Guest Post Narayanadas Upadhyayula Does the Indian government have a strategy to counter the latest Chinese incursion deep into Indian territory on April 15? If it does, it is shrouded in mystery and obfuscation. The first reports indicated that the Chinese penetrated ten kilometres inside from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and pitched tents. [...]
Infrastructure, military capabilities and cost of war may preclude military adventurism at the moment but when push comes to shove India can and must look China in the eye diplomatically and militarily. Since the aim of the WZC is a political victory for China, India must signal strong resolve to ensure it retains its moral ascendancy. To begin with, the foreign minister must not go to China.
What is more frightening is the level of radicalisation of Pakistani society, where jail authorities conspire with other convicts to kill an inmate on death row. This represents a dangerous trend in Pakistan’s society of delivering instant justice.
India still has a range of options to make China see reason without losing face. It hardly matters that India loses face, the country having been been inured to it, used to it and reconciled to it by now. If these options are not exercised early enough – timing always being of the essence – India’s humiliation would have been compounded and its military position further degraded. What is worse the status quo might conceivably turn out to be freezing of positions as obtaining on the date of the agreement; meaning thereby the new LAC on the DBO sector would be 19 kms within Indian territory.
The 2012-2013 annual report of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) begins with the statement that “India’s foreign policy (is) rooted in national ethos”. This seemingly innocuous sentence is indicative of all that is wrong with policy formulation at the MEA. It is not ambiguous and pompous concepts such as a national ‘ethos’ that should guide foreign policy (what does it even mean?) but something much more real and tangible – national interest. If the Union Government gets pushed around on matters of foreign policy, there is a two-fold reason for it; coalition politics and vague goals.
India today is struggling on many counts – political, economic and military. It’s ability to establish strong credibility is gravely eroded by its lack or weakening of institutions. Institutions for public policy formulation and execution that need to cut across domains/parties/personalities and weather the storms of fickle coalition dharma. Sacrificing national interests to “serve the nation” needs to structurally change in favour of strong democratic institutions, held together by a coherent strategic vision, to ensure its national interests are protected and promoted.
By Zafar Choudhary Going by Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh’s arguably valid parameter of judgement, the current level of relations between India and Pakistan is though tense but back to normal. Jaipur Literature Festival, Justice Verma’s report and whether Modi should be BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate replacing ‘aggressive patriotism’ in the news channel studio spaces [...]
If India wants Pakistan to behave responsibly, despite the nuclear sabre rattling, it will have to call Pakistan’s bluff by generating and maintaining enough political will – enough to raise the cost of Hybrid War (low on rhetoric and high on delivery). In the military domain, it has to excel in the art and science of conducting hybrid war successfully – tactically and strategically.
One way of doing that is declaring war against Pakistan. If this is difficult, the Indian government has to go for an easier, albeit less effective, way: break all ties with Islamabad. We must sever all diplomatic relations with our western neighbor, stop all trade and commerce with it, and end all movement of citizens from India to Pakistan and vice-versa (except the persecuted Hindus in Pakistan). To begin with, we must stop playing cricket with them and cease cultural interactions.
Ravi Shanker Kapoor The takeover of the Male airport by the Maldives government is much more than a blow to GMR and a setback to India’s economic diplomacy. The development is part of the much bigger Islamist shenanigans that threaten not only India’s economic interests but also have the potential to become another menace to [...]