India Insight

India’s Soft Power: An Assessment

Post World War Two, The USSR and USA emerged as super-powers who later formed their respective military alliances and pitched against one another; the Soviets, having realized the potential of ‘Soft Power’ employed a substantially large public diplomacy program against the west and promoting the Communist system. Subsequently, they succeeded in making East European countries believe in the goodness of Communism, as a result, many of those countries assimilated Communism into their political system. This was largely possible because of the USSR’s ‘Soft Power’ a concept introduced by Joseph Nye – an American Political Scientist – is relatively newer in today’s world. He goes on to define ‘soft power’ as ‘the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than coercion’. In today’s world, knowing that public perceptions play a large role in determining a Country’s global image, the concept of soft power has never been as important as it it is today.

Joseph Nye talks of America as a quintessential employer of soft power(1) in a way that it is home to some of the World’s most eminent brands like Boeing, IBM, Levi’s, Starbucks among others which are part of the daily life of people across the globe especially in metropolitan cities and it has largely been the reason why the world has become ‘Americanised’ to a great extent ; this is coupled with America’s global military presence, deft diplomacy and the ability to forge alliances and partnerships to their advantage. These factors can be attributed to America’s success to establish itself as the sole power-house of the world.

The 2018 ‘Soft Power 30’ index has placed the UK at top followed by France and Germany. India does not figure separately in the list but the report features a chapter solely on Asia, listing ten countries in the region, ranking India’s soft power as eighth. The report is certainly not satisfactory vis-à-vis India knowing that therein lies a huge yet largely unidentified prospect of harnessing India’s soft power and channelizing it our advantage. In India’s context, everything from Buddha to Bollywood(2) may be used as a tool to advance and employ its soft power. India’s rich cultural heritage, status of being the largest democracy, palatable cuisine, bollywood film industry among other factors may rightly be termed as our soft power assets. An example of successful usage of soft power is reaching global consensus to observe 21st of June as International Day of Yoga. It is at least one day that every informed citizen of the world would think about India in a positive way, as a result, India’s global image gains momentum. I would now like to shift focus to Afghanistan; both India and the USA have been involved in rebuilding Afghanistan’s ravaged infrastructure for some time now. India may not have contributed as much as the USA have in monetary terms but in the eye of common Afghani citizens, India enjoys a much better image than the USA; it won’t be an exaggeration to say that it has largely been possible because of the soft power that India wields in Afghanistan in form of people-to-people contacts, promoting cultural linkages and undertaking gestures like inviting Afghanistan’s cricket team to play their first Test Match in Bangalore, goodwill visits et alia. India’s relations with Bangladesh have been going through ups and downs ever since Bangladesh’s inception; apart from the fact that issues concerning both countries need to be sorted out in a way that the outcome is acceptable to both India and Bangladesh, a gesture by India’s External Affairs Minister Mrs Sushma Swaraj is worth mentioning. While on her official visit to Dhaka, few months ago, she presented Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Ms Sheikh Hasina with the weapon of the then GoC-in-C of erstwhile East Pakistan Lt Gen AAK Niazi, which was captured by the Indian forces as a result of Pakistan’s surrender during Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The gesture was very well received by Bangladesh’s citizens and has gone a long way in cementing India’s relationship with Bangladesh. However, there are certain domestic bottlenecks which do not help India leverage its soft power across the global spectrum; in 2012 the awful rape of a young woman in Delhi created global headlines showing India in extremely negative light(3) and even dubbing Delhi as the ‘rape capital’ of the world gave a significant jolt to India’s global image bringing down the number of foreign tourists after the above-mentioned incident took place. Every time an incident of lynching takes place in some nook or corner of the country, it sends an unpleasant signal to the world that India and its establishment have been fostering radical elements in the society contrary to the image of what India has been known for historically; its composite culture, deep-rooted secularism and one of very few countries in the world where every person has the fundamental right to practice, profess and propagate any religion. India does not only preaches but practices the principle of ‘acceptance’ which is many steps ahead of the western concept of ‘tolerance’. However, every time an untoward communal riot takes place it poses a big question-mark whether India has failed to remain on the moral high ground that it has attained over centuries. The essence of Soft power may be summed into what Shashi Tharoor, an Indian Politician and former UN Under-Secretary General said ‘In today’s World it’s not the side with bigger Army that wins, it’s the country which tells the better story that prevails’(4).

According to many eminent economic think tanks across the globe, India is set to become the world’s third largest economy by 2030 after the USA and China. China is constantly pitched against India along with a question that who wields the better prospect to establish itself as the next super-power of twenty first century; undoubtedly China has been faring better than India in economic and military domain and therefore its chances to establish itself as the next super-power are much brighter than India’s. However, one of the domains where China lags behind India is the potential to harness and use soft power to its advantage. China is a relatively closed society where people do not enjoy liberties beyond a certain limit; the historical baggage of Mao’s brutal tenure; ethnic cleansing of Tibetans; lack of religious freedom especially vis-à-vis Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province; Tianamen square massacre are some factors which limit China’s capacity to wield influence on people across the globe. India, even though it had its share of political upheavals, is seen with a more positive view. It is not only for the Government but also for the civil society to lend a helping hand in identifying and employing India’s soft power assets to its advantage.




Pax Indica – Shashi Tharoor
Communicating India’s Soft Power – Daya Kishan Thussu
The Oxford Handbook of India’s Foreign Policy – Rani D Mullen
Pax Indica – Shashi Tharoor

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the global stage as a phenomenon that gripped India with approval ratings that have surpassed most Indian and international political figures. The rhetoric and ideology he espouses, however, pose a much more profound threat to the very democracy they pledge to protect.


The 2014 Indian elections are already a reference point in the marketing world for the remarkable materialization of Narendra Modi as a brand. As David Aaker explains, the recipe had three main ingredients: making a regional brand national, cleaning the dirty past and connecting with urban and young voters, for in 2014, 150 million Indian people would have voted for the first time. These three lines were supported by extensive literature and propaganda, even featuring comic books where guided by a heroic behavior, a young Modi would save animals, pray in the temple or would prepare Ayurvedic medicine for his mother.

His many successes as the Chief Minister of Gujarat gave him the necessary political prestige. Touted as a good administrator with vivid ideas on development and economic growth, he won his nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the majority in the lower chamber of Parliament; a feat that has not happened in 30 years. Almost four years have passed since, and Narendra Modi continues to be the most popular Indian leader, with 88% on average favoring him, exceeding 90% in the Southern statesand even in Punjab, where the majority of the population profess the Sikh faith.

Data from the Pew Research Centre and the World Economic Forum revealed that only a year after the 2014 election most of the country believed India was on the right track, a still-present upward trend, versus the 29% existing in the pre-Modi era. Before Modi took office, India’s political scene was a sum of the Congress Party, the left who sought to represent the impoverished segments of society, and the BJP, apostles of Hindutva. The vacuum of power generated by the declining morale and appeal of the Congress Party amid the corruption scandals was the perfect breeding ground for the BJP victory in 2014; a party that rules in 19 out of 29 states after the Gujarat elections of December 2017.

The BJP has always criticized the secular policies of the Congress Party, advocating for the establishment and recognition of the Hindu culture for India. Accordingly, one of the landmarks for the party was in 1992 when the demolition of the Mosque of Bābur, where the concept of cultural nationalism overtook the ideological nationalism. The fall of the Babri Mosque, which was located in an area considered sacred by Hinduism, was the culmination of the Ram Janabhoomi (literally translating to Ram’s birthplace) movement with many BJP leaders at its helm. Albeit the party, due to criticism, later conceived Hindutva as a renaissance – abstract, engaging, to be developed organically – and less as a goal to be achieved by active means, the fall of the mosque marked a decisive shift towards identity politics. Since then, the lack of a serious condemnation of violence towards minorities by PM Modi was even noticed by then-President Barack Obama in 2015, who condemned the persecution of people “for their beliefs and heritage” in recent times. Modi, whose unapologetic attitude towards the 2002 Gujarat riots that saw the death of thousands, resulted in him being denied entry into the United States.

