MEA stalling India's rise to great power?

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by Singh, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    MEA stalling India's rise to great power?


    NEW DELHI: Instead of a catalyst for India's transformation into a world power, the foreign ministry may be a drag, preventing the nation from
    moving up the international power ladder.

    This is the conclusion drawn by Daniel Markey, of the Council for Foreign Relations and a former US state department official. Markey says in his article titled ‘Developing India’s Foreign Policy Software’ that India’s diplomatic service, think-tanks and universities are not yet up to the task of managing an agenda befitting a great power.

    Raising doubts over India’s “software’’, which he describes as the intellectual and institutional infrastructure, Markey says institutions charged with researching, formulating, debating and implementing foreign policy are often underdeveloped, in decay, or chronically short of resources.

    On the high-profile IFS, Markey says it is “small, hobbled by its selection process and inadequate mid-career training’’ and tends not to make use of outside expertise.

    Markey says India needs to expand its foreign service to keep pace with its global aspirations. “In contrast to organisations with an up-or-out promotion scheme where underperformers are weeded out, nearly everyone in the IFS rises to the upper echelons,’’ says Markey.

    According to former diplomat and author Krishna S Rana, Markey’s study indicates how India’s major foreign policy partners like the US perceive India’s stunted capacity to engage in international negotiations on multiple subjects because of outdated institutional arrangements.

    In fact, Markey’s study in a way is an authentication of an earlier report prepared by diplomat S K Lambah in which he had said that merit and performance —and not seniority alone — should be the main criteria for promotion. Lambah also said in his 2002 report that the weeding out process should begin at the level of director.

    Markey also harps on the fact that the IFS is constrained by its selection process which, he says, is rooted in the old civil service tradition. “The fact that the highest scorers in the civil service exam tend to choose non-IFS careers also reflects poorly on the prestige and appeal of the foreign service,’’ says Markey’s report.

    The MEA outsources analytical tasks to think-tanks, as senior policy-makers are bogged down by daily operational responsibilities. On India’s think-tanks, the report says these lack sufficient access to the information or resources required to conduct high-quality, policy-relevant scholarship.

    It adds that India’s “poorly funded’’ universities fail to provide world-class education in the fields of foreign policy and that the media and private firms are not built to “undertake foreign policy research or training’’.

    MEA stalling India's rise to great power? - India - NEWS - The Times of India
     
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  3. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    This is not just the case with MEA, but applies to all government departments pertaining to both internal and external affairs. India is being strangled by its own bureaucracy.
     
  4. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    and yes we have problems with the way the things get handled by the mea, and their diplomats and with that the indian polity also has to take a larger share of blame because no matter how hard a diplomat wants to bring about a change, if the polity and esp the ruling class is not with you, you cant achieve anything substantial and well to a lesser extent it is true vice versa.

    as far as india being a great power is concerned and i am assuming this is being spoken with reference to military and economic power with which india can exert it self on the world, well there is still time to go, but as has been the case in the past this happens to be a case difficult for toi to understand and come to terms with, who not so long back had started a campaign to term india a super power, old habits die hard as they say!

    some where i get a sense after reading this article, that had india pursued itself more aggressively on the afpak front with india committing its troops, the tone of this article would have been a lot different and probably had india made significant strides in choosing its partners and move away from nam and probably align its foreign policy with that of the us as suggested by condi rice last year, the author would have been for sure suggesting a lot different and probably showering flower petals.

    well as far as the institutions, and skills with regards to people offering to pursue ifs goes, well there surely are procedural problems and some where the quality intake has surely suffered at the hands of the private sector but there the bureaucracy alone is not the sufferer, its the case right across the government jobs. the sense i have about the training process of ifs is that they are very well exposed to various forms of skill enhancement courses during the course of their career which starts from the training academy that they join from day one and these trainings that happen both with in and out side the country certainly helps them groom, mold, develop skills and channelise their thought process in ways that are expected of them, but yes things aren't as rosy as one would like but dont just blame the babu for that.
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Having worked in govt, I don't think there is any dearth of intelligent and innovative individuals in any department of the govt.

    It is just govt is too structured and rigid. Sadly, owing to the culture one learns quickly that whatever the boss says is right. Most of us, because of authority, develop huge egos and any subordinate who crosses the line, does so at his peril.

