Category: International Relations

Why Political Science & IR is the best optional for UPSC?

The pursuit of knowing was freedom to me, the right to declare your own curiosities and follow them through all manner of books. I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free. Slowly, I was discovering myself.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Many civil services aspirants reached out to me to share my experience about taking Political Science and International Relations as the optional for my UPSC attempts. I gave the mains examination thrice with Political Science and International Relations as optional and qualified twice for the interview with this optional. I believe that Political Science and International Relations is one of the best optional subjects for anyone appearing for Civil Services Examination and this is my personal experience. So, I am not forcing anyone to take this optional and it absolutely depend on the person’s own interest and ideas. In this blog post, I will be talking about the pros and cons of taking Political Science and International Relations:

PROS:

  • It helps you to prepare for the General Studies paper also as the syllabus of these optional overlaps with General Studies Paper I, II, and IV
  • Taking this optional means that you have to read not only Modern history, World history, Indian Politics but also International Relations
  • The Political Theory part of this optional make you think about ethical and philosophical issues which are helpful in Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude paper and also helpful in answer writing
  • Reading Political Science & IR also helps you to understand the context of things happening in the country and also around the world, it also helps you to interlink concepts and understand things in a better manner
  • The best advantage of taking Political Science & IR is that it also helps you during interview preparation

CONS:

  • This optional is quite vast and you need to read a lot to have a solid grip on this paper
  • If you are not a regular reader of the newspapers, you will find it difficult to prepare for this optional paper
  • For some people, the Political theory part is boring which makes you difficult to ace in the first paper.

Please also read the posts below where I list the important books, I read on Modern India, Indian Government & Politics and Comparative Politics & International Relations:

India and the World

“India is a country harder to describe than to explain, and easier to explain than to understand and also India is a place for seeking, not concluding”

Anand Giridharadas (2009)

Review of Globalization of World Politics: This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read on international relations. This is a very thick book of more than 500 pages and looks quite heavy from outside. But if you are an IR geek, you will absolutely love this book and will not put it down till you finish reading it. And if you are preparing for civil services and your optional subject is ‘Political Science and International Relations’, this book will help you to cover the second part of this paper and also help in fetching good marks. Most importantly, this book helped me to build a strong understanding of IR concepts. This book is divided into five parts: The historical context, Theories of world politics, Structures and Processes, International issues, and Globalization in the future. My most favorites are ‘Theories of world politics’ and ‘International issues’ sections. Theories of world politics discuss realism, liberalism, neorealism, Marxism, post-colonialism, etc. in a very detailed manner and the beauty of international issues section is that it took one important issue and entwine its’ trajectory with international relations that help you to see these issues from a unique angle. For instance- culture in world affairs and terrorism & globalization.

Review of Global Politics: This book is very similar to the Globalization of world politics but the style of writing is very different as it’s written by Andrew Heywood. I would suggest reading both books because both give a very different perspective on same issues. This book is also very useful and insightful if you are an IR geek or preparing for civil services. I can bet that all those news articles related to foreign issues will make more sense if you have already read these books.

Review of Does the Elephant dance?: This is one of the best books I ever read on Indian Foreign Policy. David Malone served as the High Commissioner of Canada to India from 2006 to 2008. Though this book came out in 2010, it is still relevant because the author has deeply examined how the Indian history, culture, internal domestic politics has an important role to play in India’s relations with other countries. This book is quite comprehensive where the author has dealt with India’s relations with all its neighbors as well as the USA, China, West Asia, East Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and Russia. I really found the last chapter- “The Evolution of Indian Multilateral ism: From High Ground to High Table” of this book quite interesting where the author has written about India’s evolution from idealist moralizer to the often-pragmatic deal maker and how India’s soft power has an important role to play in the philosophy of Indian multilateralism.

“Indian diplomacy is like the love-making of an elephant: it is conducted at a very high level, accompanied by much bellowing, and the results are not known for two years”- A veteran diplomat

Review of Pax Indica: This book came in the year 2012 when I was in full preparation mode for civil services examination. And it also came just after David Malone’s book Does the Elephant dance? So it was a kind of continuation read on Indian Foreign Policy with all updated facts. Except for the last chapter, other chapters are the same thing as in other books on relation of India vis, a vis other countries, and obviously in a super-refined language of Shashi Tharoor. In the last chapter, he talks about ‘multi-alignment’ as a grand strategy for India in the 21st century. According to the author, the name of the book Pax Indica has no similarity to Pax Romana or Pax Britannica rather it must be built and sustained on the principles and norms that India holds dear at home and abroad.