The vision that Narendra Modi has for the domestic India is complemented by international projections of power. He sees the military as a way to modernize and strengthen the country, as well as a  strategy to counterbalance the growing presence of China in the region, directly affecting the country by its northern border. Since Modi took power, military expenditure has expanded by an average of 10% per year, recently making India the 5th country in the world with the highest investment in the military. This trend breaks with that of the previous administrations that increasingly cut the budget allocated to this sector.

Moreover, the Prime Minister has also become the champion of the fight against corruption. The demonetization strategy of November 2016 left the 86% of the circulating banknotes useless overnight when all 500 and 1000-rupee bank notes were declared null. This measure sought to eliminate fake currency and force people to pay taxes, as well as a transition to digital money – though the latter was more of an organic reaction to the measure than one of the stated objectives. While some hailed demonetization as a genius move, others have pointed out its crippling effects on the lower classes. The impact of such policy continued to remain high as India still remains a cash-based economy. However, Modi’s brand of success masks the threat his rhetoric poses to the very foundations of democracy.

One can be a great manager, a superb speaker and a devoted Democrat. However, democracy implies the respect, recognition and admiration of the role of the opposition. “Congress-Mukt Bharat” is the slogan Modi used in the 2014 elections to attack India’s Congress Party and that has been recently revitalized by the BJP leader. Modi defends himself by labelling “Congress” as synonymous with a culture of corruption, of treachery and of casteism that seeks to keep complete control over power. His claim has been identified as a general call to end the Congress Party by its explicit reference and impossible-to-miss background of use. To define the opposition as dissidence, in the words of former Czech President Václav Havel, is the first step towards authoritarianism.

Were the BJP of Narendra Modi to obtain the majority in both chambers of the Indian parliament after the 2019 general elections, the new wave of nationalism could endanger the quality of Indian democracy, statically rated as 77/100 by Freedom House every year for, at least, the past decade. Provided that this brand of Hindu nationalism gains enough support to continue its ride in front of the executive, the minorities would surely have a tough time ahead. Religious violence could increase being the ratification of the BJP’s initiatives shown in the chambers, and its ideas could expand to India’s area of influence, namely, Southeast Asia, especially in fellow Hindu countries such as Nepal. Multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multilingual India, should not compromise its values and consolidated Democracy for an ideology that aggrandizes one group over another, for nationalism, quoting Tom Nairm in 1977, is “the pathology of modern developmental societies […] a similar built-in capacity for descent into dementia”. Let India react and correct this drift before it is too late.

Andrea G. Rodriguez is an international security analyst. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from the Complutense University of Madrid. She has been part of several mobility programs, including at Charles University in Prague, where she studied Geopolitics and International Security, and at the National Taiwan University, where she focused on Asian security issues.

This article was originally published by Political Insight and is available Here.


How the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tactically strategizes the conduct of important political events at critical junctures of time to ensure maximum political gains. The article reflects a plethora of incidents and examples to elucidate the theme – if the much talked of and apprehended simultaneous elections in 2018 in India (a year earlier than the completion of the regular general election cycle) are also an inherent component of this complex nexus of timing.
Image result for India elections hd

“NaMo’s Timing”

One thing that is undoubtedly mention-worthy about the incumbent central government is its acute sense of what is called “perfect timing”. Be it sweeping the 2014 general elections on a “pro-development and anti-corruption” manifesto ‘exactly’ when the Indian populace was strongly disappointed with the then  incumbent UPA government being regularly embroiled in several corruption scandals, or inviting US President Barack Obama as the Chief Guest of the Republic Day function right before the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, or the 2016 demonetisation stunt which, in addition to stealing half of the newly-elected US President Donald Trump’s limelight, is also said by many, to have been a very fine political move before upcoming elections in 5 major states, the Prime Minister Modi-led NDA government is indeed a ‘master in strategizing’. And may be that is one of the reasons, why it continues to retain a firm grip over its popularity among the masses.

It’s not even been a quarter of a year since PM Modi celebrated his grand victory in the 2017 state assembly elections that he has yet another occasion to rejoice – the 3rd anniversary of his biggest victory ever in an election that India will never forget (2014 elections). But as they say, ‘soup is a dish for starter or for the sick”, seems like the day which must have given some a reason to commemorate, ended up giving goosebumps and nightmares ‘to be wiped off from memory ASAP’ to others.

Image result for modi india hd

PM Modi changed the reason why the world “will remember” 08/Nov/16

New Delhi is 09 hours 30 minutes ahead of Washington DC. Seems like it’s just not the sun which embraces the east earlier but also political tremors which shake the east prior. Just hours before all the Americans stepped out of their homes to re-create history by electing their 45th President, the people in India were taken aback with the Prime Minister of India announcing the ‘policy of demonetization’ taking effect from midnight on the said day. Within a bat of eyelids, currency notes of bigger denominations like 500 & 1000 became officially ‘nonlegal tender’ and, to put in layman’s terms, basically ‘useless’.

The noble vision of the Indian Government behind giving a nod to this idea of blowing the then already foggy country with an overnight blizzard of demonetization was (as was then said !) the ‘elimination of the operation of the parallel black economy’.

But like former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram rightly pointed out – “how could demonetization check black money?”. The government and its ministers claimed and still do that this new scheme is a decisive war against black money but have so far failed to explain  ‘how’. Let’s think logically for once.

Is all the black money hoarded in cash? It’s too kiddish to assume that the people who could carve master plans to dupe the hawk eyes of the tax department and sneak away with a galore of illegal wealth, never to be declared and thus, not liable to be taxed ever, would have hoarded them in gunny bags full of banknotes. In today’s world, to exhale the stress of getting caught and be fined for black money, people have explored refined ways of laundering money which include but may not be limited to converting the ‘black’ money into ‘gold’ and billions or stashing it away in benami properties, offshore bank accounts and foreign currency. Only the small fish keep their ill-gotten wealth in domestic currency notes and the impact on black money will therefore be very limited in this exercise.

We will not go into the deeper questions of the current economic growth slowdowns for 6 consecutive quarters, the massive economic burden on the government treasury to manufacture (additional, unapprehended yet gigantic expenditure) newer notes and alter ATM panels (economic burden again !) to make them receptive of the new note pattern plus the domestic currency mints which suffered huge losses due to this sudden decision and hence, their demand to be “compensated” (economic burden) adequately, the rapid decline in investments in India, and et cetera. No. We won’t talk about that.

Because a bigger question is here – with polls “then” approaching in five states (Punjab, Manipur, Goa, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh – where the BJP later won and subsequently formed governments in 4 out of 5 states, the only exception being Punjab), was this an economically overt yet politically covert move, with an undisputably remarkable example of “well-timed coincidence” ?

08/Nov/16: India “lost” big cash, Trump “missed” 100% limelight, BUT PM Modi…he “won”.

Unfolding and probing into the “already known” scandals

The NDA government stated that, “May 17, 2017 was the day of accountability for the “corrupt”.” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stoutly asserted that the “day of reckoning” has come for many and they will be held accountable for their misdeeds.

These statements flowed following the CBI and I-T raids on former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav respectively. While CBI raided 14 properties connected to Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram in Chennai, the I-T department raided 22 premises in Delhi and Gurugram in connection with benami land deals and tax evasion to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore allegedly made by former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad’s sons and daughter.

CBI confirmed that the raids in Chennai were related to INX Media, formerly owned by the allegedly sordid duo, Peter and Indrani Mukerjea. The agency alleged that Karti received kickbacks from this company when his father was the finance minister in return for his help in allegedly getting the finance ministry to overlook irregularities. Specifically, INX Media crossed the approved limit of foreign direct investment (FDI) by bringing in Rs 305 crore as FDI, as opposed to the approved FDI of Rs 4.62 crore.

On the other hand, the I-T department raids come after some BJP leaders alleged last week that Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti and his two sons were involved in benami land deals to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore.

But the question here is – “why NOW?” (since the scandals were/are already in the public’s knowledge, that too since a good long period of time).

PM Modi’s Colonial Inspiration

After years of sovereignty and democracy, the one menace that’s still got India in its clutches is our people’s crave and craze to “stick” to rotten roots, even while “superficially” campaigning to uproot those. The Constitution, the people, the country – everybody wants an end to caste-based discrimination but how ? By time and again, addressing “them” as “Dalits” and thus, “begging” for votes for them ?

