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Monday, November 19, 2012

But it remains a mystery why India should behave blind in face of rising oil prices, US fiscal cliff and Eurozone recession brand new!

But it remains a mystery why India should behave blind in face of rising oil prices, US fiscal cliff and Eurozone recession brand new!

Troubled  Galaxy Destroyed  Dreams,Chapter 820
Palash Biswas

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India is aligned with US and Israel as partner in America`s war against terror.On the other hand, Israel happens to be major ally in India`s defence. Israel helps us in internal security matter also. Since Arab Israel conflict in 1973, Indian diplomacy changed with violent pro US pro Israel swings.But it remains a mystery why India should behave blind in face of rising oil prices, US fiscal cliff and Eurozone recession brand new!Mind you, President Barack Obama's intensive lobbying to avert big year-end tax hikes and spending cuts resumed over the weekend as he spoke with senior corporate chieftains, including JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon and legendary investor Warren Buffett.But Obama is not changing taxation pattern as wanted by corporate america contrary to current pro corporate governance and policy making in India.  Leading U.S. lawmakers expressed confidence on Sunday that they could reach a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" even as they laid down markers on taxes and spending that may make any agreement more difficult.however,U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday that reaching a deal to resolve America's budget crisis is critical to its global leadership and national security and would bolster efforts to project U.S. economic power around the world.On the other hand, while Indian prime minster is engaged in south china sea tussles away,Barack Obama became the first American president to visit Myanmar on Monday, using a six-hour trip to balance U.S. praise for the government's progress in shaking off military rule with pressure to complete the process of democratic reform.Barack Obama has called on Asian nations to follow the example of Burma's "remarkable journey" towards democracy as he made a historic visit to the former international pariah.Myanmar is strategically very very sensitive zone.India left it to China earlier and now America is allowed to intervene!Watching warily US President Barrack Obama's historic visit to Myanmar, China until recently Naypyidaw's closest regional ally under the erstwhile military junta, said it is "fully confident" that the strategic ties with the neighbour will not be affected.It is no secret that Indian hegemony has done everything to sgregate the nation in the south asian geopolitics. We have no say in our neighbourhood.India always did care for Palestine earlier, but now it happens that preference to Israel tempts us to lose our ground in oil rich Arab economically and an apathy against minorities in a Hindutva ressurection situation in India, complicates the fabrics of ethnic diversity altogether!

Meanwhile,Oil rose above $110 a barrel on Monday as escalating violence in the Middle East fuelled concerns over oil supplies from the region and as hopes rose that a U.S. budget crisis could be averted. Investors fear the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may draw in other countries and possibly disrupt energy exports from the region, which supplies more than a third of the world's crude.


Where do indian political leadersip and diplomacy engage?Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Monday met one-on-one for about 45 minutes in this Cambodian capital, probably one of their last official meetings.he two leaders discussed a gamut of regional and bilateral issues during the meeting, which comes ahead of the East Asia Summit to be held here Tuesday.Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is set to become president after being anointed general secretary of the Communist Party of China, while Li Keqiang is to be the premier, taking over from President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao respectively in March 2013.

The prime minister is visiting Phnom Penh from Nov 18-20 to attend the 10th ASEAN-India Summit and the 7th East Asia Summit.

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China has called on Israel and other parties involved in the ongoing Gaza Strip conflict to exercise maximum restraint.

"We strongly urge all parties, Israel in particular, to show maximum restraint, reach an immediate ceasefire, and avoid taking any actions to escalate the situation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing here on Monday.

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma Sunday told newspersons India believes that with the once-in-a-decade leadership change in China effected last week, "there is going to be continuity and stability in relations and our engagement, which is important to both the countries and the entire region and for economic stability".

Emphasising on Israel's right to "self-defence", US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has asked many world leaders to use their influence to work for an immediate de-escalation of tensions in Gaza.

Clinton, who is on a tour of South East Asia, spoke to many world leaders over the phone in an effort to de-escalate tensions in Gaza as soon as possible.

"In all these conversations, the Secretary underscored Israel's right to self-defence when rockets are falling on its citizens, and the urgent need for all leaders with influence to use it to seek an immediate de-escalation of tensions," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

Clinton has spoken to Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil, following his trip to Gaza, to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, ahead of their trips to the region.

She also called Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davotoglu, who have also been active diplomatically.

Southeast Asian leaders sought to ease tensions with China over maritime disputes before a regional summit tomorrow involving U.S. President Barack Obama as concerns persist over weaker demand in the global economy.The Association of Southeast Asian Nations will confine discussions on a set of rules for operating in the South China Sea to the bloc's meetings with China, according to Kao Kim Hourn, a Cambodian foreign ministry official. The decision comes as China and Japan spar over islands further to the north, risking damage to trade ties between Asia's biggest economies. Obama arrives in Phnom Penh later today to join the Asean- organized meetings, which also include leaders from Japan, South Korea, India, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. Obama last year called the East Asia Summit the "premier" arena to discuss maritime security concerns, a subject China has lobbied to keep out of international gatherings because it touches on territorial disputes.


Japan warned on Monday that a row over the South China Sea could damage "peace and stability" in Asia as China stalled on a plan to ease tensions and disagreements flared between the Philippines and Cambodia over the dispute.he acrimony provided an uneasy backdrop to U.S. President Barack Obama's arrival in Cambodia for a regional summit where he is expected to urge China and Southeast Asian nations to resolve the row, one of Asia's biggest security issues. apanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda challenged efforts by summit host Cambodia, a staunch China ally, to limit discussions on the mineral-rich sea, where China's territorial claims overlap those of four Southeast Asian countries and of Taiwan.Alternative diplomatic routes for the Philippines would likely involve the United States, one of its closest allies, which has said it has a national interest in freedom of navigation through the South China Sea's vital shipping lanes. ASEAN on Sunday agreed to formally ask China to start talks on a Code of Conduct (CoC) aimed at easing the risk of naval flashpoints, according to its Secretary General, Surin Pitsuwan.But Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao appeared to play down the need for urgent action in talks on Sunday night with Hun Sen. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said he could "not recall" Hun Sen making a formal request for talks. "It takes some time for China and ASEAN to discuss the CoC," he said. He repeated Cambodia's statement that ASEAN had reached a "common position" not to internationalise the issue, directly contradicting Aquino. Obama will meet Southeast Asian leaders on Monday evening before sitting down with Wen on Tuesday.  

Obama's visit to Cambodia, the first by a U.S. president, underlines an expansion of U.S. military and economic interests in Asia under last year's so-called "pivot" from conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The Philippines, Australia and other parts of the region have seen a resurgence of U.S. warships, planes and personnel, since Obama began shifting foreign, economic and security policy towards Asia late last year.  

Israel raised the stakes on Monday, saying it was ready for a ground invasion in the Gaza Strip, but preferred a diplomatic solution.

Israeli aircraft struck crowded areas in the Gaza Strip on Monday, driving up the civilian death toll and in one case devastating several homes belonging to one clan — the fallout from a new tactic in Israel's six-day-old offensive meant to quell Hamas rocket fire on Israel.

Escalating its bombing campaign, Israel on Sunday began attacking homes of activists in Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza. These attacks have led to a sharp spike in civilian casualties, killing 24 civilians in less than 24 hours, a Gaza health official said. Overall, the offensive that began Wednesday killed 91 Palestinians, including 50 civilians.

The rising civilian toll was likely to intensify pressure on Israel to end the fighting. Hundreds of civilian casualties in an Israeli offensive in Gaza four years ago led to fierce international condemnation of Israel.

Hamas fighters, meanwhile, have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel in the current round of fighting, including 12 on Monday, among them one that hit an empty school.

Risk analysts say it is unlikely the confrontation between Israel and Gaza will spill out into a wider conflict, but investors were wary, knowing previous Middle East wars have led to oil embargoes and temporary disruptions to energy supplies.

Brent futures was up $1.17 to trade at $110.12 by 1307 GMT. U.S. crude oil rose $1.06 to trade at $87.98.

"Violence in the Middle East is certainly supporting oil," said Carsten Fritsch, senior commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "Hopes for a solution to the crisis over the U.S. budget are also providing support for all financial markets."

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Cairo on Monday to support ceasefire efforts led by Egypt, which borders both Israel and Gaza and whose Islamist-rooted government has been hosting leaders of Hamas.

"It's a very fluid situation. As long as the fighting continues we will maintain a certain geopolitical premium in the oil prices," said Olivier Jakob, an oil analyst at Petromatrix.

Financial markets also found support from expectations that U.S. politicians would be able to avoid a budget crisis, helping support growth in the world's biggest oil consumer.

A deal has to be agreed before January when a "fiscal cliff" - more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts - will kick in and could push the U.S. economy back into recession.

Top lawmakers emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama on Friday confident of finding common ground on taxes and spending to help them avert the disastrous situation.

"Stock markets and commodities markets are hoping a U.S. budget deal can be found," said Commerzbank's Fritsch. "So markets are in a 'risk on' mode."

Israel bombed dozens of suspected militant sites in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Monday and Palestinians kept up their cross-border rocket fire as international pressure for a truce intensified.

Twelve Palestinian civilians and four fighters were killed in the air strikes, bringing the Gaza death toll since fighting began on Wednesday to 90, more than half of them non-combatants, local officials said. Three Israeli civilians have been killed.

After an overnight lull, militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip fired 12 rockets at southern Israel in the span of 10 minutes, causing no casualties, police said. One landed near a school, but it was closed at the time.

The deaths of 11 Palestinian civilians - nine from one family - in an air strike on Sunday - drew more international calls for an end to six days of hostilities and could test Western support for an offensive Israel billed as self-defence after years of cross-border rocket attacks.

Israel's military did not immediately comment on a report in the liberal Haaretz newspaper that it had mistakenly fired on the Dalu family home, where the dead spanned four generations, while trying to kill a Hamas rocketry chief.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Cairo to weigh in on ceasefire efforts led by Egypt, which borders both Israel and Gaza and whose Muslim Brotherhood-rooted government has been hosting leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a smaller armed faction in the Palestinian enclave.

Israeli media said a delegation from Israel had also been to Cairo for the truce talks. A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government declined comment on the matter.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, speaking in Brussels ahead of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers, said: "I believe there are the conditions to quickly reach a ceasefire in the next few hours."

He said that from his conversations with members of the Israeli government, he understood "there is no interest at all" to invade the Gaza Strip.

"Exactly the opposite is true," Terzi said. "Obviously, this Israeli self-restraint should rely on a guarantee that the launches of rockets should end."

China on Monday urged both sides to halt the violence, while U.S. President Barack Obama said at the weekend it would be "preferable" if Israel did not mount a ground invasion of Gaza.

The Gaza flare-up, and Israel's repeated signalling that it could soon escalate from the aerial campaign to a ground sweep of the cramped and impoverished territory, have stoked the worries of world powers watching an already combustible region.

In the absence of any prospect of permanent peace between Israel and Hamas and other Islamist factions, mediated deals for each to hold fire unilaterally have been the only formula for stemming bloodshed in the past. But both sides now placed the onus on the other.

Izzat Risheq, aide to Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal, wrote on Facebook that Hamas would enter a truce only after Israel "stops its aggression, ends its policy of targeted assassinations and lifts the blockade of Gaza".

Listing Israel's terms, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon wrote on Twitter: "If there is quiet in the south and no rockets and missiles are fired at Israel's citizens, nor terrorist attacks engineered from the Gaza Strip, we will not attack."

Yaalon also said Israel wanted an end to Gaza guerrilla activity in the neighbouring Egyptian Sinai, a desert peninsula where lawlessness has spread during Cairo's political crises.

AIR STRIKES

Israel bombed some 80 sites in Gaza overnight, the military said, adding in a statement that targets included "underground rocket launching sites, terror tunnels and training bases" as well as "buildings owned by senior terrorist operatives".

Netanyahu has said he had assured world leaders that Israel was doing its utmost to avoid causing civilian casualties in Gaza. At least 22 of the Gaza fatalities have been children, medical officials said.

China, which has cultivated good ties with Israel, said on Monday it was extremely concerned about the Israeli military operations in Gaza.

"We condemn the over-use of force causing deaths and injuries amongst innocent ordinary people," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

Before leaving for Cairo, Ban urged Israel and the Palestinians to cooperate with all Egyptian-led efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire.

In scenes recalling Israel's 2008-2009 winter invasion of Gaza, tanks, artillery and infantry have massed in field encampments along the sandy, fenced-off border and military convoys moved on roads in the area.

Israel has also authorised the call-up of 75,000 military reservists, so far mobilising around half that number.

A big, bloody rocket strike might be enough for Netanyahu to give a green light for a ground offensive, despite the political risks of heavy casualties before a January election he is favoured to win.

But while 84 percent of Israelis supported the Gaza assault, according to a Haaretz poll, only 30 percent wanted an invasion. Nineteen percent wanted their government to work on securing a truce soon.

Israel's declared goal is to deplete Gaza arsenals and force Hamas to stop rocket fire that has bedevilled Israeli border towns for years.

The rockets now have greater range, becoming a strategic weapon for Gaza's otherwise massively outgunned militants. Several projectiles have targeted Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. None hit the two cities and some of the rockets were shot down by Israel's Iron Dome interceptor system.

As a precaution against the rocket interceptions endangering nearby Ben-Gurion International Airport, civil aviation authorities said on Monday new flight paths were being used.

There was no indication takeoffs and landings at Ben-Gurion had been affected.

SWORN ENEMIES

Hamas and other groups in Gaza are sworn enemies of the Jewish state which they refuse to recognise and seek to eradicate, claiming all Israeli territory as rightfully theirs.

Hamas won legislative elections in the Palestinian Territories in 2006 but a year later, after the collapse of a unity government under President Mahmoud Abbas the Islamist group seized control of Gaza in a brief and bloody civil war with forces loyal to Abbas.

Abbas then dismissed the Hamas government led by the group's leader Ismail Haniyeh but he refuses to recognise Abbas' authority and runs Gazan affairs.

While it is denounced as a terrorist organisation in the West, Hamas enjoys widespread support in the Arab world, where Islamist parties are on the rise.

U.S.-backed Abbas and Fatah hold sway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank from their seat of government in the town of Ramallah. The Palestinians seek to establish an independent state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Obama, greeted by enthusiastic crowds in the former capital, Yangon, met President Thein Sein, a former junta member who has spearheaded reforms since taking office in March 2011, and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"I shared with President Thein Sein our belief that the process of reform that he is taking is one that will move this country forward," Obama told reporters, with Thein Sein at his side.

"I recognise that this is just the first steps on what will be a long journey, but we think that a process of democratic reform and economic reform here in Myanmar ... can lead to incredible development opportunities here," Obama said, using the country name preferred by the government and former junta, rather than Burma, which is used in the United States.

Thein Sein, speaking in Burmese with an interpreter translating his remarks, responded that the two sides would move forward, "based on mutual trust, respect and understanding".

"We also reached agreement for the development of democracy in Myanmar and for promotion of human rights to be aligned with international standards," he added.

Obama's Southeast Asian trip, less than two weeks after his re-election, was aimed at showing how serious he is about shifting the U.S. strategic focus eastwards as America winds down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The so-called "Asia pivot" is also meant to counter China's rising influence.

The trip to Myanmar highlighted what the White House has touted as a major foreign policy achievement -- its success in pushing the country's generals to enact changes that have unfolded with surprising speed over the past year.

Tens of thousands of well-wishers, including children waving American and Burmese flags, lined Obama's route from the airport after his arrival, cheering him as he went by.

"ICON OF DEMOCRACY"

Obama met fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi, who led the struggle against military rule and is now a lawmaker, at the lakeside home where she spent years under house arrest.

Addressing reporters afterwards, Suu Kyi thanked Obama for supporting the political reform process. But, speaking so softly she was barely audible at times, she cautioned that the most difficult time was "when we think that success is in sight".

"Then we have to be very careful that we are not lured by a mirage of success and that we are working towards genuine success for our people," she said.

Obama recalled Suu Kyi's years of captivity and said she was "an icon of democracy who has inspired people not just in this country but around the world".

"Today marks the next step in a new chapter between the United States and Burma," he said, using the country name that she prefers. Before he left, the two embraced and he kissed her on the cheek.

Earlier, Obama made an unscheduled stop at the landmark Shwedagon Pagoda, where he, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and their entire entourage, secret service agents included, went barefoot up the giant stone staircase.

