|The Rise of India
August 21, 2006
The Rise of India as a powerful force in the international arena continues to attract serious academic discussion.
Leading American academic journal Foreign Affairs has highlighted The Rise of India on its cover in the latest issue (Foreign Affairs July/August 2006).
The issue includes four articles covering the economy, India's global strategy, Indo-US relations and Kashmir.
In Unshackling the Economy, former CEO of Procter & Gamble India Gurcharan Das addresses the state of the economy. In a blistering critique, Das argues that the Indian state has failed its people and credits the private sector for the recent economic growth. "It is an amazing spectacle to see prosperity beginning to spread in today's India even in the presence of appalling governance," writes Das.
Das acknowledges that growth has not significantly changed the lives of the rural poor, whose lot he believes can be improved by a second green revolution. Easier said than done.
But it's for the bureaucracy that Das reserves his most severe criticism. "No single institution has come to disappoint Indians more than their bureaucracy," he writes.
In his essay on the transformation of India's foreign policy after the end of the Cold war, C. Raja Mohan argues that, "After more than a half century of false starts and unrealized potential, India is now emerging as the swing state in the global balance of power."
Clearly, Raja Mohan is a cheerleader for the Indo-US nuclear deal. Raja Mohan sees the Kashmir issue as less relevant to India's relationship with the great powers and gives high marks to the Bush Administration for the efforts to "transform the strategic content of U.S.-India relations."
While a votary for close relationship with the U.S., Raja Mohan acknowledges that "shared interests do not automatically produce alliances."
In a pragmatic conclusion, Raja Mohan writes that, "inequality of power between the two countries, the absence of a habit of political cooperation between them, and the remaining bureaucratic resistance to deeper engagement in both capitals will continue to limit the pace and scope of strategic cooperation between India and the United States."
The intractable issue of Kashmir that has bedevilled India-Pakistan relations for over five decades is the subject of an essay by Professor Sumit Ganguly of Indiana University in Bloomington.
Tracing the history of the Kashmir dispute, Ganguly is pessimistic that India and Pakistan will resolve it on their own and urges the U.S. to get involved in ending the decades-old conflict. "To forge a robust and durable partnership with India, the United States will have to stop ignoring Pakistan's efforts to wrest Kashmir from India," Ganguly writes.
While conceding that the Kashmir issue may not stop India's emergence as a global power, Ganguly nevertheless warns that "periodic crises over the state [Kashmir] will distract India's leaders, and tensions with Pakistan could spark yet another war." He argues that India "will not make any meaningful territorial concessions" on Kashmir fearful of the demonstration effect any concessions might have on other secessionist movements.
Noting Pakistan's many limitations - financial and otherwise - Ganguly concludes that ultimately the Kashmir issue may be settled by Pakistan's exhaustion rather than negotiation.
Harvard professor Ashton Carter covers the nuclear agreement between the U.S. and India in his essay rebutting critics of the deal, which recognizes India as a de facto nuclear weapon state.
A passionate supporter of the deal that he describes as a strategic partnership, Carter argues that "no matter how problematic its nuclear provisions" the deal "should not be recast or curtailed." He wants the U.S. Congress to support the agreement in its entirety arguing that it will cause only limited damage to non-proliferation.
"Washington's decision to trade a nuclear-recognition quid for a strategic-partnership quo was a reasonable move," writes Carter in his insightful piece.