Review of Challenge and Strategy: This was the first book I read on Indian foreign policy when I started preparing for Civil services examination. Rajiv Sikri was an Indian diplomat with more than 36 years with Indian Foreign Service and though this book is quite old and a lot of things have happened in Indian foreign policy since this book was written. However, as this book has been written by a seasoned diplomat, it gives you a lot of insights of India’s relations with other countries and especially focuses on policies and strategies that can be used by Indian diplomats and policymakers to make India a major player at the International level.

Miscellaneous Books/Reading Materials: And even if you read all books related to IR in the world and have not read IGNOUs booklets, then I would suggest stop reading this blog and go download all IGNOU materials right now. And one more very important thing, you need to read the history of India and the world before plunging into the field of International Relations because as someone said:

“Know the history of these countries before getting to know their relations.”

I will also suggest one nice strategy for everyone whoever is trying to understand any concept in totality, then must not stick to one book rather explore all kinds of books, articles, newspapers, magazines, etc. written on that topic. Please find some of the books/magazines/newspapers below I referred during my preparation:

  1. The Hindu ( follow Suhasini Haider) and it’s Foreign Affairs page
  2. Indian Express and it’s coverage on international issues
  3. World Focus magazines
  4. Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) policy briefs and articles are must-read to understand strategic perspective
  5. International Relations by Aneek Chaterjee: Only a few topics(Decision-making theory, Systems Theory) from this.

I always believed that India as a nation had something unique. As a birth-place of Buddha, Gandhi, and Ambedkar, India has shown and will always show the path of peace, harmony and also live up to the spirit of the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’. I will end with this beautiful quote by Mark Twain.

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most artistic materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only!”

Mark Twain, writer, America

Please also read the posts below where I list the important books, I read on Modern India and Indian Government & Politics below:

Review of the book Breakout Nations by Ruchir Sharma

BreakoutNations_sharma

The economics has become the vehicle of growth, prosperity, and development of countries in the world in the era of globalization. In fact, the question here is why we are more worried about economic growth, economic development, and prosperity? What is the need to talk about emerging nations? Why should we care about “Breakout Nations”? And why will some countries be emerging as breakout nations, some will be frontier countries[i] and some will remain insignificant with respect to economic growth and development.

Ruchir Sharma, an investment banker and keen watcher of economic happenings around the world in this book takes us on a journey where he picks the countries who will be the next economic miracles of the world. Finding reasons, causes and set formulas for economic growth and subsequent economic development of the nations was a never-ending quest by the authors of various milieus because everyone wants to step up the ladder of the success of economic growth.

The author discusses his experiences and nuances of more than twenty countries in 280 pages of this book with stimulating details incorporating the flavor of colloquial language and examples. The most important argument of the author is that we need to understand and analyze the emerging markets as ‘individual nations’ and he is wary of the ‘idea of emerging nations as a group’. In this context, he is skeptical of the sustainability of the BRICS[ii] group because the countries have competing political interests and there are stark differences between these countries in terms of commodity importers (India and China) and commodity exporters (Russia and Brazil).

The author is more interested in studying the individual countries by traveling to those places and trying to understand, “whether the political regime gets the connection between good economics and good politics” than commenting as academicians without getting the feel of the ground reality. In the whole book, the author has come out with various “Rules of the Road” to recognize the potentiality of the real breakout nations.

The author also gives his insights regarding the great debate of the impact of the political system and institutions on the economic growth and development. In fact, his latest book, The Rise, and Fall of Nations: Ten Rules of Change in the Post-crisis world is a further development of the same idea where he tries to give ten rules which need to be considered to evaluate the rise and fall of the nations. He rubbishes the idea that political system or the institutions are responsible for growth and development of the economy and their subsequent achievement of prosperity and remaining poor. “It’s’ not the type of the system that matters, it is the stability of the system and, even more important, whether the leaders running it understand the basics of economic reform”, says Ruchir.