STOP THE VIOLENCE

The United States has softened sanctions and removed a ban on most imports from Myanmar in response to reforms already undertaken, but it has set conditions for the full normalisation of relations, including efforts to end ethnic conflict.

In recent months, sectarian violence between majority Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslim minority in the western state of Rakhine has killed at least 167 people.

Many in Myanmar consider the Rohingya Muslims to be illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and the government does not recognise them as citizens. A Reuters investigation into the wave of sectarian assaults painted a picture of organised attacks against the Muslim community.

"For too long, the people of this state, including ethnic Rakhine, have faced crushing poverty and persecution. But there's no excuse for violence against innocent people," Obama told a packed audience for a speech at Yangon University.

"The Rohingya ... hold within themselves the same dignity as you do, and I do. National reconciliation will take time, but for the sake of our common humanity, and for the sake of this country's future, it's necessary to stop incitement and to stop violence."

Thein Sein, in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week, promised to tackle the root causes of the problem, and Obama said he welcomed "the government's commitment to address the issues of injustice, and accountability, and humanitarian access and citizenship".

PRISONERS RELEASED

Some human rights groups objected to the Myanmar visit, saying Obama was rewarding the government of the former pariah state for a job that was incomplete. Speaking in Thailand on the eve of his visit, Obama denied he was going to offer his "endorsement" or that his trip was premature.

Aides said Obama was determined to lock in the democratic changes under way in Myanmar, but would press for further action, including the freeing of all political prisoners.

Obama announced the resumption of U.S. aid programmes in Myanmar during his visit. An administration official said the USAID programme would include assistance of $170 million in total for fiscal 2012 and 2013, but this would be dependent on further reforms.

In a move clearly timed to show goodwill, the authorities began to release dozens more political detainees on Monday, including Myint Aye, arguably the most prominent dissident left in its gulag.

Despite human rights concerns, the White House sees Myanmar as a legacy-building success story of Obama's policy of seeking engagement with U.S. enemies. In his Yangon speech, he appealed to North Korea to take a similar path.

"To the leadership of North Korea, I've offered a choice: let go of your nuclear weapons, and choose the path of peace and progress. If you do, you'll find an extended hand from the United States of America," he said.

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The White House and Congress continue to work on a deal that avoids the fiscal cliff and cuts deficits in the long run. President Obama wants to raise tax rates for the wealthy. Republicans want to raise revenue by closing loopholes and limiting deductions for high-income people. But could that raise enough money?


The White House and Congress continue to work on a deal that avoids the fiscal cliff and cuts deficits in the long run. One of the biggest hurdles is President Obama's proposal to raise tax rates for the wealthy.

Republicans think a better course would be to raise revenue by closing loopholes and limiting deductions for high-income people. The question is, could that method raise enough money.

The argument over how to get additional revenue to close the budget gap was carried on in dueling post-election news conferences last week.

"There are a lot of special-interest loopholes in the tax code, both corporate and personal," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "There are all kinds of deductions, some of which make sense, others don't."

Boehner said limiting or ending those unproductive tax breaks could boost growth and raise revenue.

But Obama expressed skepticism during his news conference Wednesday. He said the Republican approach wouldn't raise enough money.

"It's very difficult to see how you make up that trillion dollars — if we're serious about deficit reduction — just by closing loopholes and deductions," the president said. "You know, the math tends not to work."

And the total that needs to be made up isn't just $1 trillion. That's because the president's proposal already calls for reducing mortgage interest and charitable deductions for the wealthy. Those steps are worth another $600 billion. So the total pile of revenue the Republican plan would have to produce to match the president's proposal is about $1.6 trillion.

That's a tall order. One approach that was suggested by Mitt Romney during the campaign, and endorsed by the Wall Street Journal's editorial page last week, is to cap tax deductions at a specific dollar level. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has analyzed the idea. Its co-director, Donald Marron, says capping deductions for all taxpayers at $17,000 could produce $1.7 trillion in revenue over 10 years. That would meet the president's dollar goal. But there's one problem, Marron says.

"That would get to the president's revenue target, but obviously it would violate his desire not to raise taxes on people below the top 2 percent," he says.

Of course, Marron says, Republicans don't agree with the president that $1.6 trillion in added tax revenue over the next 10 years is the right goal.

"There's also been discussion of aiming for $1 trillion rather than $1.6 trillion, and obviously $1 trillion would be easier to get to by doing things purely through deductions and exclusions and other tax breaks," Marron says.

If you push that cap on deductions higher, let's say, up to $25,000, you could meet that $1 trillion revenue target. But you still don't eliminate the political problem, because around a quarter of the added tax burden would still fall on the middle-class taxpayers the president has pledged to protect.

Marron does believe that eliminating many of the deductions and loopholes in the tax code is a good idea and could make the economy more efficient. But he says it needs to be done thoughtfully and deliberately.

"You know, if we had a rational, careful process, we would go through all of them one by one and decide whether to keep them, to fix them or to get rid of them," Marron says.

He says dealing with the mortgage deduction provides a good example of the care that needs to be taken.

"There are many good arguments for why the mortgage interest deduction is bad policy and ought to be changed or eliminated. But you wouldn't want to do that tomorrow. That would be unfair to the people who've just bought a home on the expectation that they would have it. The housing market is weak."

And ending the deduction could send the housing market back into the tank. Marron says it's the same with many of the other deductions that don't make sense. If they're going to be eliminated, Congress needs to figure out a way to phase them out slowly to give people time to adjust.

   
             
   
       
            
   
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President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are escorted around the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon on Nov. 19, 2012
                          
       
                                    
   
                
           
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It might seem strange that newly re-elected President Barack Obama has chosen this moment to jet off to Asia. After all, he's left a mess of problems back home. The White House is in the midst of tense negotiations with Republican Congressmen over a budget compromise to avoid the looming "fiscal cliff." The nation is still smarting from a long and divisive election. And even in the realm of foreign policy, Asia doesn't seem to be the priority right now, with a conflict escalating between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Obama isn't even visiting Japan or South Korea, historically America's most important allies in Asia, or landing in China to deal with Washington's many economic issues with the world's second largest economy. Instead, he's attending a summit in Cambodia of the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and others from the region, and making the first visit by a U.S. President to Burma (also known as Myanmar). Over the weekend, he toured a Buddhist temple in Bangkok and chatted with Thailand's King. Has Obama gotten his priorities all screwed up?
(PHOTOS: Obama's 2010 Asia Trip)
The answer is no. What might seem like a tropical vacation is in fact a major foreign policy initiative. Not only is Southeast Asia one of the most important regions for world economic growth, but it is also a key front in America's geopolitical struggle with China for influence in Asia. The 10-member ASEAN  includes important U.S. allies, such as Singapore and Indonesia, the world's most populous majority-Muslim country. If Obama is serious about his "pivot" to Asia in Washington's foreign policy, then this is a crucial overseas jaunt for America's global political, economic and security interests. Here's how U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon explained Obama's motivation in a speech ahead of his Asia trip:
His decision to travel to Asia so soon after his re-election speaks to the importance that he places on the region and its centrality to so many of our national-security interests and priorities … We're not only rebalancing toward Asia, we're also rebalancing our efforts within Asia. We had been heavily invested — as everyone in this world knows — in Northeast Asia for lots of historical and other reasons, but we have really focused here in a renewed way on Southeast Asia and ASEAN… ASEAN plays an essential role in crafting regional responses to shared challenges and building an effective rules-based order. The United States strongly supports these efforts because we believe an integrated, effective ASEAN is inherently in our interest and in the region's interest … You are either all in or you're not, with respect to this strategy. And the President … is all in.
(MORE: India vs. China: Which Has a Bigger Reform Challenge?)
O.K., that's a big statement — but it is not an overstatement. In all of the attention lavished on the rapidly expanding economies of China and India, Southeast Asia, with its collection of smaller economies, often gets overlooked. But it shouldn't. The region is a potentially vital source of new customers for American companies, with some 600 million increasingly wealthy people. A recent report by Rajiv Biswas, chief Asia economist at IHS Global Insight, pointed out that the combined GDP of ASEAN, at $2.3 trillion, is bigger than India's. The research outfit expects the size of the ASEAN economy to surge to $10 trillion by 2030, making it bigger than Japan. Here's more from Biswas:
ASEAN has become the third growth engine within emerging Asia, playing an increasingly important role in regional trade and investment growth. This is particularly important at a time when the medium-term growth outlook for two of the G-3 economies, the E.U. and Japan, is for protracted weakness due to high government debt levels and fiscal consolidation.
Indonesia is already one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and a significant consumer market, while some economists believe Asia's next roaring tiger could be a liberalizing Burma. Obama's tour is already bearing economic fruit. Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra agreed to join talks to form a giant, U.S.-backed free-trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Southeast Asia, therefore, could be a significant economic counterweight to China.
And a political one as well. By touring the region, Obama is making it clear to China that the U.S. is still firmly a Pacific power, and that many countries in the region want it to stay that way. Even though China is becoming more and more important to Southeast Asia's economic growth — ASEAN and China have forged a significant free-trade agreement — its member countries are also becoming increasingly wary of encroaching Chinese political influence. Fear of Chinese dominance was likely one important reason why Burma launched the political reform necessary to repair its relations with the U.S. and Europe. China's aggressive pursuit of its controversial claims in the South China Sea is also pushing countries closer to Washington. Even onetime foe Vietnam has engaged in joint naval exercises with the U.S. — a clear signal of Hanoi's concerns about its expansive northern neighbor. Simply, ASEAN could prove a vital ally in American attempts to contain China.
With so much on the line, Obama had little choice but to set aside politics back in Washington for a few days to focus on such critical foreign policy issues. The question to ask isn't why Obama traveled to Asia, but how he could possibly have avoided it.
MORE: Foreign Policy: Big Promises, Harsh Realities


Read more: http://business.time.com/2012/11/19/forget-the-fiscal-cliff-why-obama-is-in-asia/#ixzz2CgAJ6zGc
        
                                   
                   

Series: Eurozone crisis live

                           
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Eurozone crisis live: Germany rules out breakthrough Greek deal tomorrow

                            
Live Berlin: final decision can't come on Tuesday
Greek municipal workers take over buildings
Jörg Asmussen of the ECB predicts another package beyond 2014
Christine Lagarde urges Europe to be realistic
                     
                     
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                Joerg Asmussen. Photograph: Mario Vedder/AP    
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Germany's deputy finance minister has also suggested that finance ministers may not reach an agreement on Greece tomorrow.
Speaking a few minutes ago,, Steffen Kampeter said:
If there is no decision tomorrow evening (on Greece), then it will come later. If it is possible we will make a decision this week.
2.35pm GMT
Updated at 2.35pm GMT

Germany: No chance of final decision on Greece tomorrow

Hopes of a major breakthrough over Greece at tomorrow's Eurogroup meeting are fading (if they were ever there..)
Germany's finance ministry has warned that it does not expect a final decision on Greece's aid programme at Tuesday's gathering in Brussels. It also reiterated its firm opposition to the idea of taking any losses on its Greek bonds – despite pressure from the IMF for a decisive breakthrough (see 8.56am)
Finance ministry spokeswoman Marianne Kothe told reporters in Berlin:
A final decision cannot happen tomorrow for purely technical and procedural reasons. For that, the Bundestag has to be involved....
We are working intensively to find a common line.
The Dutch finance ministry has also dampened the mood, saying it doesn't expect a definitive agreement.
And City analysts also predict little progress tomorrow towards the weighty task of agreeing how to finance Greece for another two years and make its debt levels sustainable to all parties.
Elisabeth Afseth of Investec predicted:
My guess is there will be further supportive statements but that they are not quite there – after last week's Greek bill auction they have another 3 weeks or so before the next big redemption…
1.59pm GMT
Here's a photo showing how Athens university has also been taken over as part of today's protests against job cuts (see also 1.30pm). Theodora Oikonomides @IrateGreek
#Greece Admin staff occupy the central old building of Athens Uni against furlough plans via @MakisSinodinos #rbnews pic.twitter.com/ZboQhkR2
19 Nov 12
1.51pm GMT

Greek municipal workers holding mass occupations

In Greece, local government workers have launched a mass takeover of government buildings today, in protest at a wave of dismissals dictated by the debt-stricken country's troika of creditors
From Athens, Helena Smith reports:
Enraged by the demand that local authorities produce lists of employees eligible for the axe, municipal workers have occupied at least 200 buildings across the country with sit-ins at town halls, rubbish dumpster venues and even kinder-gardens bringing city services to a grinding halt.
Unravelling a giant banner emblazoned with the word "occupation" across the façade of Athens' town hall building this morning, employees vowed to step up protests against international demands that some 2,000 government workers be named with a view to dismissal by the end of the year. Mayors had been given until today to produce the list but with rare exception almost none have honoured the deadline.
                A protester outside the city hall in Athens today. The banner reads, "No to the impoverishment of workers, troika get out of Greece." Photograph: JOHN KOLESIDIS/REUTERS    
"There is no biggest injustice than showing the door to a worker,." said Yiannis Sgouros, regional governor of the greater Athens area, Attica, highlighting the intensity of the opposition. With the take-overs spreading at an alarming rate, the stand-off is set to become a major challenge for prime minister Antonis Samaras' fragile conservative-dominated coalition.
Streamlining the bloated public sector is a central tenet of the latest bailout accord Greece has signed with lenders and if local authorities continue to refuse to submit to the redundancy demands, the administrative reform ministry has said it will resort to using a 2010 census of civil servants to make the firings.
                The musical band of the municipality of Athens plays during a protest of municipal workers in central Athens today. Photograph: PANTELIS SAITAS/EPA    
Meanwhile in Greece's northern capital, Thessaloniki, Helena adds that municipal workers have also amassed outside the local courthouse to denounce the trial of three municipal employees accused of assaulting the German consul last week.
Protestors are demanding that the three workers, who participated in demonstrators that saw coffee, water and even eggs being hurled at the diplomat, be found innocent by judges overseeing the hearing which began at noon local time.
And via Twitter, here's a photo from the scene:
1.30pm GMT

Ed Miliband makes case for Europe

                Ed Miliband at the CBI, November 19 2012. Photograph: Sky News    
Back over at the CBI conference, Labour leader Ed Miliband has criticised calls for Britain to leave the European Union, and vowed to stop the UK 'sleepwalking' towards an exit.
Miliband is telling an audience of business leaders that here is an "economic, political and strategic case" for staying in the EU - citing the single market and Britain's strong trade links.
He also reminded the CBI of the conflict and turmoil from which the EU was born: Joe Lynam BBC Biz @BBC_Joe_Lynam
Ed Miliband: my parents fled persecution of Nazis. They understood why EU won Nobel Peace prize.
19 Nov 12
Not everyone's convinced, though, by the argument that Britain needs Europe to help fight her corner: jeremy warner @jeremywarnerUK
Miliband insists some issues are too complicated for a nation state to deal with on its own. What is the evidence for this?
19 Nov 12
My colleague Andrew Sparrow continues to cover all the details of the CBI bash in Politics Live.
1.04pm GMT
Updated at 1.06pm GMT

Bundesbank sounds the alarm

Germany's central bank has warned that economic growth in Europe's largest economy is weakening, due to the eurozone crisis and problems across the world economy.
In a new monthly report, the Bundesbank said that German firms are more worried about Germany's future prospects. It points to the slowdown in China, Japan's now-shrinking economy, and fears over the US fiscal cliff.
The full report is online here (pdf, in German), and Reuters provides a translation of the key points:
The economy currently presents a mixed picture, which is likely to cool further towards year-end...
By now it has become unmistakable that the disturbing external factors are affecting the willingness to invest and job planning so strongly that the whole economy could be affected.
Last week's economic data showed that German GDP rose by 0.2% in the third quarter of 2012 – the question is whether it shrinks in the last three months...
11.59am GMT
Updated at 12.16pm GMT
More on the looming EU budget row -- our political editor Patrick Wintour reports that David Cameron was lobbying other EU leaders over the weekend: Patrick Wintour @patrickwintour
DC hit phones at w/e on eu budget spoke to counterparts in poland sweden denmark france germany and holland.
19 Nov 12
Meanwhile, the German finance ministry has been briefing that a decision on the budget could be delayed - perhaps until next year...
11.33am GMT