    So, the culture of take it easy, but look busy come into place.

    Why rock the boat?

    I am sure it is not only in govt, but also in other sectors too, but there result, and that may not be performance, counts. To amplify, in other sectors, the boss can work the subordinate off his bottom, because he has the magic wand - pink slip. I marvel at the long hours the private sector demands of their employees! Great chaps!

    Govt employess are spared that stress and so they live long to draw pension ad infintum and if one does not rock the boat, one has a good life, if not a great career and a long life!!
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    An interesting viewpoint that has merits.

    If the US was a more reliable ally, maybe one could think of aligning to the US bloc. The experience of Pakistan, which has been a doormat (forgive me for the word, but my command of English fails me to find a more appropriate and decent word) and has been discarded and courted at will, does not fill me with confidence.

    Of course, NAM is all hot air.

    I can't think of any suitable way out, except what is current. Ride a high horse on morality and carry on with business as usual.

    We have to be economically and technologically strong, peddle cheap goods and services like China and plough in the money and hold the countries we export to at ransom - the way China is doing!

    Today, Obama went on a huge harangue of how to shore up the US - China relationship!
     
  7. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    sir,

    as the saying goes, the boss is always right, so is the case with the private sector, humans are humans and will remain so no matter where they end up and if anything does sustain to some extent is certainly ego message of the seniors, but then there is a limit to it.

    the difference comes how the things get projected and with the culture of keep proving your worth and in an environment where your worth is as good as your last few achievements with the commitments one has, and some where if the boss keeps falling on the same and juniors out smart the old chap if that is the case there have a been a lot of instances where the oldie has had to make way for his juniors and here again its not the age that justifies the rank and position you hold but the net value addition that one bring along that matters.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I wish that was feasible.

    Good ideas.

    What do the Americans say - Been there, done that! ;)

    I wish what you say were true for the govt!!

    In the govt, the Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam rules:

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

    It reminds me of Marilyn Monroe's song in the film, River of no Return, which I saw as a child:

    There is a river called THE RIVER OF NO RETURN
    Sometimes it's peaceful and sometimes wild and free!
    Love is a trav'ler on THE RIVER OF NO RETURN
    Swept on for ever to be lost in the stormy sea
    Wail-a-ree I can hear the river call [ no return, no return ]
    Where the roarin' waters fall wail-a-ree
    I can hear my lover call come to me [ no return, no return ]
    I lost my love on the river and for ever my heart will yearn
    Gone gone for ever down THE RIVER OF NO RETURN
    Wail-a-ree wail-a-re-e-ee
    She'll/He'll never return to me! [ no return, no return, no return

    Most people's conscience, zeal, enthusiasm and everything never returns!
     
  9. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    sir,

    not exactly done that :), as in always had the luck of having good bosses though cant say thesame for their bosses but probably that is the nature of their job and got to say i owe them a lot for what ever im in life today but then there have been quite a few instances where the bosses have been shown the door if they ended up being a bad manager and if the case presented by the reporting in guys was a good one, in fact not so long back there was a complete revolt by the juniors in one of the division of citibank, gurgaon office with one of their sales team and the boss was sent with his bag packing with in the next few days.

    this conversation of our's reminds me of my first job where i learnt a lesson on how important paper work and generating reports was (all a clerical work as we used to call it then), and the lesson learnt was always be ready to justify your position and job and to do that always be ready to back your self with had facts, something only your paper work will prove, though this might as well sound as being bureaucratic.
     
  10. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    sir,

    in fact my take on the issue is something similar to what you have said, milk the us and why just the us, do the same with most of the other leading world powers and in the bargain make sure country reaches greater and stronger heights from where we do not need to look for others for us to gallop ahead, though this does not mean we work in isolation, but the article comes from an american and i was just trying to get a hang of where he was coming from.

    as far as trusting the americans is concerned no sane person in the rightful mind would attempt that and i am sure our diplomats dont either, they have most of the time had a policy of use and throw and least our country fall prey to the americans.

    yes, the prc's foreign policy is a sure case study that needs in depth understanding for they have outsmarted a lot who have ended up doing more and better that what was expected off them, may i add it was them who made this world rediscover what africa was all about, a place that had been shunned with no tomorrow.
     

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