H C Singh

India’s Foreign Policy – Identity – Strategy Conflict

Nehru was Prime Minister of India, even during interim government before 1947, of cabinet of equal number of ministers from India (Hindus and Sikhs) and Muslims. But Nehru did not have much say as Liaqat Ali Khan (a nominee of Jinnah who later became PM of Pakistan) was Home Minister. Jawahar Lal Nehru did not have much say except in International Affairs which, too, were insignificant. Similarly after independence when Nehru was PM and Sardar Patel was Home Minister and minister of states Nehru did not have any or much say except in Foreign Affairs.

Similarly after 2004 our economist PM Dr Manmohan Singh does not have much say in Home Affairs and in other matters even in economic matters Finance Minister is all in all. Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister in the government of Narsimha Rao was well respected as he brought liberal economy in place of ‘closed’ socialist economy since Nehru. But from 2004 Manmohan Singh is virtually a Foreign Minister. He had dozen of trips abroad meeting George Bush, Obama of USA mainly for nuclear agreement and visiting other European Countries for international collaboration and visiting for International conferences of various categories.

But luckily, to the credit of Dr Manmohan Singh, during 21st Century Foreign Policy of India vis USA, Pakistan and some other countries of Europe and Asia has become more important than ever before. It has become more complicated and ideological than ever before. India’s Foreign Policy is now being compared with that of USA.

Now Foreign Policy is quite much important for nation building. If India has good relations with countries like USA India stands to gain in International prestiege despite USA’s involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and even Pakistan. India as an Independent country is not approving US actions in the above mentioned countries. Though as part of foreign policy and broader interest we do not, as a government, criticize USA though many political parties and even some members of UPA openly criticize US involvement in these countries we have to follow – strategy in Industrial Affairs and foreign policy which does not go against India’s basic idealism of peace and non-involvement in other countries affairs. Here to substantiate my and India’s point of view in foreign policy. I would like to reproduce some extracts from the book by Tobias F Engelmeier who is though born in Germany is founder and Director of environmental consulting company:

Since India, in his view, is still militarily and economically weak for the foreseeable future, it should adopt a diplomacy based on wit, moral discipline, persuasion, the intelligent pursuit of self-interest and the use of ‘soft power’. In order to do so, it needs to be more flexible and engagingly active than it was in the past.

The idealist element, so the argument goes, creates goodwill and political capital. ‘Legitimacy is certainly a good in itself; but it also has instrumental value, and is part of the armory needed to conduct realpolitik’. India ‘must be willing to play a role in the global ‘battle of ideas’. Focusing on its democratic and pluralist value – legitimacy, Khilnani believes, will give India considerable power and assures its independence as well a its indispensability. This is not only good for India – it is also good for world.

The international system is not the only significant determinant of foreign policy in India. While structural realism may still be the leanest, most elegant overall theory of international relations, trusting entirely in it will lead to ‘errors in judgment and theory’. India, this great and difficult political experiment, requires a much closer look.

From the above comments which are intensive and of far reaching consequences it will be clear that India can not go by Gandhi’s Idealism that “ends and means and morality and reality are inseparable” India has to pursue realistic Foreign Policy keeping the interest of India, its unity and integrity always in mind.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | India | , , , | Leave a comment