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Why India will likely ally with China, not with U.S.

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India — like the USA that used-to-be — was born out of a revolution (in 1776 in U.S.; in 1947 in India) against imperialism (in fact, against British imperialism, the very same master; i.e., enemy; as the American public had and — ever since 1945 — still has, though this time in the form of a united UK-&-U.S. Deep-State aristocracy, who control the U.S. Government, behind the scenes). The world is now splitting-up, into two. One side is the pro-imperialist (or “neocon”) side (the conquerors of Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Guatemala, and many other countries), which includes all of the Axis Powers during WW II (Germany, Italy, and Japan), plus almost all of the other EU nations, plus Israel, plus almost all of the Western-Hemisphere countries. It’s headed (behind the scenes) by the U.S.-and-UK billionaires. On the opposite side are the nations that the imperialist nations (the united fascist billionaires) target. They are: China, Russia, Iran, and their allies, all of which targeted nations are ideologically committed anti-imperialist nations. 

Therefore, virtually all wars and coups after WW II have been wars and coups by the U.S. and its allies, to conquer (take control over) additional nations (nations that hadn’t yet buckled to them). That (the aggressiveness of the imperialist nations) is just a historical fact, about the world during the years after 1944, and it is now driving the remaining targeted nations (principally China, Russia, and Iran) toward closer-and-closer cooperation amongst themselves, so that if  WW III happens, then it will be between the imperialist nations on the one side, versus the anti-imperialist nations on the other. It would be a nuclear-war-updated version of the WW II Axis (pro-imperialist) nations versus the Allied (anti-imperialist) ones. (Churchill was imperialist, but he was forced by FDR to suppress his imperialism during WW II. Truman instead adopted Churchill’s imperialism.) All of the former Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) would then be led by the Rhodesist UK-U.S.-Israel team.

Given this reality, India has recently been tending to get off the ideological fence that it has been sitting on ever since 1947, to side increasingly with its fellow-anti-imperialist nations. If it finally (decisively) does so, then that would become the most momentous blow yet against the Rhodesist UK-U.S.-Zionist joint global empire ever since the UK itself lost India on 15 August 1947. India would then no longer be “neutralist.” It would instead become an additional enemy of the imperialist powers. It would become allied with China, Russia, and Iran, against the imperialist powers — including, finally, at long last, against the UK, which was India’s former master.

For a long time, I was hesitating to say that India seems likely to go with the anti-imperialists, because the indications that India was trending in this direction concerned only recent decisions by its Government, not anything that’s rooted deeply in Indian public opinion which would separately indicate deepseated cultural support, ideological Indian-cultural support, for any such radically new commitment by its Government — a geostrategic earthquake-in-the-making, in the world’s second-most-populous nation. But, finally, I believe that I have found that ideological-cultural support to exist, in India, and will describe here the evidence for it.

I should start by noting that I had wrongly predicted, on 1 August 2020, that “India and Brazil Are Now the Global Worst Coronavirus Nations”, and I had based that false forecast for India upon (regarding covid-policy-effectiveness) “The key isn’t so much the healthcare system, as it is the public health system. And that’s quite evidently poor in all three of the worst-performing countries: India, Brazil, and U.S.” However, UNLIKE the U.S. and Brazil, India has turned out to have a far better public-health system than I knew. That’s because India has a population who respect their Government. Respect for the Government is a sine-qua-non, essential, in order for any public-health system to be able to function effectively. Without it, the public won’t trust their Government’s public-health requirements (such as masking, vaccinations, etc.) to protect them against a pandemic. But, as things have subsequently turned out, the Indian people DO trust their Government, almost as much as the people in China do.

