India's Foreign Policy.


Senior Member
Apr 1, 2009
This thread is to discuss the foreign policy of different nations and its impact on India and its interests. Foreign Policy of Russia, US, Japan, China, ASEAN , African Nations or any other country and its direct or indirect impact on India and its interests in Sub-Continent or someother place.

Quality discussion is expected. Any flamebaiting will result in post being deleted without warning. The members do not have to reply to baiting, simply use the report button. So, let the discussions begin.


Feb 19, 2009

countries which have formal diplomatic relations with india.

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]foreign policy is the [/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman, serif]attempt by a state to maximize its national interest in the external or international environment. foreign policy is an ends and means problem, a problem of [/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman, serif]achieving certain national goals with the limited means available. unlike domestic policy, the attempt to attain one’s goals has to be made in an environment which is largely outside of one’s own control. again unlike domestic policy, this attempt is made in competition with other states who are seeking the same goals for themselves, sometimes at your expense. so merely maximizing one’s own interest competitively will not suffice. one needs to include some measure of cooperation, or at least of alliance building or working together. of the two basic goals of the state, security and prosperity, one, security, is often presented as a zero sum game. the other, prosperity, requires states to cooperate with each other. both goals can therefore pull one’s foreign policy in opposite directions.[/FONT]​

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]After Independence[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]When India became independent in 1947, our economy had notgrown for over fifty years, while population was growing at over 3% a year. The average Indian could expect to live for 26 years, and only 14% of Indians could read. What had once been one of the richest, most advanced and industrialized nations in the world had been reduced by two centuries of colonialism into one of the poorest and most backward countries, deindustrialized and stagnant. From accounting along with China for twothirds of world industrial production in 1750, by 1947 India’s share of world industrial product was negligible. It was therefore natural and clear that the primary purpose of independent India’s foreign policy was to enable the domestic transformation of India from a poor and backward society into one which could offer its people their basic needs and an opportunity to achieve their potential.[/FONT]​

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]1950-1971[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Non-alignment as a policy was a practical and strategic choice, but was soon put to the test by the alliances. It was denounced by John Foster Dulles as immoral, and Stalin had strong words to say about it too. Our neighbours were rapidly enrolled in the competing alliance systems – China by the Soviet Union and Pakistan by the US. Our attempt was to enlarge the area of peace, of those states willing to coexist peacefully despite ideological and other differences, enabling us to concentrate on our own development. Hence the very early summoning of the Asian Relations Conference in New Delhi in March 1947, our activism at the Bandung Afro-Asian conference, our reliance on the UN, and the institutionalization of the Non-Aligned movement in the sixties.[/FONT]​
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Throughout this early period, our means were limited, our goals were primarily domestic, and our aspirations were local. The foreign policy challenges that we faced, such as having a border with China for the first time in our history after China moved into Tibet, could not be addressed with any tools other than diplomacy because of the simple fact that we had no others. Our primary focus was domestic, and at no stage in this period did we spend more than 3% of our GDP on defence. It was this desire to escape external distractions that accounts for some of the tactical choices in handling issues like the India-China boundary, resulting in the short but sharp and salutary conflict of 1962.[/FONT]​
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]In a major diplomatic achievement, we agreed all our land boundaries except those with China (and between Pakistan and our state of J&K) within thirty years. We have also agreed all our maritime boundaries except for those with Pakistan in Sir Creek and Bangladesh.[/FONT]​

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]1971-1991[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]By the early seventies, the steady development of India, (which even at 3.5% p.a. was faster than that achieved by Britain for most of her industrial revolution), had created capacities and relative strengths that were dramatically revealed in the 1971 war. The liberation of Bangladesh was equally a liberation for India. For the first time in centuries, India had on her own and without relying on external imperial power crafted a political outcome in our neighborhood, despite the opposition of a superpower and a large and militarized neighbor. That we could do so was also tribute to Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s political skills and willingness to take risks. The diplomatic task was primarily to hold the ring internationally by winning over public opinion for a just cause and averting actions by others which would prevent us from assisting the birth of Bangladesh.[/FONT]​
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Soon thereafter, in 1974 India tested a nuclear explosive device, in what was described as a peaceful nuclear explosion (PNE). The world led by the Nuclear Weapon States reacted by forming a nuclear cartel, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and by cutting off nuclear cooperation with India unless she agreed to forego a nuclear weapons programme and put all her nuclear facilities under international safeguards to guarantee that commitment. As the nuclear weapon states were not willing to do the same themselves, we refused to do so, suffering the consequences of technology denial regimes for our growth and development. But at that stage we[/FONT]​
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]lacked the relative power or capability to do more than to suffer in silence while keeping our options open. (This in itself was more than most other states managed).[/FONT]​

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]1991-2009[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]The true realization of our foreign policy potential had to wait for the end of the bipolar world in 1989 and our economic reform policies, opening up the Indian economy to the world. Historically speaking, India has been most prosperous and stable when she has been most connected with the rest of the world. The consistent objective of our foreign policy was and remains poverty eradication and rapid and inclusive economic development. If we are to eradicate mass poverty by 2020, we need to keep growing our economy at 8-10% each year. This requires a peaceful and supportive global environment in general and a peaceful periphery in particular.[/FONT]​
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]The period since 1991 has been a period of remarkable change in the scale of our ambitions, and in our capacity to seek to achieve them. The international situation made possible the rapid development of our relationships with each of the major powers. Equally important was another necessary condition which gave India space to work in: India’s rapid economic and social transformation. As a result of twenty five years of 6% growth and our reforms since 1991, India is today in a position to engage with the world in an unprecedented manner. Our engagement with the global economy is growing rapidly, with trade in goods and services now exceeding US$ 330 billion. Our needs from the world have changed, as has our capability. India can do and consider things that we could not do or consider twenty years ago. This is reflected in how India perceives its own future, its ties with its neighbourhood and its approach to the larger international order.[/FONT]​

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Looking at the world from India, [/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman, serif]it often seems that we are witness to the collapse of the Westphalian state system and a redistribution in the global balance of power leading to the rise of major new powers and forces. The twin processes of the world economic crisis and economic inter-dependence have resulted in a situation where Cold War concepts like containment have very little relevance and where no power is insulated from global developments. The interdependence brought about by globalization imposes limits beyond which tensions among the major powers are unlikely to escalate. But equally, no one power can hope to solve issues by itself, no matter how powerful it is. What seems likely, and is in fact happening in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, is that major powers come together to form coalitions to deal with issues where they have a convergence of interests, despite differences on other issues or in broader approach. In other words, what we see is the emergence of a global order marked by the preponderance of several major powers, with minimal likelihood of direct conflict amongst these powers, but where both cooperation and competition among them are intense. The result is a de-hyphenation of relationships with each other, of each major power engaging with and competing with all the others, in a situation that might perhaps be described as “general un-alignment”. Paradoxically, some of the same forces of globalization – the evolution of technology, the mobility of capital and so on – which have led to the decline or collapse of the Westphalian state order are also the source of our greatest dangers. Our major threats today are from non-state actors, from trans-boundary effects of the collapse of the state system, or, at least, of its inadequacy.[/FONT]​

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Looking ahead, the real factors of risk that threaten systemic stability come from larger, global issues like terrorism, energy security and environmental and climate change. With globalization and the spread of technology, threats have also globalised and now span borders. These are issues that will impact directly on India’s ability to grow and expand our strategic autonomy. It is also obvious that no single country can deal with these issues alone. They require global solutions.[/FONT]​

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]International Terrorism[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Among these global threats, international terrorism remains a major threat to peace and stability. We in India have directly suffered the consequences of the linkages and relationships among terrorist organizations, support structures and funding mechanisms, centered upon our immediate neighborhood, and transcending national borders. Any compromise with such forces, howsoever pragmatic or opportune it might appear momentarily, only encourages the forces responsible for terrorism. Large areas abutting India to the west have seen the collapse of state structures and the absence of governance or the writ of the state, with the emergence of multiple centres of power. The results, in the form of terrorism, extremism and radicalism are felt by us all in India.[/FONT]​

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Energy Security[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]As for energy security, this is one issue which combines an ethical challenge to all societies with an opportunity to provide for the energy so necessary for development. For India, clean, convenient and affordable energy is a critical necessity if we are to improve the lives of our people. Today, India’s per-capita energy consumption is less than a third of the global average. (Our per capita consumption is only 500 kgoe compared to a global average of nearly 1800 kgoe). For India a rapid increase in energy use per capita is imperative to realize our national development goals.[/FONT]​

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Global Warming[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Global warming and climate change require all societies to work together. While the major responsibility for the accumulation of green house gasses in the atmosphere lies with the developed countries, its adverse affects are felt most severely by developing countries like India. When we speak of ‘shared responsibility’, it must include the international community’s shared responsibility to ensure the right to development of the developing countries. Development is the best form of adaptation to climate change.[/FONT]​
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]What we seek is equitable burden-sharing. We have made it clear that India will not exceed the average of per capita GHG emissions by the industrialized countries, as we continue to pursue the growth and development that our people need. Also, the transfer and access to clean technologies by developing countries, as global public goods on the lines of what was done for retrovirals to fight AIDS, is essential to effectively limit future GHG emissions. The IPR regime should include collaborative R&D and the sharing of the resulting IPRs.[/FONT]​

