In an editorial in the special issue of the Organiser,titled Global Economic Crisis and Indias Geopolitical Concerns, R Balashankar writes: The world order seems distinctly moving towards multi-polarity. This possibility was discounted for long. It is interesting that the evolution of this new universe of multiple poles began from the US which so far used every power at its command to keep the world uni-polar. The dramatic onslaught of deepening global economic crisis shattered the implicit faith in globalisation which the US and its allies promoted as a tool of diplomatic hegemony. Now the wave of protectionism,the anti-thesis of globalisation,has become a core philosophy with the West. The US is leading the charge. According to Newsweek (March 11 2009),as one of the most dramatic effects of global recession US which was the main destination of international migration to pursue a dream of better living has ceased to be so; rather the trend is even starting to reverse itself. Reports talk of at least six million job losses in that country in the last four months.
He adds: How does India cope with the new situation? Has our geopolitical vulnerabilities increased in the last five years? Without undermining our economic growth and prosperity can we make a departure from past follies?… There is no dearth of literature in the wake of globalisation,mostly authored by western scholars,supportive of the new architecture of world economic order and their Indian chums predicting Indias emergence as a major economic power by the end of the first half of this century. Emergent India as a world economic power but a poor second-rate strategic partner of the West. Indians will get part of the leftover jobs of the west,great Indian idols will be those whom the Americans will certify as great managers of BPOs,imported US manual labour and second-rate software whiz kids.
He concludes: Most western analysts have painted India both as a challenge and an opportunity to the US. India is a large and continental size country with advantages that no other country can claim. It is steadily developing technical and social organisational capacities. China,like Japan, is excessively dependent on the international market both for resources and revenue generation. The world recession will hit it harder and longer. This is likely to limit its ability to play the big challenger. Its self-created contradictions of market economy and command polity,according to many analysts,can stymie its high growth in the long term. This is where India stands out. We are only short of a visionary political class.
In a piece titled Indian policy choices in a hostile world, Gautam Sen writes: Indian conceit about their supposed convivial pluralism and venerable cultural heritage misleads them into believing they are ineffably agreeable to others. In fact,nothing could be further from the truth. Muslims,a vast segment of the worlds population,dismiss pagan Indians with withering contempt. Arabs view them as lowly menials,which is precisely the status of the vast majority abroad. Britains elites harbour abiding animus towards Indian Hindus because they continue to blame them for their loss of imperial power and associated claims to elevated world status. In Europe,only Frances elites,infamously surprising the Nazis by their eagerness to collaborate in dispatching their Jewish compatriots to concentration camp deaths,match them in anti-Hindu vitriol. Xenophobic Christian America is proudly ignorant and sees little real difference between their own former slaves and repugnant non-white Indian slumdogs. The Chinese harbour more racial malice even compared to the Japanese or Indians themselves and they remain malevolently poised to put India in its place once and for all. Pakistani jehadis incubate inborn hatred towards Indians despite mostly being Hindu converts to Islam themselves,held in low esteem by Arabs. Indias two principal international friends are allied to it for essentially opportunistic reasons because that is the normal modus operandi of international relations.
He adds: Indians need a harsh reality check to recognise these hard truths about themselves and how unforgiving the real world happens to be. Indias domestic politics are the main barrier to the requisite clarity in thinking regarding the urgent tasks that lie ahead and earnest action in pursuing them. Indias thoroughly fractured domestic politics constrains the emergence of a secure and self-confident governing class that is not permanently distracted by the cynical compromises necessary for attaining power. This political fracture has also made Indias governing class both politicians and bureaucrats,vulnerable to foreign subordination that influences domestic political outcomes. Indira Gandhi was the only modern Indian leader with the personal courage to vigorously assert Indian interests against a formidable array of opponents that included the entire western alliance,China and the Islamic world.
Compiled by Suman K. Jha