Tuesday, 21 August 2012

NonAlignment 2.0

Reproduced from the document NonAlignment 2.0, 2012

The core objectives of Non Alignment were to ensure that India did not define its national interest or approach to world politics in terms of ideologies and goals that had been set elsewhere; that India retained maximum strategic autonomy to pursue its own developmental goals; and that India worked to build national power as the foundation for creating a more just and equitable global order. The context in which India has to practice NonAlignment has changed considerably, as have India’s own capacities and requirements.

  • In ensuring our economic growth, one factor is even more fundamental than access to resources. This is our ability to compete in the field that is vital to defining national power in the twenty-first century: knowledge and knowledge production, especially the capacity to innovate and to generate new forms of knowledge
  • The complexity of India’s material interests, and their entanglement with the imperatives of human capital formation and knowledge production, have profound implications for foreign and strategic policy.  For one thing, it will make it much more difficult for us to adopt stances rooted in abstract idealism, or to seek to follow a narrow linear narrative about what serves our national interest.

  • Changing nature of global power: the twenty first century is unlikely to be characterized by a world bifurcated between two dominant powers. There will be several other centres and hubs of power that will be relevant, particularly in regional contexts.  This means that NonAlignment will no longer be limited to avoiding becoming a frontline state in a conflict between two powers. It will instead require a very skilful management of complicated coalitions and opportunities—in environments that may be inherently unstable and volatile rather than structurally settled. This also provides India with rich opportunities, especially if it can leverage into the international domain some of its domestically acquired skills in coalition management and complex negotiation.

  • India will also inhabit an economic world where the other great binary of the twentieth century, that between the developed and developing world, is undergoing substantial redefinition. India’s interests, as those of many countries, will straddle this divide, and be heterogeneous in character.

  • One of the great lessons of the late twentieth century was that even small powers or small non-state groups can generate effects disproportionate to their physical scale or their ostensible material power.  Therefore the kinds of power that a state requires will take two different forms. We must seek to achieve a situation where no other state is in a position to exercise undue influence on us—or make us act against our better judgement and will. On the other hand, we need to devise appropriate responses that address the unpredictable ways in which weak states, terrorist groups and new post-modern media-based and other forms of power, can influence or threaten our interests. Our institutions, our technologies, our resources, and our knowledge and analytic capacities will have to undergo radical shifts and enhancements if they are to respond to both types of extant power, and to their new configurations.

  • India’s great advantage is that, barring certain perceptions in our immediate neighbourhood, it is not seen as a threatening power. This has been a great asset to India. The world recognizes that it needs India to succeed. We must leverage that global consensus as effectively as we can.

  • However India is at times perceived as a power that, even when its interests are adversely affected, can do no harm: that is overly passive. Here, our big challenge will be at once to develop a repertoire of instruments to signal—and where necessary to establish—that there will be serious costs to attempts to coerce Indian judgements or actions, while at the same time ensuring that we do not appear threatening to our many friends and well-wishers.

  • Effective state security will above all be a function of state openness. Accountability, adherence to norms, and a capacity to enable pluralism to flourish: all will be essential to enabling states to command domestic legitimacy, and thus also to possess global credibility.

The fundamental source of India’s power in the world is going to be the power of its example. If India can maintain high growth rates, leverage that growth to enhance the capabilities of all its citizens, and maintain robust democratic traditions and institutions, there are few limits to India’s global role and influence. The foundations of India’s success will, therefore, depend on its developmental model. If our developmental model is successful, it will give us still greater legitimacy in the world—and it will enhance our capacity to act for ourselves.

Source: http://www.cprindia.org/sites/default/files/NonAlignment%202.0_1.pdf

NonAlignment 2.0 is an attempt to identify the basic principles that should guide India’s foreign and strategic policy over the next decade. The views it sets out are rooted in the conviction that the success of India’s own internal development will depend decisively on how effectively we manage our global opportunities in order to maximize our choices—thereby enlarging our domestic options to the benefit of all Indians. NonAlignment 2.0 is the product of collective deliberation, debate and report writing involving a diverse and independent group of analysts and policy makers.

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