Yogesh Joshi https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/7829/all/feedall cached version 11/02/2019 00:10:13 en Democracy and Indian foreign policy https://www.opendemocracy.net/yogesh-joshi/democracy-and-indian-foreign-policy <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>To what extent is India’s foreign policy driven by the democracy factor? Yogesh Joshi reviews S.D. Muni’s latest book <em><a href="http://astore.amazon.com/opendemocra03-20/detail/8175967137">India’s Foreign Policy: The Democracy Dimension</a></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Immanuel Kant’s idea that democracies don’t fight wars with each other holds a lot of traction in contemporary international relations. Democratic peace theory, as this proposition is widely known, appears to enjoy natural sciences-like empirical validity since the proponents of the theory claim that there is hardly an instance in modern history where democracies have gone to war with each other. Though criticism of the democratic peace abounds in international relations literature especially regarding the definitional aspects of the concept of democracy, the mechanisms which the theory invokes in supporting its underlying logic and the ever present n+1 <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction">problem</a> with inductive theories, the fact that it has become one of the most important alternative explanations in defining war and peace – the central puzzle of international politics – is beyond doubt. </p> <p>There is another important facet of the democratic peace thesis. Unlike many other concepts and theories in international relations, the idea that democracies maintain peaceful relations among themselves has been accepted verbatim in actual policy decision making by many democratic states around the world, particularly the Western bloc of liberal democracies. Woodrow Wilson’s fourteen points, the ideological confrontation of the cold war and the recent concerted fight of democracies against global terrorism are examples of this symbiotic relationship between democratic peace theory and foreign policies of Western democracies. Spreading democratic values, therefore, has been accepted as a panacea for a world ridden with internecine conflicts between sovereign states.</p> <p>The case of Western liberal democracies notwithstanding, it is extremely important to see how and to what extent the democracy factor works in the foreign policies of other states. In this regard S.D Muni’s latest scholarly rendition <em><a href="http://astore.amazon.com/opendemocra03-20/detail/8175967137">India’s Foreign Policy: The Democracy Dimension</a></em> is a welcome contribution. Even though India is the world’s largest democracy and also a strong votary of democratic values and ethics, there is hardly any scholarly treatment of the impact of democracy on India’s foreign policy. Not only does this book fill in this critical gap in the literature, it also reflects on how the practices of the Indian state can nuance our understanding of the democratic peace thesis with special regard to the use of force and spread of democratic values. </p> <p>For Muni, three factors have played an important role in determining how far the democracy dimension has influenced India’s foreign policy. First is the structure of global politics. For instance, just after independence, India had to confront both the bipolar reality of the cold war and the new wave of decolonisation and anti-imperialism. If the logic of the cold war necessitated a rather mute espousal of ideologies (read democracy) given the security concerns of a non-aligned state, the anti-colonial struggle warranted a policy strengthening the choice of colonial nations for democracy and freedom. The international structure indeed constituted a tight rope on which Indian decision makers had to walk when it came to democracy and its role in India’s foreign policy. </p> <p>The circumstances have, however, changed dramatically after the end of the cold war. During this period, the project of democracy promotion has reached its crescendo and the ideology of spreading democracy has taken a hyper-masculine avatar – evident in the number of humanitarian interventions which international politics has lately seen. Under such circumstances, India too has been able to incorporate the democracy factor more robustly in its foreign policy. The role of democracy in the growing relations with USA is a case in point. India is actively involved in Afghanistan and its considerations during the most recent Gulf war &nbsp;to send peace keeping troops to Iraq point in the same direction. </p> <p>The second factor is the nature of internal politics. According to Muni, changing political alliances within Indian politics and the character of leadership has great relevance for India’s foreign policy. Democracy as a factor in external relations has not been untouched by this dynamic. Under Nehru’s as well as Indira Gandhi’s leadership the decision making process was highly centralised. Of late, with the coming of coalition governments, the tenor of India’s decision making apparatus has undergone change to the effect that multiple voices with multiple interests need to be accommodated. Centrality of leadership has been marginalised by the necessity of coalitional consensus. </p> <p>Lastly the content and texture of the democratic struggles in the neighbourhood is also an important element in India’s posture. Muni claims that whereas in the immediate period after independence there was a great personal rapport between leaders spearheading democratic movements in India’s neighbourhood and India’s own political leadership given the ideological connections established during India’s freedom struggle, of late such connections have been hardly visible. Moreover, recent democratic urges in the neighbourhood are vastly different from the elitist movements of yesteryears; democratic aspirations have percolated down to the masses and there appears to be a massive involvement of the general public in democratic struggles. Therefore, elite connections between India’s political and social classes and that of its neighbours are not as relevant as they used to be. And therefore, the engineering of a democratic struggles that an Indian elite was able to perform during the rein of Jawaharlal Nehru is just not possible anymore. Nothing can be more revealing of this facet than