What's new

India’s Foreign Policy Dilemma

Status
Not open for further replies.

ashok mourya

BANNED
Oct 19, 2014
1,966
-22
1,668
Country
India
Location
India
India is today at a point of inflection. A cautious myopic vision will spell doom. The MEA needs to be confident enough to take onboard all instruments available in the country to consolidate India’s interests. “Military diplomacy’’ is generally anathema in diplomatic circles, which is self-constraining. India will not become a “great power” by default. It has to lift itself by its boot laces. This can only be possible by garnering every resource in the country and harnessing all energy at its disposal to truly transform its collective destiny.



On completion of hundred days of the new Government, the External Affairs Minister in her first press conference elucidated the direction of the Modi Government’s foreign policy thrust. She succinctly coined an epigram stating it to be a “Proactive, Strong, and Sensitive” policy. The initial focus is “Look East” with the immediate neighbourhood getting the due priority. The Government has taken the initiative to reach out to these countries and gone beyond mere protocol niceties. Shedding any ‘Big Brother’ notion and interacting as equal partners in taking the relations forward would be a comforting gesture to the smaller states in the region. However, the challenge will be for each to align its respective national interests taking into account and respecting each other’s sensitivities. Here is where the challenge lies – how much ‘give-and-take’ and how much ‘compromise’ to be made.

As news reports emanating from Islamabad suggest, the Pakistan Army is peeved with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s desire to improve relations with India, his inept dealing with former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Musharraf in pursuing treason charges against him and in ceasing operations against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan for peace talks. It is widely believed that the massive twin rallies by Imran Khan and Quadri had the tacit support of the Army Chief General Raheel Sharif.

For the time being, Raheel Sharif has reined in the hawks amongst his eleven Corps Commanders and has preferred to remain in the background without overt interference or support to either side as the events have unfolded. The Army has also issued a brief statement, reaffirming its commitment to democracy. Thus, the threat of a coup, at least for now, has passed. A senior security source in Pakistan stated that, “Raheel Sharif is not interested in direct intervention. The tanks aren’t going to come rolling in. the Army believes in compromise.”


In such a contingency, if with the help of the military, Nawaz Sharif does manage to ride out the twin protests, he will emerge a “diminished” figure. As a consequence, the military brass would be in a position to reclaim hold over its traditional spheres of influence in Pakistani politics – control over defence and foreign policy. This will leave the civilian government to face the public wrath over all internal problems and to handle a faltering economy. A government sharing power with the military on the important issues of foreign and defence policies makes the government amorphous and its role ambiguous. Pakistan’s relations with its Army’s arch-foe India, Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan after NATO combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014, and internally, the outcome of the government’s fight against the Taliban militants, have a direct bearing on India’s geopolitical construct.

On India’s other flank, there is the Chinese government structure that has no direct dealing with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). However, the PLA’s influence is palpable. Here a peek into history is necessitated – the PLA was the military wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the revolution against the Nationalists. The CCP directed the campaigns right up to the establishment of the Communist State on October 01, 1949. Here is a situation where an army (PLA) existed before the birth of the country. As a result, the PLA owes its loyalty to the Party. Such a symbiotic relationship remains in place even today. The PLA does not come under the Ministry of Defence. It gets its directions and orders from the CCP through the Central Military Commission (CMC) the highest military policy decision making body. The President heads the CMC and incidentally the Defence Minister may not be a member or any hold any position of authority in the CMC.

Since the 1980s, as reforms progressed, the Party-PLA symbiosis has been undergoing modifications but with no dilution to the core principle of “Party commanding the gun” expecting “absolute loyalty” and “absolute obedience”. There is no doubt that the CCP continues to define government policy for the state to adopt; alongside the CMC exercises command and control over and fixes tasks for the PLA.


The CCP’s assigned tasks for the PLA are – “consolidate the Party rule, safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and security and develop interests, safeguard world peace and promote common development.” On the other hand, the Ministry of Defence, which is the organ of the state, only acts as a liaison between the PLA and foreign militaries. Beginning in the Hu Jintao era, there has been no PLA representative in the Politburo Standing Committee since 1997. In the present 24-member Politburo, 22 do not have a military background. The 12-member Party CMC is led by a civilian head.