Am I expected to underline the legitimacy or competency of a candidate only and exclusively because s/he is from a historically under-privileged background (but now no longer so due to the extensive usage of government sponsored benefits) ? I don’t remember of the Constitution mentioning this qualification of “being a Dalit” as a criterion to be the President of India. Caste-in-politics is such a vice. But unfortunately both the ruling party and the opposition fielded their respective candidates for the 1st citizen of India, the President of India, by introducing them as “Dalit faces”, whereas both the candidates had achieved distinctiveness in their respective career paths. Mr. Kovind, the incumbent President, has been an eminent lawyer and the Governor of Bihar while Ms. Kumar, his opponent, is, by education a lawyer, and by profession an Indian Diplomat (Indian Foreign Service Batch of 1975), a former cabinet minister, five-time Member of the Parliament and the 1st woman Speaker of the Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Parliament) of India. Why couldn’t they be presented as “distinguished and qualified professionals” ??

Nominating Mr. Kovind, hence, meant 3 fundamental victories for PM Modi.

  1. BJP now has THE foolproof minority appeasement card. Because as Ms. Kumar pointed out – the Presidential Polls were announced at a time when the incumbent government was facing charges of being anti-minority post the incidents of religious intolerance and lynching. Posing a man from the Minority community as its Presidential candidate was the most welcoming and perhaps the only option left with the ruling party so as to perform the required ablutions to cleanse the anti-minority charges stamped on its head.
  2. Another plus point with choosing Mr. Kovind was his being the Governor of “Bihar”, the state where the BJP had tasted a humiliating defeat in the previous elections and the state ruled by a staunch anti-BJP alliance led by Nitish Kumar, PM Modi’s direct rival and critic “then”. Plus, Bihar accounts for nearly 8.2% of the country’s total “Dalit” population as revealed by the 2011 census. So, BJP can now look forward to a riper vote bank in Bihar in the next election.  
  3. Because Unity is strength, so, “Divide and Rule”. Nitish Kumar, Bihar CM, and PM Modi may have had a difficult equation in the past, but there are no permanent enemies in politics but only permanent interests. The “Grand Alliance’s” another prominent leader AND Nitish Kumar’s decades-long personal arch-rival, Lalu Prasad Yadav was used as a pawn in this game of power and politics where Mr. Yadav was roped in by Mr. Kumar when he came to power in Bihar in 2015 with the support of his “anti-Modi” alliance but seems like they couldn’t let go of their rivalry. A strong team needs loyal team members but in Bihar, teams are more likely to change their allegiances even with the slightest sight of a bait of power – Mr. Kovind’s candidature was a strong enticement that Mr. Kumar could not resist. Thus, the Presidential Nominee’s being the Bihar Governor could not have been a mere coincidence but rather, a very well-planned step to divide the already bitter and frictional Nitish-Lalu alliance. Now the alliance has been shattered into smithereens and Nitish Kumar is back in PM Modi’s team which clearly emboldens the fact that PM Modi has successfully wiped out his biggest rivals and the possibility of even the most negligible opposition to his rule.

So, it’s all win-win for PM Modi this time !

The NEW Rajya Sabha Hegemon !

It is for the “first time” in the political chronicle of India that all the four top constitutional posts are held by people affiliated to and owing allegiance to the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). After Mr. Kovind’s decisive victory in the Presidential polls, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu, popular BJP leader and former Union Cabinet Minister, was nominated and later elected to the office of the Vice President of India. Although it was officially stated that Mr. Naidu’s experience as a four-time Rajya Sabha MP made him well-versed with parliamentary proceedings and hence, the suitability of his candidature. But the fact that the main objective behind selecting Naidu (who then held important ministerial portfolios like that of Information and Broadcasting, Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty alleviation) and pitting him against Opposition candidate Mr. Gopal Gandhi – a former bureaucrat, West Bengal governor and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi – “may” have been a rather strategic move to tame the belligerent Congress-led Opposition in the Rajya Sabha where the government is in minority, cannot be entirely ruled-out.

The second reason that weighed in favour of Naidu was his being from the South. After the selection of Uttar Pradesh (North) born Ramnath Kovind for the post of President, the BJP may have prioritised a regional balance “this time” in order  to woo the voters from South India, where the party is a little far from a remarkable presence.

Moreover, unlike the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha has a galaxy of veteran leaders of substance (in the Opposition) – like P Chidambaram, Ahmed Patel, Kapil Sibal, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Jairam Ramesh – who have been able to keep the government under extreme pressure. The Deputy Chairman PJ Kurian is from the Congress and does not always play ball with the BJP. So, in a smart political move, the BJP fielded Mr. Venkaiah Naidu as its vice presidential candidate, who is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, “at a time” when the government still lacks majority in the Rajya Sabha to push crucial constitutional amendment bills.

1.3 billion Indians but 13 months to appoint just one Governor? ?

Mr. Konijeti Rosaiah’s term as Tamil Nadu Governor ended on 30 August 2016. Maharashtra’s incumbent Governor Mr. C. Vidyasagar Rao was given additional charge as Tamil Nadu Governor from 2 September 2016 to 30 September 2017 (1 year and 1 month approximately). And Mr. Banwarilal Purohit became the new Governor of Tamil Nadu on 30 September 2017. Question is in a country with 1.3 billion people, why did it take us 1 year and 1 month to appoint a new governor to a state ? That 1 year and 1 month was the exact period when that state, Tamil Nadu, was amid intense political turmoil after their popular political pioneer, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa; a period when a single man was left to juggle between two of the biggest and most politically active yet strenuous states; a period when two political rivals started washing each other’s dirty linens in public; a period when oath taking and ministerial portfolios became a joke; a period when a 20-year old disproportionate assets case was finally closed with a ground-shaking verdict. A period whose aftermaths still find their ways into the national headlines daily.

But still no one was given the independent, not ad-hoc/additional, charge of being the Tamil Nadu Governor. A state was left to boil and burn post its matriarch’s demise yet nobody from the Centre made a single attempt to recruit a Governor. Why ? The man who appoints the Governor, then incumbent His Excellency The President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee and there’s no dearth of qualified candidates in India then, why this “unexplained” delay ?

And you say, “timing” isn’t one of the many specialities of Modiji ?

Look at the bigger picture – 2019!

Well, no amount of analyses and assumptions can ever advance a concrete theory on the “why this day” question; after all, politics is but understood only by a few. But what a common man can draw from this entire scene is – all of what is happening now and all of what is about to happen is and will always be in line with the 2019 general elections.

Ooops !! Now that the talks of simultaneous elections happening in 2018 are also doing rounds, who knows when the next elections are due !

Now ‘only time’ will explain if NaMo’s ‘theory of timing’ worked !

Ananya Singh
 About the Author :
Ananya served as the Analyst for The Indian Economist and currently, discharge the roles of the Global Ambassador for the Kosmos Journal (USA), the Alumni Ambassador for the Yale Young Global Scholars (Yale University, USA), and the Goodwill Ambassador for the Committee for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP, India). Ananya isa regular contributor to The Huffington Post , TUNZA Eco-Generation (powered by UNEP & Samsung Engineering), Voices of Youth (powered by UNICEF), and have also been a blogger for The SPAN, the official magazine of the US Embassy in India in the past. Ananya have also been on board of the editorial team of the Novak Djokovic Foundation. In addition, she also worked with the Climate Trackers as an editor- translator where she translated and edited handbooks on Climate Change , which she later presented at COP-22 in Morocco . She has been awarded a silver prize in the senior category of the International Essay Competitiorganizedsed by the Royal Commonwealth Society twice, in 2014 & 2016 respectively, on the merit of her submitted entries & as recommended by the jury panel. She was a special invitee at the International Literary Fest chaired by Ruskin Bond.




Both France and the UK have gone into polls in the months of May and June of the year 2017 respectively. Both, being the nuclear powers and permanent members of UNSC, hold a great importance for the world politics in general and specifically, the EU. Elections in these two countries have given rise to several new debates and have lain to rest some prominent issues which could ensue if the results were different. However, in case of France, the results of the presidential elections have brought a sigh of relief with Emmanuel Macron from neophyte ‘En Marche’ (On the Move) party as president, while, in the UK’s case, they led to a weak i.e. hung parliament which cost the Conservative Party its majority in the British House of Commons. Political parties of Pakistan have many lessons to learn from both these elections.

