25 October 2013

Can America Rediscover Its Jeffersonian Foreign Policy?

October 22, 2013

Last week I discussed how the Founding Fathers might view the American debt crisis and the government shutdown. This week I thought it would be useful to consider how the founders might view foreign policy. I argued that on domestic policy they had clear principles, but unlike their ideology, those principles were never mechanistic or inflexible. For them, principles dictated that a gentleman pays his debts and does not casually increase his debts, the constitutional provision that debt is sometimes necessary notwithstanding. They feared excessive debt and abhorred nonpayment, but their principles were never completely rigid.

Whenever there is a discussion of the guidelines laid down by the founders for American foreign policy, Thomas Jefferson's admonition to avoid foreign entanglements and alliances is seen as the founding principle. That seems reasonable to me inasmuch as George Washington expressed a similar sentiment. So while there were some who favored France over Britain during the French Revolutionary Wars, the main thrust of American foreign policy was neutrality. The question is: How does this principle guide the United States now?

A Matter of Practicality

Like all good principles, Jefferson's call for avoiding foreign entanglements derived from practicality. The United States was weak. It depended heavily on exports, particularly on exports to Britain. Its navy could not guarantee the security of its sea-lanes, which were in British hands and were contested by the French. Siding with the French against the British would have wrecked the American economy and would have invited a second war with Britain. On the other hand, overcommitting to Britain would have essentially returned the United States to a British dependency.

Avoiding foreign entanglements was a good principle when there were no other attractive strategies. Nonetheless, it was Jefferson himself who engineered a major intrusion into European affairs with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France. Initially, Jefferson did not intend to purchase the entire territory. He wanted to own New Orleans, which had traded hands between Spain and France and which was the essential port for access between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi-Ohio-Missouri river system. Jefferson sensed that Napoleon would sell New Orleans to finance his war in Europe, but he was surprised when Napoleon countered with an offer to sell all of France's North American holdings for $15 million. This would change the balance of power in North America by blocking potential British ambitions, opening the Gulf route to the Atlantic to the United States and providing the cash France needed to wage wars.

At the time, this was not a major action in the raging Napoleonic Wars. However, it was not an action consistent with the principle of avoiding entanglement. The transaction held the risk of embroiling the United States in the Napoleonic Wars, depending on how the British reacted. In fact, a decade later, after Napoleon was defeated, the British did turn on the United States, first by interfering with American shipping and then, when the Americans responded, by waging war in 1812, burning Washington and trying to seize New Orleans after the war officially ended.

Jefferson undertook actions that entangled the United States in the affairs of others and in dangers he may not have anticipated -- one of the major reasons for avoiding foreign entanglements in the first place. And he did this against his own principles.

The reason was simple: Given the events in Europe, a unique opportunity presented itself to seize the heartland of the North American continent. The opportunity would redefine the United States. It carried with it risks. But the rewards were so great that the risks had to be endured. Avoiding foreign entanglements was a principle. It was not an ideological absolute.

Jefferson realized that the United States already was involved in Europe's affairs by virtue of its existence. When the Napoleonic Wars ended, France or Britain would have held Louisiana, and the United States would have faced threats east from the Atlantic and west from the rest of the continent. Under these circumstances, it would struggle to survive. Therefore, being entangled already, Jefferson acted to minimize the danger.

Africa's New Map

October 24, 2013

There is a new scramble for Africa. Roads, railways and pipelines are being built or envisioned into the interior of central Africa from multiple directions. Africa's geographic tragedy through the ages has been its isolation, which has been among the main causes of its poverty. Despite possessing a long coastline, Africa has relatively few natural deep-water harbors. Its great rivers are generally not navigable from the interior to the various seaboards. The Sahara Desert has acted as a barrier to human contact with the great Eurasian civilizations. Of course, electronic communications in recent decades have worked to dilute such isolation. But these new pathways may promise a further, pivotal leap in terms of connecting Africa to the outer world.

Looking at a map of Africa with these new and projected pathways highlighted, one sees two major networks into the interior -- from southern Africa and from East Africa -- and two minor ones from West Africa and from the Horn of Africa.

Three proposed routes into the interior originate in Angola alone, leading mainly toward the southern edges of the immense forest and jungle of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Angolans, flush with offshore oil wealth and feeling secure enough in their domestic control following a 25-year civil war, are a rare example on the continent of intent and capability to extend their economic reach. They are initiating these plans themselves, and Luanda will pay the Asians for their technical expertise rather than barter for it, as most other African governments would do. The goal is to extract diamonds, copper and other precious commodities, which along the southern edges of the Congo have not been properly mined or explored to their full potential.

South Africa plans a complex network of routes from the Indian Ocean northwest and north into Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, culminating, again, at southern outposts in the Congo. The South Africans are after gold, diamonds, copper and coal. In this sense, the black-dominated African National Congress has the same geopolitical imperative as the former white Afrikaner regime. Mining, which began in the late 1800s in South Africa, created the modern South African state. Indeed, the discovery of gold and diamonds and the blessing of a temperate climate with several natural deep-water harbors set South Africa on a unique geopolitical trajectory, empowering it to become the continent's economic hegemon. The present goal is to reach stranded mineral resources and create a zone of South African economic and political influence throughout southern Africa, with the potential to expand farther north into the continent later.

The envisioned transport and pipeline network along the Indian Ocean in East Africa goes from both the Kenyan and Tanzanian coasts westward to Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, and a spur line could run north from the Ugandan capital of Kampala to the South Sudanese capital of Juba. Ethiopia is reinforcing its rail connectivity to the Indian Ocean at Djibouti, and may eventually extend other links to South Sudan and Kenya. In the East African cases, unlike with the Angolans and South Africans, the financing, the impetus and the know-how must come from the Chinese and, to a lesser extent, the Japanese. These Asian countries have a hunger for African copper and cobalt, rare earths and other minerals from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and hydrocarbons from South Sudan.