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]India’s foreign policy objectives[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]1. Settle and secure international borders.
Cross-border trade and broader bilateral intercourse can only be achieved when geographic boundaries are beyond doubt.
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]2. Maintain regional peace and stability through the projection of Indian power.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Pax Indica can help ensure stability of the littoral Indian Ocean region in general and South Asia in particular. That the region is today plagued by vortices of instability is largely due to India's inability and reluctance to project power in a calculated, strategic manner.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]3. Secure unhindered access to international markets on the most favourable terms.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]4. Develop deeper and broader economic relations with countries that supply fuel and military hardware. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]5. Cultivate and engage political constituencies that can influence policies of foreign governments in India's favour.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]6. Protect — and credibly demonstrate the intention to protect at all costs — the lives and well-being of Indian citizens living abroad. Never forgive governments, organisations or individuals who harm Indians. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]7. Participate in multilateral and bilateral military co-operation relationships. Secure visiting and basing rights at geostrategic locations in the region.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]8. Develop capacities, capabilities and contingency plans to provide relief and rehabilitation in the region in the event of natural or man-made disasters. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]9. Attract talented individuals from across the world to visit, stay, work, study, teach or live in India. Encourage talented Indians to do likewise abroad.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]10. Project the Indian model as an example for other countries to emulate. [/FONT]​



Feb 19, 2009
India's Backyard


as the need has arisen india has consistently made changes to its foreign policy from time to time and a perfect example of that is burma. from a time when we had no formal contacts with junta when we only pursued the call for democracy to be restored to now when we have a formal contact with the junta, indian politicians and diplomats alike have learnt to push forward countries strategic interests than stick to no-gain emotional issues. burma forms an important part of prc's policy on “string of pearls” and so it became imperative india presented a counter maneuver. there was a time when the terrorists of north east had a free hand in burma but not any more, in fact india has been able to successfully engage junta to such an extent that their soldiers have attacked those terror camps and have also given supreme sacrifice by laying down their lives in the process. india sees the benefit of burma to landlocked seven sisters which will greatly benefit by way of the economic activity and for that we have built a port in sittwe. there was a proposal of connecting thailand with india via burma through a highway which would have given access to india to south east asia which would have further enhanced the economic activity in the NE but for the moment the process has been delayed because of the UN's program of connecting entire asia through a highway. if we can work with burma on this aspect then the long standing demand of ne to share benefits of the economic liberalisation will bear fruits and the investments that the country is planning for that region will bear instant results. burma further is country which is rich in natural resources and gail and ongc are actively involved and share production stakes in offshore a1 and a3 gas fields of burma's western coastal state of arakan. these two companies have kept the junta engaged because there still remains a lot of gas and oil fields unexplored and they see the opportunity of getting a stake in those.

having said all this, it in no way means india has shrugged off with pursuing the cause of democracy in that country, in the words of g. parthasarthy, the former indian ambassador to burma, india has consistently taken up the issue but behind closed doors at the highest level with the generals in charge of the country. the junta has been shunned from all corners and in their case we do need to play the devil's advocate because from prior experience it is learnt that while framing policies the junta takes well in regard the past behavior of a country and this could deeply benefit us in times to come.

sri lanka

the other country that forms a part of prc's “string of pearls”. just to make this point understand further one has to see the investments that have happened there originating from prc, close to a billion dollar as investment and add to that 150m usd in arms supply. the GoI has had historical differences with the way the sinhalese have treated the tamils who migrated to that country during the british era. there are grave human rights issues up for discussion and somewhere because of this issue the indian diplomacy gets bogged down but then one would appreciate the fact that in the recent past where sl govt has directly blamed the usa, uk and other eu countries of deliberately siding with the ltte, they have in fact appreciated the role played by india and they see india playing a positive role, so that in a way should certainly be seen as a achievement of indian diplomats given the circumstances they have worked under. india has recently announced an aid package of a 100m usd for the displaced tamils, an act which should certainly go down well with the sl govt and the people of that country alike. india further needs to take up projects which directly benefit the people of sl who would then see india as a part of the solution and in the process a goodwill can be generated which till now has taken a beating as we are seen as the big brother in that country. there is a lot of cargo that flows to india from down south via sea, it is high time that a good amount of that cargo was allowed to flow in from sl and for that we need to have a bridge built over the sea connecting the two countries, add to this i absolutely liked the suggestion thrown in by g parthasarthi, who pointed out to setting up of iit and iim in that country, would be a great initiative if taken up, and a sure move to counter prc. military engagement has to be made an active part of this policy where from now onwards we are seen as a country supplying them military equipment as per their requirement and one would also like to see training programs started where our men go there and help enhance their fighting capabilities.


another country that has gone from being a friendly country to a not so friendly country is bangladesh. india for the time being has a government which happens to be friendly to india's cause and they have shown solidarity with our concerns. the good thing about the present setup in bd is that they have formed the govt after a landslide win so which means the policies that they will initiate will have huge public support. india suffers from image crises right across our neighborhood who see us being as the big brother of the region trying to dictate terms and for this very reason it becomes imperative that all the initiative that we take has to be such that for the people at large it seems that it is their govt that is pursuing the cause and certainly not as something that is being pushed around by us. two very important tools of diplomacy are the economics and the armed forces. as a country grows in economic might its neighbors need to feel advantaged by such a growth and they need to be made a partner so that they can also take advantage. for this purpose india needs to have fta in place with all its neighboring countries including bd. at the moment the balance of trade is such that india is in the drivers seat but we need to adjust the concerns of bd and give room to increase their share in the two way trade. the other way of making the benefits of economic growth felt is by investing in social sectors where the public feels and sees the benefits and it has to be presented in ways that people at large appreciate india's role played behind the doors. water is a big issue in bd and in times to come it is only going to get bigger and so we need to pursue “water diplomacy” with them where in we look into their concerns and in return we make sure they deliver on promises made to us on the dismantling of terror network, if done smartly, india has a lot to gain bd like pak, their army plays a big enough role and it gets important india keeps them engaged so that what ever the situation and which ever the govt, we have a strong stake holder which would not hesitate in pursuing our goals. for this their army needs to supplied with arms and ammunitions, joint exercises, and in the process try and keep the dragon as far as possible, and even if they are allowed in then they have least say in the policy formation of bd.


a india friendly country and we need to consolidate so that the dragons are not allowed any foot prints in the country. as we have done in the past, keep the monarchy engaged and now with a democratic setup taking over, their political outfits also need to be engaged. nepal once was similar to bhutan in many ways than one but then came the maoists who altered every thing that we had in place. prc might try something similar in bhutan and it has to be made sure that no sort of rebellion is allowed to raise head in bhutan no matter what. to make ourselves felt we have to continue as in the past by investing in their country and make sure they depend on us for all their basic needs and that would be a job well done.


a latest entrant to the “headache causing countries” to our diplomacy. once our playground but now the space gets shared with prc. nepal is a case study of how badly things can go wrong and i would not entirely blame india for that. situation was such that the amount of money we could push in was rather limited as when the maoists rose their heads we as a country were heading towards bankruptcy, our very influential partner ussr was is major crisis and the break up took place and we were in a situation from where other than some lip service we could have done nothing. a lot of water has flown since and now is the time to make our selves felt well, and i am glad to say india has been able to further our interests in that country decently well by getting a government installed which is not as hostile as was the last regime. nepal is uniquely positioned and has a huge number of expatriates residing and making their living in india, these people send back a big amount of money back home which not only helps a lot of people run their lives but also helps the economy of nepal as also a decent number of gurkhas from nepal form a part of the gurkha regiment of the ia. india has actively taken part in various development projects in nepal which have helped us further our cause as also india played a very important part in getting the maoists in to the main stream of nepal politics. the real threat that has emerged are the maoists as they have an ideological relationship with the prc and india would do good if we were to plant men in that political outfit who would further our cause because we can be rest assured no matter how hard we try, we can not for always keep the maoists out of the government, so it gets imperative that our men get planted there. the nepali army under the just gone by crisis that surrounded that country has shown that they are emerging as the new power center of that country. india would do good to have good cordial relations with the army and also keep them suppling with arms and ammunition which when the need arises can give a heavy blow to all anti india forces present including the maoists guerrillas if it were to come to that.


