Published On:09 November 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

India’s Foreign Policy Rhetorical Shift

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has outlined five priorities of Indian foreign policy that his government has evolved during its nine years of rule to firm up India's place in changing world order.

The Indian Prime Minister claimed that his government has reset the fundamentals of India’s foreign policy based on national priorities and concerns in concert with its capabilities and role and destiny in the world affairs.

First, international relations are increasingly shaped by our developmental priorities and the single most important objective of Indian foreign policy is to create a global environment conducive to the well-being of our country.

Second, India should integrate more closely with the global economy because it has benefited from globalization.

Third, India seeks stable, long term and mutually beneficial relations with all countries and is prepared to work with the international community to create a global economic and security environment beneficial to all nations.

Fourth, "Indian subcontinent's shared destiny requires greater regional cooperation and connectivity."

Fifth, "Our foreign policy is not defined merely by our interests, but also by the values which are very dear to our people.”

There is sub text in all the five points enumerated by the Prime Minister as his fundamentals of India’s foreign policy.

As far as his first point on creating global environment conducive for India, Prime Minister meant, he wants to create a global economic and security environment as India's relations with the world were increasingly shaped by its developmental priorities.

His second point is on globalization and likes India to integrate with global economy as our country would benefit a lot by greater integration with the world economy.

His third point maintaining long term relationship with all nations so that international community can freely invest in India and help in country's developmental activities.

His fourth point is lays emphasis on regionalism in recognition that the sub-continent's common destiny requires greater regional cooperation and connectivity. He likes India to strengthen regional institutional capability and capacity and invest in connectivity.

His fifth point on vales meant India's experiment of pursuing economic development should not be mercantilist but based on values. He defined India's core values as plural, secular and liberal democracy. He opinioned these values have inspired people around the world and would continue to do so. He would like India to align with such countries that espouse these values.

When we apply these five point objectives in the context of what India wish to achieve and where does it see itself in the changing world order, then the stark realities glares at our face.

The first foreign policy objective of creating global environment for developmental activities in the country does not sink with the domestic conditions prevailing for development in our country. The government policy of creating economic zones has run into trouble and many foreign investors have backed out due to lack of conductive global environment for investors. There is need to sort out India’s domestic developmental priorities before we promise to create friendly global conditions.

Second, pushing the cart of globalization is a mountain to climb. If globalization is the panacea of the mankind, then why there are nation states? Today, if a referendum is held on globalization, Manmohan government can only survive with the tricks it adopted to pass Indo-US civil nuclear deal, bribing the Parliamentarians.

Even though globalization can bring significant improvement but it has to answer some traditional nationalist questions like 'self-sufficiency' and 'self-reliance.' This has a huge challenge India has to tackle on the issue of globalization.

Third, point on seeking mutually beneficial relations and create a global economic and security environment beneficial to all nations seems to be rhetoric. When Indian economy was buoyed by 8-9 per cent growth and aiming higher growth, such words may sound music, but now when we are slipping to the Hindu rate of growth, such statement is mere hyperbole. The global economic slowdown and India’s economic mismanagement cast a shadow on this foreign policy objective.

On regionalism, Manmohan Singh’s idea of having "breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul," may remain a dream. SAARC, the organization that’s pushing this agenda, is closing 40 years now and still taking baby steps. There is total disconnect between the talk and the realities on ground. There is no peace in India’s periphery and there is tension with all its neighbors, barring Bhutan. Terrorism poses a bigger challenge, not only to India but also to its neighbors. There is no sign of its containment. Besides, there are host of issues that vitiate peace in the subcontinent. So how this foreign policy objective of India could be achieve?

The last point on values is like saying; “I once had a girlfriend called America, she went on and on about freedom, while spying on me all the time!”

As Manmohan Singh talked about core values of India’s foreign policy objective, India’s Army Chief was delivering War games softwares and other deadly consignment to the Military Junta of Myanmar. In the war against the ethnic minorities in Myanmar, Indian weapons are freely used and against the rebels, who were fighting for the same values that India cherish. Those rebels had flashed to the media, ‘made in India bullets’ meant to kill them. So Papyji don’t preach! Is this the moral values you are talking about?

Manmohan Singh instead of making India’s foreign policy as another ‘Pachsheel’ if had stuck to his articulations made in 2004 as three point objectives, it would have been more modest summary of his international relations.

He had then said, the strategy was based on three pillars: "First, strengthen ourselves economically and technologically; Second, acquire adequate defence capability, and third, to seek partnerships to widen our policy and developmental options." He may have added this time that these are policies are at work has to be continued in future.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a Journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba@yahoo.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on November 09, 2013. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on November 09, 2013. Filed under , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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