These are not entirely new networks, given that the Chinese in the 1970s built a railway into the Copperbelt of Zambia and the southern edge of the Congo (and the Germans, British and Portuguese during colonialism built limited rail networks in their respective colonies of Tanganyika, Kenya and Angola). Now the Chinese want to build a deep-water port in Bagamoyo and the Japanese want to do likewise in Dar es Salaam: Both ports are in Tanzania, with new pathways westward into the interior of Central Africa in each case. The Kenyans have been trying to interest the Chinese in building a port and transport links from Lamu on the Kenyan coast northwestward all the way into the oil fields of South Sudan, but so far at least the Chinese have held back from making a serious commitment. Beijing is sensitive to the consequences of empowering South Sudan with a pipeline independent of Sudan, and prefers instead to ensure that Juba and Khartoum remain co-dependent and thus peaceful in their economic conduct, avoiding any additional costs for crude extraction.

India's time warped foreign policy needs shock therapy

October 22, 2013
Policy of continuity won’t help India earn business or respect, says Pramod Kumar Buravalli.

What is India’s foreign policy? Every external affairs spokesman or ambassador or self-appointed “cultural ambassador” will parrot the same line; “democratic India’s foreign policy is deeply rooted in non-alignment” and in our firm belief in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.

But, what about BRICS or the ‘look east’ policy? And by the way are we still siding with the Russians when it comes to military exports or do we want to be seen as a country that apportions its military hardware contracts proportional to trade deficits and other geo-political considerations.

Leave alone far flung western and eastern nations, look at the state of our relationships with our immediate neighbours. Our prime minister cannot go to Sri Lanka because sundry parties from Tamil Nadu have an election round the corner. He can’t sign water sharing and border swapping agreements with Bangladesh because West Bengal-based parties don’t want him to make deals with a pro-India leader lest the opposition comes to power in the next elections. How sad is that? 

And forget anything meaningful with Pakistan or China. These countries seem to have perennial issues with India no matter who is at the helm of affairs in Delhi or what we do. Our very existence seems to bother them to no end.

To say that India has no foreign policy is an understatement. We never wanted to have a foreign policy. I guess the founding fathers were so exhausted debating what should be in our Constitution that they forgot to define the nature of our relationship with the outside world.

In fact, having fought outside interferences and influences all their lifetimes, they might have assumed that the future generations of Indians will be extra careful in their approach but alas, that is not the case! 

Successive administrations in Delhi continued a policy of nonchalance due to their belief that they needed to buy more time in order to ensure India’s survivability but by persisting too much in the ‘survival mode’, they ensured that the defeatist attitude became the mainstay of foreign policy.

Delhi did not bother when Myanmar was calling for help, they never came to the rescue of Nepal when China was standing on its doorstep spreading Maoist tentacles, they were misled into playing both sides in Sri Lanka and with Pakistan, they continued to expect a miracle that will never come!

China playing for high stakes

D. N. Panigrahi

China has been consistent in its policy of 'picking on India'. For 50 years the Western powers used Pakistan as the surrogate to counter India during the cold war years. Now, China is determined to take advantage of surrogate Pakistan to unsettle India

A monument at Tiananmen Square signifying China's might. China's journey from "Revolution, Repression to Renaissance" is a matter of great pride and is worthy of attention.

CHINA is a nation with a grand vision and has a mission to fulfil. Conceptualising China's worldview and perspective in the modern age no doubt may be a daunting task but a close look at its history and culture as a civilisation of the past and the present political, economic, military and cultural scenario reveals that its grand design and mission would be one of expansion of its power, influence, dominance and hegemony wherever and whenever possible.

China's new formulation of building 'a harmonious world' through 'peaceful development' as declared by former President Hu Jintao that China is a 'spiritual civilisation'; that the peaceful rise does not endanger other societies; that they would accommodate 'diversity' and not work for 'uniformity' in the world etc are much welcome. Also, the present President of China, Xi Jinping, spoke on March 13, 2013, of his ambition to fulfil 'the dream of Renaissance' for the Chinese people, assuring the world at the same time that they did not contemplate 'hegemony' over other people seemed quite mind-boggling. The journey from Revolution, Repression to Renaissance is by itself a matter of great pride and is worthy of attention.

A trust deficit

Yet, in spite of these assurances, the neighbouring countries have openly demonstrated considerable scepticism and overall there has been 'a trust deficit' in their relationship with China. China's diplomatic and military posture on issues of vital interest has been somewhat intimidating and aggressive. Even with powerful neighbours like Japan and the Soviet Union, China had displayed military offensive which has baffled the world.

All South East Asian countries have contested China's sovereignty bid over the South China Sea. Each of them protested when China sent a naval vessel while the Phnom Penh Conference was being held in July 2012. The conference reiterated by a resolution to follow the UN convention of 1982 regarding navigation in international waters. Yet, China insisted that the South China Sea, along with its islands, belonged to China only.

Incidentally, India was also involved in the South China Sea region owing to the offshore oil exploration that has been carried out in association with Vietnam ever since 1988. China had warned India not to be associated with these ventures. It is generally believed that the disputed blocks lie in the economic zone of Vietnam. Meanwhile, according to recent reports, China had been engaged in maritime mining activity deep into the Indian Ocean declaring that they were legally tenable being in the midst of the international waters.

Personality clashes

The Sino-Soviet animosity and eventual split were the result of several factors, most important being ideological, personality clashes and the border dispute. The Soviet leaders, led by Joseph Stalin, felt that they had successfully established a kind of paradise of proletariat dictatorship and were not prepared to accept any paradigm shift in this dogma.

Mao believed that the Chinese experience in the Chinese revolution was equally important in building the Marxist Communist revolutionary world. Nikita Khruschev in his memoirs "Khruschev Remembers" edited by Strobe Talbott describes the rationale and depth of discord and split in this regard.

Mao Tsetung in his discussion on Marxism-Leninism with P.F.Yudin, the Soviet philosopher who was the Soviet ambassador in China in order to study Mao's thoughts, felt 'vexed' and wondered: 'Did philosophy reach its limit with Marx and Lenin? He would sometimes wonder out loud… 'Can't the inclusion of Chinese revolutionary experience produce new philosophical thought?' Mao used to say aloud.

When Khruschev visited China to meet Mao, he was literally insulted by Mao. He was to stay for a week but he left only after three days. The chairman was deliberately playing the role of an emperor treating Khruschev as a barbarian who came to pay tribute. Russian designs, according to Mao, were not acceptable. 'Their real purpose is to control us. They're trying to tie our hands and feet' said Mao.