Hu Jintao cultivated a crop of ‘princelings’ in the PLA and by promoting them to the rank of Generals, got the support and leverage of the PLA, since he himself had no grounding in the military per se. However, notwithstanding the PLA’s reduced role in China’s elite politics, the PLA leaders are speaking out more frequently than in the past, which may suggest a new level of confidence. Certain decisions by the PLA indicate a fairly high level of independence and autonomy. Reportedly, the then President Hu Jintao was not informed of the maiden test launch of the J-20 Stealth Fighter. Similarly, in January 2007, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not informed of the test of an anti-satellite missile which successfully targeted one of China’s own weather satellites, though the President was informed in his capacity as Chairman of the CMC.

Post the severe earthquake in Sichuan Province in 2008, the PLA and People’s Armed Police did not respond to Premier Wen Jaibao’s presence in Sichuan where he was directing relief operations. General Guo Boxiong who, as rumoured, had initially refused to join in the relief, finally ordered the PLA and PAPF to join the effort only on explicit directions of the President Hu Jintiao who was then Chairman CMC. In March 2011, Major General Luo Yuan of the Academy of Military Sciences accused China’s neighbours of “looting” Chinese territories. Also in March 2011, Air Force Colonel Dai Xu warned against “calamity of war in the not too distant future” due to US alliance systems in China’s neighborhood.

It is significant that such views had been aired and no action taken to contradict them in China. As a derivative, it is evident that the PLA does have a significant and cognisable level of influence in the formulation of China’s foreign policy to the extent that it could also take an independent position on issues that it perceive are not in national interest. It could, thereby nullify any outcome of formal bilateral negotiations.

As it emerges, in dealing with Pakistan and China because of the active but background role of the militaries in foreign policy decision making, there is a serious dilemma that India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is confronted with. Talks by the MEA are held at the corresponding level with the Foreign Affairs Ministries of both China and Pakistan. However, due to nebulous structures in both cases, they are ipso facto presenting “false fronts” in these talks. Deducing from PLA’s actions on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the timings of the incursions and transgressions over the LAC, there is a nagging suspicion that PLA has an independent stance on the LAC/Boundary question. Thus, will a boundary/LAC solution that is hammered out in negotiations of the interlocutors of the two countries hold its ground if the PLA is not onboard? Will the PLA dictate a hardline on the issue? Even then, the PLA could unilaterally disregard the outcome of negotiations between the MEA and China’s MFA. Due to this quaint ambiguity India may not see the resolution of the boundary question anytime soon.

On the Western flank too, India is confronted with a neighbour where the military dictates the agenda in foreign policy. The violation of the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LC) and resorting to firing across the International Boundary between rivers Chenab and Ravi and making it live have equated this section of the border with the LC. There is no restraint being exercised by the government in Islamabad. The Pakistan army indicates that it has its own agenda. Maintaining focus on India as its ‘arch-foe’, the Pakistan army gains internally and internationally as it belies an image of presence of aggressive designs from the larger neighbour thus garnering support for a steady flow of modern weapons and equipment.

India has been conscious and proud of pursing an independent foreign policy…

With pressure from the army the Pakistan Foreign Affairs Ministry will hold mandate that dialogue will only follow the resolution of the Kashmir issue. As a result, the MEA will encounter a deliberate and rigid intransigence on this score. There can be no question of acquiescence on this matter. India thus finds itself dealing with intractable confronts on both flanks that have a bearing on the country’s geopolitical strategy.

India’s development process must aim to strengthen all elements of national power and adequately back its ‘soft power’ with ‘hard power’. Employing these in the right mix will generate the required ‘smart power’ to progress on to establish its rightful place in the comity of nations. India need not be confrontational with either China or Pakistan but be ‘strong’ as explicitly stated by India’s Foreign Minister.

Having told Pakistan, in no uncertain terms, to decide whom they wish to talk to, the ‘separatists’ or the Government of India, there was no pussyfooting this time. The Minister also conveyed to China that just as India is ‘sensitive’ to their concerns, they too need to reciprocate and heed our sensitivity with regard to our border state of Arunachal Pradesh. The Prime Minister’s oblique reference to China as he mentioned that some countries were still fostering colonial mindsets seeking territorial expansion which is an antiquated notion that has no place in this modern century, was an indicator of protecting India’s interests.

