Archive for March, 2013

Triumph Over Rome

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

India has successfully persuaded the Italian government to hand over two Italian marines accused of murdering two Indian citizens. This diplomatic victory shows that at the very least large European nations like Italy are taking notice of the rise of India as a power not to be ignored on the world stage. Indian pressure on the Italian government was actually the major factor in this case, proving that Indian diplomacy has become a force to be reckoned with in the world. However this pressure including several questionable moves, such as the detaining of the Italian ambassador to India in India which may or may not be illegal. Italy is a second rate European power which looked down on India. The Indian use of what could be construed as hostage taking in order to force Italy to submit to Indian demands may have unintended consequences. India may come to be seen as an untrustworthy state by foreign powers, even if India was in the right in this case. On the other hand the use of forceful tactics to push Indian interests may show foreign powers that taking India lightly is not wise. While it is a triumph it seems clear that faced with a stronger European power India may have not been able to force such a state to buckle to Indian pressure given the extralegal nature of that pressure. It is hoped that this victory will serve to enhance the globe’s view of Indian diplomacy and enable India to pressure nations without resorting to extralegal means.

~Sean Rushlow

A Change in India’s Foreign Policy

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

The democratization of India’s foreign policy has evolved over the last 20 years to a point now that would make it hard for them to go back to the principles of non-alignment. India made it clear for many decades that it did not want to side with many nations during the Cold War, and wanted to focus more on its domestic issues.  This mindset was brought forward by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.  Throughout the years, foreign policy was seen as something that was for the wealthy and powerful and not important enough for the everyday people.  After the Soviet Union broke apart, India soon had to change and develop a way to reach out and work with other powerful nations like the United States and Israel in order to help build India’s economy and strengthen their military.  The fact is now that India’s government has become more decentralized, and is now relying on the voice of the people in making decisions and not just allowing the Prime Minister to rule with his opinion. Case in point was India’s vote against Sri Lanka in a UN resolution that would have to make Sri Lanka do an investigation on many human rights issues and war crimes.

Despite which political party is in control now one thing is for certain, the growing influence and rise of the middle class with an appreciation for world issues is now an important topic that will help shape the new policies ahead.  The Diplomat’s article does make a good case in the end when it says that the poor will still not have their voices heard and that their biggest hurdle is poverty, hunger and underdevelopment but I do believe it is a positive step in the right direction in allowing the citizens to debate and make their points heard especially when it affects their lives.

India and Climate Change

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

As one of the lead contributors to global climate change, and one of the highest emitters of carbon dioxide India has agreed to a take on legally binding obligations after 2020″. As talk of climate change becomes more common and imperative India is now looking towards developed countries to also honor their commitments under specific climate change agreements and to significantly lower their carbon dioxide emissions. In analyzing the need for India to develop and maintain effective climate change policy it is imperative to understand the adverse effects India may face in regards to global climate change.

The concern for India is that “it is being confronted with the challenge of sustaining rapid economic growth midst the increasing global threat of climate change“. For India the threat lies in the fact that most of their population is agriculturally reliant, and climatic conditions could potentially impose adverse effects on their natural resources used for agricultural production. In fact, “more than 56% of the Indian population are engaged in agriculture and allied sectors, while many others earn their living in coastal areas through tourism or fishing; indeed most of the poorest people live in rural areas and are almost completely reliant on natural resources for their food and shelter”. It is clear that the Indian population would be greatly affected in terms of income and acquisition of vital life resources if climate change were to continue down its predicted path.

India’s chief negotiator, Meera Mehrishi, “spoke on the contentious issues playing out in the halls of the mammoth Qatar National Convention Center” where delegates from 194 countries gathered to talk about the necessities of developing effective climate change policies. The discussion sought to demonstrate the need for the western world to ignite major discussions on climate change policy. The convention highlighted the fact that the occurrence of Hurricane Sandy in the U.S. was hoped to act as a catalyst in global climate change policy but unfortunately the catastrophic event failed to ignite much change in climate change policies in the west and on a global scale. India’s chief negotiator, Meera Mehrishi mentioned, “after Hurricane Sandy, I thought the point of view of the Western world would change a little bit, but I don’t see that happening”. 

-Kelsey Arthur

India’s water dilemma

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

India, the second most populated country in the world is in the middle of a domestic crisis. The most vital staple to all human life, water, is becoming increasingly difficult to find. According to Rajendra Singh, India needs to improve its “water conservation, management and disciplined use with commitment”. The rest of the world often overlooks this problem, as they are more concerned with international politics, security dilemmas and nuclear weapons. Agriculture in India accounts for over 15% of their GDP and employs over 50% of the Indian population. Water is often overused in farms with poor knowledge of water conservation and other conservative techniques. India’s government must direct domestic policy to ensure that their population is adequately hydrated and not malnourished. If the absence of sanitary water continues, crops and half of the nations livelihood could be affected. It is vital that this issue be solved immediately, and that India’s politicians can come up with an effective and long-lasting policy that will ensure clean water can be easily accessible by all of the population. India should look to Europe and the US for advances in physical capital. According to M. S. Swaminathan equipment is available that can “increase yield and income per drop of water through generating synergy among water.” If India invests in this technology, they will surely see a return on their purchase.




A Rising Problem for India: The UN Sri Lankan Resolution

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Among many foreign policy problems faced by the Indian government, Sri Lanka is slowly coming to the forefront. The UN is gearing up to take a vote on whether or not to hold the government of Sri Lanka accountable for war crimes against the Tamil population committed during its war against the LTTE. The resolution proposed and led by the United States on this issue puts India in an awkward spot. The first aspect of the issue is that India does not want to see violence continue against the Tamils, and it does feel the need to punish the Rajapakse government for what some top level Indian officials have openly declared acts of “genocide.”

However, there are provisions in the resolution against Sri Lanka that recognize the right to protect and responsibility to protect, which are provisions of international law that India has vehemently opposed in the past. India even opposed intervention into Libya in 2011 on the grounds that the right to protect was invalid. What does India fear about this doctrine? The potential for future applications. Some in the Indian government are worried that showing support for the right to protect, a provision of international law that India has not supported in the past, may open the door for applications to intervene in Kashmir, something that OIC members have shown willingness to endorse.

India will most likely end up supporting the provision to avoid estranging itself from the US, especially after the US toned down the language of the resolution to get Indian support. However, if India votes for the resolution, it may potentially shoot itself in the foot when it comes to Pakistan, and it may also cause major fracturing of its internal political stability, as the DMK may stake PM Singh’s already shaky coalition on support for use of the word genocide.

Patrick McCleary