Unbelievable it may seem but the China-Soviet border conflict had the ingredients of a large-scale war. According to historians, 'the clashes at the disputed Zhenbao island on an isolated stretch of the Ussuri river' was of prime concern in 1969. The conflict opened the door to the possibility of a Sino-American re-approachment and the USA seized the opportunity. President Nixon assisted by his adviser Henry Kissinger planned the historic visit to China in 1971-72 through the good offices of Pakistan. That brought about Sino-American reapproachment for a while. On February 21, 1972 President Nixon along with Henry Kissinger met Chairman Mao and Prime Minister Zhou Enlai at Chairman Mao's residence. President Nixon asked, 'why have the Soviets more forces on the border facing you (China) than on the border facing western Europe?' (The Kissinger Transcripts -- top-secret memo of conversation p.62). Also Kissinger in his "On China" observed that 'Soviet troops along the Chinese border grew to some 42 divisions -over a million men'. Towards the end of 1969 in anticipation of a Soviet attack on China's National Day i.e. on 1 October, PLA had ordered full alert in China on 30 September, 1969. But the Soviets did not attack China, which surprised the Chinese leaders.
Henry Kissinger also informs that the Soviet Union had stepped up their armed strength all along the frontier resulting in the wiping out of a Chinese battalion at the Xinjiang border.

China and neighbours

Why did the Chinese build up such an atmosphere of conflict and ill-will with their neighbour and erstwhile benefactor, the Soviet Union? The main reason it seems, as stated by Kissinger was that 'China inevitably found it impossible to play the role of a junior partner'. Elsewhere, he had observed about the attitude of Chinese towards their neighbours.

'The Russians they hate and fear now. The Japanese they fear but do not hate. For the Indians they feel contempt but they are there backed by the USSR.' (The Kissinger Transcripts : The Top-Secret Talks with Beijing and Moscow ed. William Burr, New York 1998, p.42).

Lorenz M. Luthi asked the question who was responsible for the border dispute with the USSR? Henry Kissinger asserted that the USSR started the clashes, while Philip Short, according to Luthi, argued that 'Chairman Mao Tsetung instigated them to seek re-approachment with the United States and to balance the Soviet Union'. Also Lyle Goldstein M.Taylor Fravel held the view that 'the evidence points towards Chinese aggressiveness on March 2 as a Soviet counter-attack on the 15th.'

The Chinese feared a Russian attack. Observes Kissinger: "there were underground shelters in Peking and other cities. They were not against us. They had shown some of the tunnels and they were 35 km. long. The Chinese were far more exercised by the million Soviet troops along the borders then they were by our forces in Japan".

In China's strategic architecture, the supreme place of honour was given to the USA. Despite their acute differences, in terms of ideology, system of governance, concept of international relations, in fact in most public domain, China never wanted to follow a policy of confrontation with them, although once a while Mao Tsetung described the US as nothing but a 'a paper tiger'. In fact China was quite cautious and placed the powerful countries in high pedestal and went out of its way to placate them despite antagonistic aims and objectives on world affairs. President Ziang Zemin, for instance, stressed the point, during his meeting with Kissinger in September 1990. He said: 'Your friend Zhou Enlai used to talk about our five principles of peaceful co-existence. Well, they are still in existence today. It won't do that there should be only a single social system in the world. We don't want to impose our system on others, and we don't want others to impose theirs on us'.

It is quite instructive to note that in relation to Taiwan, Mao and Chou declared that they would not fight a war to liberate it but wait for a peaceful transfer of the country even if it meant a century of waiting. On the east coast of Chinese mainland lies Taiwan, 'with substantial American military presence', as stated by the Chinese representative during the meeting between President Nixon, Kissinger and Premier Chou Enlie. Zhou told the guest of honour: 'Beijing had no intention to liberate Taiwan by armed forces.' Zhou also agreed to the suggestion of Kissinger that they should 'strive for a peaceful liberation.' However, Premier Zhou reminded that John Foster Dulles had suggested at the Warsaw Talks to resolve the Taiwan issue in the next 20 years. 'Since already more than 20 years have passed, it would be good if the liberation of Taiwan could be realised in your next term of office', implored Zhou in a friendly way to Henry Kissinger.

US is exceptional

Nearly hundred years have passed and the Chinese have waited for a solution with the United States of America, without taking 'unilateral action to liberate' Taiwan. Similarly, more than a century has passed but China has not dared ask for the return of Vladivastok from the Soviet Union.

Although the US has declined economically while China has achieved an economic miracle, the fact remains the 'US is still an exceptional country and the leader of the world.' With regard to India, the story is different because comparatively India is both economically and militarily weaker. Khruschev's reminder on China, as he understood is worthy of note: 'Chinese don't recognise any law except the law of power and force. If you don't obey, they would tear your head off.' Nevertheless, whatever may be India's profile, 'India is a major Asian power, a potential rival both nationally and ideologically and a State to which even the hazy traditions of vassalage could not be attached,' observed Francis Watson in "The Frontiers of China". China is fully conscious of this. It would nevertheless continue to unsettle, marginalise, encircle and overwhelm India. India will have to face the inevitable with fortitude, diplomatic skill, wisdom and with strength.

The writer is a former Professor of History, Delhi University

Dancing in the dragon’s jaws by Brahma C


Seeking to compensate for his low political stock at home, Manmohan Singh has undertaken more overseas trips as prime minister than any predecessor, visiting China multiple times. Yet, India punches far below its weight internationally, while its regional security has come under siege, with Singh’s tenure witnessing a sharp deterioration in ties with China.

The highlight of the latest China visit of India’s most-travelled prime minister will not be progress on any of the core issues dividing the two countries but a Chinese-ordained border accord designed to supplant existing frontier-peace and confidence-building agreements that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has undermined through repeated cross-frontier raids and other incursions. No Indian official has explained the rationale for India to enter into a new agreement demanded by the party that has breached existing border-peace accords with impunity.