Pakistan’s different districts. Source :

The Election of Macron: A Great Victory for the EU

Emmanuel Macron during Presidential Elections in France

With Macron in office, the world will have a strongman standing against businessman turned politician Donald Trump

The first round of the French Presidential election was held on 23 April 2017 with no candidate winning with a majority. Thus, on 7 May 2017, top two candidates, Emmanuel Macron of ‘On the Move’ and Marine Le Pen of the ‘National Front’, contested in the second round. France elected its youngest President, Emmanuel Macron, a pro-EU and pro-business who assured to boost investments while dealing with the high unemployment. He secured 66.1% of the votes in a turnout of approximately 65%. This was a great victory for Macron, France and the EU. President Macron had found En Marche, a centrist and liberal party, in the month of April 2016.

France preferred Macron over Marine Le Pen, who promised the opposite of what Macron had promised. “She wanted a Europe of nations to replace the EU,” reports BBC. His victory was celebrated all around the world. Hillary Clinton termed it a “victory for Macron, for France, the EU and the World”. Another reaction to his victory was, “We are not so stupid in France, finally,” insinuating to the presidential elections in the US in the year 2016.  Macron’s victory holds a great significance for the global politics which is shifting to illiberal democracy and has already shifted in some countries. Marine Le Pen had twitted “I give myself six months to negotiate with the EU the return of sovereignty. Then it will be the French who decide.” Her victory would have been another blow for the EU after the Brexit and world would have seen another leader promoting illiberal democracy alongside with Trump and Putin. With Macron in office, the world will have a strongman standing against businessman turned politician Donald Trump along with an unfaltering Angela Merkel-German Chancellor (if she is lucky enough to be chancellor for the fourth term).

UK, Brexit, and Pakistan

Political parties of Pakistan must understand what can bring them majority i.e. being a party for all and restricting itself to a particular region or ethnicity

On the other hand, in April 2017, British Prime Minister Theresa May from Conservative Party called for a snap general election to secure her party’s Brexit mandate. However, 8 June 2017 general elections backfired her motives and led the UK to a hung parliament. With 68.7% turnout, none of the parties contesting the elections could win a simple majority to make its government. Conservative Party led by Theresa May could secure 318 seats while Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn could win 262 seats with 43 and 40 in terms of percentages respectively. Overall, Conservatives lost 12 seats while Labour unexpectedly gained 29 seats. Rest of the seats, out of total 650 seats, were secured by Scottish Nationalists (35), Liberal Democrats (12), Democratic Unionists (10), Greens (1) and others (12). UKIP party could not secure a single seat after accomplishing it Brexit mission. From these results, political parties of Pakistan must understand what can bring them majority i.e. being a party for all and restricting itself to a particular region or ethnicity.

A close look at these two elections would give an impression that liberal democracy won over illiberal democracy.

Jeremy Corbyn, with the manifesto of Labour Party committing to scrapping tuition fees, boosting workers’ rights and reversing a series of benefit cuts, was successful to involve the youth in the general elections. The turnout of the young registered voters made the difference in the UK general elections. The turnout of the youth aged between 18 to 25 was 72% as compared to an overall average of 68.7%. The young mostly supported the Labour. Labour’s success is due to the glistening performance of Corbyn. He tried to address the masses and won their favor. He used public transport to be among the audience while May, on contrary, used private transport. This helped Leader of the Labour Party gain popularity which resulted in its 29 seats gained in the House of Commons. However, a simple majority of Conservative would have left the Brexit on the party’s choice which might have led to ‘hard Brexit’. ‘Hard Brexit’ might happen still but the result gave a serious blow to Conservatives motive in this regard. Furthermore, May’s hate speech and encouragement of Islamophobia publicly have also contributed to her party’s loss of simple majority. Moreover, May has announced to form a coalition government with Democratic Unionists Party (DUP) which could grab 10 seats. Her coalition with DUP would impact negatively her already declining support. For Political Parties of Pakistan, a significant lesson is to be learned from this especially when it comes to making coalition governments with less popular parties.

Trump, Duterte, Orban, Le Pen: The Illiberal Democratic mindset

Image result for Trump duterte orban
Duterte, Putin, Erdogan, Trump , Modi and Orban.

A close look at these two elections would give an impression that liberal democracy won over illiberal democracy. With Trump in the US, Putin in Russia, Duterte in the Philippines, Orban in Hungary; with the victory of hardliner Marine Le Pen in French presidential election, the world would have met with another leader with an illiberal democratic mindset. Things would have gone from bad to worse. In case of UK general elections, one can witness the triumph of popular leadership against an elitist politician who made a move to tighten her grip over Brexit negotiations.

Pakistani politicians must not underestimate the power of public which was mobilized during the last elections by the call for ‘Change’.

With the call for general elections in the year 2018, there are various lessons to learn from these elections for the political parties in Pakistan. It would be naïve to compare the electoral system of Pakistan with that of these two developed European countries. However, Pakistani politicians must not underestimate the power of public which was mobilized during the last elections by the call for ‘Change’. Next general elections would be challenging for various parties, mainly PML-N, PPP and PTI owing to their provincial governments. Parties must address the grievances of the masses and design their manifestos keeping in mind the internal and external issues which Pakistan is faced with. Moreover, it would be harder for the federal ruling party in case if it fails to deliver what it promised before last elections, especially in energy and economic fronts. Otherwise, it might face what Conservatives in the UK and National Front faced in France. From Emmanuel Macron’s victory, novice parties can learn lessons to turn the winds in their favor which seems unlikely though at least for now. Lastly, Jeremy Corbyn’s sparkling performance must be kept in mind to win popularity especially among the youth which comprises 60% of the total population of Pakistan.

By Muhammad Murad 

Karachi, Pakistan 


Indo-Us alliance serves the interests of both the parties in the region. US needs a player in Asia to check the growing influence of China which is an all-weather friend of Pakistan.

US support to India in this regard is seen as detrimental to Pakistan’s strategic interests.

India and Pakistan are arch-rivals since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947 so India gets US support in its defense strategies and foreign policy. Both the US and India are implementing the old dictum, “An enemy’s enemy is a friend.” However, US is not in an inimical relationship with Pakistan even after President Donald Trump’s August speech but it cannot be termed as friendly either. It’s more like an alliance to break or weaken a rival alliance i.e. Indo-US vs. Sino-Pak alliance.

Indo-US Alliance:

According to Munir Akram (Former Pakistan Ambassador to the UN), the alliance between India and US include co-production of advanced defense articles, joint research on advanced jet engines and aircraft carrier technologies and strategic cooperation on maritime security. India endorses US stand on South China Sea islands and US supports India on its claims against Pakistan. US under Trump administration seems to be taking the alliance to new heights as Indian PM Narender Modi was the fifth world leader to receive a call from Trump after he took charge of his Presidency on January 20, 2017. That is why; some political thinkers believe that Trump’s rhetoric against Pakistan on Afghanistan strategy speech was actually encouraged by Indian position against Pakistan.

Trump , the most pro-Indian President of the history?


In 2008, US Congress approved nuclear cooperation agreement between India and US which proved to be a turning point in Indo-US alliance. It was an embedded recognition of India as a nuclear power. Pakistan does not seem to be receiving any such deal from US. It is pertinent to note here that both India and Pakistan are non-signatories of Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Moreover, US also supports India’s stance on its membership status in Nuclear Supplier Groups (NSG) which was initiated after India’s alteration of nuclear material of conducting nuclear tests in 1974 from its peaceful program. US support to India in this regard is seen as detrimental to Pakistan’s strategic interests.

