View Full Version : India'S Foreign Policy Conundrum On Israel And Iran

Double Edge
18 Feb 12,, 19:26
A world power does not sit on the fence. A middle power does.

There's sitting on the fence and then, there's forcing a situation through. If Iran is in the interest of India, then India should have no qualms about supportting Iran. As I stated, world powers do not sit on the fence. They force the issue to their favour.

India's Foreign Policy Conundrum On Israel And Iran | SAAG | Feb 16 2012 (http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers50/paper4919.html)

Paper no. 4919



By Dr Subhash Kapila

Introductory Observations

India's foreign policy establishment so far has revelled in the luxury of not having to make hard foreign policy decisions. In early 2012 what is increasingly coming to the fore is that this sort of luxury may not be all that forthcoming henceforth.

This phenomenon that dominates the Indian foreign policy establishment has plagued Indian policy formulations more notably on our main military adversaries, namely China and Pakistan now has become an all pervasive reality.

Instantly at issue is as to how the Indian foreign policy establishment faces the challenging conundrum of managing its relations with Israel and Iran. In the last two days this predicament has contextually hit India in two ways.

The first development was the attack on an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi. The second development today has been the unveiling in full global glare of Iran's advanced centrifuges at the Natanz facility which may be a precursor to acquisition of or being on the threshold of production of Iranian nuclear weapons.

Both these developments have resulted in calls by the United States and Israel to isolate Iran and pre-empt it acquiring nuclear weapons.

Both these developments are testy for Indian foreign policy formulations because what is at issue is not strictly confined to India's policy formulations on Israel and Iran but also encompasses the wider issue of the US-India Strategic Partnership which is still resting on shifting sands.

The central feature of India's foreign policy planning in the last seven years is seen to be the outsourcing of India's foreign policy formulations to Washington and permitting Indian foreign policy perspectives to be coloured and determined largely by US strategic sensitivities on strategic issues.

This picture has now to change and the first challenge has emerged today posed by contextual developments centring on Israel and Iran.

India's Foreign Policy Postures on Israel and Iran; A Brief Reality Check

Israel and Iran were late entrants into India's foreign policy planning and national security calculus arising from a complex mix of Cold War external straitjacketing and India's own fixations on the unrealistic Non-Alignment.

Despite late entrants, both Israel and Iran acquired a significant salience in India's policy calculations. India's relations with Israel blossomed more prominently in the defence collaboration field and Israel has stood by in assisting India in high technology defence acquisitions.

India's improvements in relations with the United States, Japan and other US Allies were co-terminus with India's improved ties with Israel. India therefore has substantial stakes in its relationship with Israel.

The Iran-India relationship took concrete shape both in the strategic context and more importantly in terms of India's energy security. In the strategic context, India's relationship with Iran cantered on establishing meaningful relations with the Gulf Region's naturally predominant power. More substantially, Iran in the strategic context has a specific significance in relation to India's security interests in Afghanistan where Iran provides logistics access to India as Pakistan does not provide the same.

The crucial question is whether India is in a position to jettison either of its relationship with Israel or Iran' The answer is 'NO' for a number of reasons which are not political, ideological or religious affinity, but sheer India's national security interests.

What does India do, firstly strictly confining it to Israel and Iran'

India Need Not Make Choices on Israel and Iran but Force Israel and Iran to Make Choices on India

Indian TV channels this evening are alive with prognostications by eminent former Indian diplomats, strategic analysts and academics that India can no longer sit on the fence when it comes to relations with Israel and Iran and that India should make its strategic choices either or.

The above line of foreign policy analysis is largely reactive and is oblivious to India's rise in the global power structure. I do not see any official responses from Washington or Israel calling on India to make its strategic preferences clear. Then why the call being made in Indian TV debates that India must make a strategic choice'

I would strongly recommend that the Indian foreign policy establishment should diplomatically and forcefully also, let both Israel and Iran know that India would not be making any choices as it values its relationships with Israel and Iran with different texts. India should impress on Israel and Iran that it is they and they alone who have to decide and cast their choices on their relations with India.

