Theweekendleader

US Congress Report that praised Narendra Modi derides India’s “fence sitting” foreign policy

21-September-2011

Vol 2 | Issue 37

The Weekend Leader does not require the US Congress Report’s observations to point out the flaws in India’s foreign policy. Recently we carried a story emphasising on the need to get tough with China. We have also been critical of India’s policy on Sri Lanka. The US Congress Report only validates some of our views. We would have ignored the report, but considering the seriousness with which people debated the report’s comments on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, we decided to bring to the public domain the US think-tank’s take on India’s foreign policy as well. If it triggers a debate on the spineless Indian foreign policy, and leads to some positive attitudinal changes in our diplomacy we will be most happy. Editor

A report by the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) that praised Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and triggered a debate on the BJP leader’s Prime Ministerial ambitions has pointed out that India’s foreign policy establishment, including its foreign service, think-tanks, and public universities, is “too small and/or too poorly developed for India to achieve true great power status in the foreseeable future.”

Get aggressive: The report has stated New Delhi acts too timidly on the global stage

“As a rising power, India has appeared unwilling to take the kinds of policy stances expected of major global players, in particular those who sit on the U.N. Security Council, as India has been in 2011,” notes the report.

The report was critical of India’s “vague positions on Middle East uprisings,” and “its largely hands-off response to uprisings in the Arab world, with External Affairs Minister Krishna saying India would not “jump into the fray” unless invited and would maintain a “very cautious” approach to the Libyan conflict.”

The report also noted that in “March 2011, India officially opposed NATO’s military action in Libya and notably abstained—along with Brazil, China, Russia, and Germany—from voting on U.N. Resolution 1973, which approved of such action.”

The report said: “Human rights activists have joined foreign governments in prodding India to be more proactive on key foreign policy issues, even those in India’s own neighborhood such as in Burma and Sri Lanka.”

The report appeared to clearly endorse the view of an observer, who reportedly criticised New Delhi “for issuing “bland propositions” that “can convey indifference to the plight of subjugated people.”

The report said the observer challenged India’s leaders to “stand with people or with dictators.” TWL Bureau

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