the Maoist saga in Nepal. </p> <p>Based on these variables, Muni offers a three-fold historical classification when it comes to the import of democracy in India’s foreign policy: the Nehruvian phase; the post-Nehruvian period and the period after the cold war. The Nehruvian phase, for Muni, was characterised by the constant compromise between ideological legacies of India’s independence movement, the consequent penchant for democratic politics and institutions on one hand, and the needs for India’s security and survival on the other. This adjustment between ideology and <em>realpolitik</em>, as Muni calls it, was reflected in India’s ill-treatment of the democratic aspirations of the Nepali Congress given her consequent interests in the stability provided by a favourably disposed Rana regime in Nepal. This adjustment led to what can at best be called a truncated version of democracy even when, according to Muni, the general mood in Nepal was in favour of a thorough democratic churning. Such compromises were evident in India’s policy towards Sikkim, Pakistan and Burma. Read in the light of a wonderful exposition of the Nehruvian strategy of conflict management by Srinath Raghavan in his <em>book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Peace-Modern-India-Srinath-Raghavan/dp/0230242154">War and Peace in Modern India</a></em>, Muni appears to be perfectly on the mark. However, what is quite evident in the Nehruvian period is India’s disinclination towards revolutionary change: Change was only welcome if it was evolutionary and gradual. This was reflected in India’s treatment of anti-monarchy demonstrations in Sikkim and anti-Rana struggles in Nepal. Clearly, the preference was for order rather than justice. </p> <p>The post-Nehruvian period appears to be solely driven by realist logic where ideological affinities with democracy played a marginal role only to the extent that it supported the interest of the Indian state. Muni also claims that this period marked a decline in democratic values within India given Indira Gandhi’s imposition of emergency rule. This decline in democratic ethics within the state appears to have spilled over into the democratic rationale of its foreign policy. </p> <p>In the post-Cold War period, Muni suggests that a normative discourse has entered the parlance of strategic thought where decisions have to be supported by the idioms of democratic values and human rights. Democracy, in other words, has become a vehicle for the advancement of strategic interests. He is apt to point out the increasing bonhomie between US and India and the role democratic rhetoric has played up in building the relationship between these two states. </p> <p>It is more than apparent by now that the functional variable for Muni in this threefold classification is not democracy alone but its interaction with national interests’ especially strategic considerations. In the Nehruvian period, democracy was pursued to the extent that it does not impinge on India’s strategic necessities; a healthy balance between the two was seeked. Post-Nehru democracy was dumped altogether and realism took command where interests trumped ideology. For this reason alone, the Indian state reacted in a rather extreme way to the democratic concerns in its neighbourhood. On one hand, for example, Indira Gandhi’s regime wholeheartedly supported the monarchy in Nepal to the extent that it even deported B.P Koirala – a Nepali congress stalwart and close associate of Nehru – to a hostile monarchical dispensation in Nepal. On the other hand, it went to war with Pakistan over democratic rights of Bangladeshis and the huge humanitarian crises created by the purges of the East Pakistani army in Bangladesh. The incorporation of Sikkim into the Indian republic also conveys a similar story. In the new millennium where the jargon of democracy has occupied a distinct normative space in international political language, India seems to be playing the game well enough. Initiatives such as the communities of democracy and UN democracy fund, of which India has been a champion of sorts, indicate the use of a democracy idiom for strategic purposes. </p> <p>This book is an immense source of learning for students who are interested in India’s foreign policy. The case studies are a real asset given the author’s expertise of the South Asian region. For those who want to see alternative models of how democratic politics influence foreign policy beyond those evident in the foreign policy discourse of the Western nations, I would recommend reading this book. The narrative offers a plethora of ideas suggesting that democracy and how it is perceived in the foreign policy domain differs from context to context. This facet is most evident in the Nehruvian strategy to deal with democratic aspirations of people in India’s neighbourhood and the issue of political transformation. This book, for me, can also be seen as a rebuttal of the neo-conservative logic of aggressive liberalism where war is considered a moral imperative in the promotion of democratic values; a contradiction so glaring that it makes the whole enterprise appear nothing more than a sham.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> India </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> openIndia India Democracy and government International politics india/pakistan Yogesh Joshi Thu, 22 Mar 2012 10:08:02 +0000 Yogesh Joshi 64991 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The nuclear dilemmas of South Asia https://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/yogesh-joshi/nuclear-dilemmas-of-south-asia <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> An accelerating nuclear arms race between a fragile Pakistani government aiming at a strategic balance with India and an Indian state that ignores its neighbor's security concerns is on the verge of spiraling out of control, says Yogesh Joshi </div> </div> </div> <p>The first five months of the year 2011 do not augur well for the nuclear situation on the Indian sub-continent. During <span><a href="http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/25/pakistan-warns-against-india-nuclear-support.html">a meeting</a></span> of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) earlier this year, Pakistan - again - categorically rejected the proposed Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, the bone of contention being the imbalance between India and Pakistan in terms of fissile material. Without a guarantee that India will not use its stocks for the production of nuclear weapons in future, Pakistan feels compelled to continue its production of nuclear material as well as nuclear weapons to catch up with India and maintain the fragile balance in the region.