Army & Foreign Policy
September 25, 2014


There are two ways in which a sovereign power interacts with another sovereign power- method of war and methods of speech. 

In the methods of war, the nation uses instruments of hard power such as military might, energy / food supplies, economic & financial control to evoke negative emotions of fear through threat. 

In methods of peace, the nation uses its diplomatic corps to invoke natural law, friendly feelings of goodwill as an instrument of soft power to attain desired outcomes. India's Nehruvian Foreign Policy used such instruments to have a larger say in global affairs than India's capability. 


The Half War 

During India's Freedom Struggle, the Moderate Leaders believed in use of soft power while the extremists & revolutionaries believed in use of Hard Power. Mahatma Gandhi combined both these instruments successfully. While he vigorously campaigned against the British, he kept the doors of negotiation open with the Viceroy and other administrators. He put pressure through demonstrations but during the talks he made concessions in those demands. 

Before this, negotiations were held between a victor and a defeated. Gandhi allowed both weak and strong to claim victory, fighting a half battle. 


A Foreign Policy Instrument 

Even after Gandhi, combining hard and soft power method had not become a foreign policy instrument. Nuclear States entered into Cold War, without actual fighting and this became Nuclear Deterrence. 

In the India-Pakistan War of 1965, both the countries captured almost equal amount of land and returning to status-quo was the Tashkent Solution. Again nobody could claim victory. 

In 1999, General Pervez Musharuff began using this as a technique on Foreign Policy stage. His first attempt in Kargil was a disaster as the soft power elements did not quickly back him up. But then, it started a trend by India's neighbours to create tensions on the borders with regard to territorial dispute and negotiate in Delhi in a friendly atmosphere. 

Even today, President Xi was in talks for Prime Minister Modi while Chinese troops had crossed the border. India may have wanted to avoid the Border Question and focus on investment. But Chinese have ensured that the both aspects of the relationship are discussed. 


Foreign Policy Failure 

The border between India and China was marked between Colonial Times when India was part of the powerful British Empire and Tibet was a weak entity. The Chinese and especially the 4th Generation Leadership of the Communist Party, see this century to belong to China. It wants to re-establish its might that clearly includes correcting historical injustices. Viewing it as territorial expansion is am incorrect assessment as the Chinese  probably view it as reaffirming rights. 

Pakistan views contiguous Muslim dominated regions of India as its own. When districts could be divided (Gurdaspur, Punjab in favour of India), when districts could be transferred (Sylhut, to East Pakistan /Bangladesh) then why should Kashmir part of the state of J&K not belong to Pakistan?

India has lost territory in the state of J&K to both China and Pakistan, but Indian Diplomats allow both of our neighbours to play the victim of injustice. They avoid issues which is brought into focus by skirmishes on the border. 

I think it's the failure of our once proud Diplomats who have fallen from flying India's flag higher than its ability under Nehru. It's time India develops a counter strategy to tackle the situation.