He compares the country of China which has surpassed all the growth expectation and emerged as the successful example of command-and-control capitalism with the economy of Vietnam, which is not growing despite being a command economy. As per the author, any particular system has an only fifty-fifty chance on its economic growth and successes. In this context, he criticizes the grand theories on the ground of their emphasis on one factor in terms of institutions, geography, or culture to explain the rise and fall of the nations. He also finds faults in their building of narratives with historical facts as well as giving long-term predictions about these countries as a foolish approach. In fact, the book “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty” [iii]by the authors Acemoglu and Robinson provide a comprehensive analysis of various hypothesis for the rise and fall of nations. In this book, they argue that the “institutions”- political as well as economical act as deciding factor in the growth and development of any country. However, Sharma does not agree with this hypothesis and focuses more on the role of political leadership which is responsible for steering the economy towards growth and prosperity and also towards disaster if they don’t get the basics right.

In this book, Sharma starts with China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, going to Eastern Europe, talking about Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, coming to Turkey for which he is bullish, shifting towards South-East Asian countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, and turning towards the African continent with billion opportunities and finally talking about gold-medalist countries of South Korea and Taiwan. He also gives an interesting perspective that breakout nations can also emerge in the Western world in the USA, Germany, Spain, and Ireland.

The whole narrative of the author is based on his personal travel experiences to these countries and anecdotal evidence but if we compare in general the views given by the author are very much similar to the book “Why Nations Fail”. This book says that institutions matter but Sharma says, “No, Individual leaders who are at the helm matter”. There is a question: Who came first: Institutions or Individuals? Individuals are part of the institutions or they are the one who created, sustaining and influencing the system of institutions. Both the books talk about Mexico, Russia, North Korea countries in a negative perspective because of their institutions and leaders respectively. In all the countries discussed by the author, he names the different leaders of the respective countries to emphasize their role in the economic growth and development.

In fact, if we deeply introspect, institutions as well as the leaders who are the decision makers both responsible for the growth, development, prosperity as well as bringing doom and poverty for any nations of the world. It is very complex and humanly impossible to factor all the causes and reasons behind the rise and fall of nations. In fact, many things are at play at the same time. It is a full bucket of things which will turn the nations towards prosperity as well as poverty.

Regarding his criticism of the BRICS grouping, now there is enough evidence to refute his proposition. For instance, these countries have announced “New Development Bank”[iv] in 2012 and other institutions which are going to challenge the erstwhile Bretton Woods System[v]. BRICS grouping led by China and India will emerge as a formidable force[vi] in the world in recent years. Though the countries of the group have different potentials, they can also find common grounds to collaborate with each other in the coming future.

This book was written in 2011 when there was lot of chaos in the Middle East due to ‘Arab Spring’[vii], In India, the India Against Corruption[vii] movement led by Anna Hazare was going on in the wake of spate of scams in the UPA II government, emergence of Turkey as a successful Muslim model for growth etc. Similarly, there were various other developments in other parts of the world. These things have influenced the writer in creating his perspective.

The author paints a bleak picture of China because of its heavy debt, increasing labor costs, and overcapacity in the infrastructure sector. He is also not bullish about India. In the last seven years, many things have changed in India. The new government came into power at Centre and they brought various radical and forward-looking changes to create a conducive climate for growth and development. So, we can’t judge the country just by looking the few days experiences and few years performances.

It is very complex and unimaginable to predict various economic parameters for any country and especially for a diverse country like India with a subcontinental dimension and federal structure where the states are also acting dynamically to attract investment in the spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism. However, he looks Turkey under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan[ix] as a breakout nation and a role model for the Muslim countries in the Middle East. However, in just seven years, things have changed much in Turkey after the emergence of ISIS[x] and the last year coup[xi] in Turkey. In fact, author himself agrees that it is very difficult to forecast for the future growth in these complex societies and these days things are changing very fast, which cannot be ignored in the context of providing an explanation for the future economic growth in various countries of the world.

However, the author conveys the economic concepts, nuances, and intricacies of the investment and forecasting in a very easy-going story-line to make his points that the nations need to be studied and analyzed on an individual basis and there should not be any grand narratives and club different states into same groups. The book was interesting in terms of knowing smallest details of various countries in terms of high charges of hotel rooms in Brazil as compared to the USA etc. and how they can be related to their economic fundamentals and future growth story.

