Needed: A 25-year horizon
Mains Paper 3: International Relations
Prelims level: Bretton Woods
Mains level: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing
countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.
- It took the benign intervention of Lord Mountbatten on the Indian
side to force Whitehall not to retain the Andaman and Nicobar islands and
the Lakshadweep Islands as part of the wider British Indian Ocean
- In 1947, or even two decades later, there was no strategic
community in Delhi the earliest strategic noises from Indians began to be
heard only in the 1980s.
- Now, 70 years have passed and we are well into the 21st century.
- The Cold War is over and the Soviet Union, with whom we had a
strategic alliance, has been reduced to a state in demographic decline whose
GDP is lower than India’s.
What will the world look like in 2050?
- Technology threatens to change the world apart from geopolitics.
- Geopolitically, the defining event is the rise of China and the
biggest question of all will China take over the American hegemony by 2050
with all the downstream consequences?
- For 70 years we have been used to a world in which the rules were
laid down at Bretton Woods and by the formation of the United Nations, in
which the United States held sway.
- The belief that liberal democracy is the way to wealth and
prosperity has grown and also been taught in colleges.
- Now, the foundation of that belief is being rocked by China, whose
rise in material prosperity runs parallel to a firm belief in the merits of
an authoritarian government run by a communist dictatorship.
- People once aspired to be like the US a liberal democracy, warts
But if the world’s hegemony is an autocracy, will not governments aspire to
be the same?
- The consequences can be earth-shaking.
- The proportion of the US government defence budget that results
from overseas deployment is almost 60 per cent.
- If this amount is to be ignored, China already spends about the
same as the US democratic defence budget.
- India which, like it or not, will become the swing state with a
$10 trillion GDP by 2035.
But what scenarios are we working towards?
- We have a scenario where the hegemony is a liberal democracy,
whose foreign policy includes pushing its ideas among the countries of the
- We have a world led by an autocratic hegemony with a dreadful
record of human rights, but possessing an impressive war chest of $4
trillion to push its own ideas of hegemony through the debt-driven diplomacy
of one-belt-one-road, whose closest chums are Pakistan and North Korea.
- India will have to live with one of these scenarios and it will
take a quarter century to prepare all arms of the government to cope with
- Those familiar with Net Assessment of the United States (security
framework) will realise the merits of defining the world for which policy is
to be made.
- Foreign policy can be changed overnight, economic policy takes a
while longer, but defence policy takes two decades.
- The Indian army has magnificently fulfilled the strategic
objective of territorial integrity in the 20th century.
- For the 21st century, it is patently obsolete.
- The navy, which will have the primary task of influencing
geopolitics, has no weapons to influence the course of a land war, and the
air force is still fighting over denying territorial airspace.
- The National Security Advisor must task either the National
Security Staff, the Integrated Staff or a think tank, with defining
scenarios appropriately, so that the government can plan its strategic
policy on a common basis.
Q.1) The Xiamen Declaration is related to which of the following?
(d) Bretton Woods Institutions
Q.1) Under what circumstances the China’s rise, India needs to start
formulating strategic and defence needs for the future.