This alliance supports India’s belligerent conduct against Pakistan politically and militarily. US also ignores India’s developments of fissile material production, long-range missiles and theatre nuclear weapons and opposes Pakistan’s responses in this regard

Impact of Alliance on Pakistan:

Indo-Us alliance has deleterious impacts on Pakistan. This alliance supports India’s belligerent conduct against Pakistan politically and militarily. US also ignores India’s developments of fissile material production, long-range missiles and theatre nuclear weapons and opposes Pakistan’s responses in this regard. India’s relationships with the Middle Eastern Countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, are also encouraged by the US. These relations impact Pakistan’s foreign policy in the Middle East because of Pakistan’s India centric foreign policy. Furthermore, Pakistan maintains minimum credible deterrence. India’s ability to acquire Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology from US would impact Pakistan’s conventional defense capacity. Last but not the least; Pakistan does not get any support from US in its NSG membership stance. Pakistan, however, has a great potential to be member of NSG.


Muhammad Murad



This article is a continuation of the previous article : Impact of SSBN on security : A case of India Part I


World Nuclear Weapons Stockpile

Are SSBNs commissioned?

SSBNs are commissioned not because the enemy has it but because the doctrine determines that it is needed. So, often doctrinal and policy level changes have accompanied their acquisition. Once inducted the way the submarine is deployed and how the security establishment articulates its usage determines its effectiveness. The aim is to get the other state do something they wouldn’t have done earlier or to enhance the security and thereby reduce the effectiveness of the threat levelled by an opponent.

Not all states need them. SAAB Kockums A-23[1] is a much suitable platform for littoral warfare in a European context. It can deploy saboteurs but also easily navigate the fjords and adjust according to the changes in salt content in water, temperature change, etc.

The Case of India

India’s NFU (No First Use) policy in nuclear doctrine made SSBN acquisition the next logical step (Crail & Lindsey, 2009). At this point of time, the general West led order is not securitising the rise of Indian military capabilities and hence this is an opportune moment for policymakers to scale up SSBN capability without being seen as a threat by West. This would appear as matching up to China before it deploys its SSBNs on deterrence patrols.

Nuclear Weapons Factsheet
Credit : Visual Capitalist

The Triad

The nuclear Triad

SSBNs complete the triad of land, air, and sea-based deterrence. While each has its benefits, underwater weapons are the fastest to launch and easy to hide. Their only issue is range and detection of the submarine once missiles have been fired.

“Intercontinental ballistic missiles provide prompt response, bombers provide flexibility, and submarines provide survivability” (Mies, 1999)

As per offensive realism, states are power maximizing agents and as per defensive realism states seek status quo. Offensive realism says states want hegemony and defensive realism implies that: excessive accumulation would compel other(s) to take countermeasures (Wohlworth, 2010). SSBNs can be seen as hegemonic as they nullify the strength of land-based ICBMs of the enemies and the cruise missiles that could have taken out the mobile launchers. They change the rules and incentivise behavior of ambiguity on the part of the enemy.

SSBNs are also instrumental for a state that cannot field a conventional force at par with the adversary. (Mies, 1999)

An assured and established hegemon may not pursue SSBNs. It is the hegemon that feels threatened by the power of another and develops SSBNs as a deterrent and, show, of its second strike capability. Further, the presence of a hegemon also incentivizes the development of SSBNs as a guarantee against its threats and coercions as it can take out all nuclear weapons of the lesser power in the first strike. Some would be left in the SSBNs for a credible second strike. This knowledge would hence prevent the attack against the lesser power.

Nuclear Power and the Hegemon 

On the other hand for a hegemon;

“Nuclear weapons serve as a hedge against an uncertain future, a guarantee of our security commitments to allies, and a disincentive to those who would contemplate developing or otherwise acquiring their own nuclear weapons.” – A National Security Strategy for a New Century, 1998 (Mies, 1999)

SSBNs also make for efficient machines and are faster, cleaner as there is fission going on in the reactors. Greater access is ensured as most of the seas are part of global commons and there is no need for regular refuelling and the life of submarines also comes to a close earlier than ships.

SSBNs become important as India inches towards its goal of becoming a blue water navy.

A submarine is most vulnerable to detection and destruction when in the harbour or a crowded zone near harbour with a high density of maritime activity but in deep seas, it is free to move. Nuclear power allows this freedom and safety not just to the submarine but also to the warheads.

Unlike a carrier that needs a carrier battle group to provide an umbrella of safety, a submarine is de facto autonomous for its safety requirements because it moves undetected and carries a payload to destroy major sections of a state and has its complement of torpedoes and mines. The greatest threat to a submarine is aircraft based ASW platforms and maritime patrol aircrafts that deploy sonobuoys and torpedoes. This can be offsetted by deploying anti-aircraft SAMs on subs, but that would give away the submarine location.

SSBNs need support infrastructure to use them to the best of their capability.

There is a need for nuclear sanitisation chambers, demagnetization facilities, missile storage and loading, caverns to ensure that submarines are not noticed when they are entering or leaving the base (Kristensen, China SSBN Fleet Getting Ready – But For What?, 2014), allowing the ambiguity of their location or deployment. China has bases at Qingdao (Kristensen & FAS, 2006) and Hainan (Tweed, 2014) with these facilities. India is building INS Varsha at Rambili for this purpose. Also, are needed VLF (very low frequency) and ELF (extremely low frequency) communication facilities on land to maintain communication. During a war these facilities need protection. (VLF Transmitting Station Commissioned at Tamil Nadu, 2014) Also needed is the training of the crew to operate a nuclear submarine with expertise, which can take years to master.

Possession of SSBNs and the political will to use them to successively retaliate is possible if some nuclear forces, warheads, and systems of delivery in close proximity survive and being close these three can fire the systems. The probability of this happening is highest in SSBN.

“The basic theory of an SSBN is that it can hide in the vastness of the ocean and therefore it is almost impossible to predict where it may be or it may not be possible to detect it at all.” –  (McDevit, 2016)

The mating of warhead and delivery system is a significant step, and in the submarine, it is mated by default. To avoid an unintentional firing different countries have different launch protocols. While states like the USA take to multiple levels of redundancy (Merrill, Syeed, & Harris, 2017).

UK depends on the authority of PM or person designated. China and India are creating their protocols. In the case of China, the Rocket Forces handle this part (McDevit, 2016).

The SLBM is a ballistic missile. It can have MIRVs (multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles) and like most nuclear warheads will have a cloud of missile defence umbrella (Taylor, Tamerlani, & Farnsworth, 2013).


SSBNs function at the level of states but have an impact at the level of individuals and societies as well. States use them but there is a community of nuclear submariners that operate these and then there is a community of submarine builders that eke a living by working at shipyards. There is also a question of their job security and the job security of nuclear engineers and marine engineers who specialize in nuclear submarine construction and maintenance. The design bureaus and the corporations that build them make profits but in states like India and Russia the lead integrators are state owned, but a lot of work is subcontracted to the private sector. Incidents like the Kursk where more than a hundred submariners were lost are a constant reminder of the effects of improper maintenance (Gidadhubli, 2000). This is a more insecure situation than not possessing SSBNs: the loss of nuclear reactors and warheads in the deep sea. The environmental ramifications and human losses are irreversible, and they can occur in wars where both sides deploy these platforms.

SSBNs have emerged in the age of states because the technological revolution of Industrialisation

3.0 has coincided with the modern post-colonial era. Even if states didn’t exist one day or had not existed at all, the level of technological advancement in the presence of the overarching rivalry between powerful organisations capable of fighting wars would have led to their advent. In this day and age, they, however, reinforce sovereignty and state security.


The world of submarines has moved a long way from the days of Nikonov[2]’s submarine for Peter the Great and America’s Turtle, Alligator and Intelligent Whale[3]. But SSBNs have created a world of their own with the capability to destroy sections of humanity while moving silently hidden under the seas. The submarine has redefined its role from a tactical vehicle to a strategic asset. States have sought them in the name of enhancement of strategic capability, but they are also psychological warfare systems. An impression is sent to the adversary that the balance has tilted and is not easy to offset. By procuring a similar system, the adversary can at the very best place the other in a similar situation. The credibility of threat and the uncertainty of the extent of truth can lead to miscalculation and unnecessary adventures (Kumar, 2009). Often emergency politics incentivises assumptions and presumptions.

A ‘term insurance’ can be used only when the insured person is no more but a life insurance matures at the end of its period, and the insured get a sum of money that they would have got if the issue covered in insurance had happened. SSBNs were developed as term insurances for security, but greed can lead to them being used as life insurances.  