from where i can see pakistan has seen a blow they never expected after having orchestrated 26/11 in mumbai. we have pak in a tight spot and through usa they are looking for a breather by trying to exert pressure on us so as to resume the peace process but here we have to play smart. we have to make sure we do not give into this demand of pakistan till the time they take substantial action against the masterminds of 26/11 and a message goes all around that any terror attack from their soil will not go without its share of punishments in pakistan.pakistan is a proxy of prc and as someone rightly said, prc will never directly confront india till the last pakistani is standing. as i have maintained for long a united, strong pakistan can never be in the interest of india and so i have maintained annexation of baluchistan and pok are a must. first of all with pok we gain access to car and then we also cut the land route connection between prc and pak. baluchistan is a case similar to bangladesh/east pak and taking cue from that it gets imperative that this energy rich land has indian influence through which we can fulfill our thirst for energy resources. with baluchistan we can also be able to encircle the left out pakistan and make sure that they do not get back to a position from where they can carry out their anti india activity. if we can pull this off, then this will be a massive body blow to the pcr and their policy of “sting of pearls” against us and this in turn will instill fear in the psyches of our neighbors who might for the moment feel they can do what ever they want against us under the backing of prc.


afghanistan is of huge significance to india and to our long term stability. it is of utmost importance that we have a government there which can make sure that that no such activity happens in that country which goes against our interests either directly or indirectly. we have made some huge investments in this regard and as per the reports these have gone down well with the people of that country who appreciate the fact that india has made some big contributions in developing their country and trying to get it back on its feet. in all this india has to work closely with all interested parties to make sure the taliban are not able to raise their head again but the signs for now are not encouraging enough when one comes across reports stating that around 70% of that country is under the taliban control . somewhere one feels there will come a time where we might have to commit our troops, though not the first time we will do that since we have had a ipkf in the past but then such a move raises a lot of questions and then that could also mean all the goodwill that we have won could all be lost as any outside military presence historically have been seen as an occupation by the people of that country, so this will be question that one will have to answer with a lot of considerations and may be the wiser decision would be that other than diplomatic efforts, arms supply, military training, financial assistance and development of that country, we leave out other options and let others do the dirty job who for the moment are more keen on doing it.


Senior Member
Apr 1, 2009

See how the Indian influence has been reduced to the lowest level in current times compared to recent centuries


On Vacation!
Super Mod
Apr 5, 2009
India's Foreign Policy Distortions (2004-2009): The United States Factor

India's Foreign Policy Distortions (2004-2009): The United States Factor

Dr. Subhash Kapila

Introductory Observations

The Indian Republic in the first fifty years of its existence maintained a strategic autonomy in the conduct of its foreign policy despite a much more limited national power profile and economic profile than that exists today.

Today, when India is economically vibrant and strong and India has been able to amass sizeable conventional and strategic assets, India to its citizens seems strategically tied down in adding muscle to the conduct of its foreign policy.

Adding muscle to India’s foreign policy does not imply war mongering or military adventurism. Adding muscle to India’s foreign policy implies that India’s national security interests are accorded a paramountcy in the conduct of foreign policies to the exclusion of the personal predictions of the Indian Prime Minister and his proximate foreign policy advisors. It also implies the existence of political will to secure India’s national security interests.

The period 2004-2009 has witnessed a bartering away of India’s national security interests. This trend stands examined in the Author’s SAAG Paper No.3210 dated 22 May 2009 entitled “India’s Foreign Policy 2004-2009: The Wasted Years:

The major part of India’s foreign policy failures in this time span and the distortions that willingly or unwillingly have seeped into India’s foreign policy (2004 – 2009) have resulted from policies or lack of policies generated by the predominance given by India’s current Prime Minister to the “United States Factor” in our policy formulations.

Co-attendant with the primacy given to the “United States Factor” in India’s foreign policy formulations during 2004-2009 has been the “parallel track” of “Pakistan-appeasement policies” out of deference to United States Pak-centric strategic sensitivities.

In the process, India can be said to have abdicated its much prized “strategic autonomy” (not to be confused with non-alignment) in its foreign policy formulations. In another sense, it can also be said that India has diluted its aspirations to become a global power.

The center of gravity of the global balance of power has shifted to Asia. India along with China are the two prominent stakeholders and determinants of this shift in the balance of power.

While China has leveraged this shift to her advantage, India’s foreign policies has not leveraged this shift in India’s favor. On the contrary, India’s current foreign policy has led it to seemingly emerge as more of a United States satellite or camp follower.

Rhetorical flourishes by United States political leaders and officials will not impart global power status on India. India has to earn its global power status by standing firmly on its own legs, build its strengths and demonstrate its strategic autonomy globally and regionally, and firmly demonstrate fortified by Indian nationalism, that it has the will to use power to secure India’s national interests.

This point is contextually relevant to the examination of the impact on India’s foreign policy formulations of the “United States Factor”.

This Paper intends to examine the main theme under the following heads:

The “United States Factor” in India’s Foreign Policy (2004-2009): No End Gains
Indian Prime Minister’s “Foreign Policy Romanticism” with United States Reminiscent of Nehru’s Romanticism with China.
Peace with Pakistan: An Elusive Mythical Obsession of India’s Prime Minister
China’s Containment was Implicit in Evolution of US-India Strategic Relationship: United States Now Shirks from it

The “United States Factor” in India’s Foreign Policy (2004-2009): No End Gains

The US-India Strategic Partnership much hyped in 2000-2001, including by this Author, now stands reduced to a “strategic relationship” only. That too is alive only in South Block corridors.

India’s expectant hopes attending the advent of evolving a US-India Strategic Partnership focused on multiple aims. At the core of these aims were (1) India’s rise to global power status with a US impetus (2) Strategic downsizing of Pakistan and limiting its “spoiler-state” role in South Asia (3) Joint US-India convergence in coping and managing of the growing military rise of China.

Post 9/11 and now Post Af-Pak Policy unveiling it should be clear to all right thinking Indians that the United States global and regional agenda in South Asia is not in consonance with India’s strategic expectations from the United States. The United States agenda is in contradiction to India’s national security interests and India’s national aspirations.

India’s supine foreign policies during 2004-2009 in accommodating United States strategic sensitivities “at all costs” has landed India in a position where there are “no end-gains” for India by according a primacy to the “US Factor” in India foreign policy formulation.

The above assertions stand fortified by the following manifestations:

Proximity to United States has not contributed to lessening of India’s threat perceptions emanating from Pakistan and China. United States has not contributed at all in this direction.
United States strangulating hold over Pakistan has not been exercised to prevent Pakistan’s proxy war and terrorism against India nor has the United States diluted the Pakistan-China strategic nexus
United States till today has not supported India’s candidature for the United Nations Security Council as a Permanent Member. It indicates US reservations on the emergence of India as a global power.
United States has revived or shortly will revive pressures that indirectly aim at capping/rolling back India’s nuclear weapons arsenal.
Strategically, the United States has only conceded the vast empty expanse of the Indian Ocean to India to extend its influence. The United States has not conceded that India is the predominant regional power in South Asia and that Pakistan must adjust its delusionary strategic mindsets accordingly.
Increased Indo-US military-to-military contacts are no index of a thriving US-India Strategic Partnership. One is now constrained to term it as a US-India Strategic Relationship. The United States has held itself back from adding enhanced strategic and political contours to the US-India relationship.

The most striking deduction from the above analysis is that India’s foreign policy (2004-2009) has been strategically misconceived and ill-advised in making the “United States as the “Central Pillar” of India’s foreign policy.”

Indian Prime Minister’s “Foreign Policy Romanticism” with United States Reminiscent of Nehru’s Romanticism with China

One would not be far wrong to term the Indian Prime Minister’s “Foreign Policy Romanticism” with the United States as reminiscent of Nehru’s similar romanticism with China. The results of the later were a great military setback for India.

It is not to suggest that the United States will attack India like China did. But an Indian monochromatic foreign policy focused on United States has brought distortions in India’s present foreign policies, foreclosing many of its wider options afield, particularly India foreign policy towards Pakistan.

Military setbacks can accrue to India by United States continued military build-up of Pakistan and thereby affecting the India-Pakistan Military Balance. It is strategically strange that while the United States increasingly harps on the strengths of its Strategic Partnership with India, it concurrently keeps building Pakistan’s conventional military capabilities. Even a non-commissioned officer of the Indian Army would point out that it is a puerile US argument that it’s provision of combat fighter aircraft and long range maritime surveillance aircraft fitted with anti-submarine weapons to Pakistan are intended for augmenting Pakistan’s anti-terrorism warfare capability.

The Indian Prime Minister has failed in his foreign policy approaches to the United States to demand strategic ‘quid-pro-quos’ from the United States in relation to the adjustments and compromises he has made in Indian foreign policies to accommodate US strategic interests on Pakistan.

Peace with Pakistan: An Elusive Mythical Obsession of India’s Prime Minister

Peace with Pakistan is a desirable objective for India’s foreign policy. But the timing of peace and resumption of composite dialogue with Pakistan has to be decided by India’s assessments and readings of the contextual security environment and India’s national security interests.

The timings of such a process cannot be dictated by the United States to synchronize with the timings of its strategic overtures to Pakistan to serve US strategic interests. It does not require much imagination for anyone to assert that the United States and India have serious strategic divergences over Pakistan.