</p> <p>India on the other hand, disregarding Pakistani sensitivities, continued <span><a href="http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1514501.ece">testing its</a></span> Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system, claiming that BMD has now been sufficiently developed to be fully integrated into its air defence framework by 2014. Pakistan reacted by <span><a href="http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2011_05/NewsBrief4">test-firing a </a></span> short-range nuclear ballistic missile in April. The introduction of these missiles into the arsenal of Pakistan's military forces would turn South Asia into a host of tactical nuclear weapons – miniaturised nuclear weapons intended for frequent use against conventional armies, thereby lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in a conventional conflict and hence increasing the threat of a nuclear fiasco.</p> <p>The arms race contributes to the security dilemma in the region that is on the verge of spiraling out of control. The situation is bound to deteriorate further due to the complete neglect of the other party's security concerns on both sides. Against the background of the prevalence of terrorism in the region and the danger of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups the need to stop this arms race and mutual negligence is imperative.</p> <h3>Who’s dilemma?</h3> <p>It is true that India's <span><a href="http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/ISN-Insights/Detail?lng=en&amp;id=129548&amp;contextid734=129548&amp;contextid735=129547&amp;tabid=129547">continued production</a></span> of fissile material, successful testing of the BMD, establishment of an aggressive <span><a href="http://www.ipcs.org/article/india/towards-an-indo-pak-nuclear-lexicon-iii-cold-start-3332.html">military doctrine</a></span> termed 'Cold Start', and avoidance of serious negotiations on Kashmir have made Pakistan extremely nervous. India's fissile material inventories are huge, totalling more than 600kg of weapons grade plutonium and 1300kg of reactor grade plutonium. Even after IAEA safeguards were put in place, thanks to the Indo-US nuclear deal, India’s fissile material production continues unabated. All heavy water reactors which produce reactor grade plutonium are not under IAEA's supervision. Moreover, the Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) programme - with a capability to produce large quantities of weapons grade plutonium - is entirely out of reach for inspections. Therefore, theoretically India could divert its fissile material to weapons production whenever it wishes to do so.</p> <p>India also follows a strategy denying Pakistan any strategic space in the region. The BMD is directly motivated by the desire to blunt Pakistan's nuclear capability vis-a-vis India. The desire to emasculate Pakistan is also evident in the Indian Cold Start doctrine. Cold Start seeks to deliver a conventional punitive blow against Pakistan while avoiding a nuclear war. The fear in Pakistan is further aggravated by India's growing stocks of conventional weapons.</p> <p>Pakistan, on the other hand, clearly focusses on the nuclear option. The integration of nuclear weapons into the basic security structure of Pakistan is on-going while nuclear red lines - thresholds under which a nuclear strike against the primary adversary India would be initiated - have been drastically reduced. Pakistan's national security discourse is mainly motivated by the revision of its borders with India and competition for regional supremacy. Therefore, nuclear weapons for Pakistan are not means to attain relative stability but a medium to challenge the status quo. As <span><a href="http://m.timesofindia.com/PDATOI/articleshow/7637964.cms">Shaun Gregory</a></span> suggests, Pakistan's preference is for a 'managed nuclear instability' in order to keep the pot of Kashmir and more broadly South Asia boiling for years to come. To this end, Pakistan has made nuclear weapons its primary asset. Today, the country claims the world's fourth largest nuclear arsenal and is striving hard to increase the numbers even further. The process of rapid nuclear expansion in a state already torn apart by fundamentalism and economic destitution portends extreme danger.</p> <h3>Neglecting the other</h3> <p>India seeks to isolate itself from the dilemmas faced by Pakistan. It claims that its fissile material inventories are meant for energy purposes; that BMD is defensive in nature; that Cold Start has never been officially recognised; and finally that Kashmir can be brought to the negotiating table once Pakistan makes good on its promises to stop terrorism.</p> <p>However, remaining in such a state of denial cannot satisfy Pakistan. On the contrary, it signals a serious lack of intent on India’s part to even understand the difficult situation Pakistan is in. The current state of negotiations on strategic matters suggest that Pakistan hardly figures in India's nuclear thinking. Whereas Pakistan is most active in international forums incriminating its neighbour, India on the other hand seems to play the role of a deaf elephant.</p> <p>Three arguments can account for India's indifference. First, India's emergence at the global stage and Pakistan's concomitant slump into a vortex of political instability and economic chaos has created an impression in India that Pakistan is no worthy adversary any longer. With India's growing economic and political room to manoeuvre, the role of Pakistan in its external security dynamics is waning except when it comes to the issue of terrorism. Moreover, India considers the nuclearisation of the subcontinent to have settled the border dispute once and for all. Therefore, Pakistan's role as a negotiator in territorial conflicts is further diminished.</p> <p>Second, the tenor of India's nuclear programme has always been influenced by the prestige-seeking nature of its scientific community. If testing a nuclear device was the overall objective of Indian scientists in the last century, both the FBR programmes as well as BMD have become the symbols of the 21st century. Control over such strategic technologies and their association with national security provide the scientific community with an unprecedented access to political power. Arms control therefore does not augur well with India's scientific community.