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontier_markets

[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRICS

[iii] https://ritambharachaitanya.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/review-of-the-book-why-nations-fail/

[iv] http://www.ndb.int/

[v] https://www.thebalance.com/bretton-woods-system-and-1944-agreement-3306133

[vi] http://www.indrastra.com/2017/06/PAPER-The-Emerging-Role-of-BRICS-in-the-Changing-World-Order-003-06-2017-0054.html

[vii] https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Arab_Spring

[vii] http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.info/

[ix] https://www.theguardian.com/world/recep-tayyip-erdogan

[x] https://www.nytimes.com/topic/organization/islamic-state

[xi] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/turkey-failed-coup-attempt-161217032345594.html

Doklam Stand-off : Dragon vs Elephant

doklam image.png

Doklam stand-off is the latest crisis between the two Asian giants in the Asian continent. However, this dispute is different from other disputes occurred on the boundary in the recent years. India has been facing long and contentious border dispute with China along its 4000 km length border. The disputed boundary area is divided between Eastern Sector( Arunachal Pradesh), Western Sector( Aksai Chin ) and the Middle Sector (Sikkim). This time, the dispute was unique in the sense that it involves a third country Bhutan and happening in the middle sector, which was generally considered as settled and peaceful. It is a matter of concern for India because of its strategic location in Chumbi valley from where the Siliguri corridor( chicken neck) is very near. In fact, there are various unknowns in the recent disputes. Why China has taken a belligerent attitude against a small country like Bhutan?  What is the game plan for China? Is it the idea of the Middle Kingdom forcing China to claim territories of other countries. Is the hyper-nationalism in China after the election of Xi Xinping creating pressure to extend its territorial claims? or China is emerging as the next hegemonic power which will trample the region for its advantage.

In this blog, I will try to analyze the emergence of China as an assertive power which is using proper strategy to put forward contested sovereignty claims on various territories to extend its influence and power and trying to put pressure on other countries in the Indo-Pacific region to follow its diktats.

How this dispute started?

Doklam area is disputed between China and Bhutan. China has started building roads in the disputed area and started claiming its sovereignty on it. India has sent its troops to help Bhutan due to its special and privileged partnership as well as treaty obligations under the Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty 2007. Therefore, this dispute is related between three countries and it is happening at tri-junction of these three countries.

Causes

First and foremost cause, China is guided by the idea of Tianxia and consider itself as the Middle Kingdom and South Asian countries as its periphery. This is the motive behind all territorial and sea claims made by China either in South Asia or the South China Sea or the East China Sea. The South China Sea has become the flashpoint between China and South East Asian countries in the recent years. China has claimed almost whole of the South China Sea on the basis of the historical nine-dash line which was refuted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Similarly, China has started building a road on the disputed doklam plateau to claim territory. Bhutan claims that doklam plateau belongs to it and China has violated the agreement between the two countries by building the road on its territory. As India Army Chief said, ” China is flexing its muscle and using ” the salami slicing” tactic to take over territory in a very gradual manner”.

Second and the likely cause is the series of setbacks and irritants between India and China in the recent years. Both countries have their own list of grievances and complain to make against each other. India has consistently criticised the China’s double attitude against terrorism in the UNSC. China has blocked India’s bid to ban Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Masood Azhar in UNSC. China also created hurdles in India’s membership to the coveted Nuclear Supplier Group. Most importantly, Sino-Pak all-weather friendship is the most critical issue between the Sino-Indian relationship. India’s opposition of CPEC(China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) because of its violation of India’s sovereignty in Pok(Pakistan occupied Kashmir). India and Bhutan did not attend the OBOR(One Belt, One Road) summit in May 2017. OBOR is the brain-child of Chinese President Xi Xinping. It is the most ambitious infrastructure development initiative taken by any country in the world. China is also irritated because of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang in April 2017 which was fiercely opposed by China. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as its territory.

Thirdly, China is flexing its muscle in the world because of its economic heft and newfound status in the world. China has emerged as the second largest economy in the world. It has trade and economic linkages with every country of the world and it is totally impossible to live isolated in this globalized world. However, as Rakesh Sood says that China has got more confidence and space to assert itself at global level after the election of Trump as the USA president where Trump wants to focus on domestic issues rather creating peace in the world.