UK PM warns of economic war

                Photograph: John Stillwell/PA    
Prime minister David Cameron has warned that Britain is now in "the economic equivalent of war today", in a speech to the CBI conference.
My colleague Andrew Sparrow has been live-blogging the event on our Politics Live blog - where you can follow the speech highlights live.
Cameron was also quizzed over the UK's approach to Europe ahead of a summit on the EU budget which begins on Thursday. Amusingly, the first question came from a gentleman from the German Embassy: Laura Kuenssberg @ITVLauraK
PM put on spot by someone from German embassy - he says 'we should be more positive' about success of single market
19 Nov 12
Cameron insisted that his opposition to a real-terms increase in the EU budget did not make him a 'bad European', saying it wasn't realistic to spend more on Europe while cutting at home.
The row over the EU budget is picking up pace, though – the FT reckons that Brussels officials are now considering if they could devise a budget deal without Britain.
And overshadowing everything is the question of an in-out referendum in the UK. The CBI's Roger Carr discussed this issue in his own speech this morning, insisting that Britain would be wrong to quit the EU, as
the cold business logic of partnership for self-interest must prevail.
11.23am GMT
Updated at 12.06pm GMT

WSJ: Greek Crisis Reverses a Generation of Progress

The Wall Street Journal has a very good feature today about how Greece's economy is now in reverse, with many professional people returning to the rural life which their families left a few decades ago.
For Greeks, Crisis Reverses a Generation of Progress (£)
It explains how Greece's long, relentless economic decline is far more than a simple recession, with the country's middle class now in a desperate, unexpected, battle to survive.
One person interviewed, a former Athens graphic designer, is now living back with his mother in the country raising chickens, harvesting olives and sleeping in the bed he was born in.
Another couple have seen their lifestyle completely unravel in under two years:
For Dimitris Stathis and Aggeliki Katsimardou, the speed of descent has been stunning. Ms. Katsimardou was laid off from her job as an insurance underwriter in early 2010. Around Easter time of this year, her husband lost his merchandising job with an international oil company, and the company car that came with it.
Now Mr. Stathis pumps gas at a filling station. He earns €800 a month, about half his previous pay. Yet they owe the bank €900 a month for their mortgage.
"We can't afford meat," Ms. Katsimardou said. "Even milk is difficult. Or yogurt. And this is Greece, for God's sake."
10.58am GMT
Updated at 12.05pm GMT

Austria: no new haircut for Greece

Austria's finance minister, Maria Fekter, is taking her traditional hard line in Greece ahead of tomorrow's eurogroup meeting -- saying that Athens' debt pile cannot be cut again.
Fab Goria of Linkiesta has the details: Fabrizio Goria @FGoria
Austrian finance minister Fekter says Greece cannot expect additional aid or debt haircut for public finances
19 Nov 12
UPDATE: Here's the full quote, delivered in Vienna:
We have made it very clear that Greece cannot expect any extra money from us, nor any public debt haircut
10.44am GMT
Updated at 12.39pm GMT

European shares rally

European stock markets have posted decent gains in morning trading – apparently driven by optimism of a deal over the US fiscal cliff rather than progress on the eurocrisis.
FTSE 100: up 55 points at 5661, +1%
German DAX: up 88 points at 7038, + 1.27%
French CAC: up 41 points at 3382, +1.24%
Spain's IBEX: up 48 points at 7636, +0.6%
Italy's FTSE MIB: up 176 points at 15032. +1.2%
That's a much cheerier picture than the one that greeted Chinese investors at one point today, where the Shanghai Composite Index briefly dropped below the 2,000 point mark for the first time since 2009.
10.16am GMT

Photos: protests in Madrid yesterday

Anti-austerity protests continued over the weekend, with tens of thousands of Spanish doctors, nurses and hospital staff marching through Madrid on Sunday.
The demonstration was an attack on budget cuts and privatisations, with protesters chanting slogans including: "Health is a right. We are going to fight."
Medical staff told AFP that recent spending cuts had hit the quality of medical care, with patients also being asked to pay more towards their own prescriptions.
Here are some photos from the scene:
                Protesters shout slogans as they hold a banner reading, 'Our public health service is not for sale, it's to be defended!' Photograph: Andres Kudacki/AP                      Protesters wear nurses' caps emblazoned with 'RIP [rest in peace]' as they shout slogans. Photograph: Andres Kudacki/AP    
Further protests are due soon. Organisers of the rally said Madrid's regional health workers will hold four days of strikes - on 26 and 27 November and 4 and 5 December.
9.39am GMT
Updated at 12.02pm GMT

Grim Italian industrial orders

Bad economic news from Italy just hit the wires – industrial orders tumbled by 4.0% in September compared with the previous month, and were a startling 12.8% lower than a year ago.
That suggests Europe's third-largest economy is continuing to suffer from the eurocrisis and the general weakness of the world economy.
Data from ISTAT showed that a slump in overseas orders was to blame – they fell by 7.4% month-on-month.
9.26am GMT

Spanish bad bank debts hit new high

The toxic debts within Spain's financial sector continue to grow.
Data just released by the Bank of Spain shows that 10.7% of loans were in arrears in September, up from August's 10.5% to a new record high.
That means there are now €182bn of non-performing loans across Spain's troubled banking sector.
9.19am GMT

Greece's Samaras pushing on with reforms

National parliaments will probably have to give their agreement to any deal agreed by the IMF and the Eurogroup tomorrow over Greece.
That means that Athens probably won't get a final decision on its aid package until the end of November.
In the meantime, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reports that the Greek government is cracking on with implementing its side of the bailout programme:
[Antonis] Samaras wants his ministers to proceed with the "prior actions" demanded by the troika, including an overhaul of the tax system, the creation of a committee to oversee the budget execution and the acceleration of privatizations.
The Athens rumour mill continues to predict a government reshuffle soon:
Samaras is said to be keen to draw in new ministers from his junior partners, PASOK and Democratic Left, in order to bolster a sense of coalition unity and ward off the specter of snap elections next spring.
9.13am GMT
Updated at 11.59am GMT

Lagarde: let's be realistic about Greece

                Christine Lagarde. Photograph: CHERYL RAVELO/Reuters    
Christine Lagarde issued a blunt warning to EU leaders not to indulge in fantasies over Greece, as she headed back from Asia over the weekend to attend tomorrow's Eurogroup meeting.
The head of the International Monetary Fund insisted that the eurozone must agree a permanent deal on what to do about its weakest member.
Lagarde told Reuters that:
I am always trying to be constructive but I am driven by two objectives...to build and approve a program for Greece that is solid, that is convincing today, that will be sustainable tomorrow, that is rooted in reality and not in wishful thinking.
That suggests the IMF is sticking to its guns that austerity has caused greater damage to long-term growth than the EU's own calculations (the crux of the argument over Greece).
Lagarde added that:
The second objective is to maintain the integrity, credibility and quality of advice that we are giving, not for the Fund itself, which obviously is a concern of mine, but to lend that to the Europeans because that is what they are interested in.
In other words, the IMF isn't prepared to be involved with a Greek aid package that is simply unconvincing.
That suggests she may not be impressed by Jörg Asmussen's suggestion of a 'holding deal' that would mean a third programme for Greece in future (see 8.37am)
8.56am GMT
Updated at 11.58am GMT

Eurogroup meeting on Greece looms over the eurozone

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the eurozone financial crisis, and other key events in the world economy.
Tension is building today ahead of another crucial meeting on Greece.
On Tuesday, eurozone finance ministers and IMF officials will meet for another attempt at agreeing a deal on Greece's aid programme. To succeed, the EU and the IMF must bridge their differences over how to bring Greece's debts back to a manageable level – a task they flunked last week.
Ahead of the talks, Jörg Asmussen – Germany's man on the European Central Bank's governing council – has weighed in by declaring that a new deal will be needed for Greece after 2014.
In what looks like an attempt to hoof the Greek debt can further down the road, Asmussen said that the eurozone should agree the details of two years of funding for Greece at tomorrow's meeting and leave further help to be decided later.
Asmussen told German broadcaster ZDF that:
We should next week settle the financing for the years 2013 and 2014, but you have to be honest and say we do not really expect the country to have access to markets in 2015 and 2016; that means a follow-up programme would be necessary.
That would delay the issue of Greece's long-term debt sustainability until after next autumn's German general election – but is not compatible with the International Monetary Fund's view (last week, Christine Lagarde demanded "a 'real fix not a quick fix").
But without any fix, Greece won't get its next aid tranche - which could now be worth €44bn.
Klaus Regling, who runs Europe's main bailout fund, has also weighed in today. He told German newspaper Handelsblatt that it was almost inconceivable for European governments to take losses on their Greek bonds.
Regling said:
A public sector debt writedown is something very rare that can only be done in extreme circumstances.
adding that official creditors had already done their bit by offering Greece fresh credit on generous terms.
One might wonder what circumstances Regling would view as 'extreme' - given Greece's national debt could hit 190% of GDP next year. But his comments show that European officials are still unwilling to confront the idea that the ECB and national governments must take losses on their Greek bonds.
So... we'll be monitoring all the developments and jockeying for position ahead of tomorrow's eurogroup meeting in Brussels, along with other key events across the global economy.
8.37am GMT
Updated at 11.56am GMT

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/nov/19/eurozone-crisis-greece-aid-programme-imf

Foreign relations of India

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India has formal diplomatic relations with most nations; it is the world's second most populous country, the world's most-populous democracy and one of the fastest growing major economies.[1] With the world's seventh largest military expenditure,[2] ninth largest economy by nominal rates and third largest by purchasing power parity, India is a regional power,[3] a nascent great power and a potential superpower. India's growing international influence gives it a prominent voice in global affairs.

India is a newly industrialized country, it has a long history of collaboration with several countries and is considered a leader of the developing world.[4][5] India was one of the founding members of several international organizations, most notably the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, G20 industrial nations and the founder of the Non-aligned movement. India has also played an important and influential role in other international organizations like East Asia Summit,[6] World Trade Organization,[7] International Monetary Fund (IMF),[8] G8+5[9] and IBSA Dialogue Forum.[10] Regionally, India is a part of SAARC and BIMSTEC. India has taken part in several UN peacekeeping missions and in 2007, it was the second-largest troop contributor to the United Nations.[11] India is currently seeking a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, along with the G4 nations.[12]

Contents

History

Even before independence, the Government of British India maintained semi-autonomous diplomatic relations. It had colonies (such as the Aden Settlement), sent and received full diplomatic missions,[13] and was a founder member of both the League of Nations[14] and the United Nations.[15] After India gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, it soon joined the Commonwealth of Nations and strongly supported independence movements in other colonies, like the Indonesian National Revolution.[16] The partition and various territorial disputes, particularly that over Kashmir, would strain its relations with Pakistan for years to come. During the Cold War, India adopted a foreign policy of not aligning itself with any major power bloc. However, India developed close ties with the Soviet Union and received extensive military support from it.

The end of the Cold War significantly affected India's foreign policy, as it did for much of the world. The country now seeks to strengthen its diplomatic and economic ties with the United States,[17] the People's Republic of China,[18] the European Union,[19] Japan,[20] Israel,[21] Mexico,[22] and Brazil.[23] India has also forged close ties with the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,[24] the African Union,[25] the Arab League[26] and Iran.[27]

Though India continues to have a military relationship with Russia,[28] Israel has emerged as India's second largest military partner[25] while India has built a strong strategic partnership with the United States.[17][29] The Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement, signed and implemented in 2008, highlighted the growing sophistication of the Indo-American relations.[30]

Policy

States that host an Indian diplomatic mission
  India
  Nations that host an Indian diplomatic mission

India's foreign policy has always regarded the concept of neighbourhood as one of widening concentric circles, around a central axis of historical and cultural commonalities.[31]

As many as 21 million people of Indian origin live and work abroad and constitute an important link with the mother country. An important role of India's foreign policy has been to ensure their welfare and well being within the framework of the laws of the country where they live.[32]

Role of the Prime Minister

Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, promoted a strong personal role for the Prime Minister but a weak institutional structure. Nehru served concurrently as Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs; he made all major foreign policy decisions himself after consulting with his advisers and then entrusted the conduct of international affairs to senior members of the Indian Foreign Service. He was the main founding fathers of the Panchsheel or the five principles of peaceful co-existence.

His successors continued to exercise considerable control over India's international dealings, although they generally appointed separate ministers of external affairs.[33][34][35]

India's second prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri (1964–66), expanded the Prime Minister Office (sometimes called the Prime Minister's Secretariat) and enlarged its powers. By the 1970s, the Office of the Prime Minister had become the de facto coordinator and supraministry of the Indian government. The enhanced role of the office strengthened the prime minister's control over foreign policy making at the expense of the Ministry of External Affairs. Advisers in the office provided channels of information and policy recommendations in addition to those offered by the Ministry of External Affairs. A subordinate part of the office—the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)—functioned in ways that significantly expanded the information available to the prime minister and his advisers. The RAW gathered intelligence, provided intelligence analysis to the Office of the Prime Minister, and conducted covert operations abroad.

The prime minister's control and reliance on personal advisers in the Office of the Prime Minister was particularly strong under the tenures of Indira Gandhi (1966–77 and 1980–84) and her son, Rajiv (1984–89), who succeeded her, and weaker during the periods of coalition governments. Observers find it difficult to determine whether the locus of decision-making authority on any particular issue lies with the Ministry of External Affairs, the Council of Ministers, the Office of the Prime Minister, or the prime minister himself.[36]

The Prime Minister is however free to appoint advisers and special committees to examine various foreign policy options and areas of interest.[37] In a recent instance, Manmohan Singh appointed K. Subrahmanyam in 2005 to head a special government task force to study 'Global Strategic Developments' over the next decade.[38] The Task Force submitted its conclusions to the Prime Minister in 2006.[39][40] The report has not yet been released in the public domain.

Ministry of External Affairs

The Ministry of External Affairs is the Indian government's agency responsible for the foreign relations of India. The Minister of External Affairs holds cabinet rank as a member of the Council of Ministers.

Salman Khurshid is current Minister of External Affairs. The Ministry has two Ministers of State Preneet Kaur and E. Ahamed. The Indian Foreign Secretary is the head of Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and therefore, serves as the head of all Indian ambassadors and high commissioners.[41] Ranjan Mathai is the current Foreign Secretary of India.

Overview

India and foreign relations.png

India's relations with the world have evolved since the British Raj (1857–1947), when the British Empire monopolized external and defense relations. When India gained independence in 1947, few Indians had experience in making or conducting foreign policy. However, the country's oldest political party, the Indian National Congress, had established a small foreign department in 1925 to make overseas contacts and to publicize its freedom struggle. From the late 1920s on, Jawaharlal Nehru, who had a long-standing interest in world affairs among independence leaders, formulated the Congress stance on international issues. As a member of the interim government in 1946, Nehru articulated India's approach to the world.[42]

India's international influence varied over the years after independence. Indian prestige and moral authority were high in the 1950s and facilitated the acquisition of developmental assistance from both East and West. Although the prestige stemmed from India's nonaligned stance, the nation was unable to prevent Cold War politics from becoming intertwined with interstate relations in South Asia.

In the 1960s and 1970s India's international position among developed and developing countries faded in the course of wars with China and Pakistan, disputes with other countries in South Asia, and India's attempt to balance Pakistan's support from the United States and China by signing the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in August 1971. Although India obtained substantial Soviet military and economic aid, which helped to strengthen the nation, India's influence was undercut regionally and internationally by the perception that its friendship with the Soviet Union prevented a more forthright condemnation of the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. In the late 1980s, India improved relations with the United States, other developed countries, and China while continuing close ties with the Soviet Union. Relations with its South Asian neighbors, especially Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, occupied much of the energies of the Ministry of External Affairs.[43]

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, India has forged a closer partnership with Western powers. Shown here are Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with US President Barack Obama in 2009.