New Delhi’s willingness to let China dictate the so-called Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) mirrors its broader strategic timidity in permitting Beijing to lay down the terms of the bilateral relationship. China has fashioned an asymmetrical commercial relationship, reaping a swelling trade surplus, even as it stymies any progress on issues of core concern to India, including the territorial and water disputes, recurrent cross-border military raids, China’s continuing nuclear and missile collaboration with Pakistan, and the growing Chinese strategic footprint in Pakistani-held Kashmir.

China’s most-insidious warfare against India is in the economic realm, yet India has done little to stop Beijing from turning it into a raw-material supplier to the Chinese economy and from subverting Indian manufacturing through dumping of goods. The widening trade imbalance with China has been a major contributor to India’s worsening current account deficit. Perpetuating such a lopsided economic relationship gives Beijing little incentive to bridge the political divide. If anything, it aids China’s strategy to prevent India’s rise as a peer competitor.

Even as Beijing disturbs the territorial and water-flow status quo, New Delhi won’t leverage China’s growing India-market access to influence Chinese conduct. China, however, does not shy away from mixing politics and business. It has a record of quietly using trade to punish countries it quarrels with. For example, Japanese exports to China, which sank 13.2% in just the first seven months of this year, have been falling since September 2012, when Beijing began wielding the trade sword over the Senkaku dispute.

Singh’s visit will likely yield the usual platitudes about friendship and cooperation while leaving India’s concerns unaddressed. With an unresolved border arming China with leverage to keep India under military pressure, Beijing has been reluctant to even clarify what the two sides farcically call “the line of actual control” (LAC). And even as it turns Tibet into the new hub of its dam-building spree, China has brazenly sought to turn the tables on India, accusing it through a state mouthpiece last week of “attempting to reinforce its actual control and occupation of” Arunachal Pradesh through water projects there.

Singh, acquiescing to China’s sidelining of the core issues, told reporters before leaving that, “The two governments are addressing them with sincerity and maturity without letting them affect the overall atmosphere of friendship and cooperation”. Even by his pusillanimous standards, making a Chinese-dictated accord the highlight of his official visit marks a new low in Indian diplomacy.

PM’s Visit to China: A Case of Flawed Timing


October 25, 2013

Prior to PM Manmohan Singh’s departure it was mentioned by official sources that his visit to China was rather unique; for after Nehru’s visit in 1954 it was the first time that the PMs of India and China had exchanged visits in the same year! But reality seems to be different for PM Manmohan Singh arrived in China on a three day visit on 22 October 2013; but so did the PM of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev [No.2 in the Russian hierarchy] as also the PM of Mongolia Norovyn Altankhuyag. The reference to Nehru’s visit was also rather odd, for Nehru was received at Beijing airport in 1954 by the then Chinese PM Zhou Enlai and they together drove in an open car cheered by a million Chinese lining the streets of Beijing. It is possible that protocol rules have changed over the years, but the fact remains that PM Manmohan Singh’s visit was not a stand- alone visit; but one clubbed together with other dignitaries. The foreign policy establishment in Delhi should have foreseen this. As the Chinese newspaper ‘The Global Times’ [22 October 2013] proclaimed ‘it seems a coincidence.’ Far from it; for it was a visible demonstration of how much importance the Chinese attached to the visit.

The Chinese would be aware that there are about six months left in the life of the UPA-II government with general elections in India imminent. They would have also no doubt taken cognizance of various ‘surveys’ as well as soundings of the political scene that would indicate that it is entirely possible that there would be a change of government following the elections. The Chinese Embassy in Delhi would be seriously remiss if it did not report back to Beijing the internal scene in India. Even if the UPA were to come back to power, the picture of who would lead the government would only become clear after May 2014. Therefore the question that arises is why would the Chinese invest political capital in the last few months of a government that is very shortly completing its term and would be demitting office? And even if they took the risk, what is the guarantee that the next government would honour the understandings reached?

There are four main issues of core interest to India. These are the continuing and un-interrupted flow of Chinese arms, including nuclear, to Pakistan. The second is the unresolved boundary issue, including the maintenance of peace and tranquility on the border pending a settlement, the third is the huge trade imbalance and the fourth the question of trans- river waters.

To take the first issue, China is the main military weapons supplier to the Pakistan Army. According to SIPRI Nearly 55 per cent of China’s arms exports go to Pakistan. China’s arms exports world- wide rose by an unprecedented 162 per cent for the period 2008-2012 and China has replaced the UK as the fifth largest arms exporter in the world. The Chinese supply everything from fighter aircraft to missiles to naval vessels to Pakistan. China played a central role in helping Pakistan to become a nuclear weapons state. In keeping with this role, China is helping Pakistan to increase its nuclear energy output from 770 megawatts to 8000 megawatts by 2030. Additionally, China is helping Pakistan to fuel the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world.1 Failing to achieve what was done for India by the US, Pakistan has looked to China to fill the void and China in turn has given ample indication that it was ready to do so. The Chinese do not buy the thesis that nuclear co-operation cannot be extended to Pakistan on the same basis as India because India and Pakistan are ‘different states with different histories and therefore different needs.’ China stands for equivalence between India and Pakistan and has criticized the ‘discriminatory’ nature of the NSG waiver given to India and demanded that the same be given to Pakistan. There is no information in the public domain that China was receptive to PM Manmohan Singh’s concerns as regards the arms build-up by Pakistan.

The resolution of the boundary issue is stalemated with no sign of any forward movement. At best the present agreement on the border, signed during the visit, is a further refinement of the agreements of 1993 and 1996 that seek to stabilize and maintain peace and stability in the border areas. Nevertheless it is a positive step forward.

The Benefits for India of a US-2 Deal with Japan

By Vivek Mishra
October 24, 2013

In defiance of its longstanding policy, Japan has offered to sell India its ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft. In May this year, during a four-day visit to Tokyo by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the two countries agreed on talks that would confirm plans for India to purchase the US-2, an aircraft developed in Japan for use by its Self-Defense Forces. It is expected that India could buy up to 15 of the aircraft, if not more, in what would be a redefining of defense relations between two Asian heavyweights.

The deal marks a volte-face from Japan’s strict postwar policy of not supplying any defense equipment to other countries. Japan imposed a ban on arms exports in 1967, as it sought to demonstrate its antiwar credentials. The ban began to come under pressure in 2011, when the Japanese government relaxed the rules to allow Japanese firms to take part in multinational weapons and military projects.

