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The Fate of Secularism in India. As Indian scholar C. Modi previously had been refused a visa to the United States owing to alleged tacit involvement in religious riots in Gujarat in ; in addition, he counted Ajit Doval as a close adviser—a former intelligence chief, Pakistan hawk, and the founder of a leading Hindu nationalist think tank. Would his election significantly stress India-Pakistan relations?
Soon after his election, it became clear that Modi would enthusiastically engage with the world and seek to propel India toward more of a global leadership role. Such assertions aligned with the foreign policy views of early Hindu nationalist thinkers.
Despite this rhetoric, five years later, the prime minister has largely highlighted advances set in motion by his predecessors. The picture that emerges around a presumed Modi doctrine is that of inertia tempered by a few distinct innovations. Hindu nationalism emerged from a single question: why, in spite of what many domestic Indian observers consider a storied civilization, did Hindus come to be subjugated?
Over the century prior to , two distinct answers came to the fore.
The other interpretation, exemplified by the work of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee arguably the most influential Bengali intellectual of the nineteenth century , stressed the ruthless nature of international competition whereby the slow and dogmatic succumb to the vigorous and pragmatic. These disparate diagnoses led to very different conclusions.
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Convinced that the materialistic and individualistic form of modernity unfolding in the West would weaken rather than strengthen Indian social bonds, Vivekananda advised that religion is the means by which to bind together an otherwise bafflingly diverse society.
Chatterjee, by contrast, advised Hindus to do whatever was necessary to succeed in a dog-eat-dog world; much to the chagrin of conservatives, he commended the consumption of wine and beef should these prove essential to success in battle.
By , the difference between these intellectual currents had sharpened, as Indian observers were alternately repelled or impressed by the muscular forms of nationalism emerging in Europe and Asia and in Japan and China, in particular. The Vivekananda-like reaction was epitomized by Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi who denounced modern civilization as self-destructive and instead preached ahimsa nonviolence.
The Indian National Congress or Congress Party under prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru advocated a two-pronged approach to international politics focused on nonalignment and nonviolence.
Coalescing under the banner of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh BJS , the predecessor of the BJP, Hindu nationalists found it hard to reconcile their two very different intellectual traditions.
But these BJS leaders could never quite free themselves from their worries that modernity would loosen the only bond that unified Hindus, namely, their religion. Hence, they espoused economic and social policies that sought to protect social stability and moral values rather than foster rapid growth and development. Yet the Hindu nationalists never explained how their economic and social policies, especially their hostility to foreign capital and technological progress, would generate the economic gains required to make good on these goals, much less make India an attractive partner.
Sitting in the opposition benches, the BJS and later the BJP were never compelled to take responsibility for their views. Thus, even as late as , leading Hindu nationalists were, for example, simultaneously calling for the development of a nuclear deterrent to counter U. Examining his strategic record with the benefit of hindsight, it becomes evident that he displayed a unique mixture of resolve and restraint—a focus on hard capabilities that was nonetheless tempered by careful statecraft and pragmatic diplomatic outreach.
The first and most apparent point of divergence between Vajpayee and what can be broadly termed the Nehruvian paradigm in Indian foreign policy is nuclear weapons. The acquisition of a nuclear arsenal had been a mainstay in Hindu nationalist strategic thinking since the s, even as key advisers to Congress prime minister Indira Gandhi counseled against it.
However, his nuclear philosophy, as announced days after the tests, was markedly restrained, as he offered Pakistan an Indian no-first-use pact. First, soon after the tests, he announced a unilateral moratorium on further nuclear testing.
Second, in , India released a draft nuclear doctrine that committed India to an unconditional no-first-use posture and the maintenance of a credible minimum deterrent. The Vajpayee government privately told then U. While his government offered unconditional support to the U. There are also no indications that the Indian nuclear arsenal has grown unusually—either in quantity or quality—during his tenure. But that is not all. In terms of terrorism emanating from the border with Pakistan, Modi has also achieved few gains in his efforts to deter insurgents and terrorists despite demonstrating the military intent to do so.
The more the Indian Army is retooled to serve counterinsurgency functions, the less it is capable of fighting conventional wars. Modi has been unable to make significant progress in resolving the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.
When he assumed office, Modi took a muscular take-no-prisoners attitude toward the militancy plaguing that state. However, this hardline approach quickly backfired, as popular support for the insurgents steadily grew until the summer of when the death of a young militant at the hands of Indian security forces nearly brought Indian-administered Kashmir to a halt with intermittent curfews for around one hundred days. This is noteworthy because the need to resort to arms when required and the lawlessness of the international system that makes such force necessary were persistent themes in the early foreign policy writings of Hindu nationalists.
The Modi government has accentuated these precepts in a few highly publicized instances.
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The first one was a September attack in which the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad JeM struck an Indian military base in Uri, a remote town in Indian-administered Kashmir. This strike posed a serious domestic political challenge for Modi. With the twin objectives of assuaging his constituents and signaling to Pakistan that it would not be business as usual in New Delhi, in late September , Modi sent Indian special forces across the Line of Control LoC —the de facto border between Indian- and Pakistani-administered Kashmir—to attack several terrorist camps.