In the 1990s, India's economic problems and the demise of the bipolar world political system forced India to reassess its foreign policy and adjust its foreign relations. Previous policies proved inadequate to cope with the serious domestic and international problems facing India. The end of the Cold War gutted the core meaning of nonalignment and left Indian foreign policy without significant direction. The hard, pragmatic considerations of the early 1990s were still viewed within the nonaligned framework of the past, but the disintegration of the Soviet Union removed much of India's international leverage, for which relations with Russia and the other post-Soviet states could not compensate. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, India improved its relations with the United States, Canada, France, Japan and Germany. In 1992, India established formal diplomatic relations with Israel and this relationship grew during the tenures of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government and the subsequent UPA (United Progressive Alliance) governments.[44]

In the mid-1990s, India attracted the world attention towards the Pakistan-backed terrorism in Kashmir. The Kargil War resulted in a major diplomatic victory for India. The United States and European Union recognized the fact that Pakistani military had illegally infiltrated into Indian territory and pressurized Pakistan to withdraw from Kargil. Several anti-India militant groups based in Pakistan were labeled as terrorist groups by the United States and European Union.

India has often represented the interests of developing countries at various international platforms. Shown here are Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Dmitry Medvedev, Hu Jintao and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during BRIC summit in June, 2009.

In 1998, India tested nuclear weapons for the second time (see Pokhran-II) which resulted in several U.S., Japanese and European sanctions on India. India's then defense minister, George Fernandes, said that India's nuclear program was necessary as it provided a deterrence to potential Chinese nuclear threat. Most of the sanctions imposed on India were removed by 2001.[45]

After the 11 September attacks in 2001, Indian intelligence agencies provided the U.S. with significant information on Al-Qaeda and related groups' activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. India's extensive contribution to the War on Terror, coupled with a surge in its economy, has helped India's diplomatic relations with several countries. Over the past three years, India has held numerous joint military exercises with U.S. and European nations that have resulted in a strengthened U.S.-India and E.U.-India bilateral relationship. India's bilateral trade with Europe and U.S. has more than doubled in the last five years.[46]

India has been pushing for reforms in the UN and WTO with mixed results. India's candidature for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council is currently backed by several countries including France, Russia,[47] the United Kingdom,[48] Germany, Japan, Brazil,[49] Australia[50] and UAE.[51] In 2004, the United States signed a nuclear co-operation agreement with India even though the latter is not a part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The US argued that India's strong nuclear non-proliferation record made it an exception, however this has not persuaded other Nuclear Suppliers Group members to sign similar deals with India. During a state visit to India in November 2010, US president Barack Obama announced US support for India's bid for permanent membership to UN Security Council[52] as well as India's entry to Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group and Missile Technology Control Regime.[53][54]

Strategic partners

India's growing economy, strategic location, friendly foreign policy and large and vibrant diaspora has won it more allies than enemies.[55] India has friendly relations with several countries in the developing world. Though India is not a part of any major military alliance, it has close strategic and military relationship with most of the major powers.

Countries considered India's closest include the Russian Federation,[56] Israel,[57] Afghanistan,[58] France,[59] Bhutan[60] and Bangladesh.[61] Russia is the largest supplier of military equipment to India, followed by Israel and France.[62] According to some analysts, Israel is set to overtake Russia as India's largest military and strategic partner.[63] The two countries also collaborate extensively in the sphere of counter-terrorism and space technology.[64] India also enjoys strong military relations with several other countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States,[65] Japan,[66] Singapore, Brazil, South Africa and Italy.[67] In addition, India operates an airbase in Tajikistan[68] and signed a landmark defense accord with Qatar in 2008.[69]

India has also forged relationships with developing countries, especially South Africa, Brazil,[70] and Mexico.[71] These countries often represent the interests of the developing countries through economic forums such as the G8+5, IBSA and WTO. India was seen as one of the standard bearers of the developing world and claimed to speak for a collection of more than 30 other developing nations at the Doha Development Round.[72][73] India's "Look East" Policy has helped it develop greater economic and strategic partnership with Southeast Asian countries, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. India also enjoys friendly relations with the Persian Gulf countries and most members of the African Union.

Bilateral and regional relations

Neighbours

Afghanistan

AfghanistanIndia

Bilateral relations between India and Afghanistan have been traditionally strong and friendly. While India was the only South Asian country to recognize the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s, its relations were diminished during the Afghan civil wars and the rule of the Islamist Taliban in the 1990s.[74] India aided the overthrow of the Taliban and became the largest regional provider of humanitarian and reconstruction aid.[58][75]

The new democratically elected Afghan government strengthened its ties with India in wake of persisting tensions and problems with Pakistan, which was suspected of continuing to shelter and support the Taliban.[58][75] India pursues a policy of close cooperation to bolster its standing as a regional power and contain its rival Pakistan, which it maintains is supporting Islamic militants in Kashmir and other parts of India.[58] India is the largest regional investor in Afghanistan, having committed more than US$2.2 billion for reconstruction purposes.[76]

Bangladesh

BangladeshIndia

Both states are part of the Indian subcontinent and have had a long common cultural, economic and political history. India played a crucial part in Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan. In recent years India provides co-operation and assistance during annual natural calamities. India is 8th largest exporter to Bangladesh. Most of differences are of sharing water resources between the two countries, such as the Ganges, where Bangladesh accuses India of diverting Ganges water to Calcutta through Farakka Barrage.

Bhutan

BhutanIndia

Historically,there have been close ties with India. Both countries signed a Friendship treaty in 1949, where India would assist Bhutan in foreign relations. On 8 February 2007, the Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty was substantially revised under the Bhutanese King, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Whereas in the Treaty of 1949 Article 2 read as "The Government of India undertakes to exercise no interference in the internal administration of Bhutan. On its part the Government of Bhutan agrees to be guided by the advice of the Government of India in regard to its external relations."

In the revised treaty it now reads as, "In keeping with the abiding ties of close friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India, the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government of the Republic of India shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other." The revised treaty also includes in it the preamble "Reaffirming their respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity", an element that was absent in the earlier version. The Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty of 2007 strengthens Bhutan's status as an independent and sovereign nation.

Tata Power is building a hydro-electric dam. This dam will greatly develop the Bhutanese economy by providing employment, and by selling electricity to India and fulfilling India's burgeoning energy needs. Due to this dam Bhutan's economy grew 20%, the second highest growth rate in the world.

Burma

BurmaIndia

India was one of the leading supporters of Burmese independence and established diplomatic relations after Burma's independence from Great Britain in 1948. For many years, Indo-Burmese relations were strong due to cultural links, flourishing commerce, common interests in regional affairs and the presence of a significant Indian community in Burma.[77] India provided considerable support when Burma struggled with regional insurgencies. However, the overthrow of the democratic government by the Military of Burma led to strains in ties. Along with much of the world, India condemned the suppression of democracy and Burma ordered the expulsion of the Burmese Indian community, increasing its own isolation from the world.[77][78] Only China maintained close links with Burma while India supported the pro-democracy movement.[77][79][80]

However, due to geo-political concerns, India revived its relations and recognised the new name of Burma Myanmar in 1993 overcoming strains over drug trafficking, the suppression of democracy and the rule of the military junta in Burma. Burma is situated to the south of the states of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. and the proximity of the People's Republic of China gives strategic importance to Indo-Burmese relations. The Indo-Burmese border stretches over 1,600 miles and some insurgents in North-east India seek refuge in Burma. Consequently, India has been keen on increasing military cooperation with Burma in its counter-insurgency activities. In 2001, the Indian Army completed the construction of a major road along its border with Burma. India has also been building major roads, highways, ports and pipelines within Burma in an attempt to increase its strategic influence in the region and also to counter China's growing strides in the Indochina peninsula. Indian companies have also sought active participation in oil and natural gas exploration in Burma.In February 2007, India announced a plan to develop the Sittwe port, which would enable ocean access from Indian Northeastern states like Mizoram, via the Kaladan River.

India is a major customer of Burmese oil and gas. In 2007, Indian exports to Burma totaled US$185 million, while its imports from Burma were valued at around US$810 million, consisting mostly of oil and gas.[81] India has granted US$100 million credit to fund highway infrastructure projects in Burma, while US$ 57 million has been offered to upgrade Burmese railways. A further US$27 million in grants has been pledged for road and rail projects.[82] India is one of the few countries that has provided military assistance to the Burmese junta.[83] However, there has been increasing pressure on India to cut some of its military supplies to Burma.[84] Relations between the two remain close which was evident in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, when India was one of the few countries whose relief and rescue aid proposals were accepted by Burma's ruling junta.[85]

China

ChinaIndia

A Chinese container ship unloads cargo at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in India. Bilateral trade between the two countries is expected to surpass US$60 billion by 2010 making China the single largest trading partner of India.[86]

Despite lingering suspicions remaining from the 1962 Sino-Indian War and continuing boundary disputes over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, Sino-Indian relations have improved gradually since 1988. Both countries have sought to reduce tensions along the frontier, expand trade and cultural ties, and normalize relations.

A series of high-level visits between the two nations have helped improve relations. In December 1996, PRC President Jiang Zemin visited India during a tour of South Asia. While in New Delhi, he signed with the Indian Prime Minister a series of confidence-building measures for the disputed borders. Sino-Indian relations suffered a brief setback in May 1998 when the Indian Defence minister justified the country's nuclear tests by citing potential threats from the PRC. However, in June 1999, during the Kargil crisis, then-External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh visited Beijing and stated that India did not consider China a threat. By 2001, relations between India and the PRC were on the mend, and the two sides handled the move from Tibet to India of the 17th Karmapa in January 2000 with delicacy and tact. In 2003, India formally recognized Tibet as a part of China, and China recognized Sikkim as a formal part of India in 2004.

Since 2004, the economic rise of both China and India has also helped forge closer relations between the two. Sino-Indian trade reached US$36 billion in 2007, making China the single largest trading partner of India.[87] The increasing economic reliance between India and China has also bought the two nations closer politically, with both India and China eager to resolve their boundary dispute.[88] They have also collaborated on several issues ranging from WTO's Doha round in 2008[89] to regional free trade agreement.[90] Similar to Indo-US nuclear deal, India and China have also agreed to cooperate in the field of civilian nuclear energy.[91] However, China's economic interests have clashed with those of India. Both the countries are the largest Asian investors in Africa[92] and have competed for control over its large natural resources.[93] India and China agreed to take bilateral trade up to US$100 billion on a recent visit by Wen Jiabao to India.

Maldives

MaldivesIndia

India enjoys a considerable influence over Maldives' foreign policy and provides extensive security co-operation especially after the Operation Cactus in 1988 during which India repelled Tamil mercenaries who invaded the country. As founder member in 1985 of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, SAARC, which brings together Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the country plays a very active role in SAARC. The Maldives has taken the lead in calling for a South Asian Free Trade Agreement, the formulation of a Social Charter, the initiation of informal political consultations in SAARC forums, the lobbying for greater action on environmental issues, the proposal of numerous human rights measures such as the regional convention on child rights and for setting up a SAARC Human Rights Resource Centre. The Maldives is also an advocate of greater international profile for SAARC such as through formulating common positions at the UN.

India is starting the process to bring the island country into India's security grid. The move comes after the moderate Islamic nation approached New Delhi earlier this year over fears that one of its island resorts could be taken over by terrorists given its lack of military assets and surveillance capabilities.[94] India is also signing an agreement later this year[when?] which includes following things.

  • India will permanently base two helicopters in the country to enhance its surveillance capabilities and ability to respond swiftly to threats. One helicopter from the Coast Guard is likely to be handed over during Antony's visit while another from the Navy will be cleared for transfer shortly.
  • Maldives has coastal radars on only two of its 26 atolls. India will help set up radars on all 26 for seamless coverage of approaching vessels and aircraft.
  • The coastal radar chain in Maldives will be networked with the Indian coastal radar system. India has already undertaken a project to install radars along its entire coastline. The radar chains of the two countries will be interlinked and a central control room in India's Coastal Command will get a seamless radar picture.
  • The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) will carry out regular Dornier sorties over the island nation to look out for suspicious movements or vessels. The Southern Naval Command will overlook the inclusion of Maldives into the Indian security grid.
  • Military teams from Maldives will visit the tri-services Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC) to observe how India manages security and surveillance of the critical island chain.

Nepal

NepalIndia

Relations between India and Nepal are close yet fraught with difficulties stemming from geography, economics, the problems inherent in big power-small power relations, and common ethnic and linguistic identities that overlap the two countries' borders. In 1950 New Delhi and Kathmandu initiated their intertwined relationship with the Treaty of Peace and Friendship and accompanying letters that defined security relations between the two countries, and an agreement governing both bilateral trade and trade transiting Indian soil. The 1950 treaty and letters stated that "neither government shall tolerate any threat to the security of the other by a foreign aggressor" and obligated both sides "to inform each other of any serious friction or misunderstanding with any neighboring state likely to cause any breach in the friendly relations subsisting between the two governments." Which granted the Indian and Nepali People not mandatory to have Work permit for any economic activity such as work and business related activity. These accords cemented a "special relationship" between India and Nepal that granted Nepal preferential economic treatment and provided Nepalese in India the same economic and educational opportunities as Indian citizens.

Pakistan

PakistanIndia

Former Indian PM Nehru with then Pakistani PM Muhammad Ali Bogra in 1953.

Despite historical, cultural and ethnic links between them, relations between India and Pakistan have been plagued by years of mistrust and suspicion ever since the partition of India in 1947. The principal source of contention between India and its western neighbour has been the Kashmir conflict. After an invasion by Pashtun tribesmen and Pakistani paramilitary forces, the Hindu Maharaja of the Dogra Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, and its Muslim Prime Minister, Sheikh Abdullah, signed an Instrument of Accession with New Delhi. The First Kashmir War started after the Indian Army entered Srinagar, the capital of the state, to secure the area from the invading forces. The war ended in December 1948 with the Line of Control dividing the erstwhile princely state into territories administered by Pakistan (northern and western areas) and India (southern, central and northeastern areas). Pakistan contested the legality of the Instrument of Accession since the Dogra Kingdom has signed a standstill agreement with it. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 started following the failure of Pakistan's Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against rule by India. The five-week war caused thousands of casualties on both sides. It ended in a United Nations (UN) mandated ceasefire and the subsequent issuance of the Tashkent Declaration. India and Pakistan went to war again in 1971, this time the conflict being over East Pakistan. The large-scale atrocities committed there by the Pakistan army led to millions of Bengali refugees pouring over into India. India, along with the Mukti Bahini, defeated Pakistan and the Pakistani forces surrendered on the eastern front. The war resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.

In 1998, India carried out the Pokhran-II nuclear tests which was followed by Pakistan's Chagai-I tests. Following the Lahore Declaration in February 1999, relations briefly improved. A few months later however,Pakistani paramilitary forces and Pakistani Army, infiltrated in large numbers into the Kargil district of Indian Kashmir. This initiated the Kargil conflict after India moved in thousands of troops to successfully flush out the infiltrators. Although the conflict did not result in a full-scale war between India and Pakistan, relations between the two reached all-time low which worsened even further following the involvement of Pakistan-based terrorists in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines IC814 plane in December 1999. Attempts to normalize relations, such as the Agra summit held in July 2001, failed. An attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001, which was blamed on Pakistan, which had condemned the attack[95] caused a military standoff between the two countries which lasted for nearly a year raising fears of a nuclear conflict. However, a peace process, initiated in 2003, led to improved relations in the following years.

Since the initiation of the peace process, several confidence-building-measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan have taken shape. The Samjhauta Express and Delhi–Lahore Bus service are two of these successful measures which have played a crucial role in expanding people-to-people contact between the two countries.[96] The initiation of Srinagar–Muzaffarabad Bus service in 2005 and opening of a historic trade route across the Line of Control in 2008 further reflects increasing eagerness between the two sides to improve relations. Although bilateral trade between India and Pakistan was a modest US$1.7 billion in March 2007, it is expected to cross US$10 billion by 2010. After the Kashmir earthquake in 2005, India sent aid to affected areas in Pakistani Kashmir & Punjab as well as Indian Kashmir.[97]

The 2008 Mumbai attacks seriously undermined the relations between the two countries. India alleged Pakistan of harboring militants on their soil, while Pakistan vehemently denies such claims. Relations are currently hampered since India has sent a list of 40 alleged fugitive in various terror strikes to Pakistan, expecting them to be handed over to India. Pakistan, on the other hand, has declared that it has no intentions whatsoever of carrying out their extradition.