The Middle East will be the next area of focus as most of India’s energy requirement is sourced from this region…

India has assiduously sought to engage with the neighbourhood on priority as it expands in a concentric arc with a bias to the East. The inner arc encompasses Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Maldives. The next arc should include Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Seychelles. The third arc should be South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia and South Africa. The Foreign Minister had indicated the proactive diplomatic engagements with most South American countries, when the Prime Minister met heads of nine countries on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit Meeting in Brazil in July this year.

The Middle East will be the next area of focus as most of India’s energy requirement is sourced from this region. The US too figures in the current scheme of things as does Russia. India has been conscious and proud of pursing an independent foreign policy and jealously guarded its sovereignty in this regard. While India does not seek security alliances against any third country, it does not intend to bandwagon with any security grouping for this purpose, but such cordial mutually beneficial relations will generate the necessary pressure on any aggressive designs by Pakistan and temper down an assertive irredentist China to come forward for a reasonable dialogue.

India is today at a point of inflection. A cautious myopic vision will spell doom. The MEA needs to be confident enough to take onboard all instruments available in the country to consolidate India’s interests. “Military diplomacy’’ is generally anathema in diplomatic circles, which is self-constraining. India will not become a “great power” by default. It has to lift itself by its boot laces. This can only be possible by garnering every resource in the country and harnessing all energy at its disposal to truly transform its collective destiny.
India’s Foreign Policy Dilemma » Indian Defence Review
 

AsianLion

ELITE MEMBER
Nov 1, 2010
9,325
0
8,984
Country
Pakistan
Location
United Kingdom
In short India's foreign policy is a failure, in downward spiral after kashmir uprising, Pakistan's multi-facet tactics, -
India’s leadership role in South Asia is crumbling. India Modi’s regional policies face a difficult future.
 
Mar 19, 2016
1,258
8
2,854
Country
India
Location
India
Modi has won on Economic Promises and Promises to call a SPADE a SPADE and play it as a SPADE, both internationally and domestically. Appeasement to Extremists is no way out,we need to get our means completed by hook or crook.

And this includes letting Army make decisions on the battlefield , not only on the border but elsewhere and let the Central Forces out of the control of Home Ministry in an area of conflict.
 

CorporateAffairs

SENIOR MEMBER
Sep 27, 2011
2,743
-11
2,423
Country
India
Location
United States
India is today at a point of inflection. A cautious myopic vision will spell doom. The MEA needs to be confident enough to take onboard all instruments available in the country to consolidate India’s interests. “Military diplomacy’’ is generally anathema in diplomatic circles, which is self-constraining. India will not become a “great power” by default. It has to lift itself by its boot laces. This can only be possible by garnering every resource in the country and harnessing all energy at its disposal to truly transform its collective destiny.



On completion of hundred days of the new Government, the External Affairs Minister in her first press conference elucidated the direction of the Modi Government’s foreign policy thrust. She succinctly coined an epigram stating it to be a “Proactive, Strong, and Sensitive” policy. The initial focus is “Look East” with the immediate neighbourhood getting the due priority. The Government has taken the initiative to reach out to these countries and gone beyond mere protocol niceties. Shedding any ‘Big Brother’ notion and interacting as equal partners in taking the relations forward would be a comforting gesture to the smaller states in the region. However, the challenge will be for each to align its respective national interests taking into account and respecting each other’s sensitivities. Here is where the challenge lies – how much ‘give-and-take’ and how much ‘compromise’ to be made.

As news reports emanating from Islamabad suggest, the Pakistan Army is peeved with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s desire to improve relations with India, his inept dealing with former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Musharraf in pursuing treason charges against him and in ceasing operations against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan for peace talks. It is widely believed that the massive twin rallies by Imran Khan and Quadri had the tacit support of the Army Chief General Raheel Sharif.