While doing the above, India should also firmly advise both Israel and Iran that India will not allow these two countries to fight their asymmetric attacks by proxy on Indian soil.

India Cannot 'Join the Posse' Against Iran to Preserve the US-India Strategic Partnership

In my opinion, the question bigger than India's choices on Israel and Iran is India's choices in preserving the US-India Strategic Partnership. Should India 'Join the Posse' against Iran alongside the United States and Israel to preserve the US-India Strategic Partnership'

A strong US-India Strategic Partnership cannot be reduced to submitting unreservedly to all US strategic interests without censoring them through the prism of India's own national security interests.

Nor should India submit to the strategic fig-leaves of 'going against international opinion' which in actuality mean 'Join the Posse' to be led by the United States.

Here again the onus of preserving the US-India Strategic Partnership lies squarely with the United States and not India.

It is the United States which should decide whether it wishes to co-opt a 'strategically autonomous' India as a strategic partner. The United States should realistically not expect India to submit itself to being a US strategic satellite of the United States when despite many political infirmities India is well on the way towards emerging as a substantial global player.

Concluding Observations

India's foreign policy formulation processes can no longer be determined by soft options or soft power. Power by its very connotation cannot be 'soft'. Similarly, if India has to ascend the global power trajectory it cannot do so by evading hard decisions in its foreign policy and national security formulations.

India's foreign policy can no longer be reactive but what I wrote years back in my Book 'India's Defence Policies and Strategic Thought: A Comparative Analysis' that India must in terms of foreign policies and national security interests, India must come out with 'Declaratory Policies' and enunciation of 'Red Lines' that others must not cross when they concern India's strategic sensitivities.

It seems that India cornered by the Israel and Iran developments would now finally come out of its shell and do the needful as stated above.

19 Feb 12,, 13:40
On slippery ground, but India needs both Israel & Iran (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-toi/all-that-matters/On-slippery-ground-but-India-needs-both-Israel-Iran/articleshow/11945243.cms)

Iran is India's biggest diplomatic challenge today. The Chabahar Port in Iran along with a very strategic railway link offers India direct access to Afghanistan and the energy-rich Central Asia. But the allegations made by Israel that a recent bomb attack on one of its diplomats in Delhi was perpetrated by Iran sympathizers, adds to the problems in a already- complicated relationship.

As a responsible Indian Ocean power, India must help resolve an international crisis, particularly in the Middle East where it has heavily invested, especially in human capital. Six million Indians living in the region send home more than $40 billion annually.

That said, India and Israel too have growing relations in several fields crucial for economic development, including defence technology, agriculture, R&D and tourism. India must be a safe place for Israelis to visit and do business.

Trade, investment, and diplomatic influence are highly correlated, and India needs to be innovative and aggressive. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's visit to Chicago late January, quickly followed by foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai's Washington trip, the India-European Union summit in Delhi to expedite broad-based trade and investment, and ongoing negotiations with Saudi Arabia and Iran on energy issues highlight the urgency of economic diplomacy to serve India's long-term national interests.

Addressing the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Mukherjee urged his audience of some top business leaders to "contribute to our collective prosperity," especially when India has embarked on colossal infrastructure building projects that will require one trillion dollar investment during the next five years.

Mukherjee touted India's "calibrated approach" to capital account convertibility; the success of external commercial borrowings policy in maintaining external debt at sustainable levels; the robustness of India's banking sector; diversified export markets; and the robustness of the financial sector due to optimal regulatory mechanism. Financially, India stands like a rock.

With the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and other similar projects in mind, Mukherjee explained the government's manufacturing policy to create 100 million jobs in the next decade by establishing special zones with world-class urban centres, to make Indian industry globally competitive. This will be done by instituting a supportive framework to facilitate business, including availability of skills, technology, finance, and "compliance based on self-regulation," with minimal government intervention. Mukherjee came as close as he could to promise that India will be as business-friendly as China.