On 9 December 2021, Morning Consult Polls headlined  “The U.S. has a lower vaccination-rate than any other country tracked besides Russia.” China and India had the highest percentages of willing, the lowest percentage who said that they are “unwilling” to be vaccinated, in all of the 15 surveyed countries. Earlier, Morning Consult had headlined, on 15 July 2021, “The U.S. has a higher rate of vaccine opposition than any country tracked besides Russia.” (The questions had been identical in both surveys.) China and India turned out to have the highest vaccination-rates. Each polling had surveyed 75,000 “nationally representative samples of adults. (In India, the sample is representative of the literate population).” (Illiterates are especially difficult to survey, anywhere.) The 9 December polling showed only 1% each in China and India to be “unwilling” to be vaccinated, and it found 87% of Chinese having already been “vaccinated”, and 86% of Indians having been “vaccinated.” In Russia, where the vaccination-opposition was the highest, 20% were “unwilling” and 43% had been “vaccinated.” In America — the second-worst performer on this factor — 19% were “unwilling” (19 times higher than China’s 1%) and 67% had been “vaccinated.” In the 15 July polling report, 30% of Russians had said they were “unwilling,” and 19% of Americans did. 2% did in each of China and India. The opponents to vaccination seem to be the most-solidly implacable anywhere — 19%, in both pollings — in America.

Previous polls have shown that, whereas Russia’s President, Putin, is highly trusted, Russia’s Government is not. So: Russia is a mixed bag, partly like America, and partly like China (where both the leader, Xi, and the Government, are enormously trusted). Russia has turned out to have been performing, on both disease-cases and disease-deaths, better than U.S. but not nearly as well as either China or India. Vladimir Putin came into power in Russia in 2000 committed to undoing the Americanization of his country as much as possible, but he never undid its libertarianism and therefore Russia’s covid performance is turning out to be nearer to U.S. than to China. In this sense, India, which has also become much Americanized, might actually now be moving away from America at a faster clip now than is Russia. This would put India closer to the anti-imperialist bloc.

What is important in those polls is that they display a deeper-rooted socialism in India than in Russia. (America is rather extremely toward the libertarian/neoliberal pole of ideology, which is opposite to socialism. Almost all developed countries are more socialistic than is America.) Perhaps Russia’s having once HAD an empire, whereas India did not, is the reason why India is now moving more clearly now toward the anti-imperialist bloc, which is being led by China, Russia, and Iran.

Additionally confirming those hypotheses is the “Edelman Trust Barometer 2021” which surveyed in 27 nations. One subhead in it is “A TRUST RECKONING FOR CHINA AND THE U.S.” It showed that the highest 3 nations on overall trust in the country’s various institutions, in both 2020 and 2021, were: India, China, and Indonesia, all at 72% to 82%. U.S. scored in the bottom 30% of nations,  #19 in 2020 at 47%, and #21 in 2021 at 48%. Japan was in the bottom 10%, at #25 (42%) in 2020, and #26 (40%) in 2021. The Edelman rankings also showed that the highest 4 nations (in the 74%-80% range) on “Willing to vaccinate” were, in order from the top: India, Brazil, Mexico, and China. U.S. was #20, at 59%. Japan was #24 at 54%. Russia was #27 (last) at 40%. The global average on this was 64%.

Specifically trust in the Government, in those 27 nations, was the highest in #s 1 and 2 tied, being China and Saudi Arabia (82%), #3 UAE (80%), and #4 India (79%). U.S. was #19 (42%). Japan was #22 (37%). Russia was #24 (34%). South Africa was #27 (and at 27%).

What does this mean for how effectively the various countries have been dealing with the the current global pandemic, covid-19 — both disease-cases, and diseased-deaths? Let’s just take the top-trusted Government, China, and compare it to a low-trusted one, America: You will see the comparisons right here. They will shock just about everyone. So, this likewise explains why I have needed to come up with a new explanation for India’s covid-performance having turned out to be, though not nearly comparable to China’s, nonetheless substantially BETTER than America’s (which I did not expect).

Russia has BECOME anti-imperialist due to America’s increasing attempt (along with its NATO) to conquer it, but India is increasingly becoming anti-imperialist. Russians and Chinese are anti-imperialist by urgent necessity, in order to protect their nationhood or sovereignty over their own territory, which the imperialists covet. However, India is becoming anti-imperialist now because of the UK-U.S. (Rhodesist empire) now forcing the world to choose-up “sides.” (This is happening in regard to the imperialists trying to break Taiwan off from China, and trying to force Donbass back into Ukraine.) Fence-sitting won’t, any longer, be allowed by the imperialists. They demand a commitment, or a stronger commitment, to the imperialist bloc.