</p> <p>Lastly, unlike during times when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee undertook the 'leap of faith' during the Lahore summit in 1999, today both India and Pakistan lack the leadership which could jump start a serious process of arms control in the region. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has shown some exemplary courage in starting a dialogue with Pakistan recently, the rapidly unfolding story of Pakistan's 'hand in glove' approach with international terrorism, evident in the killing of Osama bin Laden and the on-going trial of David Headley in connection with the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, has created a <span><a href="http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/story/killing-of-osama-bin-laden-will-not-effect-indo-pak-talks/1/137117.html">lot of skepticism</a></span> in India over the viability of a dialogue with Pakistan. On the other hand, in the case of Pakistan, it has often been futile to talk to the civilian government since the real seat of power and influence rests not in Islamabad but in the military garrisons of Rawalpindi. The civilian leadership barely exists and the true leaders of the country – the army generals - hardly want to talk to India.</p> <h3>Time for unilateral gestures</h3> <p>India needs to start acknowledging the unfolding security dilemma in South Asia. Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal along with fundamentalism on the rise poses a grave threat to India and the region as a whole, the resolution of which requires empathy with the other side's concerns and a building of trust.</p> <p>Unilateral gestures can play a crucial role. First, the Indian government should disavow the Cold Start doctrine, which is even questioned by the Indian army itself: Whereas many high level army officers have supported the doctrine in the past, the current chief of the Indian Army has called it <span><a href="http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2010-12-02/news/28400780_1_indian-army-doctrine-army-chief">a figment</a></span> of India's think tank community. Moreover, there is a lack of coherence between the three defence services when it comes to fighting a limited war in the region. Both Navy and Air force blow their own, antagonistic trumpets: the former for air superiority and the latter for naval dominance. Cold Start has become a liability for the Indian government and has been used by Pakistan as an alibi for nuclear expansion.</p> <p>Second, India’s objective in the region should be to maintain the offence-defence balance so that Pakistan is not prompted to increase its nuclear weapons arsenal drastically. Successful deployment of BMD in the region would pose an existential threat to Pakistan. Though India has a no first use policy, Pakistan has never accepted India's doctrine seriously. To stop Pakistan from unnecessary vertical proliferation, India must stop any further development of BMD. Such a move would send clear signals to Pakistan and the world that India is serious about maintaining the strategic balance in the region and does not seek to emasculate Pakistan. This would also embolden the civilian government vis-à-vis the military in Pakistan and motivate it to seek peace in the region.</p> <p>Third, without understanding that Pakistan is a major stakeholder in the Kashmir conflict, India’s efforts to resolve the issue will remain futile. With <span><a href="http://hir.harvard.edu/india-in-transition/summer-of-discontent">growing unrest</a></span> in the Kashmir valley, the timely resolution of the issue has become an imperative. It is important to start serious talks on Kashmir also in order to provide an amicable environment to discuss the lingering nuclear question in South Asia.</p> <p>India needs to realise that even though Pakistan may be a troublesome neighbour it is there to stay and has to be engaged. A 'blind leap of faith' in uncharted territories is at times a better strategy than conscious brinksmanship.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The author would like to thank Prof. Nicholas Wheeler, Dr. Meenakshi Gopinath and Seema Kakran for organising a workshop on </em><em>Trust Building in Nuclear Worlds.</em><em> This article is inspired by the ideas shared during the workshop.</em></p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> openSecurity openSecurity Conflict india/pakistan Yogesh Joshi Thu, 02 Jun 2011 16:15:07 +0000 Yogesh Joshi 59823 at https://www.opendemocracy.net India and the NPT: what next? https://www.opendemocracy.net/yogesh-joshi/india-and-npt-what-next <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The possibilities of India joining the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a Non-Nuclear Weapon State are bleak. However, no-one will want to see the treaty undermined by accommodating India as a Nuclear Weapons State. The only option available which serves the interests of both India and the NPT is to maintain the status quo </div> </div> </div> <p>The recently concluded Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference (RevCon) has renewed the <a href="http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/legal/npt/revcon2010/DraftFinalDocument.pdf">call</a> for the universalisation of the treaty. The NPT RevCon has asked India along with Pakistan and Israel - the three non-signatory states to the NPT- to unilaterally disarm and join the treaty as Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS).&nbsp;</p> <p>However, India possesses nuclear weapons. The 2008 Civilian Nuclear Agreement between India and USA, also called ‘the Indo-US nuclear deal’, has accepted India as a country with advanced nuclear technology - a tacit acceptance of its weapon capabilities.&nbsp; It has provided India with a special status of being the only country outside the NPT which has been allowed to commerce in sensitive nuclear technology and material. Article III of the NPT prohibits nuclear trade with non-NPT states.