Additionally, has the Indian Prime Minister and his advisory team ever asked themselves the question as to why the United States constantly preaches to India on peace with Pakistan?

India despite repetitive Pakistani acts of terrorism against India has exercised restraint. Even today India stands aloof and strategically not taken advantage of the growing civil war within Pakistan. Then why does the United States resort to peace sermons to India on India-Pak peace knowing fully well that these need to be given to Pakistan only.

Further, in the past, and even now, Kashmir- mention is used as a strategic pressure point against India by US political leaders.

Sharm-al- Sheikh was a direct manifestation of the “distortions” that the “United States Factor” has induced in India’s current foreign policy formulation. The Havana Agreement 2006 was the earlier manifestation.

In both cases the “Indian foreign policy troika” of the Prime Minister, the National Security Adviser and the Foreign Secretary were the moving spirits behind these infamous appeasement concessions on terrorism to Pakistan, acting in duress under US pressures.

Does it behave a country of India’s size and potential to succumb to external pressures?

Fortunately, the force of Indian public opinion pressured the Congress President to make the Indian Prime Minister to retract from Sharm-al-Sheikh concessions to Pakistan. That does not lessen the gravity of the Indian policy establishment succumbing to external pressures especially over Pakistan.

Peace with Pakistan will continue to be an elusive myth till such time some Indian political leader emerges who can recognize that the only way to restrain Pakistan is to follow the US model against Russia in the Cold War.

Further peace with Pakistan will accrue when Indian Prime Ministers ensure that India’s war preparedness at all times is so high that coupled with Indian Prime Ministers demonstrating the will to use power, these two realities existentially deter Pakistan from provoking India and indulging in military adventurism against it..

Indian Prime Ministers down the line have not grasped the fundamentals of why peace with Pakistan will remain an elusive myth. The onus of bringing about India- Pakistan peace lies squarely on United States shoulders and not on India's shoulders.

The United States has consistently invented and re-invented Pakistan’s strategic utility for US national security interests. Pursuant to this fixation it has armed and re-armed Pakistan substantially and encouraged it to box much above its strategic weight.

Peace with Pakistan will therefore continue to be elusive till such time United States re-calibrates its South Asia policies with Pakistan removed from the centrality it occupies in US strategy.

China’s Containment was Implicit in Evolution of US-India Strategic Relationship: United States Now Shirks from It

Democracy and shared values were not the bed-rock of the advent of US-India’s Strategic Partnership. The bedrock of this evolving strategic relationship was an implicit understanding and strategic convergence that China’s rising military power needed to be contained for mutual strategic benefits.

American strategic literature of the preceding decade and even in this decade is alive with discussions to this end.

The American stress on joint exercises and enter-operability with the Indian Armed Forces was surely not for disaster management purposes. The underlying intent has surely been a possible China contingency.

Recent and latest United States foreign policy trends indicate that the United States is no longer imbued with a China containment strategy. Nothing could be more blasphemous for Indian ears than the latest US proposal of a G-2 (US and China) combine to control global affairs. The underlying content is not only economic but also a strategic compromise that the United States seems to be making with China.

Further, India’s Prime Minister and his team are seemingly unaware that it is a cardinal tenet of United States strategic policies that no single Asian nation emerges as the predominant power. To that end United States would continue to play more of a role of a “balancer” rather than side with India to offset China’s military rise.

India’s Foreign Policy Options (2004-2009) Foreclosed by “United States Factor” Primacy

India will now begin to strategically pay for its foreign policies or lack of foreign policies during the period 2001-2009 arising from giving a misplaced primacy to the “United States Factor” in its foreign policy formulations.

In respect of India’s main threat adversaries, namely Pakistan and China, India’s foreign policy options stand foreclosed because of the “US Factor”.

The Indian Prime Minister with all his proximity to the United State has failed to prevail and convince the United States to restrain Pakistan’s proxy war and terrorism against India. Contrarily, the Indian Prime Minister is being pressurized to suffer Pakistan’s intransigence for the cause of greater American strategic good.

The United States constantly changing priorities in its foreign policy stances towards China makes it an unreliable partner of India to deal with its China threat.

In relation to Pakistan, the close relations of India with Iran were a counter weight. In relation to China, the longstanding Russia-India Strategic Partnership was an effective counter-balance and restraint.

According primacy to the “United States Factor” in India’s foreign policies during the period 2004-2009 led to a strategic downgrading of India’s foreign policy priorities towards Iran and Russia. Earnest hard work would be required now to resurrect these relationships.

With aspirations to emerge as a global power, India’s foreign policy cannot be converted into a US-centric mode. If the United States resorts to “balancing” India by use of Pakistan and/or China then Indian political leaders must learn to ‘balance’ the United States with an equally strong strategic partnership with Russia.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for years did not attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit meetings. It sent wrong signals to Russia.

In the same vein it needs to be pointed out that this Government should desist from making India’s military inventories totally reliant on the United States. There is a danger that this Government for political reasons may place the multi-billion dollar order for 126 combat fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force on the United States. By such a decision, in one single stroke, India would be mortgaging the cutting edge of India’s offensive capabilities to the mercy of a Pak-centric United States.

Concluding Observations

In earlier Papers of this Author a point that repeatedly stands made is that India cannot afford to emerge as a global player despite the United States or in opposition to it.

The opposite is also true that no global power has ever helped another aspiring power to emerge as a global power.

This stands true for the United States and India too. The United States may, and one repeats may, assist India to emerge as a “global player” but it will never assist India to emerge as a “global power” on equal terms with USA.

The years 2004-2009 have been “wasted years” in terms of India’s foreign policy formulations and its conduct. The overwhelming reason was that India’s foreign policy troika” comprising the PM, NSA and the Foreign Secretary made the United States as the “Central Pillar” of India’s foreign policy. The resultant effect was that India stood disconnected from its proven traditional friendly partners.

It is high time, that with no end- gains having accrued from such foreign policy fixations, India’s foreign policy is re-calibrated and strong connectivities re-established with India’s proven friends. An aspiring global power like India needs to have multiple foreign policy connectivities to provide flexibility of options.

India’s Prime Ministers need to emulate China. If the United States today talks of a global G-2 combine of USA and China to manage global affairs, it is because China has followed the dictum of a “mailed fist in a velvet glove.” and leveraged its national strengths to propel its rise on the global stage.

(The author is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs analyst. He is the Consultant, Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group. Email:[email protected])


United States of Hindu Empire
May 29, 2009
very fair article, no surprise whatsoever.......


On Vacation!
Super Mod
Apr 5, 2009
I hope Manmohan Singh will not make India as another satellite state to United States. We need to assert ourselves and try to be as independent as possible in foreign policy formulations. But recent events does project India as a state that is capitulating to the US pressure at the cost of Indian national interests and global aspirations. High time to get away from US camp which anyways a declining power.


Regular Member
Jul 19, 2009
I hope Manmohan Singh will not make India as another satellite state to United States. We need to assert ourselves and try to be as independent as possible in foreign policy formulations. But recent events does project India as a state that is capitulating to the US pressure at the cost of Indian national interests and global aspirations.
See at it this way we are a fresh kid in the school. Ragged good.
The Big bully is big bully because he did somethings right (gathered economic, technological and military power).
The Challenger Kid aspiring to replace the Big bully is farther away from the Big bully then the fresh kid is from this Challenger kid.
The Big bully will realise that his downfall is inevitable and cooperates with the Challenger Kid, saying he will be the hier apparent, allowing to Big bully to retain the bullyship for as long as he can. The Challenger kid knows his own weakness (his side kicks are those kids in the school that the are actually rejected by the Big bully - lets call them Sidekick kids).
This the big bully will declare to the whole school and as usual the whole school will not look up (both the Big bully and the Challenger kid can join up against any one or two kids and bash him/them up:(() but know very well that the Challenger kid will actually be even harsher just to shake of the image of being the underling of the Big bully. That means the school becomes the environment which will actually be more helpful to the fresh kid provided the fresh kid displays the maturity to balance his survival politiking with the survival politiking of the other kids (fresh kid is after all one among the ordinary kids - same SWOT). All the kids indulge the fearsome twosome but the fresh kid was strong enough and independent minded enough to begin negotiating (which includes right not to negotiate) instead of an outright surrender. Other kids see this and begin to aspire to at least the stage fresh kid brought himself up. Still the fresh kid cannot actually save any other kid from these fearsome twosome (ordinary kids know this too). Fresh kid can only fry the Challenger kid (even the fearsome twosome know this and for their system to stay they would not like this).

Now there is a twist to the tale. Since all the ordinary kids decided to live another day so lived another day and eventually graduated to the outside world. Since the Big bully and the Challenger kid were more interested in keeping there hegemony in the school, so they remain in the school except that the Big bully was smart enough already so he too graduates though this time only with ordinary grades. Big bully also being smart he never actually pissed off the fresh kid (his intention was actually not terrorise anyone but only to have the best for himself, which does not deny the fresh kid his chances in life). The Challenger kid remains in the school (stuck with the old ideals of might is right and instead decides to terrorise the new kids coming into the school) and trying to make himself shine in the reflected glory of the achievements of the Big Bully (who drops in once in a while just for old times sake).

New trend after the twist - The environment has already changed and the graduates take up work and begin to handle new challenges in life and basically keep up with the fresh kid.
If and justifiably only if the erstwhile fresh kid and obviously an equal graduate rises fast and hard in his company and eventually pulls up a considerable distance between himself and the ordinary kids (who aspire to be like him even more). The Big bully was more interested in pulling strings then in grades and so actually lands for himself an even better job but the distance between fresh kid and the Big bully is reduced even more. The challenger kid may or may not graduate.

Now the point of choice in the life of the fresh kid - Should he join up with the Big bully and terrorise the ordinary kids furthering the life of the Big bully and loosing the morally binding friendship with the ordinary kids. If the fresh kid does strike this friendship with the Big bully then he becomes at the worst the new challenger (destined for the same fate that the erstwhile challenger kid found himself in) and the environment throws up a new fresh kid.

Fresh kid however was smart enough to rise to an enviable position and he has momentum on his side and a wealth of possibilities (he has already taken enough risks in life, even failed enough, to know how to handle them) and he decides to do something fresh and refuses to join up with the Big bully (actually Big bully had at one time done the exact same thing when he was the fresh kid). This results in the trade of the ordinary kids with the Big bully starts to evaporate and begins to move over to the fresh kid. The Big bully accepts his destiny as one among equals (he was smart to begin with - Big bully image was only in the mind of the ordinary kids and this mind is what kept them ordinary in the first place). Probably the erstwhile challenger kid also graduated and thanks to the links of the Big bully got a job. But this time due to the choices of the fresh kid, every gangs up against him (fresh kid+big bully/smart kid+ordinary kid) and make him a one among equals

................................ and life goes on with all the infinite possibilities present at any one time till the next MAO/HITLER/STALIN/ETC come up. But even if they do come up the environment is strong enough to take care of not just the collective downside but also ensure that there is a continuous supply of fresh kids.

High time to get away from US camp which anyways a declining power.
US is the Smart kid who rose to the top because he during certain times in his life did the right things instead of taking part in terrorist activities. His being big bully was only in the mind of the ordinary kids never in the mind of the fresh kid.


ooooooooor am i craping everybody round here.

Dark Sorrow

Respected Member
Senior Member
Mar 24, 2009
India announces foreign policy change: supports Afghan reconciliation with Taliban

For the last eight years, since the Taliban fled from Kabul in November 2001, India has staunchly opposed a dialogue with any section of the Taliban. India’s position has remained: there is no purpose in talking to the Taliban; there is no such thing as a moderate Taliban.

But now there is a shift. In New Delhi today, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, addressing an international seminar on Afghanistan, declared that India would support the process of “reintegrating individuals with the national mainstream”, code for dialogue with the moderate Taliban who agree to renounce violence.

Ms Nirupama Rao stated that, “the existing process under (Afghanistan’s) National Committee for Peace for reintegrating individuals with the national mainstream must be both enlarged and accelerated. We support the Afghan government’s determination to integrate those willing to abjure violence and live and work within the parameters of the Afghan constitution…”

This change in stance came with a qualification. Pakistan, which is widely believed to support the Taliban and provide shelter in Quetta to its leaders, would need to cease assistance to the Taliban.

In words that echoed India’s earlier warnings to Pakistan on supporting terrorist camps across the Line of Control in J&K, Nirupama Rao said, “(India’s support for reintegration of the Taliban) should, of course, go hand in hand with the shutting down of support and sanctuaries supported for terrorist groups across the (Afghanistan-Pakistan) border.”

Since 2001, India has refrained from declaring political initiatives within Afghanistan. Instead, New Delhi has confined its visible diplomacy to drumming up international support and multilateral funding, even while coordinating its actions closely with President Karzai and his team. The bedrock of the India-Afghanistan relationship has been a $1.2 billion aid programme, India’s largest to any country. India is currently the 6th largest bilateral aid donor to Afghanistan.

Now, clearly, the MEA has concluded that an aid programme, howsoever successful and appreciated by the Afghans, cannot take the place of clear political initiatives. These initiatives are needed for protecting the infrastructure that Indian aid is creating in Afghanistan.

India’s aid programme in Afghanistan includes: a 218-kilometer road from Zaranj in Iran to Delaram in Afghanistan, inaugurated in January this year; the electrical transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri in northern Afghanistan to Kabul, which has brought regular power supply to the capital for the first time since 1992; one hundred small development projects in rural Afghanistan that have quick gestation periods; five medical missions that provide free medicines to 1000 patients per day; support to Kabul’s Indira Gandhi Centre for Child Health, and connecting it last month through a tele-medical link with two super-speciality child health facilities in India; a grant of one million tonnes of wheat, which is currently being distributed daily as 100 gram high-protein biscuits to two million school-going children across Afghanistan.

Besides declaring support for reconciliation, the foreign secretary also made clear that, as far as India was concerned, the results of Afghanistan’s vitiated presidential elections held in August was not yet a settled matter. Congratulating the Afghan people for participating in the elections in the face of Taliban threats, the foreign secretary accepted the possibility of a run-off between President Hamid Karzai and Dr Abdullah Abdullah, and of working with whichever of them was elected to power.

Ms Rao also declared that India had made up its mind that its regional interests lay in a continued United States presence in Afghanistan.



Senior Member
Aug 13, 2009
Paper no. 3563 24-Dec-2009


BY Dr. Subhash Kapila

Introductory Observations

Conforming to the pattern of India’s foreign policies since 2004 India’s foreign policy formulations and diplomacy in 2009 was no different. India’s foreign policy in 2009 was yet again a continuum of political and strategic timidity.

In 2009 India’s foreign policy was once again reactive in conduct and devoid of strategically autonomous formulations and initiatives to secure India’s national security interests. India’s political leadership, its national security advisory set-up and its foreign policy establishment seemed to await cues from Washington as to what thrusts India should adopt on crucial international and South Asian issues.

In Asia there are only two global power aspirants acknowledged by the international community, namely China and India. The United States accords an over-emphasised respect and deference to China’s foreign policy preferences and strategic sensitivities.

Contrastingly, the United States in India’s own strategically backyard of South Asia, adopts intrusive and coercive policies which corrode India’s national security. India’s political leadership in its obsessive mindset to please the United States, for reasons never made public, submits to US pressures on India to harmonize her foreign policies in accordance with the American Pak-centric strategic priorities in South Asia.

Obviously, India’s foreign policy thrusts and priorities crafted by India’s political leadership in the last six years have failed to win for India the respect for her strategic sensitivities warranted by her power potential.

India’s political leadership failed in 2009 to checkmate India’s military adversaries, namely China and Pakistan.Strong and assertive political leadership willing to lay down declaratory ‘red-lines’ was missing.

In 2009, the cumulative effect of India’s political and strategic timidity became strikingly obvious to the international community, when China became more belligerent on the India-Tibet (China occupied) border and Pakistan continued to snook its thumb against India by refusing to make amends for Mumbai 26/1l of November 2008.

India’s foreign policy therefore today stands not only disconnected from India’s national aspirations and India’s national security but more significantly stands disconnected from India’s sizeable public opinion.

India therefore cannot afford a drift in her foreign policy conduct and a wholesale review and re-casting of India’s regional and global relationships is required.

With the above in view, this Paper intends to briefly examine the following aspects of India’s foreign policy:

* United States: India’s Strategic Trust Not Requited
* China Continues to Exploit India’s Political and Strategic Timidity
* Pakistan: India’s Foreign Policy Subordination to United States Pak-centric Strategic Interests Must Cease
* Russia’s Countervailing Power Needs to be Re-leveraged by India Again
* India’s Prime Minister Fails in Personal Diplomacy to Reassure Traditional Friends and Win Over New Friends
* India’s Political Vacuum Does Not Warrant Government's Obliviousness for Bi-Partisan Support for Indian Foreign Policy

United States: India’s Strategic Trust Not Requited

India at the turn of the millennium under the Vajpayee Government initiated the process of evolution of a US-India Strategic Partnership and signing a “21st Century Vision Statement” with President Clinton. Implicit in India’s defining decision at that moment was placing “India’s Strategic Trust” in the United States in terms of an “insurance” that the United States would respect India’s strategic sensitivities in South Asia and an implicit faith that India’s national security interests in relation to China and Pakistan would be secured.

Nine years down the line, it does not require much elaboration that “India’ Strategic Trust” in the United States stands unrequited. No strategic tangible gains have accrued to India.

Pakistan continues as the centre-piece of United States policies in South Asia. Sensing Indian political leadership’s political and strategic timidity, the United States feels emboldened to subject India to political pressures to yield on Kashmir and withdraw troops from the Kashmir Valley so that the United States can assuage the sensitivities of Pakistan Army Generals, which it wishes to please.

The United States continues to build-up Pakistan’s war-machine with advanced weaponry unmindful to the fact that China too is engaged likewise.