The big barrier to India’s decisively joining the anti-imperialist side (including China) is a 2009 India-China border-conflict in a mutually contested region, Arunachal Pradesh. However, on 2 December 2019, the Financial Express headlined “Exercise Hand-in-Hand 2019: Troops from India, China to conduct joint drill this week”, and reported that throughout the following decade, the two countries had been increasing their mutual trust. In addition to this, the still-contested region has only around a million population and isn’t of geostrategic significance; so, if it were to stand in the way of India’s Government decisively joining the anti-imperialist side, then China’s Government would be foolish not to simply tell India’s, “Fine, that’s part of your territory.” With that minor concession, China could effectively win India as being a member of their team, against the global aggressors. But things seem to be drifting that way anyway. However and whenever India’s Government might happen to make that decision, it would be a wrenching break away from the deep cultural roots that England’s empire had planted in Indian culture, ever since 1614, when the world’s first stock company (which had been formed in 1600), the British East India Company, started to take control over India, which ultimately meant also to train India’s aristocracy in the English language and customs, so as to make them representatives of the British monarch. This would be the final divorce of India from Britain’s aristocracy. And, of course, China already went through that divorce when Mao beat-out Chiang Kai-shek for control over China, in 1949, which was a huge defeat against the Rhodesists.

Another factor that would need to be overcome is that in 2007, the neoconservative leader of Japan Shinzo Abe proposed that a pro-U.S., anti-China, Pacific-Ocean equivalent of NATO be formed, and it was created as “The Quad”, with Japan, Australia, India, and U.S., as the members. However, it’s far less formal than NATO, and easier to break up or end than NATO is; and the tendencies after that time have been for the Quad to be so unimportant so that in 2021, a different grouping — Australia, UK, and U.S. — formed a more strictly Rhodesist military alliance, “AUKUS”, which is therefore culturally deeper-rooted, and doesn’t have India as a member. Its lack of India could be a harbinger of the Quad’s ultimate termination and replacement by AUKUS. (Japan sought to join AUKUS, but wasn’t included.)

The stark covid-policy differences between, on the one hand, China and India, versus, on the other, America and its NATO-and-Japanese-and-Australian allies, might be the canary-in-the-coal-mine indicator of WHICH WAY  GEOSTRATEGIC FENCE-SITTERS (such as India) WILL GO. Independent countries where the population trust their Government will tend to go with the anti-imperialists, while independent countries that don’t (such as Ukraine) will tend to side (as Ukraine did in 2014, due to Obama’s coup) with the fascists (who, after Hitler, are and have been solidly in the Rhodesist camp).

Author’s note: first posted at The Duran

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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South Asia

India’s Unclear Neighbourhood Policy: How to Overcome ?

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India has witnessed multiple trends with regards to its relations with its neighbours at a time vaccine diplomacy is gaining prominence and Beijing increasing the pace towards becoming an Asian superpower, whereby making these reasons valid for New Delhi to have a clear foreign policy with respect to its neighbourhood.

Introduction

The Covid Pandemic has led to increased uncertainty in the global order where it comes to power dynamics, role of international organisations. New Delhi has tried to leave no stone unturned when it comes to dealing with its immediate neighbours.  It has distributed medical aid and vaccines to smaller countries to enhance its image abroad at a time it has witnessed conflicts with China and a change in government in Myanmar. These developments make it imperative for New Delhi to increase its focus on regionalism and further international engagement where this opportunity could be used tactically amidst a pandemic by using economic and healthcare aid.

According to Dr. Arvind Gupta, New Delhi has to deal with threats coming from multiple fronts and different tactics where it is essential for New Delhi to save energy using soft means rather than coercive measures.. India under Vaccine Maitri has supplied many of COVAXIN doses to Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka where many have appreciated this move. The urgency of ensuring humanitarian aid during these periods of unprecedented uncertainty are essential in PM Modi’s Security and Growth For All ( SAGAR) initiative, which focusses on initiating inclusive growth as well as cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region.

