Saturday, 22 November 2014

Today, I was just going through an article on DIPLOMACY (one of my favourite topics) and I just found out some real good stuff therein. I wasn’t aware until today that an Italian philosopher had such concurring thoughts with India’s one of the most brilliant statesman’s minds. Eh! Confused? Well, here I am talking about Machiavelli and Chanakya. Both of them were such great luminaries who belonged to two different eras but had similar notions when it comes to diplomacy. 

Chanakya displayed his vision and the ability of being the most remarkable statesman when he spelt out his views in Arthashastra. According to him, the King should have friendly relations not just with his immediate neighbours but beyond that to encompass the whole world. To him and Machiavelli, ambassadors were important but their main role was that of intelligence gathering. In his treatise, Chanakya has eloquently elaborated on duties and conduct in enemy’s court. They both concur on one more point which is related to the beginning of successful diplomacy. It is pertinent that before sending an envoy, the nature of the sovereign is fully taken into consideration. Apart from it, a general analysis of the political situation and the personality of the audience in the enemy state should also be considered. Both thinkers were of the view that treaties were meant to be broken. They both agreed upon to lull the enemy and to bind him into an agreement with a false sense of security. 

Coming back to Modern India phase when India just got independence from foreign rule, a major task was put on the shoulders of an aging yet strong leader – Sardar Patel. With his tact and perspicacious diplomatic style, he outmanoeuvred all. India was a fabricated union of 550+ small confederacies at that time. In fact, calling it a UNION would not be apt as the situation in some states like Hyderabad and Jammu & Kashmir was volatile. He used it all – appeasement, military, coercive, cultural, track II diplomacies and finally knit India as we see it today. 

Since then, not much has changed in this genre. With changing times, only style has changed a little bit. There are several unique forms of diplomacy as we see today. They were thus formulated because it was the need of that particular hour. Remember the Ping Pong Diplomacy which was the result of backchannel diplomacy between USA and China. Oh this was remarkable as it displayed the spirit of how estranged enemies can become friends on face using sports as a medium. 

Dollar Diplomacy was another such invention to further US’ aims in Latin America and East Asia. The term was coined by President Theodore Roosevelt and it was done to use economic power and prosper both the foreign land and the American investor. 

Track II diplomacy is now what is being used by state and non-state officials to resolve a conflict. At the moment, I can think of PM Nawaz Sharif coming to PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in spite of attack on Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan as the perfect example to show that Track II diplomacy negotiations followed.

After Sardar Patel and Henry Kissinger, I have found the same zeal, passion and a visionary foresight in our current PM Modi so far as diplomacy is concerned. He very well knows how to sell ‘Brand INDIA’ in a foreign land. In such a short span of about 5 months, he has made 8 foreign trips and stressed on the strength of our massive 1.2 billion population. He has also conceptualized other forms of diplomacy (which will be covered in my next blog) like Twiplomacy, Digital Diplomacy, Neighbourhood First Policy, Act East Policy, Fast Track Diplomacy and Para Diplomacy. I will cover each of these in my next blog section. 

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