&nbsp; This exception is further strengthened by the IAEA-India Safeguards agreement. The agreement allows India to have both civilian and military nuclear programmes. Under NPT only Nuclear Weapon States - states whose possession of nuclear weapons is accepted under Article I of the NPT- have this privilege.</p> <p>Against this backdrop, the call for universalisation throws open exciting questions about India’s future engagement with the NPT. &nbsp;It attempts to deal with three possible scenarios:</p> <ul> <li>India joins NPT as a NNWS</li> <li>India joining the NPT as a NWS</li> <li>India remains outside the treaty while following the principles and norms of the NPT. This for India would be &nbsp;the status quo on the NPT</li></ul> <h3>Historical Underpinnings</h3> <p>From an Indian standpoint, the history of NPT can be divided into three time periods: the periods of engagement, disengagement and reengagement.</p> <p>The period of engagement stretches from 1954 to 1970. India called for a standstill agreement on all nuclear testing in 1954 and signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963.&nbsp; It was one of the members of the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Commission (ENDC) which started negotiating the NPT in July 1965. However, as the negotiations unfolded, Indian excitement diminished. The treaty allowed possession of nuclear weapons to states that had imploded nuclear devices before 1 January 1967. However, it did not address the question of reductions of the arsenals of the NWS adequately. As is evident in article VI of the treaty, NWS only promised to negotiate in good faith towards nuclear disarmament. India also felt threatened when China, with which it has a border dispute, was included in the treaty as a NWS since China had conducted nuclear tests in 1964. By the time the treaty came into force in 1970, India’s period of disengagement had begun.</p> <p>This process lasted from 1970 to 1998. During this period, India distanced itself from the treaty. India had developed a sophisticated nuclear programme since the mid 1940’s and the NPT’s failure in meeting India’s expectations provided it with a motivation to go nuclear.&nbsp; India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, euphemistically called a ‘Peaceful Nuclear Explosion’. Following the blast, all international nuclear-related trade with India was heavily sanctioned. In May 1998, it conducted five nuclear tests, declaring to the world its military nuclear programme.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, with the coming of the bomb, came a period of reengagement, informed by two important developments. First, having gone nuclear and thus being reassured of its nuclear status, India joined the other NWS in looking at non-proliferation from the perspective of a state with nuclear weapons. It realized, for example, the destabilizing impact of the nuclear proliferation business between North Korea, China and Pakistan on the South Asian region.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Just before the 2000 NPT RevCon, the Indian government for the first time supported the principles of the NPT, though it <a href="http://meaindia.nic.in/disarmament/dm10may00.htm">declined</a> to join it as a NNWS. Again in 2005, the Indian Minister for External Affairs Natwar Singh appealed for strengthening the NPT and <a href="http://www.idsa.in/node/1556">called</a> India a ‘responsible’ nuclear power. This pattern was visible in the <a href="http://www.indianembassy.org/newsite/press_release/2010/Apr/10.asp">address</a> of the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the recently held Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC where it became evident that India has now become one of the pivotal members of the non-proliferation regime. A shift in India’s stance on the NPT has resulted in India being brought into the non-proliferation regime from the backdoor. Today, India stands at crossroads: part of the non-proliferation regime and yet not a part of the NPT, either as a NNWS or a NWS.</p> <h3>Might India join the NPT as a NNWS?</h3> <p>India can only be accepted as a NNWS in the NPT if it unilaterally disarms and gives up its military nuclear programme. However, having been recognized as a de facto NWS, a responsible nuclear power and a state with advanced nuclear technology under the Indo-US nuclear deal, this is nearly impossible. Since the 1998 tests, Indian foreign policy has taken a <em>realpolitik</em> bent. As <a href="http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415545150/">Raja Mohan</a> pointed out in his 2007 study, India realizes that in the foreseeable future nuclear weapons will remain active tools of international diplomacy and may well decide the contours of power politics. Even President Obama conceded the importance of nuclear weapons for US security in his Prague Speech. Also, the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review underlines the salience of nuclear weapons in the contemporary world. In this scenario, India would very much like to hold onto its nuclear weapons.</p> <h3>Will India join the NPT as a NWS?</h3> <p>Many in India and abroad have deliberated on this issue and have <a href="http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/india-wants-join-non-proliferation-treaty?page=1">responded</a> in favour of bringing an amendment to the NPT under the provisions of Article VIII in order to accommodate India as a NWS member. Legally possible, such a proposal is politically myopic. Bringing an amendment to the NPT is easier said than done. More than one-third of the NPT member states must support any plea for amendment, and a successful amendment to the treaty requires the solid backing of all five NWS as well as a majority of the NNWS.</p> <p>Consensus among the NNWS is highly problematic. Egypt, which heads the Non-Alignment Movement in the NPT, has <a href="http://www.un.org/NPT2010/SecondSession/delegates%20statements/Egypt.pdf">described</a> cooperation under the Indo-US nuclear deal as a “direct contravention of Article I of the treaty and provisions of Para 12 of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension conference”. It has also underlined the negative impact of the deal on the overall structure of the NPT. Iran has <a href="http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=75299&amp;Itemid=39">said</a> that the deal has already “severely damaged” the NPT. India’s incorporation as a NWS would be even more disconcerting for these countries.