. The new regimes in Delhi and Dhaka under the leadership of Narendra Modi and Shaikh Hasina respectively have taken the friendship to the highest peak. This is the biggest icebreaker since Indira-Mujib treaty of early 70s. Bangladesh occupies a very important place in the calculation of India’s foreign policy discourse vis-à-vis South Asia. Today, India and Bangladesh are strategic partners in the war against terrorism. They are also largest trading partners in South Asia. 

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India’s Foreign Policy with Small Island State of Maldives
Dr. Harish Chandra Behera

India’s Foreign Policy with small island state of Maldives is very important from the strategic point of view in South Asia. The geographical distinction of the island-state also generates a different type of security consciousness, which is different from other states in the Asian subcontinent.  Security concerns of small states of the Third World, especially islandstates, arise mainly due to external factors.  Their security threats do not originate from other sovereign countries, but from non-state elements such as, transnational mercenaries and terrorists. But Maldives has its own political problems and India’s consistent objective has been the achievement In this context, India continue to be engaged with the Government and the people of small state of Maldives.

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India-Nepal Relations: A Review
Dr. Rakesh Kumar Meena and Dr. Shantesh Kumar Singh

In addition to the issues that have been discussed, there are also various sins of omission and commission which have hurt Indo-Nepal ties. India’s relations with its neighbours in South Asia – all of whom are smaller in size than India – have never been amicable and tension-free. India has often acted as the big brother and not taken adequate notice of how its behaviour is perceived in these countries.

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Is India’s Foreign Policy Independent in 21st Century?: A Theoretical Intervention
Pratip Chattopadhyay

India is the new buzzword in world politics. India’s economic salience has forced the world to take greater cognizance of India. From domestic quarters in India a question is raised about independent foreign policy position of India in world affairs in the 21st century. Such an apprehension is due to the fact of India’s simultaneous effort to create an alternate world economic order through BRICS Development Bank and continuing strategic bonhomie with the United States of America. This paper argues that new theoretical ventures need to be applied to analyse such extremes. 

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Upswing in Russia-Pakistan Relations: Implications for India
Neetu Arpan Grover

World politics has changed ever since the Cold War ended in 1991. The zero-sum mentality is giving way to diversified relations. Russia’s approach to Pakistan signals this aspect. Russia wants to engage Pakistan for its own strategic interests. However, this policy will worry India as long as there are tensions between India and Pakistan. India will have to watch that Russia does not give substantial military equipment to Pakistan which could erode Indian military advantage.

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Kashmir Question and India’s Foreign Policy: Accession to Armed Rebellion
Mudasir Wani

This paper looks into some historical and foundational premonitions that have fashioned the foreign policy of India regarding the contested ‘Kashmir question’. Firstly, it looks at the role of post-independence charismatic political leadership in steering the foreign policy on the Kashmir question. The paper argues within the constructivist framework: how the international environment, the ideology of Indian State (including the ideology of national political parties) and Pakistan’s role remain important factors in determining the foreign policy of India related to Kashmir. 

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India’s New “Connect Central Asia” Policy: A New Political Discourse
Prasanta Kumar Sahu

The basic recommendations for India to carry out a Pro-active Approach in its policy is to increase investments, encourage regular talks between the leaders of India and the Central Asian Republics, pushing projects for trade, transport links, educational and cultural exchanges apart from trying to solve tensed relations between India and her neighbours who share borders with the Central Asian Republics.

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Bhutan’s Transition from Absolute Monarchy to Constitutional Monarchy: An Analytical Perspective of Current Indo-Bhutan Relations
Arif Hussain Malik

A major part of the year 2011, following the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, witnessed what is popularly known as the Arab Spring- people’s struggle against authoritarian regimes in the Middle East. Similar struggles and wide spread political changes, though not as spectacular as in the Arab world, have swept across South Asian nations since 2008. They might not have caught global attention like the events in the Middle East, but nonetheless, there significance for South Asia region can hardly be overlooked.  Beginning with the general elections in Pakistan in February 2008, that put the Pakistan People’s Party at the helm of affairs and that eventually saw the end of General Pervez Musharraf’s military regime of nine years, more fundamental changes were brought about in the two Himalayan Kingdoms of Bhutan and Nepal in quick succession in the same year. 

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Changing Contours of India’s Policy on Climate Change
Preet Inder Kahlon

Never before has environment, the most precious heritage of man and the mainstay of development activities been subjected to constant damage as humanity strives to achieve better living standards. The industrialized countries with their economic growth, which means higher greenhouse gas emissions, are obviously guilty of causing global warming. The consequent climate change is posing a significant threat not only to the developmental activities but also to public health. There is a grim prospect of the collapse of life styles in developing countries like India, incase immediate remedial measures are not put in place.

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Sino-Indian Relations: A Holistic View
Sangay Lachenpa

The Sino-Indian Relations has come a long way from friendship to confrontation to detente to normalisation. Historically, both the nations have paid the price for its past errors. Today, as the rise of China and India is a major phenomenon for global politics. It has the potential of changing the present global system and international discourse. Keeping this in the background, despite presence of deep rooted difficulties and mutual suspicion, both India and China have embarked upon a course of dialogue and cooperation while keeping the border issues and differences aside. 

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