Fourthly, China is also worried because of India’s emerging status in recent years and its relations with the other countries like Japan and the USA. China was feeling wary about the recent Malabar Exercises conducted among India, the USA, and Japan navies. Indo-Japan bonhomie in terms of Civil Nuclear Agreement signed in 2016, development of Bullet train with technology transfer and especially the ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ between these two countries in Africa in terms of “Asia-Africa Growth Corridor” and focus on security cooperation is also creating irritation in the eyes of China’s diplomatic circle.  USA’s recognition of India as ‘major defense partner’ and agreeing to India’s accession to various technology regimes has added fire to the “security dilemma” of China.

Why this dispute is called a “new normal” between China and India?

This time India did not buzz despite repeated threats by Chinese officials, abuses by Chinese Media and consistently took a stand against China’s belligerent attitude in the region. India and Bhutan consistently questioned the new normal of China. In fact, various think-tanks warned India that this kind of dispute will be the new normal because of China’s larger pattern in claiming contested territories.  China is trying to bully its small neighbors and claim the disputed territories inch by inch.

What needs to be done?

The Doklam crisis was finally defused after 73 days and forces from both sides withdrew from the tri-junction just a few weeks before when Prime Minister Modi had to travel to Xiamen for BRICS summit. It was found that China has agreed to various proposals of India in the recent summit by not mentioning anything about Belt and Road Initiative and putting a ban of Laskar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. It was a welcome development. However, Indo-China relationship is very complex and India needs to take multi-prong strategy to deal with China. India should never forget that China is its neighbor and it is emerging as the next superpower of the world. BRICS platform has emerged as the best platform where India and China not only resolve their bilateral disturbances but also move shoulder to shoulder to solve the pressing challenges of the world. India recently became the member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO). This group can also help in dealing with various extremist challenges in the region. In fact, China and India need to cooperate to solve the crisis in Afghanistan. I will end with the thought of the writer of the book ” Does the Elephant Dance?”  David Malone that these countries will have to rise along with respecting each other ‘s sensitivities and they need to understand domestic compulsions and cultures to create new paths for cooperation in the future.

 

 

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Migrant boat accident in Turkey

I don’t know how many people remember this picture but I did not forget till today. This picture is almost two years old. He is a three years old Syrian migrant/refugee who was trying to flee his country so that he can live a good life any where else. But the destiny had other plans for him. And just to inform others, in fact, I also don’t know, Is he a refugee/migrant? Countries have given different definitions for both the terms. A small child can be segregated in various ways.

I was totally frustrated after seeing this picture. Why a small child has to suffer due to Geo-political wars. What happened to the sacred “Human Rights”? We have ignored  that we are humans first . As Sapiens’s author Harari says, nation/country is a figment of our imagination. We created the nations, countries, religion, corporation, United Nations etc to bring about more cooperation and betterment of the humanity. But we just didn’t realize that day, these imaginations are going to hurt us so badly.

Syrian war is going on since 2011. The crisis started when the Arab Revolution was sweeping the Middle East. Western Countries wanted a ‘regime change’ in Syria by removing the President Bashar Al Ashad but Russia and China supported Syria. In this complex game of “power politics”, people of the region are suffering. We can also debate about various causes of these conflicts-some will say-Colonial legacy is responsible, Others will blame “religion” and some will say “ethnic differences”. We can find innumerable causes responsible for this horror. But the problem is that How to punish someone when perpetrator and victim are the same i.e. Human Beings. 

Why do we need  a shocking picture to realize that something needs to be done to solve the crisis. Loosing your loved ones is very painful experience. Every single person is important. And we talk about innocent children, every child is valuable. We can’t afford to hurt any child.

Bloodied Syrian Boy

Just look at this picture: The boy is alive but his facial expression reflects the emptiness in our ideas, our beliefs and our humanity. We need to realize that things can’t go like this. We as a humanity must come forward to do something. Until when  we are going to run towards chimerical ideas for the sake of humanity.

I am just leaving here with another moving picture created by famous sand-sculpture Sudarshan Patnaik.