This pandemic witnessed various threats coming in India’s neighbourhood through multiple dimensions which include maritime, land, cyber as well as air threats where adversaries are using these to put pressure on New Delhi to settle land as well as marine disputes as per their terms.  These encirclement strategies have made it necessary for India to open up various options such as holding maritime joint exercises with like-minded countries, developing partnerships, providing economic as well as healthcare support to weaker countries plus having a clear insight about changing global dynamics and acting as per them.

This piece will discuss about various changing tactics, pros and cons which India has with respect to developing its national security vis-à-vis its neighbourhood, why should it prioritise its neighbourhood at the first place?

Background

India’s Neighbourhood is filled with many complexities and a lot of suspicion amongst countries, some viewing India because of its size and geography plus economic clout as a bully where it is wanting to dominate in the region putting others aside. This led to New Delhi play an increased role in nudging ties first with its neighbours with whom it had multiple conflicts as well as misunderstandings leading to the latter viewing Beijing as a good alternative in order to keep India under check.

Ever since PM Modi has taken charge at 7 RCR, India’s Neighbourhood First Policy has been followed increasingly to develop relations, to enhance understandings and ensure mutual cooperation as well as benefit with its neighbours. The relations with Islamabad have not seen so much improvement as compared to other leaders in the past. Even though former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was invited for PM Modi’s 1st Swearing In ceremony in 2014, terrorist activities have never stopped which could be seen through Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama terror attacks which killed many of the Indian soldiers. Even though surgical strikes were conducted on terror camps in retaliation to these bombardments, Islamabad has not changed its heart at all about its security or regional demands. New strategies and friendships are being developed where Beijing has played a major role in controlling power dynamics.

The Belt and Road initiative, first time mentioned during President Xi’s 2013 speech in Kazakhstan, then officially in 2015,  lays emphasis of achieving a Chinese Dream of bringing countries under one umbrella, ensuring their security, providing them with infrastructure projects such as ports, railways, pipelines, highways etc. The main bottleneck is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor when it comes to India’s security threats, passing through disputed boundaries of Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir till Gwadar. Other projects have been initiated in Chittagong, Hambantota, Gwadar , Kyapkyou. These projects form a String Of Pearls in the Indo Pacific where New Delhi is being balanced against through economic plus development incentives being given to the member countries under the project. That’s why in the recent past, New Delhi is asserting its influence in the region, looking at new dimensional threats where Beijing’s threats in the maritime domain in the islands in East as well as South China seas are not being seen favourably in many countries such as ASEAN, US, Australia and Japan which is giving India an opportunity to look towards countries with a common threat. Amidst this great power struggle between Washington and Beijing, New Delhi is stuck between a rock and hard place i.e., having a clear and strong foreign policy with its neighbours.

In this region, India has a sole threat which is mainly Beijing where the latter has achieved prowess technologically and militarily where New Delhi lags behind the latter twenty fold. So, there is a need for improvising military technology, increase economic activities with countries, reduce dependence on foreign aid, ensure self-reliance.

Situation

South Asia is backward when it comes to economic development, human development and is a home to majority of the world’s population which lives below poverty line. The colonial rule has left a never-ending impact on divisions based on communal, linguistic and ethnic grounds. Even, in terms of infrastructure and connectivity, New Delhi lags behind Beijing significantly in the neighbourhood because the latter is at an edge when it comes to bringing countries under the same umbrella. Due to these, many initiatives have been taken up by New Delhi on developing infrastructure, providing humanitarian aid to needy countries.

There have been numerous efforts made by India with respect to reaching out to the Neighbours in 2020 through setting up of the SAARC Covid Fund where many Neighbourhood countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka gave contributions to ensure cooperation, joint scientific research, sharing information, healthcare kits where the countries contributed USD $ 18 million jointly towards this fund where New Delhi made an initial offer of USD $ 10 million.

New Delhi has even mustered ties with the Association of Southeast Asian countries during the pandemic under its Act East Policy where proper connectivity through the Northeast could be useful in easing movement of goods but currently, the infrastructure in Northeast needs more improvement where issues such as unemployment, poor connectivity are prevalent whereby disconnecting it from rest of the other states. This region could play an important role in linking Bangladesh, Myanmar to New Delhi along with the proposed India-Thailand –Myanmar Trilateral Corridor. Focus has also been laid to develop inland waterways, rail links and pipelines to ease connections between countries, making trade free and more efficient.