</p> <p>Even the NWS understand that such a development may lead to the erosion of NPT’s legitimacy.&nbsp; All NWS have an inherent interest in maintaining the sanctity of the NPT. NPT has a near universal membership with 189 members. More than 26 countries, such as South Africa, Brazil and Argentina, have rolled back their nuclear programmes and have become members of the NPT. Only North Korea has proliferated while remaining inside the treaty. Iran is suspected of doing so. Seen against the backdrop of the proliferation fears expressed by President Kennedy in his speech in the United Nations General Assembly in 1961, the NPT has indeed made huge strides towards restraining many states from going nuclear.&nbsp;</p> <p>This explains why the Obama administration is so persistent about the universalisation of the NPT, despite the apparent <a href="http://www.indianexpress.com/news/us-to-push-for-india-and-pak-to-join-npt/613803/">contradiction</a>, as many in India see it, with the US position in the Indo-US nuclear deal.&nbsp; The constant advocacy for universalisation of the NPT as reflected in the NPT RevCon’s Final Declaration is a manifestation of a collective interest in preserving the NPT. The above arguments underline the fact that both NWS and NNWS will not wish to see the structure of the NPT changed to accommodate India as a NWS.</p> <h3>What about the status quo option?</h3> <p>Soon after negotiations on the nuclear deal were initiated, the North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan requested that the US Assistant Secretary of State, Christopher Hill, “<em>treat us (North Korea) in the way you treat India</em>”(<a href="http://cisac.stanford.edu/publications/nuclear_proliferation_in_south_asia_crisis_behavior_and_the_bomb/">Quoted</a>, <em>Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia</em> p.198 - emphasis added.) It means that following the Indian example, North Korea also wants its weapons programme to be legitimized.&nbsp; Hence, the history of India’s engagement, disengagement and reengagement with the NPT has become a model for states who want to go nuclear. In other words, India today offers a ‘complete breakout package’ to those disgruntled with progress under the NPT (<a href="http://cisac.stanford.edu/publications/nuclear_proliferation_in_south_asia_crisis_behavior_and_the_bomb/">Ibid</a>, p.199). Incorporation will not only embolden aspirations to follow this ‘model for proliferation’ but would also provide a fundamental motivation to proliferate.</p> <p>Incorporating India as a NWS into the NPT would suggest that the NWS are only concerned with horizontal proliferation (the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to countries that have not previously held them), not with vertical proliferation (the increase in size of an existing WMD arsenal). This is bolstered by the fact that India’s continued stockpiling of weapons-grade plutonium has received far less attention than proliferation attempts by Iran and North Korea. The impression thus rendered - by the US-India nuclear deal were India were to be granted NWS status - is that once a state crosses the nuclear threshold, the international community will, sooner or later, accept its nuclear status.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>The Indo-US nuclear deal was an exception to the rule of the non-proliferation regime.&nbsp; So far, if the damage done by the deal has been limited, this is because of the widespread legitimacy the NPT enjoys in the international arena. However, any further meddling with the NPT will certainly lead to unpalatable outcomes. Even if the NPT has been so far successful in restraining its members from proliferating, continued assault on its core normative underpinnings may lead to its disintegration.</p> <p>This fear, as was indicated by the UN High Level panel on <a href="http://www.un.org/secureworld/">Threats, Challenges and Change</a> did not solely emanate from clandestine activities of states such as North Korea and Iran. It also arose from the constant undermining of the values of the NPT by the great powers, as made evident in the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement and in the ongoing sidelining of the NWS’s disarmament commitments. India’s incorporation into the NPT as a NWS would further strengthen the ‘Indian Model of Proliferation’ and rekindle motivations to proliferate among other states. Order, in a world with a number of nuclear powers, will be hard to maintain. Therefore, it is in India’s interest as a growing power in the international scene to maintain the status quo on the NPT.&nbsp;</p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>Under these conditions, the only available option for India and the NPT members is to maintain the status quo.</p> <p>However, maintaining the status quo can only act as a temporary fix in the international nuclear order, given the NPT’s inherently discriminatory nature. Diplomatic wrangling on the issue of universalisation of the NPT will continue until and unless the categories of NWS and NNWS are eliminated. This will only be possible in a world free of nuclear weapons. In a nuclear weapons world, these categories will persist, representing discrimination and injustice, and hence a reason for rivalry and contention amongst states.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> India </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> openIndia openIndia India International politics Towards Nuclear Non-proliferation Yogesh Joshi Wed, 21 Jul 2010 12:31:57 +0000 Yogesh Joshi 55245 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Yogesh Joshi https://www.opendemocracy.net/author-profile/yogesh-joshi <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Yogesh Joshi </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-au-firstname"> <div class="field-label">First name(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Yogesh </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-au-surname"> <div class="field-label">Surname:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Joshi </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-au-city"> <div class="field-label">City:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Delhi </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-au-country"> <div class="field-label">Country:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> India </div> </div> </div> <p>Yogesh Joshi is a