International Relations: India’s stand on war, what strategy does India have?

India

India is a complex country in relation to all the Nations in the world. India’s Foreign Policy is thus very unique in that most developed countries are still in awe of the fact that India is a powerful nation globally. From the standard viewpoint of international affairs, India has been viewed as a center for major political power in recent affairs. India has the 5th largest (and considering the Purchasing power parity or PPP India is the 3rd largest) economy in the world as of its 75th independence in 2022, it has a population of 1.4 billion people as of November 2022 and is a best most promising Nation for investment and market place. India is also seen as a Major power balancer in the Asia-Pacific Region and is often portrayed as a Major Ally of the West in some Matters. India Along with the G4 nation India has been a pushover to the UN security council in having major changes for representing the developing Nation at the International Level.[1]

Evolution of Indian Foreign Policy

The Origin of India’s Foreign Policy has its basis even before its Independence, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru believed that India’s Foreign Policy is rooted in Indian traditions and ancient civilization and that become very profound later, this was then accepted by the general public during the struggle for Freedom. It is set to believe that the Noble concept of “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam” which roughly translates to “The World is one Family” which was a norm during the reign of King Ashoka when he had sent messengers far and wide to spread the word of Buddhism and Jainism, he propagated to not resort to any Armed invasion or conflict. Even Post Independence the foreign policy adopted by the then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru was more linen and had a concept of non-aggressive and peaceful- coexistence ideology. Though this ideology was perfectly rational for an underdeveloped country, right after its Independence the need of the era forced the polity to be changed drastically later, specifically after the India-China war of 1962. Though India had Strong cultural values in relation to Foreign Policy in the earlier stage of the first 3 decades after its Independence, the recent development is that of a roundoff method that is effective in Administration. Modern Indian foreign policy is very refined and had become more acceptable to the modern commercialized world. The paradigm of foreign policy is that all nations pursue their own interest, and a collision of such interests is a common phenomenon in a larger context. But this situation of clash and concur can be resolved through strong Agreements and policies.

India’s Foreign Policy

Indian Foreign Policy can be categorized mainly as mentioned; –

  • The Nuclear policy (NP) and weapon systems.
  • Humanitarian intervention and the Responsibility to Protect (HI):
  • India’s Economic diplomacy including Middle East relations, Bilateral Relationships, and Border geographical Areas (including South Asian Regions and Indian Ocean Regions).

India’s Nuclear policy is a posture of ‘No first use’ and the country maintains only a retaliation policy, though India had a Nuclear program from 1944. The first nuclear test was undertaken by India in 1974. In January 2022, however, the Ministry of External Affairs reiterated that India’s doctrine of maintaining a credible minimum deterrence based on a No First Use posture and non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states might change depending on the circumstances. The country has not yet released any official statement on the size of its nuclear arsenal as it is a matter of National Security.[2] India has had a substantial weapon inventory due to the tension between its adjacent countries and due to some experience in the matter of support from the western country in the past decades. India decides to improvise and took matters into its own hand and found a very innovative measure to guard the highest peaks and the terrain within. The aftermath of this event caused India to build a global positioning satellite (IRNSS).

India also helped all the countries in need in their peak conflict times like the Chinese invasion of Tibet and the repression thereafter. By 1964 India established the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC), through this program India decided to extend its support to even poorer countries in Africa and Asia arguing that it was necessary to establish a mutual concern and interdependency[3]. This was a milestone in India’s policy to extend a helping hand to its neighbouring countries. Even during the peak of the Covid pandemic (2019 to 2022), India has given active support and medical aid to countries in need whenever possible with the help of its booming pharmaceutical sector. In terms of Economic Diplomacy, India has been maintaining several bilateral relationships and is part of several regional international organizations with a number of countries throughout several Governance. Notable agreements among them include India-US relations, India-UK relations, India-SA relations, India-Israel relations, India-China relations, India-Japan relations, India-South Korea relations, India-Russia relations, India-France relations, India-Maldives relations, India-Tibet relations, India-Sri Lanka relations,[4] India-Pakistan relations, India to ASEAN,[5]  SAARC, SAFTA, BBIN, and CEPA.