Sri Lanka

Sri LankaIndia

Bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and India have been generally friendly, but were affected by the Sri Lankan civil war and by the failure of Indian intervention during the Sri Lankan civil war. India is Sri Lanka's only neighbour, separated by the Palk Strait; both nations occupy a strategic position in South Asia and have sought to build a common security umbrella in the Indian Ocean.[98]

India-Sri Lanka relations have undergone a qualitative and quantitative transformation in the recent past. Political relations are close, trade and investments have increased dramatically, infrastructural linkages are constantly being augmented, defence collaboration has increased and there is a general, broad-based improvement across all sectors of bilateral cooperation. India was the first country to respond to Sri Lanka's request for assistance after the tsunami in December 2004. In July 2006, India evacuated 430 Sri Lankan nationals from Lebanon, first to Cyprus by Indian Navy ships and then to Delhi & Colombo by special Air India flights.

There exists a broad consensus within the Sri Lankan polity on the primacy of India in Sri Lanka's external relations matrix. Both the major political parties in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the United Nationalist Party have contributed to the rapid development of bilateral relations in the last ten years. Sri Lanka has supported India's candidature to the permanent membership of the UN Security Council.[99]

Asia–Pacific

Australia

AustraliaIndia

The strongest ties between these two states is the commonwealth connection. Cricketing and Bollywood ties also help foster relations as in the frequent travel for games, and, more importantly, the presence of Australian cricketers in India for commercial gain. This was further enhanced with the IPL, and, to a lesser degree, the ICL. Bollywood has also improved ties as with John Howard's visit to Mumbai to increase tourism to Australia.[100] Furthermore, there is a going strategic connection to forming an "Asian NATO" with India, Japan, the US and Australia.[101] The bilateral agreements have worked out for all but the Indo-Australian angle, though this has been hurt by India's refusal to sign the NPT and Australia's consequent refusal to provide India with uranium until the latter do so. However Australia has now cleared uranium sales to India by Labor party decision in Australian parliament and by this development the relations between both the commonwealth nations are set to improve. The Australian and Indian militaries have already worked well together. Of late the relations between the two countries were jolted, with attacks on Indian Community students in Melbourne, Australia. Indian Government lodged strong protests with the Australian Government. Australian Prime Minister Mr. Kevin Rudd said that "Australia valued its education system and International Students are valued more here in Australia." Mr. Rudd though said that his Govt. has ordered a thorough probe into the attacks and also condemned it in strongest possible terms, but no significant break through has been achieved. Under the leadership of Incumbent Prime Minister of Australia Julia gillard the relations between both the nations have significantly improved on part due to her holistic approach in relations.[102][103]

Fiji

FijiIndia

Fijis relationship with the Republic of India is often seen by observers against the backdrop of the sometimes tense relations between its indigenous people and the 44 percent of the population who are of Indian descent. India has used its influence in international forums such as the Commonwealth of Nations and United Nations on behalf of ethnic Indians in Fiji, lobbying for sanctions against Fiji in the wake of the 1987 coups and the 2000 coup, both of which removed governments, one dominated and one led, by Indo-Fijians.

Japan

JapanIndia

Two Japanese Naval warships took part in Malabar 2007 off India's western coast, one of the few such multilateral exercises Japan has ever taken part in symbolizing close military cooperation between India and Japan.

India-Japan relations have always been strong. India has culturally influenced Japan through Buddhism. During the Indian Independence Movement, the Japanese Imperial Army helped Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army. Relations have remained warm since India's independence. Japanese companies, like Sony, Toyota, and Honda, have manufacturing facilities in India, and with the growth of the Indian economy, India is a big market for Japanese firms. The most prominent Japanese company to have a big investment in India is automobiles giant Suzuki which is in partnership with Indian automobiles company Maruti Suzuki, the largest car manufacturer in India. Honda was also a partner in "Hero Honda", one of the largest motor cycle sellers in the world (the companies split in 2011[104]). In December 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Japan culminated in the signing of the "Joint Statement Towards Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership". Japan has funded some major infrastructure projects in India, most notably the Delhi Metro subway system. Indian applicants were welcomed in 2006 to the JET Program, starting with just one slot available in 2006 and 41 in 2007. Also, in 2007, the Japanese Self Defense Forces took part in a naval exercise in the Indian Ocean, known as Malabar 2007, which also involved the naval forces of India, Australia, Singapore and the United States.

In October 2008, Japan signed an agreement with India under which it would grant the latter a low-interest loan worth US$4.5 billion to construct a high-speed rail line between Delhi and Mumbai. This is the single largest overseas project being financed by Japan and reflects growing economic partnership between the two.[105] India is also one of three countries with whom Japan has security pact, the other being Australia and the United States.[106]

Laos

LaosIndia

In recent years, India has endeavoured to build relations, with this small Southeast Asian nation. They have strong military relations, and India shall be building an Airforce Academy in Laos.[107]

Nauru

NauruIndia

India and Nauru relations have been cordial and friendly. Leaders of the both countries have been meeting on the side lines of some of the international forums of which both the nations are part of such as the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Indonesia

IndonesiaIndia

Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi with Sukarno, Megawati Sukarnoputri and Guntur, during stately visit to Indonesia in June 1950.

The ties between Indonesia and India date back to the times of the Ramayana,[108] "Yawadvipa" (Java) is mentioned in India's earliest epic, the Ramayana. Sugriva, the chief of Rama's army dispatched his men to Yawadvipa, the island of Java, in search of Sita.[109] Indonesians had absorbed many aspects of Indian culture since almost two millennia ago. The most obvious trace is the large adoption of Sanskrit into Indonesian language. Indianised HinduBuddhist kingdoms, such as Srivijaya, Medang, Sunda and Majapahit were the predominant governments in Indonesia, and lasted from 200[110] to the 1500s, with the last remaining being in Bali. The example of profound Hindu-Buddhist influences in Indonesian history are the 9th century Prambanan and Borobudur temples.

In 1950, the first President of Indonesia – Sukarno called upon the peoples of Indonesia and India to "intensify the cordial relations" that had existed between the two countries "for more than 1000 years" before they had been "disrupted" by colonial powers.[111] In the spring of 1966, the foreign ministers of both countries began speaking again of an era of friendly relations. India had supported Indonesian independence and Nehru had raised the Indonesian question in the United Nations Security Council.

India has an embassy in Jakarta[112] and Indonesia operates an embassy in Delhi.[113] India regards Indonesia as a key member of ASEAN. Today, both countries maintain cooperative and friendly relations. India and Indonesia is one of the few (and also one of the largest) democracies in Asian region which can be projected as a real democracy.[114] Both nations had agreed to establish a strategic partnership.[115] As a fellow Asian democracies that shares common value, it is natural for both countries to nurture and foster strategic alliance. Indonesia and India are member states of the G-20, the E7 (countries), the Non-aligned Movement, and the United Nations.

Malaysia

MalaysiaIndia

India has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has a high commission in New Delhi. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Asian Union. India and Malaysia are also connected by various cultural and historical ties that date back to antiquity. The two countries are on excellently friendly terms with each other seeing as Malaysia is home to a strong concentration of Indian immigrants.Mahathir bin Mohamad the fourth and longest serving Prime Minister of Malayasia is of Indian origin, his father Mohamad Iskandar, was a Malayalee Muslim (who migrated from Kerala) and his mother Wan Tampawan, was Malay.[116]

Philippines

PhilippinesIndia

Through the Srivijaya and Majapahit empires, Hindu influence has been visible in Philippine history from the 10th to 14th century A.D. During the 18th century, there was robust trade between Manila and the Coromandel Coast of Bengal, involving Philippine exports of tobacco, silk, cotton, indigo, sugar cane and coffee. The Philippines established diplomatic relations with India on 16 November 1949. The first Philippine envoy to India was the late Foreign Secretary Narciso Ramos. Seven years after India's independence in 1947, the Philippines and India signed a Treaty of Friendship on 11 July 1952 in Manila to strengthen the friendly relations existing between the two countries. Soon after, the Philippine Legation in New Delhi was established and then elevated to an Embassy.[117] However, due to foreign policy differences as a result of the bipolar alliance structure of the Cold War, the development of bilateral relations was stunted. It was only in 1976 that relations started to normalize when Mr. Aditya Birla, one of India's successful industrialists, met with then President Ferdinand E. Marcos to explore possibilities of setting up joint ventures in the Philippines. Today, like India, the Philippines is the leading voice-operated business process outsourcing (BPO) source in terms of revenue (US$ 5.7) and number of people (500,000) employed in the sector. In partnership with the Philippines, India has 20 IT/BPO companies in the Philippines. Philippines-India bilateral trade stood at US$ 986.60 million dollars in 2009. In 2004 it was US$ 600 million. Both countries aim to reach US$1 billion by 2010. There are 60,000 Indians living in the Philippines. The Philippines and India signed in October 2007 the Framework for Bilateral Cooperation which created the PH-India JCBC. It has working groups in trade, agriculture, tourism, health, renewable energy and a regular policy consultation mechanism and security dialogue.

Singapore

SingaporeIndia

Singapore Navy frigate RSS Formidable (68) steams alongside the Indian Navy frigate INS Brahmaputra (F 31) in the Bay of Bengal. Singapore is one of India's strongest allies in South East Asia.

India and Singapore share long-standing cultural, commercial and strategic relations, with Singapore being a part of the "Greater India" cultural and commercial region. More than 300,000 people of Indian origin live in Singapore. Following its independence in 1965, Singapore was concerned with China-backed communist threats as well as domination from Malaysia and Indonesia and sought a close strategic relationship with India, which it saw as a counterbalance to Chinese influence and a partner in achieving regional security.[118] Singapore had always been an important strategic trading post, giving India trade access to Maritime Southeast Asia and the Far East. Although the rival positions of both nations over the Vietnam War and the Cold War caused consternation between India and Singapore, their relationship expanded significantly in the 1990s;[118] Singapore was one of the first to respond to India's "Look East" Policy of expanding its economic, cultural and strategic ties in Southeast Asia to strengthen its standing as a regional power.[118] Singapore, and especially, the Singaporean Foreign Minister, George Yeo, have taken an interest, in re-establishing the ancient Indian university, Nalanda University.

Singapore is the 8th largest source of investment in India and the largest amongst ASEAN member nations.[118][119] It is also India's 9th biggest trading partner as of 2005–06.[118] Its cumulative investment in India totals US$ 3 billion as of 2006 and is expected to rise to US 5 billion by 2010 and US 10 billion by 2015.[118][120][121] India's economic liberalisation and its "Look East" policy have led to a major expansion in bilateral trade, which grew from USD 2.2 billion in 2001 to US 9–10 billion in 2006 – a 400% growth in span of five years – and to USD 50 billion by 2010.[118][120][121] Singapore accounts for 38% of India's trade with ASEAN member nations and 3.4% of its total foreign trade.[118] India's main exports to Singapore in 2005 included petroleum, gemstones, jewellery, machinery and its imports from Singapore included electronic goods, organic chemicals and metals. More than half of Singapore's exports to India are basically "re-exports" – items that had been imported from India.[118][119]

South Korea

South KoreaIndia

The cordial relationship between the two countries extends back to 48AD, when Queen Suro, or Princess Heo, travelled from the kingdom of Ayodhya to Korea.[122] According to the Samguk Yusa, the princess had a dream about a heavenly king who was awaiting heaven's anointed ride. After Princess Heo had the dream, she asked her parents, the king and queen, for permission to set out and seek the man, which the king and queen urged with the belief that god orchestrated the whole fate.[123] Upon approval, she set out on a boat, carrying gold, silver, a tea plant, and a stone which calmed the waters.[122] Archeologists discovered a stone with two fish kissing each other, a symbol of the Gaya kingdom that is unique to the Mishra royal family in Ayodhya, India. This royal link provides further evidence that there was an active commercial engagements between India and Korea since the queen's arrival to Korea.[122] Current descendants live in the city of Kimhae as well as abroad in America's state of New Jersey and Kentucky. Many of them became prominent and well-known around the world like President Kim Dae Jung, Prime Minister Jong Pil Kim.

The relations between the countries have been relatively limited, although much progress arose during the three decades. Since the formal establishment of the diplomatic ties between two countries in 1973, several trade agreements have been reached. Trade between the two nations has increased exponentially, exemplified by the $530 million during the fiscal year of 1992–1993, and the $10 billion during 2006–2007.[124] During the 1997 Asian financial crisis, South Korean businesses sought to increase access to the global markets, and began trade investments with India.[124] The last two presidential visits from South Korea to India were in 1996 and 2006,[125] and the embassy works between the two countries are seen as needing improvements.[126] Recently, there have been acknowledgements in the Korean public and political spheres that expanding relations with India should be a major economical and political priority for South Korea. Much of the economic investments of South Korea have been drained into China;[127] however, South Korea is currently the fifth largest source of investment in India.[128] To the Times of India, President Roh voiced his opinion that cooperation between India's software and Korea's IT industries would bring very efficient and successful outcomes.[125] The two countries agreed to shift their focus to the revision of the visa policies between the two countries, expansion of trade, and establishment of free trade agreement to encourage further investment between the two countries. Korean companies such as LG, Hyundai and Samsung have established manufacturing and service facilities in India, and several Korean construction companies won grants for a portion of the many infrastructural building plans in India, such as the "National Highway Development Project".[128] Tata Motor's purchase of Daewoo Commercial Vehicles at the cost of $102 million highlights the India's investments in Korea, which consist mostly of subcontracting.[128]

Chinese Expedition Army (now Republic of China Army) boarding planes for India.

Taiwan

TaiwanIndia

The bilateral relations between India and Taiwan (officially Republic of China) have improved since the 1990s despite both nations not maintaining official diplomatic relations,[80][128] India recognizes only the People's Republic of China and not the Republic of China's contention of being the legitimate government of territorial China – a conflict that emerged after the Chinese Civil War (1945–49). However, India's economic & Commercial links as well as people-to-people contacts with Taiwan have expanded in recent years.[128]

The most significant evidence of Taiwan-India relations warming up was provided when ROC President Ma Ying-jeou made a stopover in Mumbai en route to Africa in early April, 2012, an event that went almost unnoticed by India's media. The visit, part of a phenomenon called "refueling diplomacy," is historic because India had never allowed a serving ROC president to land on Indian soil.[128]

Thailand

ThailandIndia

India's Look East policy, saw India grow relations with ASEAN countries including Thailand, and Thailand's Look West policy, also saw it grow its relations with India. Both countries are members of BIMSTEC. Indian Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi, P.V. Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Manmohan Singh, have visited Thailand, which were reciprocated by contemporary Thai Prime Ministers Chatichai Choonhavan, Thaksin Sinawatra, and Surayud Chulanont. In 2003, a Free Trade Agreement was signed between the two countries. India, is the 13th largest investor in Thailand. The spheres of trade are in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, nylon, tyre cord, real estate, rayon fibres, paper grade pulps, steel wires, and rods. However, IT services, and manufacturing, are the main spheres. Through Buddhism, India, has culturally influenced Thailand. The Indian epics, Mahabharata, and Ramayana, are popular and are widely taught in schools as part of the curriculum in Thailand. The example can also be seen in temples around Thailand, where the story of Ramayana and renowned Indian folk stories are depicted on the temple wall. Thailand, has become a big tourist destination for Indians.