There are two key driving forces behind this fundamental shift in Japanese policy. One of course is the rise of China and its tussles with Japan over territorial issues. The other is Japan’s desire to expand the market for its defense industries. The two factor are linked: apart from India being a significant and growing defense market, Tokyo also finds it shares common cause with Delhi in the security realm.

Going beyond the mere novelty of it, Japan’s latest offer to sell its US-2 aircraft to India is important because of the extent to which it would redefine the power equations, partnerships and collaborations in Asia. If the sale were to form the basis of similar future cooperation between India and Japan, it would have the potential to influence the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific. The deal would not only strengthen ties between Japan and India but would pave the way for future cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

The US-2 is a military aircraft, but it can be retrofitted for civilian use. Even if Japan sells the aircraft to India for civilian use only, India would have the option to rework the aircraft to restore its military purpose. Given the importance Japan is now attaching to its relations with India, one might expect that Tokyo would be quite happy to leave Delhi with that option of converting from civilian to military use.

Japan has already signaled its interest in working together with India in the Indian Ocean. The US-2 deal could facilitate that. Increasing defense cooperation with Japan would not necessarily initiate an arms race in the Indo-Pacific, as suggested by China. In fact, the Indian Ocean is already highly militarized. One more military or civilian deal is not going to throw the ocean or its littoral and island states into chaos.

Very disappointed Sharif has not kept word on LoC peace, says PM

On board PM's aircraft
Fri Oct 25 2013

Prime Minister Manmhan Singh said he was 'very disappointed' with Nawaz Sharif that he could not keep word on LoC peace. (Reuters)

Barely a month after his first meeting with Pakistani Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif, where Islamabad had agreed to enforce the ceasefire along the Line of Control, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday said he was "very disappointed" that this had not translated into reality on the ground.

With firing continuing along certain parts of the international border and infiltration attempts still being made on the LoC, Singh said he could only hope that "even at this late hour" Sharif would realise that this will not do any good to the situation.

"Let me say that I am disappointed, because in the New York meeting there was a general agreement on both the sides that peace and tranquility should be maintained on the Line of Control as well as on the international border and this has not happened. It has come to me as a big disappointment."

Singh said he wondered why it was difficult for Pakistan to enforce a ceasefire that had been in place for a decade now.

"We had agreed at that meeting that the ceasefire which was made effective in 2003, if it has held ground for 10 years, it could be made to hold ground later on also. The fact that this is not happening, is something which is really a matter of disappointment. I sincerely hope that at this late hour Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will recognize that this is a development which is not good for either of the two countries."

Singh's comments came as tensions grew on the India-Pak frontier in Jammu and Kashmir. While one BSF soldier has been killed in firing along the international border, the Army has reported major infiltration attempts in the Keran sector of the LoC.

Singh had taken considerable political risk by meeting Sharif in New York as it came on the back of the BJP demanding he call off the talks due to continued violence on the Line of Control through August and September.

In fact, just a couple of days before the meeting, an armoured military unit was attacked in Samba. The incident had taken place just as the PM landed in the US and even though the Indian side was extremely upset, the government lost no time in issuing a statement that it would go ahead with the meeting.


Forgetting history may harm India’s insight into the present
Swapan Dasgupta

The extent to which India as a nation lacks a sense of history was driven home to me recently by an account of the Bangladesh government’s commemoration of the liberation war of 1971.

Anxious to honour those Indians who had contributed to the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation four decades ago, the Bangladesh prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, organized a series of events in Dhaka over the past two years. Since most of those who contributed, either publicly or under a cover of anonymity, to the liberation struggle had died, Bangladesh graciously invited their family members to accept the awards on their behalf. Predictably, since most of the non-Bangladeshis who played a role in ensuring the defeat of the brutal Pakistani regime between March and December of 1971 were Indians, the authorities in Dhaka were compelled to seek the assistance of the government of India to locate the individuals or their families.

According to the officials in Bangladesh handling the commemoration, there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm in Delhi over Wajed’s gracious gesture. In particular, Bangladeshi officials were stumped over the complete blank that greeted their inquiries of two individuals. One was an Indian Foreign Service officer managing the Pakistan desk in South Block, the only non-military Indian official present at the surrender of the Pakistan army in Dacca; and the other was a more shadowy figure, the right-hand man of Research and Analysis Wing chief, R.N. Kao, operating from Calcutta. Inquiries about the first gentleman produced no results from the ministry of external affairs and the intelligence community in Delhi were unaware of the existence of one of the early stalwarts of R&AW.

At one level, the entire episode reeked of official indifference to anything that was not in the normal line of duty. Far more important, it seems to me, was the confirmation of a huge lacuna in ‘official’ India: the complete absence of institutional memory. The collapse of East Pakistan and the formation of Bangladesh was one of the most important chapters of India’s post-Independence history. It continues to define Pakistan’s attitude towards India and, as such, has a direct contemporary bearing. Yet, it is astonishing that absolutely no organized attempt is made to disseminate the history of that crisis to a new generation of diplomats who will be managing India’s relations with its neighbours in the future. This wilful disregard of history can be contrasted to the exacting importance the Pakistan foreign service and, for that matter, the Pakistani military establishment, attaches to learning the lessons of its greatest national humiliation.

The publication of Gary J. Bass’s eminently readable The Blood Telegram: India’s Secret War in East Pakistan is as good an occasion as any to revisit the events of 1971. Based almost entirely on official government documents of the United States of America, the White House tapes pertaining to the presidency of Richard Nixon and the papers of Indira Gandhi’s principal secretary, P.N. Haksar, and the then foreign secretary, T.N. Kaul, the book provides a gripping insight into the calculations of policy makers in Washington D.C, New Delhi and Islamabad. Although much of the narrative now belongs to the realms of history, there are important strands that have a direct bearing on the contemporary relations between India and Pakistan.