For the time being, Raheel Sharif has reined in the hawks amongst his eleven Corps Commanders and has preferred to remain in the background without overt interference or support to either side as the events have unfolded. The Army has also issued a brief statement, reaffirming its commitment to democracy. Thus, the threat of a coup, at least for now, has passed. A senior security source in Pakistan stated that, “Raheel Sharif is not interested in direct intervention. The tanks aren’t going to come rolling in. the Army believes in compromise.”


In such a contingency, if with the help of the military, Nawaz Sharif does manage to ride out the twin protests, he will emerge a “diminished” figure. As a consequence, the military brass would be in a position to reclaim hold over its traditional spheres of influence in Pakistani politics – control over defence and foreign policy. This will leave the civilian government to face the public wrath over all internal problems and to handle a faltering economy. A government sharing power with the military on the important issues of foreign and defence policies makes the government amorphous and its role ambiguous. Pakistan’s relations with its Army’s arch-foe India, Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan after NATO combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014, and internally, the outcome of the government’s fight against the Taliban militants, have a direct bearing on India’s geopolitical construct.

On India’s other flank, there is the Chinese government structure that has no direct dealing with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). However, the PLA’s influence is palpable. Here a peek into history is necessitated – the PLA was the military wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the revolution against the Nationalists. The CCP directed the campaigns right up to the establishment of the Communist State on October 01, 1949. Here is a situation where an army (PLA) existed before the birth of the country. As a result, the PLA owes its loyalty to the Party. Such a symbiotic relationship remains in place even today. The PLA does not come under the Ministry of Defence. It gets its directions and orders from the CCP through the Central Military Commission (CMC) the highest military policy decision making body. The President heads the CMC and incidentally the Defence Minister may not be a member or any hold any position of authority in the CMC.

Since the 1980s, as reforms progressed, the Party-PLA symbiosis has been undergoing modifications but with no dilution to the core principle of “Party commanding the gun” expecting “absolute loyalty” and “absolute obedience”. There is no doubt that the CCP continues to define government policy for the state to adopt; alongside the CMC exercises command and control over and fixes tasks for the PLA.


The CCP’s assigned tasks for the PLA are – “consolidate the Party rule, safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and security and develop interests, safeguard world peace and promote common development.” On the other hand, the Ministry of Defence, which is the organ of the state, only acts as a liaison between the PLA and foreign militaries. Beginning in the Hu Jintao era, there has been no PLA representative in the Politburo Standing Committee since 1997. In the present 24-member Politburo, 22 do not have a military background. The 12-member Party CMC is led by a civilian head.

Hu Jintao cultivated a crop of ‘princelings’ in the PLA and by promoting them to the rank of Generals, got the support and leverage of the PLA, since he himself had no grounding in the military per se. However, notwithstanding the PLA’s reduced role in China’s elite politics, the PLA leaders are speaking out more frequently than in the past, which may suggest a new level of confidence. Certain decisions by the PLA indicate a fairly high level of independence and autonomy. Reportedly, the then President Hu Jintao was not informed of the maiden test launch of the J-20 Stealth Fighter. Similarly, in January 2007, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not informed of the test of an anti-satellite missile which successfully targeted one of China’s own weather satellites, though the President was informed in his capacity as Chairman of the CMC.

Post the severe earthquake in Sichuan Province in 2008, the PLA and People’s Armed Police did not respond to Premier Wen Jaibao’s presence in Sichuan where he was directing relief operations. General Guo Boxiong who, as rumoured, had initially refused to join in the relief, finally ordered the PLA and PAPF to join the effort only on explicit directions of the President Hu Jintiao who was then Chairman CMC. In March 2011, Major General Luo Yuan of the Academy of Military Sciences accused China’s neighbours of “looting” Chinese territories. Also in March 2011, Air Force Colonel Dai Xu warned against “calamity of war in the not too distant future” due to US alliance systems in China’s neighborhood.

It is significant that such views had been aired and no action taken to contradict them in China. As a derivative, it is evident that the PLA does have a significant and cognisable level of influence in the formulation of China’s foreign policy to the extent that it could also take an independent position on issues that it perceive are not in national interest. It could, thereby nullify any outcome of formal bilateral negotiations.