Vietnam

VietnamIndia

India supported Vietnam's independence from France, opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and supported unification of Vietnam. India established official diplomatic relations in 1972 and maintained friendly relations, especially in the wake of Vietnam's hostile relations with the People's Republic of China, which had become India's strategic rival.[129]

India granted the "Most Favoured Nation" status to Vietnam in 1975[129] and both nations signed a bilateral trade agreement in 1978 and the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) on 8 March 1997.[130] In 2007, a fresh joint declaration was issued during the state visit of the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Tan Dung.[131] Bilateral trade has increased rapidly since the liberalisation of the economies of both Vietnam and India.[129] India is the 13th-largest exporter to Vietnam, with exports have grown steadily from US$ 11.5 million in 1985–86 to USD 395.68 million by 2003.[130] Vietnam's exports to India rose to USD 180 million, including agricultural products, handicrafts, textiles, electronics and other goods.[132] Between 2001 and 2006, the volume of bilateral trade expanded at 20–30% per annum to reach USD 1 billion by 2006.[133][134] Continuing the rapid pace of growth, bilateral trade is expected to rise to USD 2 billion by 2008, 2 years ahead of the official target.[134][135] India and Vietnam have also expanded cooperation in information technology, education and collaboration of the respective national space programmes.[131] Direct air links and lax visa regulations have been established to bolster tourism.[136]

India and Vietnam are members of the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, created to develop to enhance close ties between India and nations of Southeast Asia. Vietnam has supported India's bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).[137] In the 2003 joint declaration, India and Vietnam envisaged creating an "Arc of Advantage and Prosperity" in Southeast Asia;[131] to this end, Vietnam has backed a more important relationship and role between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its negotiation of an Indo-ASEAN free trade agreement.[129][131] India and Vietnam have also built strategic partnerships, including extensive cooperation on developing nuclear power, enhancing regional security and fighting terrorism, transnational crime and drug trafficking.[80][131][132]

Americas

India's commonalities with developing nations in Latin America, especially Brazil and Mexico have continued to grow. India and Brazil continue to work together on the reform of Security Council through the G4 nations while have also increased strategic and economic cooperation through the IBSA Dialogue Forum. The process of finalizing Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with MERCOSUR (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay) is on the itinerary and negotiations are being held with Chile.[138] Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was the guest of honour at the 2004 Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.[139]

(L-R): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and President Pratibha Patil at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Argentina

ArgentinaIndia

Formal relations between both the countries were first established in 1949. India has an embassy in Buenos Aires and Argentina has an embassy in New Delhi. The current Indian Ambassador to Argentina (concurrently accredited to Uruguay and Paraguay) is Mr. R Viswanathan. According to the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India, "Under the 1968 Visa agreement, (Argentine)fees for transit and tourist visas have been abolished. Under the new visa agreement signed during Argentine Presidential visit in October 2009, it has been agreed that five year multi-entry business visas would be given free of cost. The Embassy of India in Buenos Aires gives Cafe Con Visa (coffee with visa) to Argentine visitors. The applicants are invited for coffee and visa is given immediately. This has been praised by the Argentine media, public and the Foreign Minister himself.[140]

Barbados

BarbadosIndia

India and Barbados established diplomatic relations on 30 November 1966 (the date of Barbados' national independence).[141] On that date, the government of India gifted Barbados the throne in Barbados' national House of Assembly.[142] India is represented in Barbados through its embassy in Suriname[143][144][145] and an Indian consulate in Holetown, St. James.[146] In 2011-12 the Indian-based firm Era's Lucknow Medical College and Hospital, established the American University of Barbados (AUB), as the island's first Medical School for international students. Today around 3,000 persons from India call Barbados home. Two-thirds are from the India's Surat district of Gujarat known as Suratis. Most of the Suratis are involved in trading. The rest are mainly Sindhis.

Brazil

BrazilIndia

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

A group called the Filhos de Gandhi (Sons of Gandhi) participates regularly in the carnival in Salvador. Private Brazilian organizations occasionally invite Indian cultural troupes.

In recent years,[when?] relations between Brazil and India have grown considerably and co-operation between the two countries has been extended to such diverse areas as science and technology, pharmaceuticals and space. The two-way trade in 2007 nearly tripled to US$ 3.12 billion from US$ 1.2 billion in 2004. India attaches tremendous importance to its relationship with this Latin American giant and hopes to see the areas of co-operation expand in the coming years.

Both countries want the participation of developing countries in the UNSC permanent membership since the underlying philosophy for both of them are: UNSC should be more democratic, legitimate and representative – the G4 is a novel grouping for this realization. Brazil and India are deeply committed to IBSA (South-South cooperation) initiatives and attach utmost importance to this trilateral cooperation between the three large, multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-religious developing countries, which are bound by the common principle of pluralism and democracy.

Flag Commander of Western Fleet of Indian Navy while briefing a press conference on a joint Indo-Canadian naval exercise.

Canada

CanadaIndia

Indo-Canadian relations, are the longstanding bilateral relations between India and Canada, which are built upon a "mutual commitment to democracy", "pluralism", and "people-to-people links", according to the government of Canada. In 2004, bilateral trade between India and Canada was at about C$2.45 billion. However, the botched handling of the Air India investigation and the case in general suffered a setback to Indo-Canadian relations. India's Smiling Buddha nuclear test led to connections between the two countries being frozen, with allegations that India broke the terms of the Colombo Plan. Although Jean Chrétien and Roméo LeBlanc both visited India in the late 1990s, relations were again halted after the Pokhran-II tests.

Colombia

ColombiaIndia

Both countries established diplomatic ties on 19 January 1959. Since then the relationship between the two countries has been gradually increasing with more frequent diplomatic visits to promote political, commercial cultural and academic exchanges. Colombia is currently the commercial point of entry into Latin America for Indian companies.[147]

Mexico

MexicoIndia

Mexico is a very important and major economic partner of India. Mexico and India, both have embassies in the other country. Octavio Paz worked as a diplomat in India. His book In Light of India is an analysis of Indian history and culture.[148]

Paraguay

ParaguayIndia

The bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the Paraguay have been traditionally strong due to strong commercial, cultural and strategic cooperation. India is represented in Paraguay through its embassy in Buenos Aires in Argentina. India also has an Honorary Consul General in Asuncion. Paraguay opened its embassy in India in 2005.[149]

United States

United StatesIndia

Historically, relations between India and the United States were lukewarm following Indian independence, as India took a leading position in the Non-Aligned Movement, and attempted to pursue even-handed economic and military relations with the Soviet Union, although US provided support to India in 1962 during its war with China. For most of the Cold War, the USA tended to have warmer relations with Pakistan, primarily as a way to contain Soviet-friendly India and to use Pakistan to back the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. An Indo-Soviet twenty year friendship treaty, signed in 1971, also positioned India against the USA.

Cold War era

India played a key role in establishing the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961. Though India pursued close relations with both the US and the USSR, it decided not to join any major power bloc and refrained from joining military alliances. India, however began establishing close military relationship with the Soviet Union.

After the Sino-Indian War and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, India made considerable changes to its foreign policy. It developed a close relationship with the Soviet Union and started receiving massive military equipment and financial assistance from the USSR. This had an adverse effect on the Indo-US relationship. The United States saw Pakistan as a counterweight to pro-Soviet India and started giving the former military assistance. This created an atmosphere of suspicion between India and the US. The Indo-US relationship suffered a considerable setback during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan when India openly supported the Soviet Union.

United States President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi in 1971. They had a deep personal antipathy that colored bilateral relations.

Relations between India and the United States came to an all-time low during the early 1970s. Despite reports of atrocities in East Pakistan, and being told, most notably in the Blood telegram, of genocidal activities being perpetrated by Pakistani forces, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and U.S. President Richard Nixon did nothing to discourage then Pakistani President Yahya Khan and the Pakistan Army. Kissinger was particularly concerned about Soviet expansion into South Asia as a result of a treaty of friendship that had recently been signed between India and the Soviet Union, and sought to demonstrate to the People's Republic of China the value of a tacit alliance with the United States.[150] During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Indian Armed Forces, along with the Mukti Bahini, succeeded in liberating East Pakistan which soon declared independence. Richard Nixon, then USA President, feared that an Indian invasion of West Pakistan would mean total Soviet domination of the region, and that it would seriously undermine the global position of the United States and the regional position of America's new tacit ally, China. In order to demonstrate to China the bona fides of the United States as an ally, and in direct violation of the Congress-imposed sanctions on Pakistan, Nixon sent military supplies to Pakistan, routing them through Jordan and Iran,[151] while also encouraging China to increase its arms supplies to Pakistan.

When Pakistan's defeat in the eastern sector seemed certain, Nixon sent the USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal, a move deemed by the Indians as a nuclear threat. The Enterprise arrived on station on 11 December 1971. On 6 and 13 December, the Soviet Navy dispatched two groups of ships, armed with nuclear missiles, from Vladivostok; they trailed U.S. Task Force 74 into the Indian Ocean from 18 December 1971 until 7 January 1972. The Soviets also sent nuclear submarines to ward off the threat posed by USS Enterprise in the Indian Ocean.[152]

Though American efforts had no effect in turning the tide of the war, the incident involving USS Enterprise is viewed as the trigger for India's subsequent nuclear program.[153] American policy towards the end of the war was dictated primarily by a need to restrict the escalation of war on the western sector to prevent the 'dismemberment' of West Pakistan.[154] Years after the war, many American writers criticized the White House policies during the war as being badly flawed and ill-serving the interests of the United States.[155] India carried out nuclear tests a few years later resulting in sanctions being imposed by United States, further drifting the two countries apart. In recent years, Kissinger came under fire for comments made during the Indo-Pakistan War in which he described Indians as "bastards."[156] Kissinger has since expressed his regret over the comments.[157]

Post Cold War era

Since the end of the Cold War, India-USA relations have improved dramatically. This has largely been fostered by the fact that the USA and India are both democracies and have a large and growing trade relationship. During the Gulf War, the economy of India went through an extremely difficult phase. The Government of India liberalized the Indian economy. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, India improved diplomatic relations with the members of the NATO particularly Canada, France and Germany. In 1992, India established formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

Pokhran tests

In 1998, India tested nuclear weapons which resulted in several U.S., Japanese and European sanctions on India. India's then defence minister, George Fernandes, said that India's nuclear program was necessary as it provided a deterrence to some potential nuclear threat. Most of the sanctions imposed on India were removed by 2001. India has categorically stated that it will never use weapons first but will defend if attacked.

The economic sanctions imposed by the United States in response to India's nuclear tests in May 1998 appeared, at least initially, to seriously damage Indo-American relations. President Bill Clinton imposed wide-ranging sanctions pursuant to the 1994 Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act. U.S. sanctions on Indian entities involved in the nuclear industry and opposition to international financial institution loans for non-humanitarian assistance projects in India. The United States encouraged India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) immediately and without condition. The U.S. also called for restraint in missile and nuclear testing and deployment by both India and Pakistan. The non-proliferation dialogue initiated after the 1998 nuclear tests has bridged many of the gaps in understanding between the countries.

Post–11 September

After the 11 September attacks in 2001, Indian intelligence agencies provided the U.S. with significant information on Al-Qaeda and related groups' activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. India's extensive contribution to the War on Terror has helped India's diplomatic relations with several countries. Over the past few years, India has held numerous joint military exercises with U.S. and European nations that have resulted in a strengthened U.S.-India and E.U.-India bilateral relationship. India's bilateral trade with Europe and U.S. has more than doubled in the last five years.

However, India has not signed the CTBT, or the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, claiming the discriminatory nature of the treaty that allows the five declared nuclear countries of the world to keep their nuclear arsenal and develop it using computer simulation testing. Prior to its nuclear testing, India had pressed for a comprehensive destruction of nuclear weapons by all countries of the world in a time-bound frame. This was not acceptable to the USA and other countries. Presently, India has declared its policy of "no-first use of nuclear weapons" and the maintenance of a "credible nuclear deterrence". The USA, under President George W. Bush has also lifted most of its sanctions on India and has resumed military co-operation. Relations with USA have considerably improved in the recent years, with the two countries taking part in joint naval exercises off the coast of India and joint air exercises both in India as well as in the United States.[158][159][160]

India has been pushing for reforms in the UN and WTO with mixed results. India's candidature for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council is currently backed by several countries including United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, African Union nations, USA and China. In 2005, the United States signed a nuclear co-operation agreement with India even though the latter is not a part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The US argued that India's strong nuclear non-proliferation record made it an exception and persuaded other Nuclear Suppliers Group members to sign similar deals with India.

On 2 March 2006 India and the USA signed the Indo-U.S. Nuclear Pact on co-operation in civilian nuclear field. This was signed during the four days state visit of USA President George Bush in India. On its part, India would separate its civilian and military nuclear programs, and the civilian programs would be brought under the safeguards of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The United States would sell India the reactor technologies and the nuclear fuel for setting up and upgrading its civilian nuclear program. The U.S. Congress needs to ratify this pact since U.S. federal law prohibits the trading of nuclear technologies and materials outside the framework of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Indo-USA strategic partnership
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Indo-USA relations got strategic content in the early 1960s. The rise of China worried the policymakers in Washington. Chinese assertion in Tibet, its role in the Korean War and other such acts concerned Washington. As the relations between India and China deteriorated during late fifties, the Americans found a golden opportunity to take advantage of this situation to promote India as a counterweight to China.[161] But any unidimensional alliance is bound to be short-lived and this alliance was no exception to this general rule. As China ceased to be a headache for the American policymakers by the late sixties, this unidimensional alliance disappeared into thin air.

The end of the Cold War necessitated as well as facilitated the infusion of strategic content to Indo-USA relations–this time multidimensional. In the post Cold War era, the strategic objectives of India and the USA converges on a number of issues and not just one–as well as the case earlier. These issues include, inter alia, containment of terrorism, promotion of democracy, counter proliferation, freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean, Asian balance of power, etc.[29]

One of the very interesting features of Indo-USA relations of recent times is the changes on the terms of engagement between the two countries on the issue of nuclear proliferation. While earlier, in the USA strategic thinking on nuclear proliferation, India figured mainly because of American concern about latter's nuclear and missile programmes, in the twenty-first century, however, American strategic thinking on the issue of nuclear proliferation has undergone radical reorientation. Now, the Americans are increasingly realising the futility of insisting on a rollback of India's nuclear programme. They, rather, want to leverage India's growing power and influence in favour of their broader nonproliferation and counter proliferation objectives.[162]

Embassy of India in Washington, D.C.

As promotion of democracy around the world is one of the most important foreign policy objective of the USA, India – as the largest democracy of the world-can hardly be ignored by the USA. This is the reason, cooperation in promotion of democracy in the world has become one of the most important facets of Indo-USA relations in recent times. India is a founding member of the 'Community of Democracies' – a prominent endeavour of the USA on promotion of democracy. However, India rejected the suggestion of the USA about setting up a Centre for Asian Democracy.[163]

Agriculture is another important area of cooperation between India and the USA in present times. Considering the fact that both the nations at present have a vast pool of human resources adept at knowledge economy, it is only natural that the best course such partnership can aim at is harnessing these human resources by concentrating on development and dissemination of agricultural knowledge through research, education and training etc. An initiative to forge such a partnership is the 'India-USA Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture' (KIA).[164]

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the guest of honor at the first state dinner, which took place on 24 November 2009, of the administration of US President Barack Obama. Obama later visited India from 6–9 November 2010, signing numerous trade and defence agreements with India. He addressed the joint session of the Indian parliament in New Delhi, becoming only the second US President to do so, and announced that the United States would lend its support to India's bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, signifying the growing strategic dimension of the relationship between the world's two largest democracies.[165]

Europe

European Union

European UnionIndia

G20 Leaders Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy in Washington, D.C.

India was one of the first countries to develop relations with the Union, signing bilateral agreements in 1973, when the United Kingdom joined. The most recent cooperation agreement was signed in 1994 and an action plan was signed in 2005. As of April 2007 the Commission is pursuing a free trade agreement with India.[166]

The Union is India's largest trading partner, accounting for 20% of Indian trade. However, India accounts for only 1.8% of the EU's trade and attracts only 0.3% of European Foreign Direct Investment, although still provides India's largest source. During 2005 EU-India trade grew by 20.3%.[167]

There was controversy in 2006 when the Indian Mittal Steel Company sought to take-over the Luxembourg based steel company, Arcelor. The approach met with opposition from France and Luxembourg but was passed by the Commission who stated that were judging it on competition grounds only.[168]

The European Union (EU) and India agreed on 29 September 2008 at the EU-India summit in Marseille, France's largest commercial port, to expand their cooperation in the fields of nuclear energy and environmental protection and deepen their strategic partnership. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the EU's rotating president, said at a joint press conference at the summit that "EU welcomes India, as a large country, to engage in developing nuclear energy, adding that this clean energy will be helpful for the world to deal with the global climate change." Sarkozy also said the EU and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan pledged to accelerate talks on a free trade deal and expected to finish the deal by 2009. The Indian prime minister was also cautiously optimistic about cooperation on nuclear energy. "Tomorrow we have a bilateral summit with France. This matter will come up and I hope some good results will emerge out of that meeting", Singh said when asked about the issue. Singh said that he was "very satisfied" with the results of the summit. He added that EU and India have "common values" and the two economies are complementary to each other.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, also speaking at Monday's press conference, expounded the joint action plan on adjustments of EU's strategic partnership with India, saying the two sides will strengthen cooperation on world peace and safety, sustainable development, cooperation in science and technology and cultural exchanges.

