[Disclaimer: Pardon my English, or my rhetoric, if it seems to be. I have tried to illustrate the very issue and my arguments at my behest. If I would seem to be bit edgy, I apologize for the tone. :)]
Remember the common rhetoric by Rahul Gandhi and Shivshankar Menon over the point that India must be non-aligned with China and the US? This is being indoctrinated again by the Twitterati who belong to the Orientalist view and the scholars after the Galwan Valley conflict with the PLA Troops. Although 20 Indian soldiers were martyred in the tussle, the Chinese did lose it too much anyways. The UK is creating a scenario of backlash already by suspending the Extradition Treaty of Hong Kong and putting initiative to provide citizenship to Hongkongers amidst China’s New Security Law measures. This is an appreciating move, showing signs of the West and NATO, which again, has acted revisionist, as it did in the Second World War and the Cold War. However, where is India all in here. Let us exemplify from the Second World War and the Cold War and then get into the main discussion — the proposition that the Non-Aligned Movement is nothing but a political leviathan ballooned by India mistakenly, at least for the 21st Century we live in.
Read PERCEPTION OF POWER THROUGH THE HISTORY OF THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT by Kartikey Misra
If you have read the above-linked article, you must have understood the explorative revelation that the British Indian troops in the Second World War, and even before the same in previous wars, had crushed the German Nazis, the Italians and so forth. Here is an excerpt from the article:
We conveniently forgot that Indian troops fought on all major fronts in WWI and that the 2.5 million Indian soldiers matched the German war-machine (Wehrmacht) in World War II and fought in Italy, North Africa and Burma, and won close to 63000 awards.
By the end of the war, it had become the largest volunteer army in history, rising to over 2.5 million men in August 1945.
Now, the question is not about our military capacity. We are growing and expanding our geopolitical capabilities. The essence of this quote is to convey the message that Indians are capable, and their talent must be adequately recognized, with utmost humility. In the Second World War, India showed its military and logistic capabilities to the world. Despite the same, the First Prime Minister of India, never expanded and enlarged India’s aesthetic and cultural vision the native way, and that was problematic. The Non-Aligned Movement is a significant failure — mythical Socialist Leviathan that the Indian National Congress endorsed for years. Now that India has from a policy paralysis over joining NATO and garnering Putin’s Russia’s support, this is not just due to the inadequacies and lack of purpose advocacy by the BJP politicians; it is also due to the NAM propaganda, which demolished India’s hopes in many ways. I, therefore, intend to argue that NAM is a Socialist Leviathan, whose allegiance merits:
- A denigrating sense of inferiority complex in foreign policy matters;
- An abstract and extra-apologetic vision of knowledge politics and policy development;
- A self-defeating edition and scripture of constitutional morality and secularism;
- A bi-product of examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect where the topology of diplomacy, whether internal or foreign is sick and unreasonably altruistic;
I will discuss each of the pointers one by one.
A denigrating sense of inferiority complex in foreign policy matters
India’s moralist ambitions have 3 ideological understandings today in the mainstream world and national politics — (1) negative transition to the Nehruvian way of foreign policy; (2) a traditionalist-liberal marketer approach of Indic foreign policy which endorses market economics the Chanakya way, with preserving the nativity of India to replace China and the US; and (3) a degenerated, populist and radical version of India which is extra-belligerent towards any state or governmental action, which a small fraction of the right-wing faction in India wishes. My stance is as clear as water — I support the traditionalist-liberal marketer approach as it safeguards the Sanatana Dharma and transforms the constitutional structure of the Indian state as the Indian Constitution is not a limited secular document — it has cultural and geographical origins, which is deeply coherent to let Secularism thrive. There can be other political ideas over India, like Communism by Slavoj Zizek or Gazwa-e-Hind by the Islamists, but those ideas shall be in the dustbin of obscurity.
We also do not need Indian Conservatism as the Western model of conservatism itself does not clearly apply to us due to the fact that our diversity will be hindered by binary maximalism — inspired by Hobbes, Machiavelli and Madison. The BJP has not significantly changed India’s aesthetic understandings despite the Government’s two significant achievements — the CAA and the dilution of Article 370, which were reasonable moves. It is therefore important to understand where India is lagging so hard.
Indian diplomats need to shed this inferiority complex permanently if they really wish to advance India’s Sanatana and Marketeer-Secular vision to the West and Russia. When China partnered with Sri Lanka for the Hambantota Port, and the Sri Lankans offered India to gather intelligence resources and equipment, India refused. When Donald Trump offered a hand to resolve the Kashmir dispute, India refused, despite the very fact that the US will not favour Pakistan anymore due to the change in status quo related to Afghanistan. Moreover, do not mind Trump because he is not a bad negotiator either — look his track record with Russia, White Supremacists and North Korea as well along with his failures. Now, India cannot be larger than China in certain key affairs in 5 years, because the process needs time and rejuvenation — it is natural. However, key efforts are required to be implemented as soon as possible to foresee the transformative organism of the State and its economics. NAM denigrates our vision into a regressive model of diplomacy because it hinders our cultural models from growing and resonating with diplomatic morality and ethical implementation. It is therefore important to remove such a conception, which defies the Indic values and resonance and so the potential of the Indian state altogether.