research scholar at the <a href="http://www.jnu.ac.in/main.asp?sendval=cipodAboutUs">Center for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament</a>, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India</p><div class="field field-au-shortbio"> <div class="field-label">One-Line Biography:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> &lt;p&gt;Yogesh Joshi is a research scholar at the &lt;a href=&quot;http://www.jnu.ac.in/main.asp?sendval=cipodAboutUs&quot;&gt;Center for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament&lt;/a&gt;, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India&lt;/p&gt; </div> </div> </div> Yogesh Joshi Fri, 02 Jul 2010 07:16:19 +0000 Yogesh Joshi 54982 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Book Review: India's New Capitalists: Caste, Business and Industry in a Modern Nation https://www.opendemocracy.net/openindia/yogesh-joshi/book-review-new-capitalists-caste-business-and-industry-in-modern-nation <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Historical and cultural detail provides a rich understanding of India's powerful new business houses </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;">How has capital thrived in India? The question seems to be pertinent in the backdrop of the meteoric rise of India as an economic powerhouse. With the number of millionaires in the country crossing a figure of one lakh (100,000), the Indian capitalist class has left a unique imprint on the global economic scene. Indian companies are today buying out global brands and creating globally recognized products of their own. However, the rise of capital and the capitalists cannot be separated from the larger social and political milieu. The Indian capitalist class, therefore, was not insulated from the culture, society, polity and geography in which it operated. All these factors contributed to the rise of Indian capital in their own unique way.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;"></p><iframe src="http://rcm-uk.amazon.co.uk/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=opendemocra0e-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&md=0M5A6TN3AXP2JHJBWT02&asins=0230205070" style="width:120px;height:240px;" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0" align="right"></iframe> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;">In this backdrop, Harish Damodaran’s effort in providing a thick description of the rise of the Indian capital and its new capitalists is a welcome contribution. The narrative tries to delve into the history of Indian entrepreneurship, from the times of the British Raj to the domination of the country’s closed economy by ubiquitous quota systems and further linking it up to the liberalization of the economy in early 1990’s. <span>&nbsp;</span>It traces out the rise and fall of different merchant communities or in modern parlance - the business houses. The depth of the narrative is its major strength. The author picks up the history of each of these communities and links up with the context in which they operated. This contextualization allows the readers to understand the social and political forces which helped or impeded the growth of these entrepreneurs. <span>&nbsp;</span>The narrative is full of details and there is where the author develops an interest in the reader. The treatment of individual entrepreneurs and their struggles is captivating. However, the main strength of the book is that this detailed narration does not deflect the reader’s attention from broad threads which underlie the history of the Indian capitalist class.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;"><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>First is the role of agriculture and geography in the development of Indian Capitalism. The growth of hybrid varieties of cotton and tobacco and the breakthrough in irrigation techniques in coastal Andhra Pradesh helped the Kammas to venture into the textiles industry and tobacco processing.<span>&nbsp; </span>On the other hand, the Reddys, though in possession of more land compared to the Kammas, made mining their preserve since they inhabited the drier lands of the state were irrigation was a major problem. Similarly the coming of Cambodia breed of cotton helped the Naidus of Coimbatore to make the city the ‘Manchester of the east’. In Marxian terminology, these were the agriculturists with surplus capital. However, one other major factor which allowed the consolidation of these communities was the absence of the traditional Indian merchant class better known as the Bania or the Marwari. The absence of capitalist entrepreneurs in the Bengali Bhadralok and the Jats of northern India is an example of the pervasiveness and depth of these traditional merchant classes. It was also one of the reasons for the Patidars of Gujarat and Marathas in Maharashtra to develop co-operatives methods of industrial development.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;"><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The second broad argument which clearly manifests itself in the book is the role of society, traditions and culture in the growth of Indian capitalist classes and vice versa. <span>&nbsp;</span>The sense of community has played a significant role whether it is the case of the rise of Parsis in the pre-independence period or the Gounders of Tirupur in Tamilnadu in the post-Independence era. The case of Tirupur Export Association is unique. Similar is the case of the Nadars in Kerala. The Nadar Mahajana Sangam and the Nadar Bank limited, later renamed Tamilnadu Mercantile Bank, were instrumental in the business success of the Nadar Community. The story of Sakthi Sugars, a Gounder enterprise, were community shareholding comprised 40 percent of the total shares is a case in point. These community links are also evident in the Patidar and Maratha communities. Though, societal trust and bonding has been crucial for business, the Indian Caste system had its own impact on the business scene. For example, the Patidars and the Marathas were the dominant castes in the rural settings of their respective states and controlled most of the land. What Brahmins lacked in land, they made up in education. However, again this essentialisation is problematic since the Brahmins in north India remain insulated from the affects of the Capital.