Connect with us

South Asia

India’s 2019 Budget: Fiscal prudence vis-à-vis Economic diplomacy

Published

on

“The conqueror shall think of the circle of states as a wheel – himself as the hub, and his allies, drawn to him by the spokes though separated by intervening territory, as its rim.” – Kautilya, The Arthashastra

A paradigm shift in the nature of India’s foreign policy framework under the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modi has been the focus on – Economic dynamism and Strategic autonomy. The combination of these two policies is the ability of a state to take vital and independent decisions on matters affecting its geopolitical ecosystem. This diplomatic dynamism is a clear signal of India’s rise as a regional as well as a global power.

India is the fastest growing economy in the world, and according to various reports of global political analysts and Think-tanks, the Indian economy is touted to become the next possible superpower on a global level.  India has a fair share of political influence in South Asia due to its position as a regional economic giant, a young country with over a billion people, a stable military, a territorially diverse, a policy incubator and a rich cultural heritage with Soft Power initiatives. India has diplomatically stayed away from coercive carrot-and-stick approach. Economic factors play a crucial impact on the formation of an inclusive foreign policy. Protection and promotion of economic interests are vital pillars ensuring national interests in the foreign policy of any country.

The Union Finance Minister of India, Piyush Goyal presented an Interim Budget for 2019-2020, a perfect piece of smart economics and smart politics in the Parliament last week. “Due to a stable and predictable regulatory regime, growing economy and strong fundamentals, India could attract a massive amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the last 5 years as much as $239 billion. This period also witnessed a rapid liberalisation of the FDI policy, allowing most FDI to come through the automatic route,” said Piyush Goyal in his budget speech.

India witnessed its best phase of macro-economic stability during this period. India is the fastest growing major economy in the world with an annual average GDP growth during the last five years higher than the growth achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991. From being the 11th largest economy in the world in 2013-14, the Indian economy became the 6th largest in the world. “Besides generating high growth rate, we contained double-digit inflation and restored fiscal balance,” said Finance Minister.

In an increasingly polarised world, economic diplomacy remains a key tool for effective cooperation between countries and regions on the global level. India’s allocation towards economic diplomacy indefatigably crossed the USD 1 billion mark. Narendra Modi Government’s first budget in 2014-15 allocated around INR 12,620 crore to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The overall grant to the MEA has been increased to INR 16,061 crore in 2018-19.

India is already contributing nearly 15% to global growth and considering this rapid growth, there has to be a diplomatic focus on the consequences of this rapid development.  With more financial stability, MEA should shift its focus to Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) with the European Union (EU) in 2019. The recent constitutional coup in Sri Lanka, China’s dominating ocean diplomacy and upcoming elections in neighbouring countries, the 2019-20 Budget was a clear sign that India must revisit its approach to economic diplomacy in the Asia Pacific region.

India imported $3 billion-dollar worth of oil and gas from the United States last year. The trade deficit with China is over $63 billion. India is also looking to diversify its trade relations with Russia, which is driven by strong defence ties and big-ticket defence purchases. After the opening of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, India has ruled out any bilateral engagement with Pakistan till general elections in May 2019.

However, on investments, South Asian states receive the bulk of India’s economic assistance. India’s aid to Eurasia stands at INR 25 crore in 2018. Still, there is low or almost no assistance given to Indian companies investing in strategic infrastructure projects abroad by way of concessional financing or budgetary support. Indian Overseas Direct Investment in developing countries is still not diplomatically routed due to non-availability of proper data to direct resources.

2019 would be the year for India to explore multilateral cooperation deals and mutual assistance agreements with countries like the United States, France, Japan, Australia, etc. which have announced new economic initiatives in the Indo-Pacific and Eurasia.