Jyoti Ranjan Pradhan

Jyoti Ranjan Pradhan

Will join MA in Security and Diplomacy studies at Tel Aviv University (2017-18) on October 16, 2018.
Have studied International Relations for two semesters at South Asian University, New Delhi.
B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering.

Hindutva an Ideology of fanatical Hindu religious organization Rashtria Swayamsevk Sangh (RSS) preaches one religion, one culture, one nation and one country. The RSS established in 1923 AD, has been struggling for transformation of the diverse Indian society into Hindutva.

What is the Hindutva movement?

Hindutvta followers

The Hindutva movement came into its peak in 1980, when the RSS launched its Political party Bhartya Janta Party (BJP). Mass Ghar Wapsi,( return to home) i.e. coming back to the  Hinduism, Hinduvising the culture of Indian society, twisting  the history, renaming the cities names build up on the names of  Muslims and Brittan and demolishing the religious places  are few tactics of the  RSS and BJP for achieving their goal.

According to the constitution of India, the country is declared a secular state. The founding fathers of India were well aware and had foresighted vision that Indian society is abode of varied culture, religion and nations. That’s why they had separated religion from state. A number of articles of the constitution clearly say that India is secular state. After forty second amendment to Indian constitution in 1976 its preambles maintain that the country is secular, no religion is state religion. Unfortunately, the ground realities are totally different. In April 2017 the Pew research center has ranked India as fourth worst country for religion intolerance and fanaticism, after Syria, Nigeria and Iraq. Atrocities against minorities and Dillate a lower class of Hindu religion are the business of day in India. India a country of 1.3 billion people has eighty percent Hindus, fourteen percent Muslims, two percent Christian, two percent Sikhs and reaming two percent are the followers of other religions. Hence twenty percent minority and sixteen percent Dalit cast of Hindus are under cruelty of the RSS and BJP.

 The woes of the Muslims

RSS members
Credit : The Indian Express

The RSS and its allies have committed heinous crimes against the Muslim community in India. Mob violence, use of force to prevent religious practices, attacks on innocent Muslims for cow slaughter, and lynching for beef eating are common in India. Besides individual and fundamentals groups’s violence against the Muslims, there are some preplanned carnages of the Muslim community in India. On December 06, 1992, the Babri Mosque in the city of Ayodhya, Utter Perdesh State was demolished by the Hindu militants and the RSS. In the same incident more than 1500 Muslims were killed and 1829 people were injured. Properties of the Muslims were looted and plundered. The Muslim community was dragged in state of trauma and distress. To date a number of the grieved Muslims have been running from pillar to post for the justices. While the blood of the innocent Muslims still had not dried other heart-stopping massacre took place in Gujarat state. The Law enforcement agencies were ordered from higher authorities not to respond, at that time the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister of the state of Gujarat.  In the massacre more than one thousand Muslims were murdered and a number of Muslims were injured. The Gujarat carnage took place because of burning of Sabarmati train in Godhra. It was alleged that the Muslims had ignited the train. Later, it was declared that the RSS and the Militant Hindus were responsible for the torching of the train. In the train burning 57 Hindus were burnt alive.

Unfortunately, in the massacre the state authorities were involved. Hiren Pandey a Minister in the cabinet of Modi in Gujarat state has confessed in his sworn  statement that the massacre were preplanned, the  police were asked not to interfere. To prove this claim, an Intelligent Bureau (IB) officer said in his sworn statement in the Supreme Court of India that the riots were, no doubt, preplanned. Deplorably, the atrocities of the RSS do not end here. The other communities of the country similarly face the same cruelties of the fascist RSS.

The sufferings of the Sikh community 

Sikh community is two percent of the Indian population which is roughly twenty million population of the country. The Sikh community faces the hate crimes and violence as the Muslims do. Strangely, in the violence and bloodshed of

Sikhs, besides the RSS, a so-called secular party of India, the Congress party of India is also involved. According to official recode of Indian authorities more than 2800 Sikhs are killed to date. But according to independent sources 80000 Sikhs are murdered because of hate crimes. Hindu militants deem Sikhism is a sect of religion. Fortunately, due this mentality intensity of the suffering of the Sikhs community is at low level. However, those Sikh people support the Khalistan movement, the moment for separate county for Sikh people in the Punjab state of India, are ruthlessly crushed.

The wretchedness of the Christian people

The Christian another significant minority of India is also not safe from the cruelties of the RSS and other fundamentalist Hindus. The Christian are regularly assaulted by the RSS. The priest and other workers of the churches are attacked; sexuality assaulted, and forced to change their faith on the gun point. According to the Foreign policy Magazine a 71 years old Christian nun has been raped in the regime of the Narendra Modi. The churches are demolished, the priests are compelled to renounce their belief and embrace the Hinduism. Those people who refuse to this madness and cruelty of the radical Hindus have to bear the burnt of the barbarism. The Christian of India suffers more atrocities in the contemporary India than ever before in the history.  In 2007-8 Hindu militants have burned the churches, and Christian houses, in the riot more than 91 Christian were murdered and 1800 injured. In the same incident more than 60000 Christians were left homeless. Similarly, in 2013, one hundred Churches were attacked and four hundred Christians had suffered the mayhem of the Hindu militant fundamentalist.

Is India really Secular and Democratic?

Is India truly Secular and Democratic?
Credit : Club Pimble

In the above discussed sorry state of affairs, is it appropriate to say India is a secular and democratic country? In my opinion, saying India is secular and democratic state is injustice and spreading salt on the wounds of the grieved minorities of India. Since PM Modi took office, there has been alarming rise of intolerance, violence and hate crimes. In the medieval India, religious tolerance, coexistence and respect for other faiths was hallmark of Indian civilization and culture. The seed of this religious intolerance and hate crimes had sowed in time of colonization of India by the Great Britain, and it is full grown in the regime of   PM Modi. Regrettably, as a prime minister of the county, he should have openly condemned these incidents of violence and bloodshed. But he has not spoken a word against the brutalities and human rights violations. In fact Narendra Modi’s silence is a tacit support to his party’s militant wings the RSS. The fascist RSS and BJP want to achieve their despicable agenda of Hinduizings or Hindutuva by means of violence and force. This is not only venomous for the minorities but also dangerous for the secular and democratic state of India, a home of a number of ethnic communities.

“The views and opinions expressed in some articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position or editorial policy of Young Diplomats magazine.”

Interview Requests :


Mobile & whatsApp: +92 34636439298


India historically has been a supporter of Myanmar and didn’t even shy from dealing with Myanmar’s dictatotrial Military Junta government despite US objections.It is because India can’t let it’s eastern neighbour slip into Chinese hands which is looking for influence there.

​Though it’s quite heartening to see that the same award wapsi brigade which once declared India intolerant for minorities is asking to give Rohingyas refuge in this country exhorting and venerating it’s pluralistic and secularist ethos.

With out delving too much into political rhetoric I want to focus on geopolitical and security aspect of this.India gave refuge to Tamils of Sri Lanka and refrained from condemnation of Tamil terrorism in Sri Lanka for a long time. Even when it recognised LTTE a terrorist organisation it kept ostracizing Sri Lanka on human rights violations.It even voted against Sri Lanka in UNHRC on implemantation of 13th amendment of Sri Lankan constitution.

India Vs China in Sri Lanka

On the other hand China and Pakistan continued to support Sri Lanka military and morally.Result was Pakistani subs and ships docked in Sri Lanka in 1965 and 1971 wars and in recent times growing influence of China on Sri Lanka.Sri Lanka’s has become a victim of loan warfare of Chinese and it’s HAMBANTOTA port has become a diamond in China’s string of pearls. Though Sri Lanka’s has recently announced its not for Chinese military allaying the growing resentment of locals but it continues to give severe headache to Luteyns Hawks designing India’s Defense and foreign policy. Feel how throttling it is to have your enemy around every corner of your house and in this case at your doorsteps.