Beyond the border

Published: October 25, 2013

The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China is without doubt a constructive step towards resolving the boundary dispute. The BDCA itself is not a game-changer: it simply reinforces the basic international norm that countries ought to settle differences through peaceful means. Specifically, the Agreement adds to the existing layer of confidence-building measures through flag meetings, joint military patrols, and periodic high-level interaction. The BDCA nevertheless indicates both New Delhi and Beijing have accorded high priority to preventing hostile incidents along the Line of Actual Control. That Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Dr. Singh have exchanged visits within six months of the incident reflects this fact. The Chinese intrusion and subsequent withdrawal from the Depsang plain earlier this year provided the impetus to BDCA negotiations, and prompted serious introspection on the effectiveness of the Working Mechanism on Border Affairs. By opting for a tempered Agreement though, Dr. Singh has chosen to play his hand cautiously in an election year. The BJP, which facetiously claimed the government has ceded territory to China, would do well to acknowledge the spirit with which former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee established the Special Representative mechanism on border talks during his 2003 Beijing visit.

The ultimate objective of finalising an LAC acceptable to both countries is still some distance away. With no clear understanding of how the other perceives the Line, and China preferring “status quo” along the boundary, the onus will be on India to seize the initiative. Preparing the framework for a lasting settlement is important: that said, India-China ties cannot be hostage to the boundary dispute. It is unfortunate — but entirely predictable — that plans to usher in a liberal visa regime were shelved owing to the controversy over China handing out stapled visas to two athletes from Arunachal Pradesh. The stapled visa issue has assumed dangerous proportions. It cannot be allowed to eclipse the need for greater cooperation, particularly in the fields of trade and tourism. While making the case for robust engagement at the Strategic Economic Dialogue scheduled for next month, India must also ensure our exporters gain a stronger foothold in the Chinese market. Whether it is on the strategic or the commercial side, both governments can only reap the benefits of cooperation through constant dialogue. In snuffing out “old theories of alliance and containment,” Dr. Singh has rightly emphasised a workmanlike approach to dealing with this important relationship.


Manmohan Singh’s foreign policy aides must do much more
Diplomacy: K.P. Nayar

Statesmen too, it would seem, fall in love at first sight. Not in the way regular couples do, but in a metaphorical sense. As when George W. Bush met Vladimir Putin for the first time in June 2001, he “looked the man in the eye, found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy… I was able to get a sense of his soul”.

Or when Margaret Thatcher met Mikhail Gorbachev and said: “I like Mr Gorbachev, we can do business together.” Contrary to popular assumption, this remark, which helped shape the free world’s view of Gorbachev, was not made after the then British prime minister met the architect of perestroika as the last general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to hold that office. Thatcher recalls in her memoirs, The Downing Street Years, that she said this about Gorbachev to journalists after their very first meeting in December 1984, when Konstantin Chernenko was still the unquestioned leader of the CPSU. Gorbachev had gone to Chequers, the prime minister’s country home, at her invitation on his first ever visit to a Western capitalist country as the head of a Soviet parliamentary delegation.

Thatcher’s instant chemistry with Gorbachev may have influenced her wishful thinking then, since “as he took his leave, I hoped that I had been talking to the next Soviet leader”. But it is also a tribute to her perspicacity — indeed, that of British diplomacy even today — that her observation that evening at Chequers came true in the byzantine world of the Kremlin barely three months later when Chernenko abruptly died.

Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart, the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, could have similarly hit it off very well at their meeting in New York last month. Circumstances had been tailor-made for such good chemistry but by all accounts their first meeting was a disappointing washout. It was a world away from Singh’s maiden encounter with Pervez Musharraf in September 2004.

The Singh-Musharraf meeting was full of hope notwithstanding the prime minister’s relative lack of experience in foreign affairs at that juncture and in spite of a deep-rooted Indian trust deficit in Musharraf as the architect of Kargil. Hope was in the air because those who worked on such meetings in the prime minister’s office in 2004 had a vision. They worked tirelessly not only to realize that vision but also to put the head of government’s imprint on their vision. There was a freshness about the PMO then which has since evaporated.

This columnist, who was in New York to report on that meeting, has vivid recollections of being told on the background before it started that every little detail had been worked out beforehand between J.N. Dixit and Tariq Aziz, the national security advisers respectively of India and Pakistan. To escape the prying eyes of not only journalists, but even spooks in their midst, Dixit and Aziz had met in Dubai several days earlier to finalize the minute-to-minute engagement between Singh and Musharraf.

Futile exercise

S N Chary, Oct 23, 2013

Pursuing fruitless diplomacy, India has bent over backwards umpteen number of times with negative results.

It can happen only with the prime ministers of India. There are multiple violations of the Line of Control in the Jammu & Kashmir region on an almost daily basis by Pakistani troops; and during the same period, the prime minister of India holds friendly talks in New York with the prime minister of Pakistan agreeing on some peace measures with the aggressor country. After the talks, the violations of the Line of Control in J&K have only increased in number and in intensity. 

Now, just a few days ago, China declared its aggressive intent by issuing ‘stapled visas’ to Indian sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh. Of late, intrusions by China into India’s territory have been numerous. China now also takes another belligerent stance; it plans along with Pakistan for building a direct economic corridor between China and Pakistan, from Xinjiang to Gwadar, oil pipelines, railroad links and optic fibre lines passing right through the territory of Kashmir that is occupied by Pakistan (PoK).

Two days after the incidence of ‘stapled visas’, prime minister Manmohan Singh leaves for a state visit to Russia and China. The agenda for the state visit to China is that the two countries, during the meeting of the respective prime ministers, will discuss various bilateral issues. It is not as if the two prime ministers of India and China have not met earlier towards the same purpose. Pursuing fruitless diplomacy, a sort of diplomacy insulting to the nation, India has bent over backwards umpteen number of times with negative results. 

This is not to say that India should stop talking to its belligerent neighbours. Dialogue should continue. Even with a warring enemy, a channel for dialogue has to be kept open. Fighting for our rights and talking are two independent activities. However, one should not substitute bilateral talks for firmly asserting one’s sovereign territorial rights. Not when the other party is constantly and insistently violating the boundaries between the two nations. The ‘firmness’ of assertion has to be tangible. It should not be the kind which our external affairs ministers – Salman Khurshid or his predecessor – have been telling the Indian public through media interviews. Khurshid has always maintained that India has sent a firm message to Pakistan or China as the case may be. Glib advice of sagacity and wisdom is all right when spoken at home, but it has not carried any weight with the country’s troublesome neighbours. It is necessary that we communicate in a manner that the adversary understands better.

