“India and the Third World”: Expanding Security Partnership
By ANANT MISHRA [Former Youth Representative to United Nations]
New Delhi: Armed with an economic growth of 1.842 trillion dollars annually, third largest purchasing power parity (PPP) in the world followed by 17.4% of the world population residents, the largest growing democracy in the world, India is a vast and thriving nation. Like any large country it is too struggling against domestic terrorism. India continues to face tensions in the Pakistan border, with already fought four wars with Pakistan since independence, followed by border disputes with China and incidents of Indian border intervention, the ISIS insanity run in the middle east followed by coup in Yemen and instability in Libya and Syria, India is now facing many hurdles. Inspite of the entire if’s and but’s India continues to show global leadership by mitigating third world nations on how these problematic issues are resolved.
Since its independence, India has been facing issues in domestic security. After the initial partition which led to the formation to dominions, India and Pakistan, clashes between Hindus, Muslims and the Sikhs were hostile. The year 1948 saw 4 million East Bengal residents fleeing to India as ethnic cleansing and military interventions feared many. Amid peace talks, treaties and pledges to deal with the ethnic violence as huge amount of refugees fled, this led to only one unavoidable outcome, India and Pakistan went to war for the first time which later came to be known as First Kashmir war of 1947. Since then India and Pakistan has fought three wars (1965, 1971, and 1999) and still today the tension continue to rise.
Talking about the north east, India had territorial disputes with China, which still stands today, unresolved. India and China were engaged in the Sino Indian War in 1962, over the Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin regions. China which recently had annexed Tibet saw these regions important in order to retain control over Tibet. India actively supported the McMahon line as the legal line of demarcation between the two countries while China considered McCarthy McDonald line as legal border.
The efforts to contain the situation started to fall as negotiations such as the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence failed to deescalate the hostile situation and in June 1962, both the nations began militarising their borders. India faced a humiliating defeat which resulted in China succession over Aksai Chin. Line of Actual Control was used to demarcate the border. This war revealed the true “chinese tendency” (globally referred as “communist agenda” against neighbouring nations) but also created a difficult situation for India military capabilities were going to be tested for the first time in the eastern provinces. This resulted in huge military expenditure and formation of military training institutes.
With poor military equipments and almost no tactical experience in the turf, India reached out to Soviet Union for help. Inspite maintaining a neutral state in the war, Soviet Union assisted India more than communist China. The Soviet Union policy to support the “third World Countries” was quite successful as it helped India in achieving military aspirations, while trying to negotiate a peace treaty between India and Pakistan.
Current Situation – Today’s players
1. Islamic Republic of Pakistan
India’s relationship with Pakistan is one of the most important issues concerning India with both internal and external security. With a long violence history between the two, enforcing peace treaty between them will be very difficult, but useful one in order to maintain domestic stability. The longer these two dominions are at war, it will be difficult to initiate a peace agreement between them (a similar situation that of Israel and its Arab neighbours). A peace treaty can be brokered in many ways, either involving direct communication between New Delhi and Pakistan, or using international forums such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), or through multilateral talks, using an unbiased power nation such as the US or Russia. Conflicts like these do not resolve immediately, but India will do whatever it can to maintain peace and domestic stability.
2. Russian Federation
Russia has been a very close ally to India and has supported India in achieving global prominence and military security. With this long term friendship, India continues to strengthen friendship with Russia. The Declaration on Strategic Partnership, the first political initiative since the dissolution of Soviet Union was signed between India and Russia in 2000. The agreement of the partnership was to, “Consolidate their traditionally close and friendly ties to mutual benefit” through annual summits, close talks and open forums, to discuss issues from nuclear security, disarmament in security to joint military drills. With strengthen Russia and India’s relations; US might take a step back as both EU and the West have condemned Russia’s actions in Crimea. Prime Minister Modi has to decide whether to play the card of full cooperation with Russia or not.
3. People’s Republic of China
Looking at the Indo China relations historically, with one war and some escalated situation on the border, the relationship is fragile. With continues border disputes, one war, and militarization of Line of Actual Control, the de-escalation of the situation has to be observed. India however has made quite efforts in moulding a relationship with China through international forums such as the annual BRICS Summits which comprises the heads of state of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Despite the tiring process of mending relationship, China’s hidden policies might create certain hindrance in due process. One such hindrance is the India’s growing influence in the maritime domains of Asia Pacific, a region where China is flexing its military power both over the sea and on the land, (China has pressurised many pacific states such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan). The South China Sea dispute that involves the Paracel Islands, Scarborough Shoal, and Spratly Islands will be a deciding factor for peace between the two nations.
4. The United States of America
India was quite cooperative with Soviet Union during the cold war; acquiring assistance from the US was never on the forefront of India’s political agenda. Since the Soviet dissolutions, United States and India have been engaged in many diplomatic talks and forums to strengthen relationship and to develop close ties followed by infrastructural support. In 2009, India and the US were signed a partnership for “Strategic Cooperation, Energy and Climate Change, Education and Development, Economy, Trade and Agriculture, Science and Technology, and Health and Innovation”.
Additionally with the recent President Obama’s visit to India, the question of the hour is will US be able to support India for the permanent seat in the UNSC? With many nations in queue India faces a strong contender Brazil while there is absolute certainty of veto from China. It is now US task to find more compelling and supporting friends as the dominance of Asia is at stake. The US and China are already not in good terms, with Washington concerned over China’s expansion in South Asia, leaving India the only ally to count on.
About the Author
Anant Mishra is a former Youth Representative to United Nations. He has served in numerous committees including United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and United Nations Security Council (UNSC).He is an Associate Member of Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi and Member of Forum for Integrated National Security, New Delhi.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]