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Drawing A Balance!

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has said that although the era of Non-Aligned Policies is over, the ideology of diplomatic independence that has been embedded in it is still quite relevant to the South Asian country! The comment is significant, as the era of Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) had come to an end long ago! In fact, the idea of an Alliance was closely related to the Cold War. So, with the end of the so-called Socialism in erstwhile Soviet Union and its satellite nations, the idea of Alliance came to an end. After the 1990’s, the word gradually disappeared. The Indian minister recently brought back the memory, reminding the Global Community that the policy was a diplomatic stand mainly to maintain a neutral position in the World influenced by the two superpowers (the US and the USSR). The debate over the level of neutrality and its credibility has always been there, especially after a special military agreement between India and the Soviet Union in the early 1970’s. Fidel Castro’s presence on the NAM stage was also a great mockery of sorts, considering the declared ideology of Neutrality. However, the importance of a Declaration is immense in Diplomacy. It is also noticeable that the current External Affairs Minister of India has acknowledged the value of previous Indian Government’s decision not to join any Bloc!

Dr S Jaishankar

Apparently, it is easier for India to maintain an Independent Position in foreign policy than in the past. Now, there is no Alliance… the post-Cold War Uni-polar World has virtually become past… the US is still the strongest State, but its monopoly has been weakened. Moreover, the urge to maintain the Uni-polarity is not the same as before. In today’s world, the main questions are: what will the Balance of Power be in world politics… what will the position of China be… and, what will be Russia’s equation with China? Perhaps, this lack of Balance of Power is beneficial for India. It seems that there is more opportunity to play diplomatic cards in a Multi-Polar world. The Indian minister has made such an indication. According to Dr Jaishankar, it is now possible for moderate powers – such as India, Japan or the European Union (EU) – to establish their importance in Global Geopolitics. US President Donald Trump recently added a new dimension to this possibility! He has invited four countries – India, South Korea, Australia and Russia – to join the forthcoming G-7 Summit. Brazil, too, is likely to get a call. It is basically an attempt to convert the G-7 to G-11 or G-12. President Trump has made the point clear, bluntly. Of course, it’s a diplomatic achievement for India to attend the meeting of the powerful nations!

Meanwhile, the invitation has created trouble for India, as the US has made the move in an attempt to corner China. Now, it becomes a difficult and complex issue for the Indian Government, which will have to decide whether to join the Bloc and put the Asian Giant under diplomatic pressure. India needs to be very careful in determining its role in the new system of Global Diplomacy as a whole, and not just in the case of G-11. In the language of the old world order, it can be said that China wants to establish itself as one of the many poles. The question arises here: whether the old concept of pole will be relevant enough in today’s world? The current world system has become increasingly unstable and self-contradictory mainly because of globalisation of trade, investment and the production system on the one hand, and the resurrection of various models of narrow Nationalism on the other. Those, who want the US to lead this disoriented world to a better future, have failed to realise the fact that it is no more possible. In today’s world, the Diplomatic Independence is embedded in each and every nation’s own interests. China is, of course, India’s rival in Asia. However, it would be a mistake for India to consider the US’ interests as its own only to corner China. To remain vigilant is the basic diplomatic necessity in the contemporary world order…

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