India is focussing on developing the Sittwe and Paletwa ports in Myanmar under the Kaladan Development Corridor, at the cost of INR 517.9 Crore in order to provide an alternative e route beneficial for the Northeast for getting shipping access

Summing Up

 These above developments and power display by a strong adversary, give good reasons for New Delhi to adopt collective security mechanisms through QUAD, SIMBEX and JIMEX with a common perception of having safe and open waters through abiding to the UNCLOS which China isn’t showing too much interest in, seen through surveillance units, artificial islands being set up on disputed territories which countries likewise India are facing in context to territorial sovereignty and integrity. These developments make it important for India to look at strategic threats by coming together with countries based on similar interest’s vis-à-vis Chinese threat.

There is a need for India to develop and harness its strength through connectivity and its self reliance initiative ( Aatmanirbharta ) so that there is no dependence on any foreign power at times of need . Proper coordination between policy makers and government officials could make decision making even easier, which is not there completely because of ideological differences, different ideas which makes it important for the political leadership to coordinate with the military jointly during times of threats on borders. Self-reliance could only come through preparedness and strategy.

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South Asia

India is in big trouble as UK stands for Kashmiris

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 A London-based law firm has filed an application with British police seeking the arrest of India’s army chief and a senior Indian government official over their alleged roles in war crimes in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Law firm Stoke White said it submitted extensive evidence to the Metropolitan Police’s War Crimes Unit on Tuesday, documenting how Indian forces headed by General Manoj Mukund Naravane and Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah were responsible for the torture, kidnapping and killing of activists, journalists and civilians – particularly Muslim – in the region.

“There is strong reason to believe that Indian authorities are conducting war crimes and other violence against civilians in Jammu and Kashmir,” the report states, referring to the territory in the Himalayan region.

Based on more than 2,000 testimonies taken between 2020 and 2021, the report also accused eight unnamed senior Indian military officials of direct involvement in war crimes and torture in Kashmir.

The law firm’s investigation suggested that the abuse has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. It also included details about the arrest of Khurram Parvez, the region’s most prominent rights activist, by India’s counterterrorism authorities last year.

“This report is dedicated to the families who have lost loved ones without a trace, and who experience daily threats when trying to attain justice,” Khalil Dewan, author of the report and head of the SWI unit, said in a statement.

“The time has now come for victims to seek justice through other avenues, via a firmer application of international law.”

The request to London police was made under the principle of “universal jurisdiction”, which gives countries the authority to prosecute individuals accused of crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world.

The international law firm in London said it believes its application is the first time that legal action has been initiated abroad against Indian authorities over alleged war crimes in Kashmir.

Hakan Camuz, director of international law at Stoke White, said he hoped the report would convince British police to open an investigation and ultimately arrest the officials when they set foot in the UK.

Some of the Indian officials have financial assets and other links to Britain.

“We are asking the UK government to do their duty and investigate and arrest them for what they did based on the evidence we supplied to them. We want them to be held accountable,” Camuz said.

The police application was made on behalf of the family of Pakistani prisoner Zia Mustafa, who, Camuz said, was the victim of extrajudicial killing by Indian authorities in 2021, and on behalf of human rights campaigner Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, who was allegedly tortured before his arrest last week.

Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the past two decades in Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety.

Muslim Kashmiris mostly support rebels who want to unite the region, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

Kashmiris and international rights groups have long accused Indian troops of carrying out systematic abuse and arrests of those who oppose rule from New Delhi.

Rights groups have also criticized the conduct of armed groups, accusing them of carrying out human rights violations against civilians.

In 2018, the United Nations human rights chief called for an independent international investigation into reports of rights violations in Kashmir, alleging “chronic impunity for violations committed by security forces”.

India’s government has denied the alleged rights violations and maintains such claims are separatist propaganda meant to demonize Indian troops in the region. It seems, India is in big trouble and may not be able to escape this time. A tough time for Modi-led extremist government and his discriminatory policies. The world opinion about India has been changed completely, and it has been realized that there is no longer a democratic and secular India. India has been hijacked by extremist political parties and heading toward further bias policies. Minorities may suffer further, unless the world exert pressure to rectify the deteriorating human rights records in India.