Reviewing the two sides' efforts in developing the bilateral strategic partnership, the joint action plan reckoned that in politics, dialogue and cooperation have enhanced through regular summits and exchanges of visits and that in economy, mutual investments have increased dramatically in recent years, dialogue in macro economic policies and financial services has established and cooperation in energy, science and technology and environment has been launched. Under the joint action plan, EU and Indian would enhance consultation and dialogue on human rights within the UN framework, strengthen cooperation in world peacekeeping mission, fight against terror and non-proliferation of arms, promote cooperation and exchange in developing civil nuclear energy and strike a free trade deal as soon as possible. France, which relies heavily on nuclear power and is a major exporter of nuclear technology, is expected to sign a deal that would allow it to provide nuclear fuel to India.

Trade between India and the 27-nation EU has more than doubled from 25.6 billion euros ($36.7 billion) in 2000 to 55.6 billion euros last year, with further expansion to be seen. "We have agreed to achieve an annual bilateral trade turnover of 100 billion euros within the next five years", Singh told reporters. A joint statement issued at the end of the summit said the EU and India would work to reach an agreement on climate change by the end of 2009.

United Kingdom

United KingdomIndia

Since 1947, India's relations with the United Kingdom have been through bilateral, as well as through the Commonwealth of Nations framework. Although the Sterling Area no longer exists and the Commonwealth is much more an informal forum, India and the UK still have many enduring links. This is in part due to the significant number of people of Indian origin living in the UK. The large South Asian population in the UK results in steady travel and communication between the two countries. The British Raj allowed for both cultures to imbibe tremendously from the other. The English language and cricket are perhaps the two most evident British exports, whilst in the UK food from the Indian subcontinent are very popular.[169] The United Kingdom's favourite food is often reported to be Indian cuisine, although no official study reports this.[169]

Economically the relationship between Britain and India is also strong. India is the second largest investor in Britain after the US.[170][171] Britain is also one of the largest investors in India.[172]

In 2008 Britain gave India a £825 million aid package to help India develop its health and education systems.[173][174]

France

FranceIndia

India has selected 126 Dassault Rafale fighters for the Indian Air Force

France and India established diplomatic relationships soon after India achieved independence in 1947. India's strong diplomatic ties with France resulted in the peaceful cession of Pondicherry to India on 1 November 1954 without any military opposition from France.

France, Russia and Israel were the only countries that did not condemn India's decision to go nuclear in 1998.[175] In 2003, France became the largest supplier of nuclear fuel and technology to India and remains a large military and economic trade partner. India's permanent member aspirations in the UN Security Council have found very strong support from former French president and former prime minister nicholas . The recent decision by the Indian government to purchase French Scorpène class submarines worth $3 billion USD and 43 Airbus aircraft for Air India worth $2.5 billion USD has further cemented the strategic, military and economic co-operation between India and France.

Nicolas Sarkozy visited India in January 2008 and was the Chief Guest of the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. France was the first country to sign a nuclear energy co-operation agreement with India; this was done during Prime Minister Singh's visit, following the waiver by the Nuclear Suppliers Group. During the Bastille Day celebrations on 14 July 2009, a detachment of 400 Indian troops marched along with the French troops as well as the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was the guest of honour.[176]

Italy

ItalyIndia

India and Italy have enjoyed overall pleasurable and strong relations throughout history. Italy and India are also close economic partners and is home to a large population of Indian immigrants. The chief of India's leading political party, the Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi, is of Italian descent.

Unfortunately at diplomatic level the relations seem not to be always good. An example is the visa situation between the two countries for the past few years, visas of any kind (tourist, business, employment and others) are issued for very short term and after a lot of hurdles for both Indian and Italian nationals. This situation has reduced noticeably the possibility of tourism and business development between the two countries. It is not officially known the reason for the current diplomatic situation.[citation needed]

India has an embassy in Rome, a general consulate in Milan. Italy has an embassy in New Delhi, two general consulates (in Mumbai and Calcutta).

There are around 150,000 people of Indian Origin living in Italy. Around 1,000 Italian citizens reside in India, mostly working on behalf of Italian industrial groups.

By May 18, 2012, Italy called back its ambassador to India for "consultations" after a charge sheet for murder was filed against two Italian naval guards in the killing of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast three months back.

Germany

GermanyIndia

Arrival of the first Indian student to Dresden, East Germany, in 1951

During the Cold War India maintained diplomatic relations with West Germany and East Germany. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the reunification of Germany, relations have further improved. The German ambassador to India, Bernd Mutzelburg, once said that India and Germany, are not just 'natural partners', but important countries in a globalised world. Germany is India's largest trade partner in Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited India recently, as did the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visit Germany. Both countries have been working towards gaining permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. As both countries are strong liberal democracies, they have similar objectives. UN reforms, fighting terrorism and climate change, and promotion of science, education, technology, and human rights, are some areas of shared interests, and collaboration between these two countries. Culturally too, Indian and German writers and philosophers, have influenced each other.[177] Recently, Germany has invested in developing education and skills amongst rural Indians. Also of note, during World War II an Indian division known as the Tiger Legion was attached to the German Wehrmacht.

Greece

GreeceIndia

The first contact between both civilization dates back from Alexander the Great's invasion of India and eventual retreat. Alexander's seemingly un-stoppable eastward expansion was halted at the Kingdoms of North-Western of India. 3000 BC and earlier, the Mahabharata talks of Indian warrior Kings' conquest of Greece and the cultural exchange resulting therefrom.

In modern time, diplomatic relations between Greece and India were established in May 1950. The new Greek Embassy building in New Delhi was inaugurated on 6 February 2001.

Economically, India is one of Greece's largest debt creditors with Greece owing India over €60 billion.

Norway

NorwayIndia Norway has sold heavy water to India, which Norway later has tried to trace the whereabouts of and for what purposes it has been used.[citation needed]

In 2012, Trond Giske met with Minister of Finance Pranab Mukherjee, to save[178] Telenor's investments to put forth Norway's "strong wish" that there must not be a waiting period between the confiscation of telecom licences and the re-sale of those.[179] The leader of Telenor attended the meeting.

Spain

SpainIndia

Diplomatic ties with Spain started in 1956.[180] The first Spanish embassy was established in Delhi in 1958. India and Spain have had cordial relationship with each other especially after the establishment of democracy in Spain in 1978. Spain has been a main tourist spot for Indians over the years. Many presidents including Prathibha Patil visited Spain. The royal family of Spain have always liked the humble nature of the Indian government and they have thus paid several visits to India. There was no direct flight from India to Spain but it all changed in 1986 when Iberain travels started to fly directly from Mumbai to Madrid. However it was stopped in 22 months. In 2006 this issue of direct flight was reconsidered so as to improve the ties between India and Spain. "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" was shot completely in Spain in 2011. The tourism ministry of Spain are using this movie to promote tourism to Spain in India.

Turkey

TurkeyIndia

Due to controversial issues such as Turkey's close relationship with Pakistan, relations between the two countries have often been blistered at certain times, but better at others. India and Turkey's relationship alters from unsureness to collaboration when the two nations work together to combat terrorism in Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. India and Turkey are also connected by history, seeing as they have known each other since the days of the Ottoman Empire, and seeing as India was one of the countries to send aid to Turkey following its war of independence. The Indian real estate firm GMR, has invested in and is working towards the modernization of Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen International Airport.

Other European countries

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Armenia 1992-08-31 See Armenia–India relations

The first contacts between both civilizations date back from 2,500 years ago, during the 5th century BC. In modern times, India recognized Armenia on 26 December 1991.

 Belarus
See Foreign relations of Belarus
 Bulgaria 1954 See Bulgaria–India relations
  • Bulgaria has an embassy in New Delhi and an honorary consulate in Kolkata.[181] India has an embassy in Sofia.[182]
 Croatia
See Foreign relations of Croatia
 Cyprus
See Foreign relations of Cyprus
 Denmark
See Denmark–India relations
 Estonia 1991-09-09 See Estonia–India relations

India's first recognition of Estonia came on 22 September 1921 when the former had just acquired membership in the League of Nations. India re-recognised Estonia on 9 September 1991 and diplomatic relations were established on 2 December of the same year in Helsinki. Neither country has a resident ambassador. Estonia is represented in India by two honorary consulates (in Mumbai and New Delhi). India is represented in Estonia through its embassy in Helsinki (Finland) and through an honorary consulate in Tallinn.

 Finland
See Foreign relations of Finland
 Georgia
See Foreign relations of Georgia
 Holy See
See Holy See-India relations
 Iceland
See Iceland–India relations

Iceland and India established diplomatic relations in 1972. The Embassy of Iceland in London was accredited to India and the Embassy of India in Oslo, Norway, was accredited to Iceland. However, it was only after 2003 that the two countries have began close diplomatic and economic relationships.[183] In 2003, President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson visited India on diplomatic mission. This was the first visit by an Icelandic President to India. During the visit, Iceland pledged support to New Delhi's candidature for a permanent seat in the United Nation Security Council thus becoming the first Nordic country to do so. This was followed by an official visit of President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam to Iceland in May 2005.[184] Following this a new embassy of Iceland was opened in New Delhi on 26 February 2006.[183] Soon, an Indian Navy team visited Iceland on friendly mission.[185] Gunnar Pálsson is the ambassador of Iceland to India. The Embassy's area of accreditation, apart from India includes Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius and Nepal.[186] India appointed S. Swaminathan as the first resident ambassador to Iceland in March 2008.[187]

 Ireland
See India–Ireland relations

Indo-Irish relations picked up steam during the freedom struggles of the respective countries against a common imperial empire in the United Kingdom. Political relations between the two states have largely been based on socio-cultural ties, although political and economic ties have also helped build relations. Indo-Irish relations were greatly strengthened by the such luminaries as the likes of Pandit Nehru, Éamon de Valera, Rabindranath Tagore, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, and, above all, Annie Besant. Politically relations have not been cold nor warm. Mutual benefit has led to economic ties that are fruitful for both states.[citation needed] Visits by government leaders have kept relations cordial at regular intervals.

 Malta
See India–Malta relations

Malta opened a High Commission in New Delhi in 2007. Malta also has an honorary consulate in Mumbai. India is represented in Malta through its embassy in Tripoli, Libya and an honorary consulate in Valletta.

 Poland
See India–Poland relations

Historically, relations have generally been close and friendly, characterized by understanding and cooperation on international front.[188]

 Romania
 Russia
See India–Russia relations

During the Cold War, India and the Soviet Union enjoyed a strong strategic, military, economic and diplomatic relationship. After the collapse of the USSR, India improved its relations with the West but it continued its close relations with Russia. India is the second largest market for Russian arms industry. In 2004, more than 70% on Indian Military's hardware came from Russia, making Russia the chief supplier of arms.[191] India has an embassy in Moscow and two Consulates-General (in Saint Petersburg and Vladivostok). Russia has an embassy in New Delhi and three Consulates-General (in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai). Since 2000 and the visit of Vladimir Putin in India there have been an Indo-Russian Strategic Partnership.

 Serbia
 Slovenia
 Spain 1956
  • Spain has an embassy in New Delhi and a consulate in Mumbai.
  • India has an embassy in Madrid and consulates in Barcelona and Tenerife
 Switzerland 1948

India is one of Switzerland's most important partners in Asia. Bilateral and political contacts are constantly developing, and trade and scientific cooperation between the two countries are flourishing.[197] Switzerland was the first country in the World to sign a Friendship treaty with India in 1947.[198]

 Ukraine
See India–Ukraine relations

Diplomatic relations between India and Ukraine were established in January 1992. Indian Embassy in Kiev was opened in May 1992 and Ukraine opened its mission in New Delhi in February 1993. The Consulate General of India in Odessa functioned from 1962 till its closure in March 1999.

West Asia

Arab states of the Persian Gulf

India and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf enjoy strong cultural and economic ties. This is reflected in the fact that more than 50% of the oil consumed by India comes from the Persian Gulf countries[199] and Indian nationals form the largest expatriate community in the Arabian peninsula.[200] The annual remittance by Indian expatriates in the region amounted to US$20 billion in 2007.[201] India is one of the largest trading partners of the CCASG with non-oil trade between India and Dubai alone amounting to US$19 billion in 2007.[202] The Persian Gulf countries have also played an important role in addressing India's energy security concerns, with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait regularly increasing their oil supply to India to meet the country's rising energy demand. In 2005, Kuwait increased its oil exports to India by 10% increasing the net oil trade between the two to US$4.5 billion.[203] In 2008, Qatar decided to invest US$5 billion in India's energy sector.[204]

India has maritime security arrangement in place with Oman and Qatar.[205] In 2008, a landmark defense pact was signed, under which India committed its military assets to protect "Qatar from external threats".[206] There has been progress in a proposed deep-sea gas pipeline from Qatar, via Oman, to India.[207]

Bahrain

BahrainIndia

India is a close ally of Bahrain, the Kingdom along with its GCC partners are (according to Indian officials) among the most prominent backers of India's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council,[208] and Bahraini officials have urged India to play a greater role in international affairs. For instance, over concerns about Iran's nuclear programme Bahrain's Crown Prince appealed to India to play an active role in resolving the crisis.[209]

Ties between India and Bahrain go back generations, with many of Bahrain's most prominent figures having close connections: poet and constitutionalist Ebrahim Al-Arrayedh grew up in Bombay, while 17th century Bahraini theologians Sheikh Salih Al-Karzakani and Sheikh Ja`far bin Kamal al-Din were influential figures in the Kingdom of Golkonda[210] and the development of Shia thought in the sub-continent.

Bahraini politicians have sought to enhance these long standing ties, with Parliamentary Speaker Khalifa Al Dhahrani in 2007 leading a delegation of parliamentarians and business leaders to meet Indian President Pratibha Patil, opposition leader L K Advani, and take part in training and media interviews.[211] Politically, it is easier for Bahrain's politicians to seek training and advice from India than it is from the United States or other western alternative.

In December 2007, the Bahrain India Society was launched in Manama to promote ties between the two countries. Headed by the former Minister of Labour Abdulnabi Al Shoala, the Society seeks to take advantage of the development in civil society to actively work to strengthen ties between the two countries, not only business links, but according to the body's opening statement in politics, social affairs, science and culture. India's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs E Ahmed and his Bahraini counterpart Dr Nazar Al Baharna attended the launch.[212]

Egypt

EgyptIndia

Modern Egypt-India relations go back to the contacts between Saad Zaghloul and Mohandas Gandhi on the common goals of their respective movements of independence.[213] In 1955, Egypt under Gamal Abdul Nasser and India under Jawaharlal Nehru became the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement. During the 1956 War, Nehru stood supporting Egypt to the point of threatening to withdraw his country from the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1967, following the Arab-Israeli war, India supported Egypt and the Arabs. In 1977, New Delhi described the visit of President Anwar al-Sadat to Jerusalem as a "brave" move and considered the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel a primary step on the path of a just settlement of the Middle East problem. Major Egyptian exports to India include raw cotton, raw and manufactured fertilizers, oil and oil products, organic and non-organic chemicals, leather and iron products. Major imports into Egypt from India are cotton yarn, sesame, coffee, herbs, tobacco, lentils, pharmaceutical products and transport equipment. The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum is also currently negotiating the establishment of a natural gas-operated fertilizer plant with another Indian company. In 2004 the Gas Authority of India Limited, bought 15% of Egypt Nat Gas distribution and marketing company. In 2008 Egyptian investment in India was worth some 750 million dollars, according to the Egyptian ambassador.[214] After Arab Spring of 2011, with ousting of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has asked for help of India in conducting nationwide elections

Iran

IranIndia

Seen here is Rabindranath Tagore as a guest of Iran's parliament in the 1930s.

After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Iran withdrew from CENTO and dissociated itself from US-friendly countries, including Pakistan, which automatically entailed improved relationship with the Republic of India.

Currently, the two countries have friendly relations in many areas. There are significant trade ties, particularly in crude oil imports into India and diesel exports to Iran. Iran frequently objected to Pakistan's attempts to draft anti-India resolutions at international organizations such as the OIC. India welcomed Iran's inclusion as an observer state in the SAARC regional organization. Lucknow continues to be a major centre of Shiite culture and Persian study in the subcontinent.

In the 1990s, India and Iran both supported the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan against the Taliban regime. They continue to collaborate in supporting the broad-based anti-Taliban government led by Hamid Karzai and backed by the United States.