While courting American investors, Mukherjee did not hesitate to assert India's position on two vital issues - Obama's outsourcing policy and Iran sanctions. Obama's plan to limit outsourcing through tax incentives is counterproductive and will hurt both India and America. Of course, the best way for Indian IT industry to combat the looming outsourcing "protectionism" threat is to offer products and services so compelling that corporate America cannot refuse.

On India-Iran trade relations, Mukherjee was unequivocally frank: "It is not possible for India to take any decision to reduce the imports from Iran drastically, because among the countries which can provide the requirement of the emerging economies, Iran is an important country." Buying Iran oil does not mean that India condones Iran's nuclear ambitions other than for peaceful purposes. Maintaining stability in the Middle East to enable an uninterrupted flow of energy is a global challenge.

Later, on his visit to Washington DC, foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai told his audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, that, "while Iran has rights to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, it must also fulfill its international obligations as a non-nuclear weapon state under the NPT." India's voting record on Iran in IAEA is unambiguous.

But Mathai also focused on Iran's geopolitical importance to India. Iran, apart from providing India with 12 % of its oil needs, worth $11 billion annually, also enables access to Central Asia including Afghanistan whose long-term stability and prosperity is vital to India; as it is to the US especially when it plans to withdraw its combat forces in 2014.

India's forthcoming trade negotiations with Iran should have twofold aims - first, to negotiate the oil deal at best prices entirely in rupee terms. Rupee oil trade agreement will boost Indian exports to Iran. Besides, it will open up opportunities for other countries to do trade in rupee, further stimulating Indian exports. Although Indian economy is based on domestic consumption, international trade generates tremendous diplomatic leverage and influence - see what China is doing with its massive trade surplus and foreign currency reserves.

Second, India should use the opportunity to persuade Iran to resume negotiations regarding its nuclear programme since it claims its programme to be peaceful. In fact, during the recently concluded India-EU free trade talks, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso pressed India to use its leverage with Iran to return to the negotiating table.

India needs to make a large and meaningful diplomatic gesture for international cooperation without compromising its economic interests.

The writer is professor of communications and diplomacy at Norwich University, UK

19 Feb 12,, 13:59
A little tricky challenge for India but nothing we won't ride out of.

We have to look for our interests first and foremost. In this case they match the Western interests as well in the long term.

Our not so friendly neighbor is still being showered with billions in aid after all that has happened.

15 Mar 12,, 17:18
Since the end of the Cold War, there has been persistent criticism, both inside and outside India, that the country lacks a considered grand strategy. A group of prominent Indian analysts and policymakers, supported by senior officials in the Indian government, has for the first time attempted to formally identify the basic principles that should guide India’s foreign and strategic policy in this new century.

In the recently released report Nonalignment 2.0, they discuss India’s strategic opportunities, identify the challenges and threats the country is likely to confront, and define a new version of nonalignment that they argue India should adopt as part of a strategy of enhancing its strategic autonomy in an uncertain world.

Implementing these recommendations as part of New Delhi’s evolving global engagement would have far reaching consequences both for the country’s international role and its approach to key partners, including the United States.

Teresita Schaffer of the Brookings Institution, Richard Fontaine of the Center for a New American Security, and Sadanand Dhume of the American Enterprise Institute will discuss the report. Carnegie’s Ashley J. Tellis will moderate.

Source: Carnegie Endowment.org (http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/03/12/nonalignment-2.0-foreign-and-strategic-policy-for-india-in-twenty-first-century/9zy1)

The report: NonAlignment 2.0 (http://www.cprindia.org/sites/default/files/NonAlignment%202.0_1.pdf) (Be prepared for a lengthy read!)

I'm sorry if this is a little OT as I wasn't able to create a thread due to my lack of experiance (number of posts) here. :red: