Paper No. 5388 Dated 11-Feb-2013By Dr Subhash Kapila
India’s foreign policy successes cannot be measured by the number of foreign dignitaries visiting India annually, from Presidents to Prime Ministers, or hosting international conferences in New Delhi. This would be a delusionary deduction to draw as such beelines were visible also in the hey-day of the equally delusionary days of the Non Alignment era. What was the end result?
China’s military aggression in 1962 militarily humiliating India not because the Indian Armed Forces were professionally incompetent but because the Indian policy establishment went grievously wrong in assessing the China threat, keeping the country in the dark about it and being oblivious to India’s war-preparedness. Down the line Pakistan too resorted to military aggression twice in 1965 in the Rann of Kutch and Jammu and Kashmir. Foreign policy failures in both cases were obvious.
India’s foreign policy today can be analysed as effective and successful only when measured against three critical determinants of whether the Indian foreign policy establishment has accurately assessed India’s security environment, accurately assessed and articulated precisely the threats to Indian security, and crafted India’s responses in terms of policy formulations to deal with the threats existent. Regrettably, in the year 2012 that just faded into history, the Indian foreign policy establishment failed to measure upto any of the determinants stated above.
In the last eight years India has lost political influence over its South Asian peripheral neighbours and India seems adrift in not applying course corrections to regain that influence and control despite the much leverage available at India’s command today. Presumably in 2012 this may have arisen from external readings of India’s uninspiring internal dynamics in terms of political corruption and the governing dispensation not attempting obtaining of bipartisan support for its foreign policy initiatives.
China and Pakistan continue to be India’s main military threats to its security and in the year 2012 while their rhetorical barrage of peaceful intentions towards India may have been noticeably vocal, their demonstrated policies and actions should have convinced India’s foreign policy planners that no peaceful intentions exist as part of China’s and Pakistan’s armoury of conduct of relations with India.