India Vs China in Myanmar

Same goes with Myanmar , India historically has been a supporter of Myanmar and didn’t even shy from dealing with Myanmar’s dictatotrial Military Junta government despite US objections.It is because India can’t let it’s eastern neighbour slip into Chinese hands which is looking for influence there.Earlier this year China has sought over 80% stake in a port in Rakhine province in  Myanmar .Now those who know a iota of foreign policy matters won’t deny that it’s all about give and take.India has high stakes in Mynamar and its stability is crucial for India because it has invested a lot in sittwe Island and infrastructure including highways and hyder power plants.It’s crucial for India’s Act East policy and is India’s natural gateway to southeast Asia.

Now Mynamar in wake of this Rohingya crisis has now sought China’s help in blocking the UNHRC sanctions against it.China being a permanent memeber of security council can come quite handy to Myanmar given its history of playing down India’s interests.Also India’s rebuttal of Myanmar in its fight against terrorism at this crucial stage of the crisis may not go down well with Myammar govt. and it will only result in sabotaging India’s relentless efforts to counter Chinese influence in IOR region.

The origin of conflict goes back to 1943-44 when British armed the Rohingyas to wage a guerrilla war against the occupying Japanese

The origin of conflict goes back to 1943-44 when British armed the Rohingyas to wage a guerrilla war against the occupying Japanese.The Rohingya leadership howerver turned on local Buddhists and triggered a civil war .In 1947-1948 the Rohingya leadership sought the merger of Rakhine with the erstwhile East Pakistan , an I’ll considered move that opened the community to the charges of disloyalty and separatism.Since 1980’s Rohingyas separatism has steadily acquired an Islamic dimensions.

“According to an international crisis group report of 2016 , Harakah-al-Yaqin(HaY) is controlled by 20 man group of Rohingya expatriates based in Mecca and Medina .Many of them have recieved military training by ISI in Pakistan , this is the another reason why India doesn’t want to whittle down it’s tough stand on Rohingyas extremism.”

Those who remain unremindful of the fact that 1st surgical strike by the MODI govt. was against the NSCN-K terrorists in Myanmar which couldn’t have been possible without Myanmars military assistance.In the past also Myanmar army has launched offensive against north east separatists who take refuge in border areas of Myanmar on India’s insistence.

” India can’t afford the dichotomy of preaching Myanmar on human right violations in its fight against Islamic terrorism also when she keeps raking up the issue of Pakistan sponso

Blocking them can’t Undo the injustice happened to Kashmiri Hindus

red Islamic terrorism at each and every International faura.”

Around 40,000 Rohingyas have illegally entered in India,half of them living in Jammu and Ladakh.Most of these have entered during last few years that is during Modi’s rule and will continue to do so and there is no way India can deport them back because they are stateless according to UN conventions and but this ‘proverbial’ tough stand against them will serve a strong blow to nefarious designs of separatists in Kashmir who dont want Indians to settle in their own land and Hindu refugees from Pakistan but are garlanding Rohingyas.


“It is high time that India calls separatist’s bluff and expose this facade called ‘Azaadi’ which is nothing but Islamisation of Valley”

Another important factor is the demographical changes brought by Bangladeshi refugees in ASSAM and West Bengal.Assam riots in 2012 were a result of  resentment among indegenous Assamese Bodo population accusing Bangladeshi refugees of illegally settling in the state.On parting note this govt. is known for not mincing the words and calling a spade a spade and despite being lampooned by Islamists over recent historical visit to Israel it made a point that it will not carry the historical baggage of placating Indian Muslims over Palestinian cause because Nation and it’s interests are above all and everything. National security and human rights can and will have to walk hand in hand and policy on Palestanine and Rohingyas bears a testimony to this fact.


This article was written by Anurag Sharma and published on his blog :  


Since the Indian independence, relations between India and China have always been very difficult. The problems about their common border, particularly those defined by the McMahon line, and the Tibetan question never enabled to put in place peaceful and constructive relations. The current military manoeuvers, on both sides, do not have to be considered like a classic episode of the international relation but as a real threat on the international security.



Since the end of the 40’s, even if India was one of the first to have relations with the new Communist China, these relations have been quickly envenomed due to the conflict on their border. This animosity knew two crises, one in 1962 and the other during the 80’s. The first directly led to a war and the end of the relation between both countries until 1979. During this period, both countries directly supported the dissidents from the other side, particularly the Dalai Lama and the ethnicities in North India. The second has been resolved by a cycle of diplomatic meetings and led on a detente. Both confrontations started by a border issue.


The current confrontation is a border issue too. There are two points of view about its outcome. The first is to consider the current confrontation just as a phase of their relation, a period of tensions which will decrease progressively. The second option is to consider it as a crisis which can evolve very quickly. It could trigger a real conflict in a couple hours or days. This option seems more realistic, especially with the politic leaders’ declarations and the current international context. Furthermore, the situation and the balance of power is not the same as in the 1960’s, they are no longer the medium powers and are not driven by same aims.


Today, China, with 1,38 billion of people, is becoming the most important economic power in the World; competing with the American leadership. China is advancing its pawns in all its close areas, particularly the China Sea and Tibet, to reaffirm its power and its influence. On the other side, India is the 7th economic power with 1,25 billion of people. Its economy continues to growth and the democratic reforms help to put in place a society more unified. It has strong tensions with their two main neighbours, Pakistan and China, and each event is a good occasion to reaffirm the national proud.


Most important, today, both countries have nuclear weapons. China has succeeded its first nuclear attempt in 1964. Since this date, it really improved and increased its arsenal. With ground, air, naval, tactical and long distance weapons, China owns a complete power of strike. The estimations are between 200 and 300 weapons, 260 according to the SIPRI Yearbook. Specialist consider that a part of the arsenal is hidden by China. The Indian capabilities are really late in comparison to China, but India continues to improve them. The estimation gives 100 to 120 nuclear weapons with air, ground and naval capacity. Since 2012, it has the capacity to launch a long-range missile of 5 000 kilometres.


The projection capacities are very important in the present conflict. Nepal and Bhutan have the difficult role of buffer and enable to avoid dissensions on the major party of the border. But each part of the direct border between both countries is subject to tensions, like we can see it on the map. During the last ten years, Chinese provocations were numerous. And the landscape  is just mountains, making direct confrontations very difficult, which probably avoided real escalation.


During the last few years, it was the North-West border which concentrated the tensions (yellow and green line on the map).[1] This area was really sensitive for it is very close to Cachemire, where India and Pakistan continue to gauge each other. China, as a strong ally of Pakistan, continues to pressure on India to destabilize and weaken it.


But today, it is the east part which crystalizes the tensions. Strategically, the Doklam Plateau (symbolized by a yellow triangle) is very important: it is one of the lowest elevations between both countries, so the perfect place to build a road. It is a part of Bhutan’s territory, not India’s, but the agreements between both countries force India to react.  And Indian leaders are afraid of a possible Chinese projection in India, notably in the Siliguri Corridor (white triangle), which could cut the access to the eastern part of the country.


On the other side, China considers the deployment of Indian soldiers as a threat, and perceived in the Indian reaction a danger for the New Silk Road. This project is the symbol of the new politics and economics powers  in China. It is one of the main project of Xi Jinping who will refuse that it is delayed.


All these events are just the symptoms of a latent conflict. The real problem is the balance of power. For their own security, it is not possible for them to accept to have a neighbour very powerful. The problem is the same that it was in Europe before World War One: each country is consolidating its power and tries to put in place a beginning of a sphere of influence. But it creates animosity, which has been maintained by both sides for nationalism reasons. The provocations are still regular, like, for example, the new Chinese Passport in 2012 which included part of territory normally under Indian control. Animosity, nationalism, provocations and territorial dominations: all the components of a war are present.


The question of the spark to trigger a real conflict is certain. The nuclear capabilities, reinforced by the system of alliances, help to avoid escalation. A direct conflict could directly imply a third of the global population, so with the nuclear context, it is really necessary to definitively solve the problem. But it is impossible to solve quickly and easily a conflict in which both countries stopped using the term “border”, preferring the expression “Line of control”.


But before doing any recommendations, many aspects should be taken into consideration by the international community. The first is the current policy of China in its close areas. These dissensions with India are not the only ones: there are the problems in South China Sea, with the Seven Points Line and the artificial islands, and in Est China Sea with Japan. In these situations, China plays an aggressive game and refuses any compromises or international justice decisions. There is no reason which could let us think that it could be different in this situation.