Humanity-washed-ashore

Please see some links to know more about the issue:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/09/02/image-of-dead-syrian-child-independent-published_n_8077824.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/08/19/a-picture-of-a-syrian-boy-goes-viral-but-the-war-goes-on/?utm_term=.85366891a943

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/01/13/509650251/study-what-was-the-impact-of-the-iconic-photo-of-the-syrian-boy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian diplomacy in the era of flux

The year of 2016 was turned out to be defining as well as surprising year for the world leaders, policy makers as well as people of the countries. It has thrown out some unusual results which will create ground for the development of new world order. There has been profound changes happened in the last year. Starting from Britain’ s exit from the European Union,  election of Mr Donald Trump as the next US President, Russia’s intervention in Syria, China’s assertion in South China Sea as well as North Korea’ s testing of Hydrogen bomb has created uncertainty and fluidity in the world politics. In fact, in the language of S Jaishankar, India’s foreign secretary every variable is in flux. Having said that, the year of 2016 was a mixed bag for India. India, though achieved great successes bilaterally but failed to achieve any concrete results at multilateral level.

We will first look for successes and next failures and finally the upcoming challenges for Indian diplomacy.

Achievements for Indian diplomacy in the year 2016:

1. The bilateral relations with United States of America has reached to a major high point due to various high level visits and signing of strategic agreements like LEMOA. USA has declared India as a ” major defence partner” giving a boost to the enduring partnership between two countries. Our Prime Minister has also addressed the US congress.

2. The bilateral relations with West Asian countries , particularly GCC countries have also received shot in the arm due to the signing of strategic partnership with these countries in the areas of energy security, defence partnership, counter- terrorism, sharing intelligence information  etc.

3. The passed year was also important for India with respect to the relations with Afghanistan. India has successfully delivered various projects related with infrastructure and reconstruction. For instance, Salma dam, parliament building etc. India has also developed a military angle in the bilateral relations with Afghanistan. After US- Iran deal, India got the opportunity to improve relations with Iran. In this context, India has signed Chahbar agrrement,which will also help India to improve connectivity with Afghanistan as well as Central Asian countries. India also signed Asghabat agreement with Iran and other countries. It will give a major push to the  International North South Transport Corridor.

4.  India and Japan finalized the Civil Nuclear Agreement. It is the first non- NPT nation to sign this agreement with Japan. This agreement will help in the Civil Nuclear energy cooperation and development because of the Japan’ expertise in cutting edge technologies.

5. The IndiaAfrica partnership has achieved a high water mark after the India-Africa Summit 2015. In the last year there were number of high level visits from India led by our Prime Minister, President as well as Vice President to Africa to forge a greater understanding with African countries.

Failures/ Challenges faced by India in 2016:

1. India has faced most serious challenges in the neighbourhood due to cross-border terrorism       instigated, nurtured and supported by the Pakistan. The various terrorist attacks led to the deterioration of bilateral relations between the two countries. It has also poisoned India’s relations with other countries like China. The organization of   SAARC has also failed to a extent due to the intractable relations between two countries. It has suffered a major blow when five countries including India boycotted the SAARC summit in Islamabad.

2. The bilateral relations with China has also deteriorated despite receiving initial momentum due to visit of high dignitaries from both countries. China’ objections to India’s NSG bid on the grounds of procedural hurdles, technical hold on banning Pakistan based terror group chief Mzssood Azhar, developments related with Dalai Lama and other economic issues and India’ s closeness towards USA,Japan etc created strain in the bilateral relations. Most importantly, CPEC(China Pakistan Economic Corridor) part of OBOR(One Belt,One Road) has emerged as a new bottleneck between the two countries.

3. The relations with Russia was also ambiguous even after signing inter-governmental agreement for defense purposes. Russia ‘ s relations with Pakistan in military terms and support for CPEC has created resentment in the diplomatic circles of India.

4. At multilateral level also, Indian diplomacy failed to achieve anything substantial. India’s bid for permanent membership to UNSC, India’s bid for NSG membership, India’s push for Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism etc has failed to take off. Even in BRICS summit, India’ s perception about terrorism was not accepted by Russia and China.

In the era of uncertainty and populism at the global level, India has to take significant as well as astute measures to bring about conducive climate for the fulfillment of India’ cherished aspirations. In fact, Indian diplomats should analyse the past mistakes and emerging challenges before taking further measures. There is need to take a holistic and comprehensive approach understanding the predicaments and situations of other countries. Then only, the intractable issues can be resolved and aspirations can be fulfilled.