Adithya Anil Variath is a lawyer based in Mumbai, India. He writes frequently on issues of Law & Policy, AI and International relations

Continue Reading
Comments

South Asia

Pakistan’s peace-loving gestures are considered its weakness, unfortunately

Published

on

Pakistan is a peace-loving nation and a responsible state. The leadership, civil and military. Both are visionary and rational very much. Pakistan was the hub of western tourists in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, due to its natural beauty, friendly and hospitable environment, and affordable living. Economic growth was one of the highest in this part of the world. But suffered a lot since the 1980s, due to the situation in Afghanistan. It was not our war, but unfortunately, we were pushed into this war. As a result, Pakistan offered 80,000 precious lives of Pakistani nationals, an economic loss of estimated up to 250 billion US dollars. In addition to it, extremism, terrorism, trafficking, smuggling, ethnicity, intolerance, gun, and drug culture, etc. were a gift. Due to the war-like situations during the last 4 decades, nations spared all resources, including human resources, financial resources etc on imposed war-front. As a result, industrial agriculture, infrastructure development, education, SW&T, R&D, Innovation, Commercialization, Health Sector, etc all walks of life suffered a lot and as result, today facing the worst economic crisis with over 100 billion foreign debt.

But, after having so many bitter lessons, the nation is even more mature and trained to survive under any circumstances. In fact, has emerged one of the most resilient nation. India staged the drama of “Pulwan” on 14 February this year, and without collecting evidence and investigation, just within hours, blamed Pakistan and threatened Pakistan. Pakistan offered to extend full cooperation in investigation and punish the responsible. But, India, according to pre-plan, attacked Pakistan on the 25th of February and dropped bombs in Balakot a city deep inside Pakistan. The leadership of Pakistan is very much sensible and rational and noticed that India is pushing Pakistan into full-scale war. The visionary leadership in Pakistan realized the consequences of war, especially when, both India and Pakistan, both are nuclear states, possessing enough piles of lethal weapons to destroy each other completely, and its impact on the region as well as global. Formulated a smart strategy to respond on the 27th of February, giving a message to India, that although Pakistan has capabilities and enjoys supremacy over India, it still sticks to “Love-For-Peace” and does not wish to opt for war, successfully averted to escalate to a full-fledged war. Even that, Pakistan released the captured pilot of Indian air force inside Pakistan territory, as a good-will gesture.

India revoked its own constitution on the 5th of August and imposed curfew in Kashmir. It is an act of war and violation of UN charter, Simla Agreement and all norms & practices of civilized world. Siege of Kashmir, complete black-out by suspending Internet, mobile phone services. Cutting all modes of communication, evacuating all foreigners and visitors from Kashmir. Keeping people under house arrest. Occupying forces are killing, arresting, detaining and raping on a mass scale and draconian laws imposed empowered the security forces to shot at a spot on suspicion only, with any judicial process. After 42 days of curfew, people are facing a severe shortage of food, fuel, electricity, medicines, and life is completely at a halt, stand-still status. It is the largest curfew in the known-history of human beings, as around 8 million people are under siege, and Kashmir has been turned into a big jail, people are treated as prisoners. India’s atrocities and brutalities have crossed all records of human rights violations.

UN, Human Rights Organizations, Mainstream Media, International organizations, NGOs, the whole International community have shown deep concerns on Indian atrocities. Protests, agitations, rallies, and demonstrations, all around the world as solidarity with the people of Kashmir have been witnessed. European Parliaments, UNSC, OIC, SCO, and all other international organizations are worried about the deteriorated situation of humanity in Kashmir.

Kashmir is a dispute between China, Pakistan, and India. India has illegally occupied a part of Kashmir known as Indian Occupied Kashmir. But people of Kashmir are spread all over three parts, i.e in Pakistan known as Azad or Free Kashmir and China. Kashmir is one nation and having blood relations in all three parts. They are charged at peak to enter into India Occupied Kashmir and help their brothers and sister in Indian Occupied Kashmir. They wanted to provide them food, medicines and basic necessities of life. The government of Pakistan is trying its best to stop them to march toward Indian Occupied Kashmir, as they are unarmed and simple villagers, they might have the high spirits to rescue the lives of their brothers and sisters in Indian Kashmir but might face firing by Indian Army. I am afraid, the public pressure is growing with passing each day and they might march toward Indian Occupied Kashmir, and Pakistani Security Forces may not be able to stop them, then they might come under the Indian forces firing range. It might complicate the situation. The government of Pakistan is committed to observing restrains and avert any war, with India, but if its civilians are killed, it may create an unexpected situation, difficult to predict the reaction.

