September 14, 2021

The Theory and Practice of India’s Non-Alignment Diplomacy in International Development

India is not ignorant; it would know the culprits of the recent bomb attack on an Israel diplomat’s wife paichillnai in New Delhi that bore similar evidences as that of Israel Embassy attack in Georgia and Thailand confirming the involvement of Iran. India is not under pressure from international community to impose sanction against Iran as much as it is being questioned internally from within India itself, especially from those who sense the danger of the radical force gaining momentum with epicenter from India’s closest neighbor. India may not forget Iran’s opposition during its nuclear test in Pokhran in 1998. India’s minuscule oil import from Iran as compared to the total import from Gulf countries would not risk the economy and it had a record of lost opportunities to build credible business from the failed Iran oil pipeline projects in the past. And yet, India refrains to join the pressure group to act as a deterrent of an impending threat towards its own self-protection.

On observation of policy debates in media, it is quite obvious that very few are aware of the threat from radical forces. The policy makers seemed to be ignoring the undercurrent and relevant information about the networks that ought to be substantiated with adequate Intelligence input to assess the risk in a precarious situation. Perhaps India considers the growing radical network and sporadic bomb attacks a much lesser threat than the rising dragon of its eastern border. National priority is a sovereign right in which international community has limited scope to interfere in one’s perception of threat.

However, it is necessary to assess how India’s non-alignment policy works on the ground. India’s non alignment policy in a volatile international environment is stated by some as a maturity of an old diplomacy based on peaceful negotiation. In practice India’s usual silence on the past and current democratic movements in the neighborhood seem to convey a message of condoning the act of the oppressors in contrast to what it profess to believe in. India looked for a friend while in need and received timely help from Israel in its hour of need during the Kargil war, has been in cooperation and expects a bigger future cooperation. India faces similar terrorist threat as Israel and shares the same democratic values, but it supported staunchly the Palestinian terrorist sponsored statehood bid.

During the recent Iran’s terror attack in New Delhi, India once again revealed its non-committed stance and is not inclined to indicate the suspected group. India refrains from acting as a deterrent to a perceived threat that apparently poses a greater risk for its own national security than any other countries. Information from India continuously highlight the significance of the 8 percent oil import from Iran during the last one decade and ignores the several failed oil projects from protracted diplomatic ties.

On deeper look into the current non-alignment policy, India has certainly prioritized growth and development but it is hard to confirm the real policy objective. The defenders of oil import from Iran stated protection of the consumers. It is pertinent to know who the consumers of petrol are. In a country like India having a very wide gap between the rich and the poor with increasing numbers of middle class urban population, consumers means all citizens but it actually represent the elite, traders, capitalist class and all vehicle owners of middle class, constituting just about 30-40 percent of the entire 1.2 billion population. The ban on small percentage of oil import from Iran could hardly impact costs as the shortage can be met from alternative sources from Burma and Assam including exploration from northeast India.

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