23 MAY 2018
Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.
Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.
Q1. India’s foreign policy has shifted away from the developing and neighbor countries. Elucidate.
- Non-alignment once used to be the cornerstone of India’s foreign policy. NAM stood for several important global movements: decolonisation, disarmament, correcting the inherent ills of the global economic order, etc. For sure, some of the founding ideals of NAM may have lost their relevance today, but the grouping can help rising powers such as India to enhance their global standing and influence. But then, solidarity with other developing countries is no more a foreign policy priority for New Delhi, nor is it greatly invested in strategic autonomy.
- India’s stand vis-à-vis Rohingya refugees is an indication of how new India proposes to deal with humanitarian issues in its neighbourhood. Its approach to the Rohingya crisis is informed by several realpolitik considerations. At the domestic political level, there is a religious rationale for pushing back Muslim Rohingya, and an electoral calculation vis-à-vis the Northeast and West Bengal. At a broader level, with the Chinese charm offensive in the region putting India on the defensive, it does not want to alienate Myanmar. And yet, in its enthusiasm to please Myanmar by not nudging it to resolve the refugee issue lest it warm up to China, India actually ended up ceding ground to China when Beijing began negotiations between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
- Through the much-publicised celebration of the India-Israel partnership, the government has made it clear that it seeks to pursue a foreign policy guided by realpolitik. From being ideological opponents to maintaining a relationship in the closet, India and Israel have come a long way. New Delhi doesn’t any more pay heed to accusations of human rights violations against Tel Aviv, its blatant refusal to abide by various UN resolutions, or the manner in which it discards the political rights of the Palestinians since there is an instrumental rationale underlying the India-Israel relationship, especially in terms of national security and strategic considerations.
- With the U.S. designating India as a “Major Defence Partner”, it is one India’s closest strategic partners today. In 2016, India had signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. which gives both sides access to designated military facilities for refuelling and replenishment.
- Mr. Modi’s ‘informal summit’ with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi is viewed as an attempt by both to reassure each other that the relationship has not lost its warmth.
- Thinking beyond normative strictures has both positive and negative implications. When free from ideological constraints and legacy dilemmas, states can pursue their self-interest with a free hand. There will be lot more flexibility to determine the demands of national interest, for national interest is itself not static, only the idea of it is. India’s post-normative approach to external behaviour also is a recognition of the importance of the pursuit of power in the contemporary international system. In that sense then, the new foreign policy thinking in the country has some merits.