It is the same thing for India. To give reason to China and accept its claims would send a signal of weakness to the rest of the world and particularly to Pakistan. It would show that India recognizes the dominant statute of China.


But the International Community has absolutely no means of pressure: China, as a permanent member of the Security Council could block any decisions, advices or messages from United Nations which would be in favour of India. In the same time, the United Nations can’t support only China or it will lose all its credibility.


The mediation option could succeed if it is organized by United Nations or a real great power. During the 80’s, there have been fifteen cycles or diplomatic meetings with a mediator. But the mediator was Bangladesh, and this country is not enough powerful to keep the two protagonists at the same table. This time, the mediator should be strong enough with a real determination to be able to preserve negotiation. It could be done under the aegis of the BRICS, the other countries having no interests in strong dissensions among the group.


Furthermore, the solution found with the mediator gives two advantages: the first is that it would directly come from a consensus between both countries, it would not be imposed to them. The second is the time: currently the situation can stay the same during 1 month or 1 year but it also can flare. With a mediator, both countries are here to search a pacific outcome and will try to preserve it.


The solution which should absolutely be avoided is an external intervention, even with a real coalition. This intervention could reinforce the animosity feeling between both countries, and will not solve the problem definitively. If a real conflict began, this solution could be evoked as an interposing force.


To conclude, the relations between the two most populous countries in the world never was simple. The animosity from each side never disappeared, and the idea of the external adversary has been used many times to weld the population. The territorial issues are a real problem for the preservation of the international security, and the threat became more important when each country acquired nuclear weapons.


If the risk of escalation seemed moderate during the last few years, the recent events in Buhtan have crystalized the tensions. Concerning the nuclear threat, if both countries said that they apply the “No first use” politic; in a real war, when the situation is desperate, the strategic choices can overcome the ethic choices.




Blanchard, B., ‘China-India border spat casts shadow ahead of BRICS summit’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3rd August 2017,, (accessed the 6th August 2017)


Buckley, C. and Barry, E., “China Tells India That It Won’t Back Down in Border Dispute’ The New York Times, 4th August 2017,, (accessed 5th August 2017)


Chellaney, B., ‘Let facts speak for themselves on India-China border’, The Sunday Guardian,  31st October 2016,, (accessed 5th August 2017)


Kaiman, J., ‘Chinese passport map causes diplomatic dispute’, The Guardian, 27th Noember 2012,, (accessed 7th August 2017)


Miglany, S. ‘Diplomacy fails to defuse India, China border crisis: sources’, Reuters, 9th August 2017,, (accessed 9th August 2017)


National Security Council, ‘Report to Congress on Status of China, India and Pakistan Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Programs, People’s Republic of China’,, (accessed 6th August)




[1] The maps comes from : Brahma Chellaney, ‘Let facts speak for themselves on India-China border’, The Sunday Guardian,  31st October 2016,


Turkey, as a modern Islamic nation, has more reasons and commonalities to patch up with its recent and historical adversaries, than to retain the lash of Erdogan’s stubborn whims. Both Turkey and Russia are fighting the same terrorists in the Levant, then why should they live in suspicion of each other?

Both Turkey and India are fighting separatist forces in a part of their countries, then why is Ankara taking an equivocal stand on the Kashmir issue and the NSG issue, ostensibly leaning towards Pakistan’s unilateral claims. Turkey must decide whether it will be an OIC follower or an OIC reformer. In President Erdogan’s recent visit to India, he partially blanded the hopes of India by  revealing a pro-Pakistani inclination . He reinstated his committment to fight terrorism.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (R) shakes hands with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Credit :

Erdogan revelead a pro-Pakistani inclination

But if he backs up the sponsor of terrorism in India, namely the Pakistani establishment, on certain sensitive issues, and if he desperately exhorts India to close down Gulen institutions without giving concrete evidence against the motives of Hizmet and its involvement in last year’s July 15th coup d’état, he simply appears counter-convincing. Gulenists can be accused, but not without satisfactory proofs and points. Erdogan is already doing this hunting and purging of Gulenists in his own country which has sparked great controversy in and out of the Anatolia.

The Gulen and YPG Factors

In Erdogan’s meeting with Trump, he raised the question of extradition of Gulen and most likely Trump has let the cup float inconclusively because it is unlikely that Erdogan will be able to provide evidence that Fetullah Gulen was ‘personally’ involved in the Turkish coup.

There is a more potent point of present contention between Ankara and Washington. Erdogan had already said in an interview that he will ask Trump to explain about US flags waving alongwith the insignia of YPG, the Syrian Kurdish rebels, whom Erdogan views as the Syrian branch of PKK. Perhaps Trump is more favoured to consider YPG as being independent from PKK, so that he can balance between Erdogan on one hand and his Kurdish loyalists in northern Iraq and Syria on the other, without annoying either.

Syria : US has showed clear support for YPG’s Militia.

Ankara, which is however annoyed, reflects its reaction by refusing to acknowledge the Raqqa operation of the US against ISIS for which Trump depends on YPG. The April 25 bombings were another expression of Turkey’s unilateral inclination to fight its threats. But it can’t go

harder on US as it is the only country which can provide Turkey with critical weapons systems to fight PKK on the Turkish soil. This shows the US power getting the better of Erdogan’s justified argument. Thus the Turko-American bond remains loose, whilst on the issue of supporting the legitimacy of Assad as the Syrian President, Turkey alienates Russia.

On another front Turkey has recently angered Netherlands and Germany by insisting on carrying political rallies for the Turkish Referendum on their soil in the face of their dissent. It probably angered the whole of EU thereafter when Erdogan spoke of a clash between the crescent and the cross to have started following the ruling of Hijab ban at workplace by the European Court of Justice.

Armenia has sour relations with Turkey due to the rememberance of a century old genocide while Cyprus and Greece have their own reasons for dismay. It sometimes occurs to a pondering mind as to what are the political leverages that Erdogan is eyeing by pooling up so many diverse enemies and ensuring that the enmity is not short-lived. However one must accept that a large part of such moves by Turkey are its efforts to safeguard its strategic interests, just as any other country would.

Strategic Location 

Turkey’s Strategic Location

It is a geopolitical fact that Turkey is strategically located bridging Europe with Asia, Black Sea with the Mediterranean, the Christian Europe with the Islamic Middle-East, and fortifies the modern silk route at multiple locations including the Marmaray and the Eurasia tunnnel, among others. Erdogan has extended full confidence in the OBOR project of PRC in the Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing immediately preceding his meeting with Trump.

It was this geostrategic location which had made Constantinople as the focus of historical empires and wars. It is this that makes Turkey a vital NATO member. USA needed the support of such a NATO member when it launched Tomahawk missiles on Syria’s Shayrat airbase from US Navy destroyers deployed in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and Turkey was more than willing to second USA on this move partly to effect its foreign policy against Assad and partly to re-please the displeased White House. Turkey has also reined in Western Europe by acting as an indispensable buffer and stock of nearly three million Syrian refugees, and demands for more funds to meet this challenge. It also uses its this role to advocate more pressingly for accession to the EU, despite growing differences.

The Turkish Referendum and the MISA

As far as the internal politics of Turkey is concerned, the recent Turkish Referendum bears a debatable resemblance with the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) of India of 1971, passed by the Indira Gandhi government in India. Both these measures seem to arm the democratically elected leader of a country with dictatorial powers under the garb of maintaining security and stability within the country. It enables the leader to crush opposition and control press and media, get full powers of preventive detention and many other excesses. To reiterate, such an analogy is indeed arguable; but what followed the MISA era is not unknown but one hopes that Turkey will be able to avert such a situation.

Strong Economy

Notwithstanding the political side, Turkey seems to be playing quite well economically. Its policies and well budgeted capital expenditure are helping it urbanise its cities and reduce its Gini index. Erdogan is also keen on enhancing trade and FTAs with various countries, and trying hard to keep it delinked from any political differences. All nations seem to be following the policy of cooperation with caution and prevent any disputes from escalating excessively. Now the scrolls of time shall best unclose the aftermaths of the geostrategic moves of Turkey.