Has the Indian policy establishment ever asked itself as to why the United States is engaged in militarily building-up Pakistan fully conscious that it is aimed at India? The obvious answer is that the United States still persists in playing ‘balance-of power” politics in South Asia, reflecting that it still does not fully trust India strategically.

Contextually therefore, India needs to review and re-cast its foreign policy approaches to the United States. The basic foreign policy assumption that India’s foreign policy establishment needs to incorporate in its perspectives is that today the United States needs India more than India needs the United States.

China Continues to Exploit India’s Political and Strategic Timidity

In 2009 China emerged to display the type of military belligerence on the India-Tibet (China occupied) border reminiscent of the run-up to the 1962 China-India War. Chinese strategic analysts went to the extent of advocating that China should attempt to ‘Balkanize’ India and that another war with India was required to teach India a military lesson.

Some analysts may like to advance causative factors like the Dalai Lama, Tibet issue and the US-India Strategic Partnership, but the actual fact seems to be different.

What needs to be questioned is as to why China has chosen 2009 to strike a more belligerent posture against India? India in the last year or so has not indulged in any provocative postures other than improving her defences.

In the estimation of this Author, the answer lies in the current strategic assessment of India by China. The following contextual factors indicate to China that India is currently strategically vulnerable due to the following reasons: (1) In the American perspective, China-containment is not a component of the much touted US-India Strategic Partnership (2) India today is without the countervailing power of Russia ( 3) India does not enjoy any leadership role in South Asia or Asia (4) If India cannot tame Pakistan even after Mumbai 26/11, how can India ever stand up to China? (5) India’s leadership has been submitting to Chinese pressures, emboldening it further.

Indian leadership's political and strategic timidity if not restrained can prod China into more strategically coercive policies, this time not only through Pakistan, but also directly by China on the borders. Indian political and strategic timidity could prompt Chin to indulge in enhanced brinkmanship on India's borders.

Pakistan: India’s Foreign Policy Subordination to United States Pak-centric Strategic Interests Must Cease

India in the last ten years has failed to adopt an independent assertive foreign policy towards Pakistan whose prime aims should have been to neutralise Pakistan’s strategically disruptive and military adventurist policies against India and a dissuasive prevailing over Pakistan’s strategic patrons, the United States and China.

India’s Pakistan foreign policy subordination to United States Pak Centric strategic interests commenced with Vajpayee's strategic blunder of the Agra Summit and thereafter stands stretched by Dr. Manmohan Singh from the infamous Havana Accord to the shameful Sharm-al-Sheikh Agreement of 2009.

All the above named three events were incorrigible surrenders of India’s independent foreign policy decision-making sovereignty. India stands reduced to such timidity today that any Indian foreign policy approaches to Pakistan are viewed through the prism of what would Washington think or view on it rather than the prime consideration of India’s national security interests.

OP PRAKRAM against Pakistan following the Parliament House attacks was restrained under United States pressure.

India’s decisive military option in the wake of Mumbai 26/11 was curtailed under United States political pressure again.

Resumption of dialogue with Pakistan is a persistent US pressure on India underway. Withdrawal of 30,000 troops from Kashmir Valley and elsewhere has taken place under US pressure so that it could assuage Pak Army Generals insecurities.

Surely Pakistan Army appeasement by India under US political pressure cannot go on endlessly. While India’s political leadership may be oblivious to India’s national honor, the Indian public is not.

Russia’s Countervailing Power Needs to be Re-leveraged by India Again

Russia’s countervailing power in global affairs till the last decide of the 20th century was a valuable and time-tested strategic asset for India’s foreign policy formulations.

Russia's temporary strategic eclipse in the 1990s prompted India to turn to the United States at the turn of the millennium. Russia today is once again in a strategically resurgent mode. Despite strategic devaluation by the US Administration and the American strategic community, Russia is well on the way to re-emerge significantly in global strategic affairs. The United States has failed India in providing the countervailing force and strength that was implicit in the US-India Strategic Partnership.

Under such circumstances, India’s foreign policy establishment would be well advised to re-leverage Russia’s countervailing power in favour of India.

India’s Prime Minister Fails in Personal Diplomacy to Reassure Traditional Friends and Win Over New Friends

Prime Ministerial personal diplomacy is an essential ingredient of India’s foreign policy. No better illustration can be quoted than India’s first Premier Nehru who when India’s power potential had not emerged made a mark on the global stage with his personal diplomacy.

While PM Dr. Manmohan Singh may have visited a number of countries in South Asia, South East Asia and elsewhere for important summit meetings or international conferences, country-specific visits to India’s traditional friends or for enlisting new friends seems to be missing from the agenda.

Within South Asia as part of personal diplomacy the Prime Minister has not visited Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal

In South East Asia, the Prime Minister has not visited Vietnam, a country which places high value and significance on its ties with India, Indonesia also seems to be omitted so far.

In the Middle East, reports do not suggest that Dr. Manmohan Singh has paid visits to Turkey and Iran – both crucial regional powers.

India’s Political Vacuum Does Not Warrant Government's Obliviousness for Bi-Partisan Support for Indian Foreign Policy

In the absence of a strong and effective political Opposition Party currently in India, a sort of ‘political vacuum’ exists which emboldens the present Government to take Indian public opinion for granted on foreign policy matters. In the last six years neither the Parliament in effective terms nor the country has been taken into confidence on crucial foreign policy decisions. India’s foreign policy in these years has been deliberately kept out of glare of public scrutiny and debate. Techno-legal arguments were mustered by the Government to argue that the Government does not need Parliaments ratification for international agreements.

What is not realised is that if bi-partisan political support is not secured on crucial foreign police issues, then the Government would find itself in an embarrassing corner, should its pre-conceived foreign policies fail as has been evidenced on Pakistan, China and even the Indo-US Nuclear Deal.

As India becomes more powerful, its foreign policies would need to be conducted in the full glare of international publicity, so why not in the glare of domestic publicity too.

Not Indian Government can afford a “disconnect” from Indian public opinion on foreign policy and national security issues as is presently being witnessed.

Concluding Observations

For India as a whole, the stark reality is that India’s foreign policies in the last six years have been a failure.

China and Pakistan continue to be as threatening as before. The US-India Strategic Partnership which has been the center- piece of this Government’s foreign policy has not delivered on the expectations that were implicit in it. India’s “strategic trust” in the United States stands unrequited.

India’s independent status in global affairs has not found elevation as a result of present political and strategic timidity in her foreign policy and nor India’s national security interests secured.

India’s present foreign policy devoid of independent perspectives has been lusterless and results in the strategic diminution of India on the global stage.

Rhetorical flourishes by global leaders in favour of India cannot conceal the underlying reality that India’s political leaders are deficit in strategic culture, lack the will to use power in India’s interests and timid when it comes to taking hard political and strategic decisions.

India may emerge as a global economic power, but for India to emerge as a global political and strategic power which can command regional and global respect would require a complete metamorphosis of India’s political culture and India’s strategic culture.

(The author is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs analyst. He is the Consultant, Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group. Email: [email protected])



Senior Member
Aug 13, 2009
a request to mods (with permission from johnee) to change the thread title to "india's foreign policy."
it is more apt and implicit are the ramifications sequel to the policies.


Senior Member
Aug 13, 2009
foreign policy is a complex web with pushes and pulls, both domesic and international. also there is nothing called independant foreign policy - every country is dependant on others and hence all foreign policies in my view are interdependant. but this does not preclude the national interest which is the corner stone of all such policies.
looking from this prism, i agree with most of the thoughts the author Dr. Subhash Kapila puts forward.
USA seems like the driving force of india's policy in pretty much everything india does which the author touches upon.
china has been playing traunt but india's MEA & PM keep downplaying it!! we can't even stand up in words!!
the less said about pakistan the better.
a very balanced, timely and straight forward article. my complements to the author.


Senior Member
Aug 13, 2009
profiling S. M. KRISHNA, india's MEA.

The Foreign Affairs of SM Krishna

By Lakshmi Iyer
Posted On Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 01:51:46 AM

Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, India’s External Affairs Minister, who nervously began on the job seven months ago, seems to have now finally settled in his South Block office.

The comfort and ease that he feels in his new assignment showed in the manner he handled foreign policy issues in the just-concluded winter session of the Parliament.

The opposition, which in the beginning had faulted him for groping for answers to its queries, not only heard him out but even appreciated him for having been a Fulbright scholar. In turn, the minister shared with opposition MPs a lighter Obama moment in the White House.

From a regional satrap who always had his heart firmly in Bangalore power corridors, Krishna has come a long way. Yes, this US-educated former chief minister of Karnataka has learnt a great deal in the subtle art of networking with global leaders. He can now boast of a good personal rapport with at least four of his counterparts - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki and Russian FM Sergey Lavrov. And the number seems to be growing.

His equations with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are at a particularly special level. Krishna swept her off her feet by sending her flowers when she broke her elbow in June - he was first among the world leaders to do so.