While it was not the first time that India had carried out such an operation, by publicly avowing the strikes, Modi met both objectives. What was interesting was the subsequent glorification of an admittedly limited military engagement in sync with the Hindu nationalist identification of national self-image and martial prowess. The Modi government announced what was dubbed a National Surgical Strike Day to mark the anniversary of the strikes across the LoC; a movie on the strikes was reportedly endorsed by Modi himself.
Notably, this was the first time since that India had used airpower to strike deep into Pakistan as opposed to Pakistani-occupied Kashmir. However, the Pulwama attack decisively proved that the cross-LoC strikes were insufficient in deterring terrorist attacks emanating from Pakistan. His policies on China, Pakistan, and the United States—three enduring bilateral focal points of Indian foreign policy—bear this out.
Modi developed positive working relationships with Chinese counterparts during his tenure as chief minister of Gujarat.
This downward trend was worsened by a tense months-long military standoff between the two countries in at Doklam on Bhutanese territory claimed by China. By mid, the cooperative rhetoric that accompanied a spring Modi-Xi meeting in the Chinese city of Wuhan began to outweigh strategic competition as the predominant official narrative around India-China relations. Early in his term, Modi reached out to Islamabad in two striking ways. This downturn culminated in the September special forces operation India launched inside Pakistan-administered Kashmir as well as the February airstrikes that Modi ordered on mainland Pakistan.
Despite these terrorist provocations, the Modi government has exercised restraint in its dealings with Pakistan. Pakistan briefly detained the pilot before handing him over to India a few days later.
The India-Pakistan agreement on Kartarpur advances discussions initiated by Vajpayee in The two countries continue to deepen their commercial defense relationship.
Yet Modi has also been cautious at crucial junctions when it comes to the United States, shrewdly prioritizing Indian national interests over putative U. His government has refused to participate in joint freedom-of-navigation operations with the United States in the South China Sea. Despite U. Beyond that, New Delhi has continued to engage Tehran over its port projects in Chabahar and resisted American calls to stop purchasing petroleum imports from Iran.
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And most significantly, despite U. Separately, Modi has promoted the idea of a community of littoral states adjacent to the Bay of Bengal, ostensibly to establish a foothold in Southeast Asia in the face of increasing Chinese influence.
The innovation of Buddhist diplomacy has become, variously, a tool to keep the Dalai Lama card alive, 51 forge ties with Southeast Asia, 52 and build bridges with China when needed.
Modi also has promoted multilateral Indian diplomacy around the issue of climate change.
Atal bihari vajpayee best speech pdfs
In the Sanskrit epic known as the Mahabharata, Suryaputra is another name of Karna, the emblem of virtue. Under Vajpayee, an Indian strategic worldview emerged that cultivated hard-power capabilities, embraced the role of force in international politics, aggressively pursued all dimensions of power, and unsentimentally engaged with other states irrespective of past ideological positions.
This approach was in sharp contrast with the diplomatic tendencies of the Congress Party. Without sufficient material strength, such outreach has often rung hollow.
Speech during Parliamentary session on Corruption: Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji
Instead of expending his once abundant political capital to rectify the situation, Modi has privileged optics over substance. While he has rhetorically acknowledged the importance of force in international politics, he mostly has done so for ideological reasons and with uncertain strategic effect. There has long been a conundrum at the heart of the Hindu nationalist worldview: its proponents understand that weakness invites aggression and that strength, in turn, depends on building capabilities and cultivating alliances.
This reality implies a need to single-mindedly expend political capital on economic reforms that would expand the material base of Indian power—something Modi has failed to do. As a result, they find themselves, again and again, in the strange position of promising to make India a leading power but actually spending their political capital on initiatives—ranging from the promotion of Vedic science to preventing the consumption of beef—that divide Indians and corrode the very power base that Hindu nationalists imagine will propel India onto the world stage.
This is a lesson Modi and his successors must pay heed to in and beyond. Abhijnan Rej is a New Delhi—based analyst. His current research focuses on Indian foreign policy and defense. He has published more than a dozen occasional papers, briefs, reports, and book chapters, as well as over fifty articles in virtually all major Indian English-language media outlets. He has written on a range of topics including executive power, moderation, and political realism. He is also deeply interested in the politics and society of India, especially Indian political thought.
The authors thank Ashley J. Tellis and Milan Vaishnav for comments on an earlier draft of this chapter. Krishnappa, eds.
Biography Of Atal Bihari Vajpayee | Free PDF Download
Lavoy, ed. While New Delhi recognizes the Tibetan Autonomous Region as a legitimate part of China, by continuing to shelter and support the Dalai Lama, India has implicitly kept open the option of raising the Tibet issue—perhaps in the face of Chinese intransigence—in the future.
See P. A rare exception is Donald E. Lee, eds. The World Unpacked is a weekly foreign policy podcast, hosted by Jen Psaki, that breaks down the hottest global issues of today with experts, journalists, and policymakers who can explain what is happening, why it matters, and where we go from here.
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