The J&K issue is vexing, indeed. When the bilateral talks do not yield results, one thinks of international diplomacy; where one can bring the pressure from heavyweight nations to bear upon the belligerent neighbour. India and the US have a ‘strategic’ relationship as the two countries proclaim. But, it is of little use against Pakistan’s machinations. In fact, very recently the US has sanctioned $1.6 billion in aid to Pakistan. Ostensibly, it is for Pakistan to fight Taliban on its western frontiers; but, more often than not, such aid ends up being used in a large measure against India. 

Strategic partnership

Pakistan has been, time and again, violating the expressed intention of the US; but, the US has been turning a blind eye. Thus, despite all this talk about strategic partnership between the US and India, no substantial improvement has taken place for India in either its bilateral trade with the US or in its political might as perceived by its adversaries and other nations. The point is: the J&K issue has to be resolved by India, on a stand alone basis.

While border violations and sending of terrorists into India’s territory has to be dealt with very strongly, so that the perpetrators dare not repeat such acts again, the internal atmosphere in J&K has to be made politically favourable. This can happen only when the region witnesses meaningful development. In fact, the state of J&K should become so developed that the people in the PoK region should demand for their immediate integration with the model state. The youth today, anywhere, desire good governance, better living and growing economy. Religious and military jingoism can be countered by solid economic development. India has never attempted the ‘economic growth’ path in J&K. The Centre and the state have all the time believed in fighting the terrorists and secessionists through a huge military and police presence which is perceived by many J&K residents as excessive and oppressive. 

Is India Playing a Double Game in the South China Sea?

By Zachary Keck
October 25, 2013

India appears to be playing something of a double game on the South China Sea dispute as it tries to balance its competing interests of expanding its influence in Southeast Asia without unduly upsetting China.

This week Delhi’s delicate balancing act was put to the test as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China coincided with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s trip to the Philippines.

The South China Sea doesn’t appear to have figured prominently into Singh’s trip to Beijing, which focused instead of dialing back tensions along the Sino-Indo border as well as rebalancing economic ties. However, ahead of Singh’s arrival in China, Khurshid gave a lengthy interview to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post in which he appeared to take a more conciliatory position towards China on the issue of the South China Sea dispute.

“We don't interfere” in the South China Sea dispute Khurshid told the Hong Kong daily. He added, “We do believe that anything that is a bilateral issue between two nations must be settled by those two nations.”

This position was consistent with China’s demands that the disputes in the South China Sea be handled on a bilateral basis without any interference from non-parties to the dispute. Previously, China has harshly criticized India for the latter’s joint activities with Vietnam in waters that both Hanoi and Beijing claim. Asrecently as earlier this month PM Singh forcefully backed regional institutions playing an active role in managing the South China Sea row, the exact contingency that Beijing has strenuously tried to avoid. Khurshid’s endorsement of bilateral mechanisms seemed to contradict Singh’s statements at the East Asia Summit this month.

On the other hand, during his trip to the Philippines this week, Khurshid at times went farther than India previously has in challenging China’s claims to the South China Sea. To begin with, the main purpose of Khurshid’s trip was to work towards upgrading the Indo-Filipino bilateral relationship to a comprehensive partnership in time for Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to the Philippines next year. Khurshid and his Filipino counterpart, Albert del Rosario, also agreed to expand defense cooperation between the two sides. Philippine news outlets this week even reported that Manila may purchase two naval frigates from Delhi.

Perhaps most notably, the joint statement that Khurshid signed onto calls the South China Sea the West Philippines Sea, the name Manila uses to refer to the disputed waters. According to Indian media outlets, this broke with India’s usual policy of referring to the waters as the South China Sea to avoid upsetting Beijing.

Al-Qaeda’s corridor through Syria


It is no longer the Free Syrian Army but the radical Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams that is a serious threat to the Assad government

On Tuesday night, suicide bombers and gunmen attacked Iraqi checkpoints along Highway 11, which runs from Baghdad to Syria via Ramadi. They bombed the checkpoint at Rutba as well as points just west of Ramadi. Thirty-seven people were killed in these attacks, a majority of them security officers. Highway 11 is Iraq’s southern route into Syria. The other road from Baghdad to Syria is Highway 12, which runs from Ramadi northwards to the towns of Anan and Rawah, along the Euphrates River and into the Syrian city of Raqqa. Last week, gunmen of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) attacked the towns of Anan and Rawah, destroying a bridge and trying to destroy the electricity transmission towers. The Iraqi army was able to deter the ISIS attack on Rawah, and so held off ISIS’s attempt to take the towns that would give it effective control of Highway 12. Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq said that last week’s attack was a “hopeless attempt by al Qaeda [ISIS] to establish a foothold in Iraq.” It seems likely that ISIS decided to try and take Highway 11 after its attack on Highway 12 was repulsed.

Over the past month, ISIS has made remarkable gains. Its operation, named Expunging Filth, has either expelled or absorbed the Free Syrian Army units along the spine of northern Syria. The Syrian-Turkish border town of A’zaz has been in ISIS hands for a month. Since April, ISIS began to draw in all the smaller Salafi factions, including Jabhat al-Nusra (not always without rivalry) and parts of Ahrar as-Sham (whose commander, Abu Obeida al-Binnishi, ISIS killed in September). A new report from the International Crisis Group from October 17 notes that ISIS is now “the most powerful group in northern and eastern Syria and was benefiting from control of oil fields.” Analyst Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi says that ISIS cannot be shaken from its strongholds in the north and east by any combination of FSA and its allies. Indeed, over the past few months, the ISIS has severely degraded the capacity of the Free Syrian Army, having killed one of its important battalion chiefs Kamal Hamami in July and having drawn in many of its local level fighters. The Free Syrian Army is no longer a serious threat to the Syrian government.