Touched by the gesture, Hillary sought to locate a John F Kennedy autobiography signed by his wife Jackie. When she couldn’t find that, she brought with her on her Delhi visit in July, a book by his brother Robert Kennedy. As a student in the US, Krishna had campaigned for JFK in the ‘60s.

Commenting on Hillary’s efforts, Krishna told Mumbai Mirror, “I was so touched by Secretary Clinton’s gesture. I have read the book so many times over... It is Profiles in Courage on eight senators - the book by Robert Kennedy, who worked as US Attorney-General with JFK. I have met Bob. The book is signed by him.”

Recalling how Hillary had spoken to him in May as soon as he had taken over as Foreign Minister to congratulate him, Krishna said “We had a long chat; I spoke to her about my political affiliations when I was a student in that country even though it does not matter - how I was part of Young Democrats of George Washington University, which was supporting John F Kennedy for presidency. She came to realise that she was dealing with a Foreign Minister who was quite familiar with American politics and the US Congress.”

That conversation helped in striking an instantaneous rapport. “When I learnt that she had sprained her arm - that too in an India-connected meeting in June - I thought I owed it to myself to wish her a speedy recovery and suggested that some flowers should be sent to her. I expect someone else will do the same when I break my arm, god forbid,” the 77-year-old minister said with a laugh.

S M Krishna bonds with Russian FM Sergey Lavrov

The Foreign Minister had equally charmed Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. When he learnt that Mottaki had been a student in Bangalore and was quite fond of South Indian food like masala dosa and dahi wada, Krishna decided to work his diplomacy around the cuisine during the bilateral meeting in Delhi in November.

Masala dosa helped establish a bond between Mottaki and Krishna that even weathered India’s vote against Teheran’s nuclear programme at the IAEA 10 days after the visit. The Iranian leader greeted Krishna warmly at New York when he ran into him.

From a regional satrap who always had his heart in Bangalore, Krishna has come a long way

The cover of the book Profiles in Courage that Hillary Clinton (right) gifted Krishna

How did Krishna manage to develop rapport with his counterparts so quickly, so soon - did he pick up some tips, read up on them? “I think to be a successful diplomat, it is necessary to know the person with you are dealing or about to deal with - a little homework will certainly add and benefit the country.

Sometimes we take a particular guess, sometimes we gamble that our guest would like a particular dish. I am indeed fortunate that I have been able to establish a personal rapport with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and with the Chinese Foreign Minister. I have met most of the foreign ministers during Afghan president Karzai's second inaugural. It helped substantially,” Krishna said.

To be a successful diplomat, it is necessary to know the person you are dealing with or about to deal with

Krishna has also been able to get his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi talking. Yang was apparently so impressed with the flower decoration at Bangalore foreign ministers’ summit venue in October that he insisted on flying back with some jasmine arrangements back home.

“At the Bangalore trilateral meeting of Foreign Ministers, the Russian foreign minister was in a hurry to leave. We used the opportunity to have a one-on-one bi-lateral meeting with my Chinese counterpart. And I think that provided a very good backdrop for our relations,” said Krishna.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi gets a taste of India

Is he on frequent phone call terms with the Chinese FM now? The Foreign Minister said “Well that is one thing I mentioned to him when I ran into him at Phuket where I went for a conference. I pulled him aside and told him that we should establish a rapport where a Chinese Foreign Minister is able to lift the phone and call up the Foreign Minister of India and vice-versa. That is the rapport we need to have between two friendly countries like China and India. Well I am glad it is turning out to be true.”

Does it bother Krishna that while he is working hard to strike personal rapport with Foreign Ministers round the globe, actual foreign policy formulations originate in the Prime Minister's Office? Over a dozen retired diplomats and the National Security Advisor (NSA) in PMO are the ones who are actually fine-tuning policy parameters which he is merely implementing. In fact, his predecessor Pranab Mukherjee was moved out of South Block because he did not get along with the foreign policy mandarins in the PMO.

Krishna did not seem to mind any mentoring from the PM or the PMO. “The foreign policy is woven out of discussions with the Prime Minister. The PM gives the broad guidelines and fixes the parameters and we operate within those parameters. I have to confess that the PMO is extremely cooperative with me. The PM himself guides me,” he said.

SMK charms Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki

The only flip-side to his new assignment is the hectic global travelling schedule that he has to keep and back-to-back meetings with numerous dignitaries. “Initially, when I was chosen for the job I was very skeptical about how I would keep pace the global travelling and worried about the jet lag. For instance, the Dubai to Brazil trip took 17 hrs and the first appointment was at 9.30 am. Soon I realised that the system gets adapted,” the septuagenarian leader said. The secret of his fitness mantra, the minister says, is a passion for tennis. “I get to the tennis court at 3 pm whenever I am in Bangalore on a Sunday and play the game for three hours.”

As a former student of international law and international relations, Krishna says it has been easy for him for him to hone his skills in diplomacy. “I have been training on the job and I am happy the Opposition is reassessing me,” he said. At the same time, his South Block office is streaming with visitors from Karnataka - it is not just the swish set of diplomatic variety who come calling but ordinary people from his home state who can be spotted crowding the visitors' register. Is the ex-Maharashtra governor (2004-2009) thinking of returning to popular areas of governance at some point soon?

Krishna points out, “I am a political animal. I am at the grassroots politician. You will naturally see all kinds of people visiting my office. I have been CM of Karnataka for 4 yrs and 6 months (1999 to 2004) without a single person complaining to the Congress high command. That is a certificate in itself. Look what is happening now within a year of a new government coming to power: it has become weak. It is only the Congress that has the strength to come into power on its own.” That is vintage SMK for you.

Initially I was very skeptical about how I would keep pace with the global travelling. Soon I realised that the system gets adapted

The Foreign Affairs of SM Krishna, Lifestyle - Sunday Read - Mumbai Mirror,Mumbai Mirror


Senior Member
Aug 13, 2009
a little older interview with S M Krishna.

India's Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna smiles before a meeting with his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta in New Delhi, July 27, 2009. (B Mathur/Reuters)

Interview: India's Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna

What does a rising power think about China, Obama, the Taliban, Pakistan, Afghanistan and more?

By Saritha Rai - GlobalPost
Published: October 29, 2009 07:16 ET

BANGALORE, India — A rising economic power. Nuclear-armed. Culturally ascendant. Diverse. Overpopulated. Poor and rich.

India is all of these things and more. So when it comes to foreign policy, and India's role in a dangerous and fast-changing world, who speaks for this country of 1.2 billion people?

Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, or S.M. Krishna, India’s external affairs minister. Krishna, 77, is a career politician, and a Fulbright scholar who was educated in the United States.

In this exclusive and wide-ranging interview with GlobalPost, Krishna delves into India's recent tensions with China, its troubled relationship with Pakistan, as well as its positions on Afghanistan, Iran, climate change, last year's nuclear deal with the United States, and what he really thinks of President Barack Obama.

GLOBALPOST: Tensions are increasing between India and China over a contentious border issues, river water sharing and the Dalai Lama’s visit to north-eastern India bordering Tibet. How do you assess the current relationship?

S.M. KRISHNA: The Chinese foreign minister Yang Jia Chi was in Bangalore Tuesday for a bilateral meeting. We are both quite satisfied with the extent of goodwill between us. We are working toward further cordiality between the two countries. The Chinese minister lingered at the dinner in his honor and such gestures indicate the level of relationship between our two countries.

How do you view the larger India-China rivalry?

That is the wishful thinking by some interested parties. India and China are going to be the powers that will shape the 21st century. China knows it. India is conscious of it. Together, we can make a distinctive contribution toward global development and shaping of global disputes.

India-U.S. ties improved during the Clinton presidency and had their heyday during the Bush administration. Where are India and the United States headed under President Obama?

Knowing President Obama’s love for India, knowing his admiration for Mahatma Gandhi, in one of his speeches he talks of Mahatma Gandhi inspiring him, giving him strength to fight the presidential election against such heavy odds, and coming out in flying colors — naturally India believes there is no reason for us to feel insecure about our relationship with the United States.

What do you think of the U.S. presence and policies in Pakistan and how does that affect the region?

About the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, it is left to those two countries to regulate it and establish a policy frame. But being a friend of India and Pakistan, the United States must always be conscious that the things they do in Pakistan should not hurt India’s interest. It should not create a big stumbling block for cordial relations between India and the United States.

Washington has announced a U.S. aid package of $7.5 billion over five years. Good idea?

We have no quarrel with the aid or even the quantum of aid that the United States provides Pakistan. But the United States should monitor the aid so that it is utilized only for the purpose for which it has been sanctioned by the U.S. Congress and the U.S. president. The Kerry-Luger Bill partially, though not substantially, takes care of this.

Has the U.S. been trying to persuade India to restart talks with Pakistan?

India is an independent country, we take our own decisions. We evaluate what is good for India. We are guided by ourselves and not by others.

How does India feel about some of the violent Kashmiri militant groups aligning with the Pakistani Taliban? What does such an axis mean?