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S. Jaishankar’s ‘The India Way’, Is it a new vision of foreign policy?

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S. Jaishankar has had an illustrious Foreign Service career holding some of the highest and most prestigious positions such as ambassador to China and the US and as foreign secretary of India. Since 2019 he has served as India’s foreign minister. S. Jaishankar also has a Ph.D. in international relations from JNU and his academic background is reflected in this book.

His main argument is simplistic, yet the issues involved are complex. Jaishankar argues that the world is changing fundamentally, and the international environment is experiencing major shifts in power as well as processes. China is rising and western hegemony is declining. We are moving away from a unipolar system dominated by the US to a multipolar system. Globalization is waning and nationalism and polarization is on the rise (p. 29). The old order is going away but we cannot yet glimpse what the future will look like. This is the uncertain world that Dr. Jaishankar sees.

Dr. Jaishankar also argues that India too has changed, it is more capable and more assertive. The liberalization program that began in 1991 has made the Indian economy vibrant and globally competitive and it is well on track to becoming the third biggest economy in the world, after China and the US.  The war of 1971 that liberated Bangladesh, the liberalization of the economy after 1991, the nuclear tests in 1998 and the nuclear understanding with the US in 2005, Jaishankar argues are landmarks in India’s strategic evolution (p. 4). So given that both India and the system have changed, Jaishankar concludes, so should India’s foreign policy.

But his prescription for India’s foreign policy, in the grand scheme of things, is the same as before – India should remain nonaligned and not join the US in its efforts to contain China. India will try to play with both sides it seems in order to exploit the superpowers and maximize its own interests (p. 9). But he fails to highlight how India can find common ground with China other than to say the two nations must resolve things diplomatically. He also seems to think that the US has infinite tolerance for India’s coyness. In his imagination the US will keep making concessions and India will keep playing hard to get.

Jaishankar has a profound contradiction in his thinking. He argues that the future will be determined by what happens between the US and China. In a way he is postulating a bipolar future to global politics. But he then claims that the world is becoming multipolar and this he claims will increase the contests for regional hegemony. The world cannot be both bipolar and multipolar at the same time.

There is also a blind spot in Jaishankar’s book.  He is apparently unaware of the rise of Hindu nationalism and the demand for a Hindu state that is agitating and polarizing India’s domestic politics. The systematic marginalization and oppression of Muslim minorities at home and the growing awareness overseas of the dangers of Hindutva extremism do not exist in the world that he lives in. He misses all this even as he goes on to invoke the Mahabharata and argue how Krishna’s wisdom and the not so ethical choices during the war between Pandavas and Kauravas should be a guide for how India deals with this uncertain world – by balancing ethics with realism (p. 63). Methinks his little digression in discussing the ancient Hindu epic is more to signal his ideological predilections than to add any insights to understanding the world or India’s place in it.  

One aspect of his work that I found interesting is his awareness of the importance of democracy and pluralism. He states that India’s democracy garners respect and gives India a greater opportunity to be liked and admired by other nations in the world (p. 8). Yet recently when he was asked about the decline of India’s democratic credentials, his response was very defensive, and he showed visible signs of irritation. It is possible that he realizes India is losing ground internationally but is unwilling to acknowledge that his political party is responsible for the deterioration of India’s democracy.

This is also apparent when he talks about the importance of India improving its relations with its immediate neighbors. He calls the strategy as neighborhood first approach (pp. 9-10). What he does not explain is how an Islamophobic India will maintain good relations with Muslim majority neighbors like Bangladesh, Maldives, and Pakistan.

The book is interesting, it has its limitations and both, what is addressed and what is left out, are clearly political choices and provide insights into how New Delhi thinks about foreign policy. So, coming to the question with which we started, does India have a new foreign policy vision? The answer is no. Dr. Jaishankar is right, there is indeed an India way, but it is the same old way, and it entails remaining nonaligned with some minor attitudinal adjustments.  

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