An abstract and extra-apologetic vision of knowledge politics and policy development
We are in such gruelling times when it comes to expanding visions and clarity over how politics can develop for states. Often, there are various angles, in case of the rights-sovereignty connection, which is established. One angle by the Russians is based on sadism and masochism, from Peter the Great to Putin (even Stalin had to apply it). Another angle by the Americans, based on the premise that libertarianism and democracy must reach out to homes of societies, who — amidst the transition and end of the Cold War mentality, still had to adopt change. The EU/CoE states take a bivalent angle when it comes to prophecies in whatever ways possible they would endorse in the case of preserving a liberal rules-based order. Europe’s approach is based on the nuclei of Germany, Belgium, the UK (before Brexit, of course), France, Spain and perhaps some Western Europe countries like Italy. India, being a sub-continental country, lacks a clear vision as to what it wishes to do in terms of culture and ethics diplomacy.
Former PM Nehru never reckoned India’s Sanatana Dharma, nor he intended to expand the cultural-geographical vision of the same. Various Prime Ministers since Indira Gandhi tried to expand their imageries when it came to foreign policy and civilizational rejuvenation.
However, they too, due to the influence of Indian socialist movements led by the Congress, Jayaprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohiya, failed to rejuvenate the essential characteristics of the Indian Civilization to translate into the common people. This in many terms, led to the complex thinking within the foreign policy diaspora in the West that India’s NAM is weak, and unclear without an ounce of purpose.
Another hypocrisy was seen when the NAM members did not object Pakistan’s actions in (and responsible for) the 1971 Bangladesh conflict, when India, on average, respected the principles of international humanitarian law, and attempted a first-of-a-kind humanitarian intervention, which never was under any expectation by the US and so, Pakistan, in a steady case. Even amidst the COVID19 crisis, PM Narendra Modi attends a NAM meeting — which some foreign policy experts regarded as unreasonable or untenable, because of the multi-alignment approach the current establishment has adopted, whether it is calling out the Chinese in the UN Human Rights Council on Hongkong, gaining the 2–year non-permanent membership in the UNSC or the leadership positions in World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization. India also will be a Chair of the G20 bloc after the US in the coming months, but all of these achievements are not just a complete credit to the PM and Dr Jaishankar’s conscious diplomacy, but also the fact that the Westosphere has become revisionist, and will adopt means to endorse states, which reconcile revisionism and democratic values. Also, this revisionism is not new: the US has been shifting goalposts, like the Soviets, in the Cold War sometimes. However, the rarity of such movements is being radically replaced by better measures, which includes the US-Israel-UAE Peace Plan. Due to the aftermath of the NAM, India still has to find its face to open up and dehyphenate its foreign policy initiatives anyways.
A self-defeating edition and scripture of constitutional morality and secularism
Indian Politics is a big mess when it comes to deciding the contours of its political ideologies and economics. The 42nd (Constitution) Amendment Act was put into the picture to seek a bemused political discussion among the masses that the inclusion of the terms ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ signifies the very secular and liberal credential of India as a nation-state. Funnily, the development of jurisprudence will be connected with political realities and ideological moralism. Both exist and survive together, and for a country, the way it works could be different in many possible forms. The problem is that the civic nationalism (as enumerated by Adv Gautam Bhatia) envisaged by the Constituent Assembly will be a hollow libertarian state if it has no synergy with its Bhartiyata or civilizational values, as advocates of Indic conservatism profess. I have disagreements with the Indic wing when it comes to the implementation of their alternative, despite the fact that the alternative, by relevant advocates, and not clickbait journalists and populist common people, is not acerbic, is coalescent and historically relevant. Interestingly, Jaitirth Rao in his work “The Indian Conservative” argues that the so-called Indian Right is not as the Western Conservative bloc. I agree with the same due to many reasons, and that would surely end the problems of professing our secularism model in our foreign policy. The reasons are enumerated as follows:
- Indian Secularism is not Christened, nor is a reconciliation of any colonial identity. Vande Mataram, by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (reformed one), better than the National Anthem itself — is a more pluralistic and interesting depiction of India’s inclusivity and motherhood principle;
- The Hindu society has its limited homophobic and misogynistic issues, but never in history — they have expansionist secular policies in terms of the politics of territory and wars, like the Chinese, the Russians and the Ottoman Turks. Secularism, therefore, is not to be seen only through the lens of limited philosophizing of ideas, but must also be seen through the lens of individualism within collective societies and polities;