Deplorable situation

The main secular voice of this uprising in Syria, Yassin al Haj Saleh, who was underground in Syria during the civil war, fled the country on October 12. In an open letter, “Farewell to Syria, for a while,” Mr. Saleh wrote that the city of his birth, Raqqa, had been taken over by “the spectres of horror of our childhood, the ghouls.” The situation in Raqqa, Mr. Saleh writes, is deplorable. It was hard to watch “strangers oppress it and rule the fates of its people, confiscating public property, destroying a statue of Haroun al-Rashid or desecrating a church, taking people into custody where they disappeared in their prisons.” Mr. Saleh’s departure indicates that things are worse there than they were this summer when researcher Yasser Munif travelled in the north and found that in Raqqa “people are more and more critical of the ISIS and al Nusra.” It appears that the space for that internal criticism of ISIS is now narrower. Billboards promoting the views of ISIS are legion across Raqqa, with intimations that the rivalry between the various Islamist factions is at mute. As el-Tamimi notes, in public rallies flags of both ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra fly side by side.

Pakistan Should Accept Blame for US Drones

By Zachary Keck
October 25, 2013

Reports this week by The National Journal and The Washington Postfurther highlight the direct role that the Pakistani government­—or at least portions of it—have played in facilitating the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan, which the U.S. is facing growing criticism over.

The National Journal reported on Wednesday that under the George W. Bush and Pervez Musharraf administrations, a secret protocol was put in place that defines the role the Pakistani military and intelligence services play in approving and authorizing the strikes. The report mainly relies on the accounts from unnamed former and current Pakistani and American officials.

This report was followed hours later by a blockbuster piece from The Washington Post that further details the level of cooperation between the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and various parts of the Pakistan government­—in particular, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)—in carrying out the drone strikes. 

The Wapo report, which covers the period from 2007-2011 and is based on “top-secret CIA documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos” obtained by the newspaper, is chock-full of interesting revelations and well worth a full read. Much of the article focuses on how the CIA provides (or at least provided) Pakistani diplomats and intelligence and security officials with thorough and frequent briefings on the drone program, including after action reports.

Two things about these reports stick out as particularly noteworthy.

The first is the timing of the reports as well as the sources used. The reports appear as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has intensified his pressure on the U.S. to halt drone strikes in his country. Opposition to drone strikes has been a frequent theme of Sharif’s domestic speeches since he was campaigning for the premiership. However, Sharif seemed to increase the profile of the issue last month when he sharply denounced the U.S. drone campaign in his speech to the UN General Assembly.

Sharif’s public diplomacy effort has continued this week during his visit to Washington. Sharif reportedly raised the issue of drones with President Obama during a White House meeting on Wednesday, and also returned to theme during a speech at a local think tank. Speaking at the DC-based U.S. Institute for Peace, Sharif said that the drone strikes “have deeply disturbed and agitated our people. This issue has become a major irritant in our bilateral relationship as well. I will, therefore, stress the need for an end to drone attacks.”

The fact that these new articles detailing Pakistan’s role in the drone campaign were published during Sharif’s visit to DC is almost certainly not a coincidence. While it’s obvious that the Obama administration has a clear motive for leaking this information during Sharif’s visit, both articles, as noted above, rely partially on the accounts of Pakistani leaders as well as Pakistani documents. It therefore seems that some parts of the Pakistani government, likely acting with the U.S. government, are seeking to embarrass Sharif and undermine his campaign to end U.S. drone strikes.

The Hamlet in Nawaz Sharif

Sunday, October 20, 2013 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lives in an etherised world where time is of little consequence. Like Hamlet he is given to indecision. The prince of Denmark prevaricated because of self-doubt on life and death issues – whether or not to kill his father’s murderer, Claudius – but the prime minister of Pakistan is indecisive even on routine matters such as the appointment of ambassadors. 

The same hesitation is apparent in the selection of the next chief of army staff and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee – a post that has been vacant since October 8. The avoidable uncertainty has raised doubts whether the government is at all serious about combating terrorism, which is literally bleeding the country white and suffocating its already comatose economy. 

Nawaz Sharif is obviously frightened – in fact terrified – by the phantoms of the past. It is exactly 14 years and one week to this day that his second prime ministerial term came to an abrupt end. He had deluded himself into believing that his ‘heavy mandate’ had made him invulnerable. The sordid consequences of that supreme folly – imprisonment, exile and then an eventual return to the country to become prime minister again for an unprecedented third term – are too well known to bear repetition. 

The intervening years since October 1999 have transformed Nawaz Sharif into a ‘sadder’ though not necessarily ‘a wiser’ man. It has taken him almost five months merely to nominate an ambassador to the US, and that too, barely two weeks prior to his visit to Washington. Even if the concurrence of the American government is received forthwith, it is unlikely that the ambassador-designate will be able to present his credentials by then. 

An Islamabad-based diplomat said that he would pay a king’s ransom to be privy to the Nawaz-Obama talks which, he felt, are likely to be rough. He was referring to theSeptember 9 resolution unanimously adopted by the All-Parties Conference in which the US had been singled out for criticism: “We declare that we shall...not be guided by the United States of America or any other country” in the war against terrorism.

However, any comment on the visit at the stage is futile and will only be speculative. But what can be said with a fair degree of accuracy is that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is gradually beginning to realise the importance of appointing career diplomats as Pakistan’s envoys. Foreign Secretary Jilani will be the first professional diplomat to be appointed ambassador to the US in nine years. 

Similarly for the first time ever Pakistan will have a woman from the Foreign Service as its permanent representative to the UN in New York. Most of the other recent ambassadorial appointments are also from the cadre and all are men and women of exceptional merit. The only patently wrong choice is the nomination of Kamran Shafi, a columnist, as high commissioner to London.

This has been roundly criticised, and, in the process, Shafi has been unfairly accused of misappropriation of funds during his assignment as press counsellor at the Pakistan High Commission in London in the 1990s. Those who know him well say that he is a man of unimpeachable probity and there is no reason to doubt this. But where he does become vulnerable is in his own writings. 

It is said that spoken words may not endure long and quickly fade from memory unless preserved in the encasement of print. In his columns, Shafi has been vehemently critical of the ISI which he describes as the “deep state”. He is perfectly within his rights to have his own views and to ventilate them either verbally or in writing. But the other side of the same coin is that if he feels so strongly about a vital institution of the state, then he has no right to represent the country as its envoy in any capital of the world.