On the other hand, Indian military deployment along the line of control and frequent violations of line of control, use of cluster bombs on civilian population inside Pakistan, and war-preparations are alarming. Indian Army Chief announced that The Indian Army is well prepared to Attack Pakistan and just waiting for a signal from its Government in Delhi.

Pakistan is trying its best to observe restrains and showing maximum tolerance and patience. But India considers Pakistan “Love-For-Peace” as its “weakness”, Unfortunate! Very Unfortunate!

Continue Reading

South Asia

Webinar: Kashmir Outside the Crosshairs- Does Anyone Care about Kashmir?

MD Staff

Published

on

Join Modern Diplomacy and our Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Matthew Crosston, for a Live Intelligence briefing / Webinar, on Sunday September 29 at 18:30 (IST) to learn:

* Why does the US continue to ignore Kashmir but give loads of attention to every country around it?

* Is it necessarily a positive if the US DOES start paying attention to it? 

* What would be GOOD attention and what be BAD? Which one is the US likely to give?

* Can Kashmir ever be left alone to develop independently and not be a pawn of regional neighbors?

These and other controversial but critically important questions will be covered in an exciting intelligence briefing that will still allow for a dynamic, open discussion exchange with one the world’s most recognized, accomplished and sought after Intelligence experts, Dr. Prof. Matthew Crosston, Executive Vice Chairman of Modern Diplomacy.

Reserve your seat here

Dr. Matthew Crosston is Director over all Intelligence programs and Professor of Strategic Intelligence and Global Security in the School of Security and Global Studies at the American Military University. He is an acclaimed author and international speaker who consults with governments, media organizations, and academic institutions on a range of issues covering peace mediation, human rights conflicts, resource dilemmas, intelligence, change leadership, and education innovation. His works overall have been translated into Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Hebrew, Spanish, Turkish, Farsi, Greek, and Uzbek. He has a BA from Colgate University, MA from the University of London, PhD from Brown University, and completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto.

Modern Diplomacy and Center for International Strategic Analyses

Continue Reading

South Asia

Secularism in India: Disparity in theory and practice

Published

on

Authors: Areeja Syed and Kinza Shaheen*

Secularism is adopted by most of the contemporary states. The three intrinsic principles of secularism are  freedom of belief, that every person living in that particular state has his own belief system and he can believe and worship any God, second is the institutional separation and third is the ‘no discrimination’ on the basis of religion. The largest democracy of the world, India claims to be a secular state. There were various reasons to declare a state as a secular, in which one was domestic reasons and other was global. If we talk about the internal reason, we know that most of the people in India follow the religion of Hinduism, but apart from Hinduism there are many religions such as the Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism etc. The state of India declares itself as a secular to get the support of the heterogeneous population. As far as the global reason is concerned, India proclaims itself as a secular state to portray a positive image in the world.

Secular means equality, so in western states it depicts a positive image that these particular states have equality for every individual. For that reason, India following the notion of the western states declared itself as a secular state. However, the record of India in religious bigotry is quite disappointing. Minorities are not enjoying equal rights as enjoyed by the Hindus in India. It is adopting the policies of ‘Hindutva’ which shows the dominance of Hindus in every walk of life. On one hand it portrays a secular image to the world and on the other hand minorities like Muslims are beaten and even killed to eat the beef.  Beef is one of the favourite hilal meals of Muslims. Moreover, most of the Muslims have businesses that are directly and indirectly related to the livestock. They slaughter the cows and make a living. Ironically, Muslims are being beaten by the Hindus either on the slaughter of cow and eating of beef.  A lot of beef shops had been burned by the radical Hindus. They generate limitations on the Muslims to slaughter cows. How India could claims to be a secular state if a minority individual could not practice his own religion. The Indian media also added fuel to the fire by just giving biased and one sided stories in favour of extremist Hindus.

The ruling government of BJP is also silent over that biasness for the cause that there is Hindu majority in India and if they do anything to protect the rights of minorities, it will make Hindu fanatics discontented and they will lose their vote banks, they think rational too in terms of political gains. Francis Schaeffer says that just showcasing secularism is a more dangerous than the clear-cut discrimination. There are exceptionally stumpy numbers of political representations of Muslims in the politics.