- Even currently, after Donald Trump announced the US-Israel-UAE Peace Plan, India has accorded UAE and Israel as its strategic partners, and while Turkey is still in a productive delusion, like Pakistan of some neo-Ottoman Empire, India does not need expansionist tendencies to render, even in its policy towards secularism as a preambulatory and constitutional ethic, nothing else. Neither the CAA, 2019 nor any other move disables India to render its secular commitments;
- If you read the approach of former NSA Shivshankar Menon towards the Indo-US relations, you will find gross errata in his very so-called cocoon-ish understanding of international relations, where he believes that India’s constitutional sovereignty is just for granted, and Pramila Jayapal, an irresponsible Democratic party House Representative, is better in advocacy on Kashmir;
- Even former PM Nehru’s temporary landmark — the Bandung Conference of 1945, was nothing but an intra-political trap for the Indian State, to follow the artificial geological strain of the Non-Aligned Movement, which very few or almost none of the NAM co-members ever thought of to even follow, miserably failed. The geostrategic capabilities of the Indian State are cultural, civilizational and geographical, and this is something India cannot deny anymore, thereby forcing the Government to shed the negative attributions of the NAM;
- The cultural angle behind the naturalization of the restraints created by NAM’s inherited by India under the Indian National Congress shows why our judgmental and biased approach towards Secularism was nothing but a brutal failure. India reckoned India with its so-called civilizational connect but as evident from the Chabahar Port issue and the Iran-China pact, the MEA cannot do anything special because (1) Iran is decaying its civilizational embrace it should have had, and (2) as a nuisance state, Iran is mobilizing Global Jihad (a subset of political Islam) to destabilize the global order. Remember — the US, the UK and even Central and Eastern Europe (not the EU, of course) recognize the civilizational ethos of their and rest of the societies — which shows why the West can be more revisionist towards India and can enable India on its own to mobilize its diplomacy of secularism, by igniting the civilizational status of Bharat;
A bi-product of examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect where the topology of diplomacy, whether internal or foreign is sick and unreasonably altruistic
Let us understand this section very clearly. India, of course, is coming out of the Cold War mentality like the US, the UK and even Russia. The current geopolitical order, after the COVID outbreak, is isolating China, but the Westosphere, partially due to lack of political consensus and policy strategy and partially due to the European Left’s dialectic approach towards Libertarian Governance and a politically unsettled approach of the Rule of Law, is forcing the Russians to stay in with the Chinese, the Turks, the Pakistanis and the Persian bloc, the D-graders. Foreign policy analysts, even amidst the protests in Belarus, are centralizing everything to one person — Vladimir Putin. Putin is a Europeanist, who wishes to push back the technocratic and ethnocentric influence of NATO and the EU/CoE. However, the Europeans neither have a strategic approach in a multilateral way still nor can they rely on Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron to restrain Russia. Brexit is limitedly irrelevant to European politics, but the UK still has not figured out a relevant approach to deal with Russia and its future. Furthermore, quality of life and economic development is an important factor in Russia, which China knows pretty well. This is the same paralysis of Europeanism — which is to be blamed not to the EU countries, but to the technocratic establishment in Brussels and Strasbourg, for that matter.
Even India, like Europe, has been under this paralysis for several years, under the NAM Leviathan. Modi still has to figure out as to how to dissect Russia from China, while the West does not believe in India’s dehyphenation approach when it comes to Russia, because of the lack of approach.
While the Trump Administration has been quite silent on Russia on some issues, it is important that Russia is given some space in the Far East, so that a new strange US-Russia cooperation initiative is achieved. The anachronistic nature of Chinese Communism reflected in technology and economic diplomacy is venomous, and India is trying hard to counter the influence of China-Pakistan-Iran-Turkey slowly. Gladly, the dehyphenation of the Arab-Persian world due to Mohammad Bin Sultan and Donald Trump’s efforts has now forced Pakistan to focus on Israel as its new ‘enemy’, while garnering India a lot of imagery space in the contours of diplomatic engagement and information warfare. If the EU develops stronger Indic cooperation through a not-so-multipolar Central-Eastern Europe, then not just the civilizational values of India and Europe can be connected, but Central Asia will, in terms of economics, cultural diplomacy, education and military strategy, will reform. EU might not be strategic like NATO, and it would not be necessary to have multilateral engagements right now to harmonize Russia and the EAEU, thereby countering the Pak-PRC-DPRK-Turkey-Iran-Global Left alliance through civilizational rejuvenation.
Thus, India needs to rethink and detoxify itself from the venomous relationship it had to bear with the Socialist Leviathan of NAM, and much efforts, if are placed, can be covert, not radical and must be based on sheer incrementalism, and civilizational ethics, to attain constitutionalism, rule of law and geographical rejuvenation.