As it emerges, in dealing with Pakistan and China because of the active but background role of the militaries in foreign policy decision making, there is a serious dilemma that India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is confronted with. Talks by the MEA are held at the corresponding level with the Foreign Affairs Ministries of both China and Pakistan. However, due to nebulous structures in both cases, they are ipso facto presenting “false fronts” in these talks. Deducing from PLA’s actions on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the timings of the incursions and transgressions over the LAC, there is a nagging suspicion that PLA has an independent stance on the LAC/Boundary question. Thus, will a boundary/LAC solution that is hammered out in negotiations of the interlocutors of the two countries hold its ground if the PLA is not onboard? Will the PLA dictate a hardline on the issue? Even then, the PLA could unilaterally disregard the outcome of negotiations between the MEA and China’s MFA. Due to this quaint ambiguity India may not see the resolution of the boundary question anytime soon.

On the Western flank too, India is confronted with a neighbour where the military dictates the agenda in foreign policy. The violation of the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LC) and resorting to firing across the International Boundary between rivers Chenab and Ravi and making it live have equated this section of the border with the LC. There is no restraint being exercised by the government in Islamabad. The Pakistan army indicates that it has its own agenda. Maintaining focus on India as its ‘arch-foe’, the Pakistan army gains internally and internationally as it belies an image of presence of aggressive designs from the larger neighbour thus garnering support for a steady flow of modern weapons and equipment.

India has been conscious and proud of pursing an independent foreign policy…

With pressure from the army the Pakistan Foreign Affairs Ministry will hold mandate that dialogue will only follow the resolution of the Kashmir issue. As a result, the MEA will encounter a deliberate and rigid intransigence on this score. There can be no question of acquiescence on this matter. India thus finds itself dealing with intractable confronts on both flanks that have a bearing on the country’s geopolitical strategy.

India’s development process must aim to strengthen all elements of national power and adequately back its ‘soft power’ with ‘hard power’. Employing these in the right mix will generate the required ‘smart power’ to progress on to establish its rightful place in the comity of nations. India need not be confrontational with either China or Pakistan but be ‘strong’ as explicitly stated by India’s Foreign Minister.

Having told Pakistan, in no uncertain terms, to decide whom they wish to talk to, the ‘separatists’ or the Government of India, there was no pussyfooting this time. The Minister also conveyed to China that just as India is ‘sensitive’ to their concerns, they too need to reciprocate and heed our sensitivity with regard to our border state of Arunachal Pradesh. The Prime Minister’s oblique reference to China as he mentioned that some countries were still fostering colonial mindsets seeking territorial expansion which is an antiquated notion that has no place in this modern century, was an indicator of protecting India’s interests.

The Middle East will be the next area of focus as most of India’s energy requirement is sourced from this region…

India has assiduously sought to engage with the neighbourhood on priority as it expands in a concentric arc with a bias to the East. The inner arc encompasses Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Maldives. The next arc should include Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Seychelles. The third arc should be South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia and South Africa. The Foreign Minister had indicated the proactive diplomatic engagements with most South American countries, when the Prime Minister met heads of nine countries on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit Meeting in Brazil in July this year.

The Middle East will be the next area of focus as most of India’s energy requirement is sourced from this region. The US too figures in the current scheme of things as does Russia. India has been conscious and proud of pursing an independent foreign policy and jealously guarded its sovereignty in this regard. While India does not seek security alliances against any third country, it does not intend to bandwagon with any security grouping for this purpose, but such cordial mutually beneficial relations will generate the necessary pressure on any aggressive designs by Pakistan and temper down an assertive irredentist China to come forward for a reasonable dialogue.

India is today at a point of inflection. A cautious myopic vision will spell doom. The MEA needs to be confident enough to take onboard all instruments available in the country to consolidate India’s interests. “Military diplomacy’’ is generally anathema in diplomatic circles, which is self-constraining. India will not become a “great power” by default. It has to lift itself by its boot laces. This can only be possible by garnering every resource in the country and harnessing all energy at its disposal to truly transform its collective destiny.
India’s Foreign Policy Dilemma » Indian Defence Review
Dont worry, PMO has done its homework. :cheers:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)


Top Bottom