<span>&nbsp; </span>The author explains this variance by the logic of flexibility and openness of the southern Brahmins because of their early exposure to the winds of imperial globalization. However, most fascinating is the dialectic between success in business and social mobility. The Marathas, having tasted the success of co-operatives, increasingly started asserting their Khastriya lineages. The success of Nadars and Ezhavas in Industry and Business in Kerala also resulted in a vehement opposition to Brahmin dominance in society and religion. In this sense, the rise of capital has acted as enabling factor for the socially excluded. The book also makes the affects of culture and identity conspicuous. These are most observable in case of the Bengali Bhadralok and the Jats. Whereas the former was accultured by the presence of the British as a typical westernized ‘babu’, the Jat identifies itself vis-à-vis the dishonest and shrewd ‘Bania’ and therefore loathes business. However, these essentialisations have their own limitations and the author is careful enough not to solidify these constructions by elaborating on the successful business ventures undertaken by these communities.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;"><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The third element which the author seems to bring out is the crucial role which globalization played in the growth of the new capitalist class. The impacts of a global economy are visible in the fallout of the Great Depression on the British business and the opportunities it provided for the local. We also saw how changes in agriculture and irrigation techniques allowed the surplus capital to grow which was later channeled in to industrial development. Moreover, increasing foreign collaborations helped the indigenous industries. The export led growth of the Tirupur knitwear industry is one such example. Today, the knitwear from Tirupur contributes to world brands such as Marks and Spencer’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Wal-Mart and many others. Moreover, the role of foreign education and the experience which Indian entrepreneurs gathered while working abroad cannot be ignored. Also, Indian Diasporas, especially the Patels of Gujarat and the Sikh Jats of Punjab, had their own impact both in economic and political terms. However, the effects of globalization have been mixed. There appears to be strain between modern individualism and traditional community based approaches to capitalism. Again the author’s elucidation of the case of Tamil Mercantile Bank makes the point crystal clear. Initially an endeavor of the Nadars of Thoothukooti, the bank was devised to cater to the financial interests of the community. However the furor which accompanied the sale of 15 percent of the Pioneer Asia (A Nadar enterprise) shares in the bank to the Essar group (Marwari) reveals this growing rift. The same is visible in the new initiatives among the Patidar community in Gujarat who are now leaving the co-operatives for more individualistic pursuits of capital. The underside of the process also reveals itself in the new challenges which settled business communities are facing, manifest in the new environmental and labor norms affecting the cost of production (Fireworks in Shivakasi and Textile industry in Tirupur) <span>&nbsp;</span>and the coming of new technology forcing traditional practices to extinction ( the hand-printing industry in Shivakasi). However, this has also opened avenues for new entrepreneurs, Suzlon being an example.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;"><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The last point which I think clearly comes out of the book is the nexus between politics and capital. The coming to the foray of Gujarati Business and Industry by the Patidars community was linked to their participation in the Indian independence movement and close association with Indian National Congress. The unsuccessful yet bold attempts by the Bengali Bhadralok in business were themselves motivated by the swadeshi movement. The post independence period saw the rise of a number of business communities and the interesting point is that most of these high capitalists saw political power as the consummation of their financial endeavors. The coming to power of the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh and the increase in Kamma wealth was not coincidental, nor is, in hindsight, the issue of the separate state of Telangana. The profile of leaders active in Maharashtra state politics eventually tells the story of co-operatives and their link with local politics. The lack of opportunities in Business and Industry explains the active support provided by the Sikh Diaspora to the cause of Khalistan.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;"><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The book however has its own deficiencies. A preliminary reading would give a hint of portraying communities with fixed identities mainly the chapters on Bengali bhadralok and Jats. <span>&nbsp;</span>Similarly, by restricting the cutoff for the new capitalists to a 100 crore (1000 million) rupees turnover threshold, the book may appear to unnecessarily celebrate the big business leaving out more interesting tales of small but more creative entrepreneurship. Another deficit of this work is the tangential treatment of the minority business classes.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>However, no work is supposed to cover every possible detail it can. The most important contribution of the book is that it situates this capitalism firmly in Indian polity and society and therefore, illuminates the reader on how capitalism takes different avatars under different circumstances. It allows us to understand the specificities of capital in the Indian case yet gives an impression of its transcending and flexible nature. <span>&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://permanent-black.blogspot.com/2008/01/indias-new-capitalists.html">India's New Capitalists: Caste, Business and Industry in a Modern Nation</a>, Damodaran, Harish, Permanent Black and New India Foundation, 2008</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> India </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> </div> </div> openIndia openEconomy openIndia India Culture Economics Yogesh Joshi Fri, 02 Jul 2010 07:13:21 +0000 Yogesh Joshi 54981 at https://www.opendemocracy.net