Indian Foreign Secretary J.N.Dixit delivering a
lecture on September 16, at the influential German
Society for Foreign Policy bade official good bye to
non alignment and rolled out the welcome mat for the
'emerging multi polar world.'
Speaking at Bonn he said:
''We are diversifying our relations. We have, to
use a term in vogue, de-ideologised our foreign
Diplomatic observers were quick to comment that this
was Dixit's way of saying that with the end of the cold
war, non alignment was dead!
Foreign Secretary Dixit went on to speak of a 'multi
polar world' emerging with several powers such as the
European Community, Japan, ASEAN and NAFTA and made it
clear that India wants a seat as a permanent member of
the United Nations Security Council along with Germany
''If Japan and Germany alone are inducted as
Permanent members of the Security Council, we will
not agree. We have already written to the Secretary
General of the United Nations'' he said.
This was the first time that a top Indian Foreign
Office official had publicly voiced a demand that was
widely considered as implicit in Delhi's celebrated
calibrated approach to Delhi-US relations. The question
of expanding the Security Council will be debated at
the 48th Sessions of the UN General Assembly which
began on September 21.
In its official submission to the UN Secretary
General, Delhi has proposed that the Council be
expanded from its current five permanent and 10 non
permanent members to 10 or 11 permanent members and 12
or 14 non permanent members.
Referring to the thorny question of nuclear non
proliferation Dixit said:
'' The Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty should be
non discriminatory. We shall not accept unilaterally
imposed pressure on us in regard to our indigenously
At the same time Dixit sought to put a brave face on
Delhi's internal problems by saying:
''We are committed to the pluralistic society
despite challenges. Ethnicity cannot be the basis
of democratic state.''
Foreign Secretry Dixit's assertion that 'ethnicity'
and 'democracy' were somehow mutually exclusive exposed
the soft under belly of Delhi's foreign policy. It was
this myopic approach to struggles for self
determination on the Indian sub continent which may
have served to encourage the very outside 'pressures'
which Delhi appeared to resent.
Coincidentally, in the same week that Foreign
Secretary Dixit was speaking at Bonn, the new US Asst.
Secretary State for South Asia Affairs, Robin Raphel,
in her first public comments on the region after being
confirmed as head of the newly created South Asian
Bureau, said in Washington:
''While India and Pakistan have got to talk
seriously about Kashmir any solution there that is
going to stick and is going to be meaningful must
take into account what the Kashmiri people want for
their political future''
Delivering the key note address at the Asia
foundation in Washington she added:
''The US has observed that in the 20 years since
the 1972 Simla accord was signed between India and
Pakistan it has not been used in any way really to
deal with the Kashmir dispute...
Regrettably in the last few years the situation
has deteriorated considerably, much more than it was
at the time that the accord was signed... There was a
vacuum in the leadership of the Kashmir people that
had inhibited any kind of political dialogue but this
I am happy to report that they are working on it.
They are getting together and organising themselves
so that they have someone who can speak for them as a
whole, as a group... ''
Meanwhile, it is reported that at the talks between
Delhi and the US in Washington on September 15 and 16,
the Clinton administration gave up pushing Delhi to
participate in a five nation (US, Russia, India, China
and Pakistan) conference on nuclear non proliferation
and settled, for the time being, for Delhi's preferred
option: bilateral talks with the US on those matters of
concern to the US.
In October 1963, Delhi and US signed a 30 year
treaty on nuclear cooperation. General Electric sold
India two small reactors for its Tarapur station. India
reprocesed the fuel, making plutonium that was to be
kept under safeguards operated by the Internatioanl
atomic Energy agency i.e. it could not be put to
military use. The question now was: after the treaty
expires next month, do the safeguards continue? Can
Delhi do whatever it wants with the plutonium it has
manufactured at Tarapur? Delhi said: yes, ofcourse. US
said: lets talk about it.
And, during the second day of the talks which dealt
with regional issues, the US did talk - and called for
more confidence building measures between India and
It was not known whether Sri Lanka also figured
in the discussions, particularly in view of President
Clinton's declaration at the United Nations General
Assembly on September 27 that he was making 'nuclear
non proliferation one of our nation's highest
priorities' and that the US intended to ''weave its
nonproliferation strategy more deeply into the fabric
of all our relationships with the world's nations and
institutions.'' The question is: how deep is