I think Taliban and other forces that are inimical to India have always worked together and in tandem. They will continue to work together. We are conscious of it and we are getting prepared to deal with it.

President Obama is struggling to make crucial decisions on Afghanistan, while support for the Afghan war fades in the West. Do you think the U.S. can unilaterally pull out of Afghanistan?

It is a value decision that Afghanistan should take and the United States should take. We are there just to help our Afghan brothers rebuild their country and we are doing whatever we can to aid that.

Your joint statement Tuesday with the foreign ministers of China and Russia stated that the world must remain committed to assisting Afghanistan. Some are interpreting the statement as asking the U.S. not to exit Afghanistan.

I think Afghanistan needs help. It is a country right now in turmoil, it is moving from one crisis to another. But in the meanwhile, the brave Afghan people have faced an election and that shows their resilience.

The India-U.S. civil nuclear deal was part of a broader strategic dialogue between the United States and New Delhi. Do you think India wants to be part of any new non-proliferation regime that can be worked out?

We will not sign anything so long as it is discriminatory; we have spelled out our position. India has made known its objections to the present NPT, we would want it to be drastically revised.

What is India’s stand on imposing sanctions against Iran?

Sanctions may not have the desired result. In the past, we have seen sanctions being clamped on many other countries.

Just weeks before the Copenhagen conference on climate change, the United Nations signaled it was scaling back expectations of reaching agreement on a new treaty to slow global warming. What is India's position?

India and China have taken an identical position. We represent the developing countries’ point of view. We would like developed nations to make sacrifices in terms of providing us technology and resources so that we can start mitigating risk in our own countries. Even though we are not responsible for this, we would like to become part of the solution, not the problem.

What do you think of the current regime in Pakistan and its capability to handle the crisis?

I would not like to pass judgment as Pakistan is capable of handling its own problems. All that we want is a stable Pakistan, a strong Pakistan as our neighbor.

Little has come from India’s repeated attempts to collect evidence dossiers and bring to justice those Pakistanis involved in last November’s terrorist attack in Mumbai. Is that frustrating?

A mature country like India will have to pull out a lot of patience when dealing with a neighbor like Pakistan. We will continue impressing upon Pakistan that in their own interest, it is necessary to curb and dismantle the terror infrastructure built over a period of time. As the saying goes, we reap what we sow. Pakistan is reaping what they have sown. Now is a good time for them to take some decisive action and eliminate terrorist infrastructure.

Interview: India's Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna


Senior Member
Jan 17, 2010
I love this story, though a bit too lengthy frankly.


Senior Member
Feb 10, 2013
Bramha Chellany: An insecurity trap of India's making
We can no longer evade the question why countries inimical to our national interest treat us with impunity .

Have you thought of why India faces unending cross-border acts of aggression while persisting with a process of dialogue and peace building? Is it merely because India has scofflaw neighbours? Or, can at least part of the blame be pinned on India's pursuit of a foreign policy driven by neither pragmatism nor statecraft?
Take the challenge from Pakistan, a country 1/13th India's size economically: After suffering each attack since the late 1990s, India has had the same debate, largely centred on the merit of staying put in the process of talks with Islamabad. Few ask the real questions: How many more attacks is India willing to bear? Is there no limit to India's patience? What has outraged the country over the two recent back-to-back Pakistani acts of aggression—the suicide raid on the Indian consulate in Jalalabad and the ambush-killing of five soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC)—is more the government's meek response and prevarications than the attacks themselves.

A key plank of Pakistan's jihad strategy is deniability. Carry out an attack, deny involvement, keep India engaged in talks to serve as a continuing cover, and execute the next attack. This strategy can fool no one. But India's political class is so corrupt and compromised that it has little time to look beyond self-interest.
Indian leaders are very protective of their own interests.
Indeed they have an over-inflated view of themselves. Their hard-headedness in serving personal interests contrasts with their faint-heartedness in shielding national interests. If they had spent just a quarter of their time on their primary duty—protection of national interest—the country wouldn't be in the mess it is today, with the economy sinking, national security under siege, and pessimism reigning.

The foundation of India's weak-kneed foreign policy was actually laid between 1999 and 2004 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who executed more policy U-turns than probably any other prime minister since independence. Vajpayee's roller coaster policy on Pakistan exacted a major toll on institutionalized policymaking, exposing India's inadequacy to set and unwaveringly pursue clear goals.

Under Vajpayee—who also surrendered India's Tibet card in a 2003 Beijing visit—personal rather than professional characteristics defined foreign policy. His shifting Pakistan stance traversed through Lahore, Kargil, Kandahar, Agra, and Parliament, before culminating in Islamabad on his second trip to Pakistan as prime minister. It was Vajpayee's 2001 Agra invitation that helped Pervez Musharraf to come out of the international doghouse for staging a coup.

In an operation with no parallel in modern history, the Indian military was kept in war-ready position for 10 months, ostensibly to force Pakistan to dismantle its terrorist infrastructure. Yet, without accomplishing any objective, Vajpayee called off the costly, self-debilitating operation, which the then Navy chief later labelled the "most punishing mistake". Worse still, Vajpayee during his 2004 Islamabad visit hailed as a big gain Pakistan's commitment on paper to not let its territory to be used for cross-border terrorism—the very assurance Musharraf had given before Operation Parakram began.

Vajpayee's swinging policy pendulum emboldened his successor, Manmohan Singh—a foreign policy greenhorn—to pursue a blinkered approach that blended naiveté with appeasement, thereby inviting greater acts of aggression against India. Mistaking tactics for strategy, he has treated the process of engagement with Pakistan (and China) as an end in itself, losing sight of the purpose—putting an end to acts of aggression.

Singh's fixation on quasi-failed Pakistan has paralleled Vajpayee's quest to make peace with that implacable enemy. The Vajpayee and Singh eras will also be remembered for the corruption in public life, with scandals at times sought to be deflected through peace-building with Pakistan. A famous son-in-law in each of the two eras came to symbolize unbridled corruption.

Is it any surprise that personal and not professional characteristics have shaped foreign policy for almost 15 years now? This trend marks goodbye to institutionalized policymaking.

Singh, of course, has taken appeasement to unmatched levels. In 2006 at Havana, he equated the exporter of terrorism with the victim of its terrorism, setting up the infamous and now-defunct joint anti-terror mechanism. Three years later at Sharm el-Sheikh, Singh included Baluchistan in the agenda—grist for the Pakistani propaganda mill that India was fomenting the insurrection there. This blunder also allowed Pakistan to externalize the Baluch problem by turning its terrorism target, India, into the principal accused.

Even the savagery last January, when Pakistani troops chopped two Indian soldiers and took away one severed head as a trophy, failed to stop Singh from returning to business as usual with Pakistan, in spite of his own promise to the nation that it won't be business as usual. The result is that Singh's constant engagement of Pakistan has yielded uninterrupted Pakistani acts of military brutality and terror. In fact, the worst acts of cross-border aggression have occurred during Singh's stint as Prime Minister.

Instead of dictating terms to Pakistan, India allows it to retain initiative. Each time India is caught by surprise, it does little more than react passively. Whereas Pakistan's India policy has remained consistent for long, India's ad hoc Pakistan policy continues to inflict self-injury.

Make no mistake: India has fashioned its own insecurity trap. To break out of it, it must pursue a clearheaded, goal-oriented foreign policy focused on an assertive promotion of national interests. That process can begin only if India stops looking at inter-country relations through rose-coloured glasses and establishes professional policymaking.

As usual a hard hitting article by bramha. ABV, what was he drinking when he makes speeches like "within boundaries of humanity, we will do everything in JnK". This is being thrown by separatists everytime now if they are questioned. Also mentioned in article , outrightly surrendered india's option on tibet. Even pakis in dire straits didn't give up on JnK.

Now the big Q is, Can the bjp/congress get out of their vajpayee/nehru syndrome and practice a pragmatic pro-india policy???? @Singh @TrueSpirit @Tolaha @parijataka
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Senior Member
Feb 10, 2013
Look here, One more tight slap on us

Iran seizes Indian ship carrying oil from Iraq
In a development with serious international ramifications, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has detained an Indian ship carrying oil in the Persian Gulf. Sources said the ship, named MT Desh Shanti, was on its way to India from Iraq when it was detained by the IRGC. The ship is owned by the Shipping Corporation of India. The development has stunned authorities here as it was transporting oil from Iraq, a country which has overtaken Iran as the second largest supplier of crude to India after Saudi Arabia.


Tihar Jail
Nov 17, 2012
This thread is to discuss the foreign policy of different nations and its impact on India and its interests. Foreign Policy of Russia, US, Japan, China, ASEAN , African Nations or any other country and its direct or indirect impact on India and its interests in Sub-Continent or someother place.

im also trying by myself in the thread as below. you all are welcomed to contribute something in this thread too. i have provided enough information the thread as below and welcome contribution of other members too in this thread :india:

the efforts are here to find out the reliable friend of India on the world platform :thumb:

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