What will the world think?
Arundhati Ghose’s op-ed in DNA points out the repercussions of the UPA allowing the Left to hijack India’s foreign policy.
The impact of this episode, whichever way it finally unravels, is bound to be felt in India’s international relations. India’s credibility as a negotiator and ability to take a domestically tough decision will necessarily be reflected on the way in which other countries will assess this country’s international commitments.
There will certainly be life after the agreement should it fail, but India will have lost her voice. It will be perceived that while India may have the ambition, she does not have the will or capability to implement her agreements, given her fractured polity.
Her determination to deliver on her commitments will be in doubt as will her seriousness as a negotiating partner.
The consequences on bilateral relations are difficult to predict: there is bound to be a negative reaction in the US: if, as is being projected, the next US President is a Democrat with a Democratic Congress, India can expect the lecturing and hectoring to begin again — pressures to sign the CTBT, the FMCT, the NPT and so on. We will be back to Square One with a vengeance. [DNA]
And she also offers perhaps the most succinct bottomline:
The time frame within which China will have to start worrying about India’s role as a rival will have receded.
As P S Suryanarayana writes, India’s profile has already begun to recede in East Asia, as states wonder whether the millstone of domestic politics will ever allow India to sign-off on deals that involve meaningful quid pro quo. Add that to India’s craven position on Burma, and you know Arundhati Ghose’s summary is right on the ball. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) has begun to shut down reactors for the want of fuel.