Question arises that being the 2nd highest population of India, why much Muslims are not representing the Indian government? Kashmir is one of the major examples of human rights violation. Each day Muslims have been targeted by the radical Hindus. Indian military is killing the Kashmiri youth on daily basis. Most of the time, Kashmiris have to live under the curfew. However, curfew is the element of a dictator and an authoritative regime. The democratic and secular states view curfew as a violation of human rights. Since 1947, India remained unsuccessful to establish it writ over the Jammu & Kashmir. And so, India is adopting barbaric tactics to get hold of Jammu &Kashmir. Indian forces are making use of Pallet guns against the civilians. Incidents of braid chopping and rape of Muslim girls by the extremist Hindus and Indian forces are rising up. But the world has closed its eyes over the human rights violation in Jammu & Kashmir because India is emerging as an economic giant in the international forum. The International community is quiet interested in India due to its growing economy, its geopolitical location and a number of other elements. That is why; states are silent over the atrocities of India in Jammu & Kashmir.

The human rights violation in Kashmir gives an incentive to the freedom fighters to take up weapons to defend their rights. One can analyze this from two dissimilar perceptions. One is the discriminative behaviour of the state with that individual (who became freedom fighter later) which compel him to be a freedom fighter and fight for himself and his family, and second refers to the historical background of that individual, from how much sufferings he sees in his childhood on him n his family, that psychologically disturbed him and he had that thinking from his childhood that he will take the revenge when he grew up. In both of situations, India is solely accountable and responsible for creating Freedom Fighters in the Region.

Dissatisfied with the curfew and killing India is taking the territory of Jammu and Kashmir under the legal pretext to maintain its image as a democratic and secular state. On August 5, the President of India Ram Nath Kovind issued a presidential order to make applicable the provision of the constitution in the Jammu & Kashmir. The presidential order was approved by the parliament in a resolution. On August 6, 2019 the president nullify the article 370 of the Indian constitution that provides special status to the Jammu& Kashmir territory. With the nullification of the article 370, non-Kashmiris will be allowed to purchase land in the disputed territory which is likely to change the demographic of the Jammu Kashmir. India is targeting the minorities through such kinds of tactics to serve the interests of the Hindus.  Democracy and Secularism gives equal rights to the citizens without creating discrimination on the basis of religion, colour and creed. If India continued the policies of persecution against the minorities than it will create further security problems for it. More and more people will take up weapons against the state when they see that state is backing the atrocities.  It will lead India at the brink of collapse. If India treat everyone equally then it will also diminish the anger of freedom fighter and there will be no reason for unequally treated people to struggle against government. Hence Indian government need to look into this state of affairs in a quiet serious method or else in the Indian government will be responsible for the disputes and which will deteriorate their international image too.

*Kinza Shaheenhas done M.phil in International Relations from Comsats University Islamabad.

Continue Reading

Latest

Environment2 hours ago

New Study Offers Pathways to Climate-Smart Transport

A two-volume study laying out a pathway to a low-carbon and climate-resilient transport sector in Vietnam was released at a...

Science & Technology8 hours ago

Digitally shaping a greener world

Women were not allowed on map-making ship voyages until the 1960s—it was believed that they would bring bad luck. Spanish...

Reports10 hours ago

Promoting Innovation and Market Competition are key to China’s Future Growth

China needs to foster new drivers of growth to address productivity challenges, intensify reforms and promote greater innovation in the...

Americas12 hours ago

Politics as Reflection: Even in an Election Year, Real Change Must Come From “Below”

“What is the good of passing from one untenable position to another, of seeking justification always on the same plane?”-Samuel...

Middle East14 hours ago

New intrigue over nuclear deal

The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) demonstrated unprecedented foreign policy activity in August as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif...

South Asia16 hours ago

Pakistan’s peace-loving gestures are considered its weakness, unfortunately

Pakistan is a peace-loving nation and a responsible state. The leadership, civil and military. Both are visionary and rational very...

Economy17 hours ago

National Mobilization of Entrepreneurialism; Skills gaps strategy

Uplifting midsize business economy, nation by nation   Although neglected, the revival of midsize business economy is extremely critical, as...

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Modern Diplomacy