Q. Ever since independence, India has continued to underscore its internationalism. India should work with other countries and organisations to fashion mutually advantageous outcomes. Critically comment.
India has been an active member of the international community, participating in a range of global organisations, and its engagement with other states has played out as part of India’s membership in some of the oldest and largest institutions such as the United Nations (UN) to the emerging and more circumscribed ones like BIMSTEC and the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Initiative.
India’s Role in World affairs during Cold War years
- For Developing World: India has used global platforms such as the UN to champion the causes of the developing world by focusing on anti-colonialism, global disarmament, and demanding a more equitable global economic order
- It was instrumental in the formation of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), so that newly independent third world countries may not submit themselves to the great power politics
- Human Rights: It co-sponsored the landmark 1960 UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples that called for a speedy and unconditional end to colonialism in all its forms
- Peace and Security: It led the way in demanding that China be allowed to join the UN, played the role of a mediator in various Cold war conflicts such as the 1950 Korean War
- Trust in International institutions: It even referred the Kashmir question to the UNSC in 1948
India’s Internationalism Mutually Advantageous
The powerful western nations have proven to be very reluctant to devolve power in any sphere of global governance. Thus, India has all the more reasons to work with other countries and organisations for mutually advantageous outcomes.
- Global Trade: India sits right at the top of the Indian Ocean region which has turned out to be the host of around 80% of the world’s maritime trade. Close cooperation between India and other stakeholders can help provide stable and secure trade
- Challenged the Western-led regional and global order by focusing on issues like nuclear disarmament, the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace and establishment of a New International Economic Order
- It used the UN to put its vision of a nuclear-weapons-free world (Action Plan for Ushering in a Nuclear-Weapon-Free and Non-Violent World Order proposed by PM Rajiv Gandhi in 1988)
- India has been spearheading a move for reforms at the UN to make the world body more representative of the changing global realities while enhancing its credibility and effectiveness
- New threats and more challenges like terrorism, a proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts, migration, organised crime, and poverty
4. India has coordinated its efforts with other emerging powers, in particular, China, on issues as wide-ranging as climate change, trade negotiations, energy security and the global financial crisis
- Resistance to efforts by US and other developed nations to link global trade to labour and environmental standards, joint positions in the WTO and global trade negotiations and pushing for further liberalisation of agricultural trade in the developed countries
- India’s negotiating posture on trade has become more accommodative, wherein, it has increasingly tended to work with ‘hybrid coalitions’ of countries (built around a specific issue but consisting largely of developed countries), adopted a ‘distributive’, demandeur, naysaying strategy and used framing devices based on the notion of fairness
- Engaging with different countries at various regional (BIMSTEC, SAARC) and global forums (BRICS, G20) helps countries iron out their mutual differences and promote mutual interests
- Developed and Developing divide: Although, amongst one of the founding fathers of GATT and WTO, India was blamed for the failure of Doha Round of negotiations
- With a lot of stakeholders involved via the international forums or domestic interests of particular countries, it may hamper the sovereignty of India (not buying oil from Iran due to US pressure). So, India needs to walk this tightrope, strong
- The increasing trend of conservatism is affecting the world over. Countries are turning more inwards (USA, Brazil) which further impacts internationalism
- Realism v. Idealism: Countries sometimes have to forgo idealistic values, in order to pacify their neighbours or satisfy their realistic goals. This hampers the collective morality of internationalism. (Trade embargo against Iran despite it adhering to JCPOA)
Internationalism is an important part of our globalised world. It presents many opportunities, then when fulfilled properly can greatly benefit a nation. Thanks to the pursuit of internationalism, nations who were underdeveloped have gotten aid, doctors, and gained a sense of self-determination. Things such as collective laws, collective decisions, and loss of freedom, supranational, and unfair agreements may take place and ruin a nation’s nationality. In order for internationalism to be pursued to the right extent, we as a global community must recognize these flaws and take action before we all benefit.