India’s stand on War:

India as a Nation has never started or invaded any country in the name of war from its inception as an Independent Nation. Due to the topography of India, India has been able to maintain its relationship with a large number of countries, and its core political values are appreciated by most counties in the world. India has a retaliating policy on nuclear war. Speaking at the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in 2022 said; in the wake of the Ukraine-Russia war, “we are often asked whose side we are on. And our answer, each time, is straight and honest. India is on the side of peace and will remain firmly there.”[6] India as a Nation has never embraced War. He further stated that, “We are on the side that respects the UN Charter and its founding principles,”.

India’s retaliation

India has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995 and a member of GATT since 8 July 1948.[7] India is a veritable lighthouse of knowledge and ideas, which can and will make a difference in the world. India’s current trend in dealing with War is that the country’s population by itself boycotts the products and services in physical and cyber sense which has created a great loss in the alien country’s economic or private sectors. This can be inferred from the complex tension between India-Pakistan in LoC and the reforms taken where the matters become a red flag. After the unofficial Kargil War of 1999 India and Pakistan have never been active in the war, though there exists some border tension and cease-fire, India’s and Pakistan’s relation is and always seems to be an on-going and off-going diplomatic and trade related relation.  In 2020, during the ongoing tension in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh between India and China, the Indians took a stance to boycott Chinese-origin products including apps like TikTok games like PUBG and several others even had burning Chinese Goods. This created a ripple effect in both the country’s foreign investment and the Chinese even faced a sudden plummet in Alibaba’s stock market closing rate. India had not given any statement to boycott Chinese products but had asked to desist the companies from issuing new contracts to Chinese companies during the time of the tension. India and China had been deescalating the tension that had been formed between the countries from 1962 and has been maintaining a trade and beneficial relationship. The Indian government had but banned about 59 Chinese mobile apps during this time which made it about 220 apps to be banned in 2020. India and China’s relations have been seen as a relationship of conflict and cooperation. [8]

Conclusion

India’s decision on handling War is through a strategic approach. Prime minister Narendra Modi during a talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the SCO summit, stated that this is not an era of War but rather an era where democracy and diplomacy are leading. India is at its core a peacekeeping country. In the recent Russia and Ukraine wars, the use of drone technology has caused more destruction than just a weapon of mass destruction with a considerable payload could. India believes the consequence of war is so drastic that the nation is to adhere to a situation where the object of its consciousness is to promote and improve the living hood in its entirety and not to cause self-deterrent means and self-destruction in its economic growth. All international nations in the world are contributing and have good enough resources contributing to their defence system, this in turn means that in case of war all the countries are prepared and have enough means to create a new world war and destruct the earth or cause irreparable damages. India’s strategy in war is to play on its formidable strength and weakness. India is a veritable lighthouse of knowledge and innovation that can make a difference.

Author(s) Name: Lenita Thomas Kutty (Presidency University, Bangalore)

References:

[1] <https://archive.globalpolicy.org/images/pdfs/uk-french_position_on_unsc_reform.pdf> accessed on November 28, 2022.

[2] < https://archive.pib.gov.in/archive/releases98/lyr2003/rjan2003/04012003/r040120033.html > accessed on November 13, 2022.

[3] < https://www.india.gov.in/topics/foreign-affairs/india-world >accessed on November 14, 2022.

[4]< https://www.mea.gov.in/Portal/ForeignRelation/Sri_Lanka_January_2014.pdf >accessed on November 14, 2022.

[5]< http://www.eximguru.com/exim/trade-agreement/india-asean-agreements/india.pdf >accessed on November 14, 2022.

[6] < https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/we-are-on-the-side-that-india-on-russia-ukraine-war-3375103 > accessed on November 14, 2022.

[7] < https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/countries_e/india_e.htm >accessed on November 10, 2022.

[8] <https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/why-are-indians-boycotting-snapchat-everything-you-need-to-know-117041700158_1.html>accessed on 14th November 2022.

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