However, one complex issue in Indo-Iran relations is the issue of Iran's nuclear program. In this intricate issue, India tries to make a delicate balance. According to Rejaul Laskar, an Indian expert on International Relations, "India's position on Iran's nuclear programme has been consistent, principled and balanced, and makes an endeavour to reconcile Iran's quest for energy security with the international community's concerns on proliferation. So, while India acknowledges and supports Iran's ambitions to achieve energy security and in particular, its quest for peaceful use of nuclear energy, it is also India's principled position that Iran must meet all its obligations under the international law, particularly its obligations under the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other such treaties to which it is a signatory"[215]

Following an attack on an Israeli diplomat in India in February 2012, the Delhi Police contended that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had some involvement in the attack. This was subsequently confirmed in July 2012, after a report by the Delhi Police found evidence that members of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had been involved in the February 13 bomb attack in the capital.[216]

Iraq

IraqIndia

Iraq was one of the few countries in the Middle East with which India established diplomatic relations at the embassy level immediately after its independence in 1947.[217] Both nations signed the "Treaty of Perpetual Peace and Friendship" in 1952 and an agreement of cooperation on cultural affairs in 1954.[217] India was amongst the first to recognize the Baath Party-led government, and Iraq remained neutral during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. However, Iraq sided alongside other Persian Gulf states in supporting Pakistan against India during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which saw the creation of Bangladesh.[217] The eight-year long Iran–Iraq War caused a steep decline in trade and commerce between the two nations.[217]

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, India remained neutral but permitted refueling for U.S. airplanes.[217] It opposed U.N. sanctions on Iraq, but the period of war and Iraq's isolation further diminished India's commercial and diplomatic ties.[217] From 1999 onwards, Iraq and India began to work towards a stronger relationship. Iraq had supported India's right to conduct nuclear tests following its tests of five nuclear weapons on 11 and 13 May 1998.[217] In 2000, the then-Vice President of Iraq Taha Yassin Ramadan visited India, and on 6 August 2002 President Saddam Hussein conveyed Iraq's "unwavering support" to India over the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan.[217][218] India and Iraq established joint ministerial committees and trade delegations to promote extensive bilateral cooperation.[128][219] Although initially disrupted during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, diplomatic and commercial ties between India and the new democratic government of Iraq have since been normalized.[219]

Israel

IsraelIndia

Beni-Israel Family at Bombay.

The creation of Israel at the end of World War II was a complex issue. India, along with Iran and Yugoslavia had recommended a single state with Arab and Jewish majority provinces with an aim to prevent partition of historic Palestine and prevent any conflict that might follow based on its own experience during partition.[220] However, the final UN resolution decided to partition historic Palestine into Arab and Jewish states based on religious and ethnic majority which India opposed in the final vote as it did not agree with concept of partition on the basis of religion.[221]

However, due to the security threat from a US aided Pakistan and its nuclear program in the 80s, Israel and India started a clandestine relationship that involved cooperation between their respective intelligence agencies.[222] Israel shared India's concerns about the growing danger posed by Pakistan and nuclear proliferation to Iran and other Arab states.[223] After the end of the Cold War, formal relations with Israel started improving significantly.[57][224]

Since the establishment of full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, India has improved its relation with the Jewish State. India is regarded as Israel's strongest ally in Asia, and Israel is India's second largest arms supplier.

India has entertained Israeli Prime Minister in a visit in 2003,[225] and Israel has entertained Indian dignitaries such as Finance Minister Jaswant Singh in diplomatic visits. India and Israel collaborate in scientific and technological endeavors. Israel's Minister for Science and Technology has expressed interest in collaborating with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) towards utilizing satellites for better management of land and other resources. Israel has also expressed interest in participating in ISRO's Chandrayaan Mission involving an unmanned mission to the moon.[226] On 21 January 2008 India successfully launched an Israeli spy satellite into orbit from Sriharikota space station in southern India.[227]

Israel and India share intelligence on terrorist groups. They have developed close defense and security ties since establishing diplomatic relations in 1992. Israel is India's second-biggest arms supplier, after Russia. India has bought more than $5 billion worth of Israeli equipment since 2002. In addition, Israel is training Indian military units and discussing an arrangement to give Indian commandos instruction in counter-terrorist tactics and urban warfare.[228] In December 2008, Israel and India signed a memorandum to set up an Indo-Israel Legal Colloquium to facilitate discussions and exchange programs between judges and jurists of the two countries.[229]

Lebanon

LebanonIndia

India has a peacekeeping force as part of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). One infantry battalion is deployed in Lebanon and about 900 personnel are stationed in the Eastern part of South Lebanon.[230] The force also provided non-patrol aid to citizens.[231] India and Lebanon have very good relations since the 1950s.

Oman

OmanIndia

India–Oman relations are foreign relations between India and the Sultanate of Oman. India has an embassy in Muscat, Oman. The Indian consulate was opened in Muscat in February 1955 and five years later it was upgraded to a Consulate General and later developed into a full fledged Embassy in 1971. The first Ambassador of India arrived in Muscat in 1973. Oman established its Embassy in New Delhi in 1972 and a Consulate General in Mumbai in 1976.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi ArabiaIndia

Bilateral relations between India and the Saudi Arabia have strengthened considerably owing to cooperation in regional affairs and trade. Saudi Arabia is the one of largest suppliers of oil to India, who is one of the top seven trading partners and the 5th biggest investor in Saudi Arabia.[232]

India and Saudi Arabia are actively cooperating in the field of science and technology. CSIR and the Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation (SASO) have an ongoing programme of technical cooperation (POC) since June 1993. Under this programme, Indian experts in different scientific areas, particularly in the field of measurement and calibration, are deputed to Saudi Arabia on regular basis. Similarly, several Saudi experts and have undergone advanced training in India. National Physical Laboratory has provided expertise and technology for two important SASO projects related to calibration and teleclock system. CSIR and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) signed an MoU for bilateral cooperation in 1997 and have an ongoing programme of cooperation, particularly in the field of space science, remote sensing and installation of Internet. Recently a three-member delegation from CSIR, NPL and CFTRI visited SASO during January 2004 and both sides agreed to renew the POC.[233]

Russia and Central Asia

Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2001.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) had major repercussions for Indian foreign policy. Substantial trade with the former Soviet Union plummeted after the Soviet collapse and has yet to recover. Longstanding military supply relationships were similarly disrupted due to questions over financing, although Russia continues to be India's largest supplier of military systems and spare parts.

The relationship with USSR was tested (and proven) during the 1971 war with Pakistan, which led to the subsequent liberation of Bangladesh. Soon after the victory of the Indian Armed Forces, one of the foreign delegates to visit India was Admiral S.G. Gorshkov, Chief of the Soviet Navy. During his visit to Mumbai (Bombay) he came on board INS Vikrant. During a conversation with Vice Admiral Swaraj Prakash, Gorshkov asked the Vice Admiral, "Were you worried about a battle against the American carrier?" He answered himself: "Well, you had no reason to be worried, as I had a Soviet nuclear submarine trailing the American task force all the way into the Indian Ocean."[234]

Russian Federation

RussiaIndia

India's ties with the Russian Federation are time-tested and based on continuity, trust and mutual understanding. There is national consensus in both the countries on the need to preserve and strengthen India-Russia relations and further consolidate the strategic partnership between the two countries. A Declaration on Strategic Partnership was signed between present Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in October 2000.

Joint Indo-Russian BrahMos nuclear cruise missile, has a top speed of Mach 2.8, making it the world's fastest supersonic cruise missile.

Russia and India have decided not to renew the 1971 Indo-Soviet Peace and Friendship Treaty and have sought to follow what both describe as a more pragmatic, less ideological relationship. Russian President Yeltsin's visit to India in January 1993 helped cement this new relationship. Ties have grown stronger with President Vladimir Putin's 2004 visit. The pace of high-level visits has since increased, as has discussion of major defence purchases. Russia, is working for the development of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, that will be capable of producing 1000 MW of electricity. Gazprom, is working for the development of oil and natural gas, in the Bay of Bengal. India and Russia, have collaborated extensively, on space technology. Other areas of collaboration include software, ayurveda, etc. India and Russia, have set a determination in increasing trade to $10 billion. Cooperation between clothing manufacturers of the two countries continues to strengthen. India and Russia signed an agreement on joint efforts to increase investment and trade volumes in the textile industry in both countries. In signing the document included representatives of the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs of Textile and Light Industry Council and apparel exports of India (AEPC). A cooperation agreement provides, inter alia, exchange of technology and know-how in textile production. For this purpose, a special Commission on Affairs textile (Textile Communication Committee). Counter-terrorism techniques are also in place between Russia and India. In 2007 President Vladimir Putin was guest of honour at Republic Day celebration on 26 January 2007. 2008, has been declared by both countries as the Russia-India Friendship Year. Bollywood films are quite popular in Russia. The Indian public sector oil company ONGC bought Imperial Energy in 2008. In December 2008, during President Medvedev's visit, to New Delhi, India and Russia, signed a nuclear energy co-operation agreement. In March, 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed an additional 19 pacts with India which included civilian nuclear energy, space and military co-operation and the final sale of Admiral Gorshkov (Aircraft Carrier) along with MiG-29K fighter jets.

Kazakhstan

KazakhstanIndia

India is working towards developing strong relations with this resource rich Central Asian country. The Indian oil company, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, has got oil exploration and petroleum development grants in Kazakhstan. The two countries are collaborating in petrochemicals, information technology, and space technology. Kazakhstan has offered India five blocks for oil and gas exploration. India and Kazakhstan, are to set up joint projects in construction, minerals and metallurgy. India also signed four other pacts, including an extradition treaty, in the presence of President Prathibha Patil and her Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kazakhastan will provide uranium and related products under the MoU between Nuclear Power Corp. of India and KazatomProm. These MoU also opens possibilities of joint exploration of uranium in Kazakhstan, which has the worlds' second largest reserves, and India building atomic power plants in the Central Asian country.

Mongolia

MongoliaIndia

The relations between India and Mongolia are still at a nascent stage and Indo-Mongolian cooperation is limited to diplomatic visits, provision of soft loans and financial aid and the collaborations in the IT sector. India established diplomatic relations in December 1955. India was the first country outside the Soviet block to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia. Since then, there have been treaties of mutual friendship and cooperation between the two countries in 1973, 1994, 2001 and 2004.

Tajikistan

TajikistanIndia

Diplomatic relations were established India and Tajikistan following Tajikistan's independence from the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, which had been friendly with India. Tajikistan occupies a strategically important position in Central Asia, bordering Afghanistan, the People's Republic of China and separated by a small strip of Afghan territory from Pakistan. India's role in fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and its strategic rivalry with both China and Pakistan have made its ties with Tajikistan important to its strategic and security policies. Despite their common efforts, bilateral trade has been comparatively low, valued at USD 12.09 million in 2005; India's exports to Tajikistan were valued at USD 6.2 million and its imports at USD 5.89 million. India's military presence and activities have been significant, beginning with India's extensive support to the anti-Taliban Afghan Northern Alliance (ANA). India began renovating the Farkhor Air Base and stationed aircraft of the Indian Air Force there. The Farkhor Air Base became fully operational in 2006, and 12 MiG-29 bombers and trainer aircraft are planned to be stationed there.

Uzbekistan

UzbekistanIndia

The countries have some culture in common especially because of deep Turkic and Persian influences in the two countries. India has an embassy in Tashkent. Uzbekistan has an embassy in New Delhi. Uzbekistan has had a great impact on Indian culture mostly due to the Mughal Empire which was founded by Babur of Ferghana (in present-day Uzbekistan) who created his empire southward first in Afghanistan and then in India.

Africa

Indian PM Manmohan Singh with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and South African President Thabo Mbeki.

As of year 2011, India's total trade with Africa is over US$46 billion and total investment is over US$11 billion with US$5.7 billion line of credit for executing various projects in Africa.[235]

India has had good relationships with most sub-Saharan African nations for most of its history. In the Prime Minister's visit to Mauritius in 1997, the two countries secured a deal to a new Credit Agreement of INR 10.50 crore (US$3 million) to finance import by Mauritius of capital goods, consultancy services and consumer durable from India. The government of India secured a rice and medicine agreement with the people of Seychelles. India continued to build upon its historically close relations with Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Visits from political ministers from Ethiopia provided opportunities for strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the fields of education and technical training, water resources management and development of small industries. This has allowed India to gain benefits from nations that are generally forgotten by other Western Nations. The South African President, Thabo Mbeki has called for a strategic relationship between India and South Africa to avoid imposition by Western Nations. India continued to build upon its close and friendly relations with Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Minister of Foreign Affairs arranged for the sending of Special Envoys to each of these countries during 1996–97 as a reaffirmation of India's assurance to strengthening cooperation with these countries in a spirit of South-South partnership. These relations have created a position of strength with African nations that other nations may not possess.[236]

Côte d'Ivoire

Ivory CoastIndia

The bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire have considerably expanded in recent years as India seeks to develop an extensive commercial and strategic partnership in the West African region . The Indian diplomatic mission in Abidjan was opened in 1979. Côte d'Ivoire opened its resident mission in New Delhi in September 2004.[237] Both nations are currently fostering efforts to increase trade, investments and economic cooperation.[238]

Liberia

LiberiaIndia

The bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the Republic of Liberia have expanded on growing bilateral trade and strategic cooperation. India is represented in Liberia through its embassy in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire) and an active honorary consulate in Monrovia since 1984. Liberia was represented in India through its resident mission in New Delhi which subsequently closed due to budgetary constraints.[239]

Mauritius

IndiaMauritius

The relations between India and Mauritius existed since 1730, diplomatic relations were established in 1948, before Mauritius became independent state.[240] The relationship is very cordial due to cultural affinities and long historical ties that exist between the two nations. More than 68% of the Mauritian population are of Indian origin, most commonly known as Indo-Mauritian. Economic and commercial corporation has been increasing over the years. India has become Mauritius' largest source of imports since 2007 and Mauritius imported US$816 million worth of goods in the April 2010-March 2011 financial year. Mauritius has remained the largest source of FDI for India for more than a decade with FDI equity inflows totalling US$55.2 billion in the period April 2000 to April 2011. India and Mauritius cooperate in combating piracy which has emerged as a major threat in the Indian Ocean region and support India's stand against terrorism.[241]

Nigeria

NigeriaIndia

India has close relations with this oil rich West African country. Twenty percent of India's crude oil needs are met, by Nigeria. 40,000 barrels per day (6,400 m3/d) of oil, is the amount of oil, that India receives from Nigeria. Trade, between these two countries stands at $875 million in 2005–2006. Indian companies have also invested in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, iron ore, steel, information technology, and communications, amongst other things. Both India and Nigeria, are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, G-77, and the Non Aligned Movement. The Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo was the guest of honour, at the Republic Day parade, in 1999, and the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, visited Nigeria in 2007, and addressed the Nigerian Parliament.

Rwanda

RwandaIndia

Seychelles

SeychellesIndia

There are many Indians living in Seychelles. The Indian Navy also helps the Seychelles government defend against pirates.

South Africa

South AfricaIndia

A meeting of G5 leaders in Berlin, Germany. From left to right: Manmohan Singh of India, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Felipe Calderón of Mexico, Hu Jintao of China and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

India and South Africa, have always had strong relations even though India revoked diplomatic relations in protest to the apartheid regime in the mid 20th century. The history of British rule connects both lands. There is a large group of South Africans of Indian descent. Mahatma Gandhi, spent many years in South Africa, during which time, he fought for the rights of the ethnic Indians. Nelson Mandela was inspired by Gandhi. After India's independence, India strongly condemned apartheid, and refused diplomatic relations while apartheid was conducted as state policy in South Africa.

The two countries, now have close economic, political, and sports relations. Trade between the two countries grew from $3 million in 1992–1993 to $4 billion in 2005–2006, and aim to reach trade of $12 billion by 2010. One third of India's imports from South Africa is gold bullion. Diamonds, that are mined from South Africa, are polished in India. Nelson Mandela was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize. The two countries are also members of the IBSA Dialogue Forum, with Brazil. India hopes to get large amounts of uranium, from resource rich South Africa, for India's growing civilian nuclear energy sector.

South Sudan

South SudanIndia

Sudan

SudanIndia

Indo-Sudanese relations have always been characterized as longstanding, close, and friendly, even since the early development stages of their countries.At the time of Indian independence, Sudan had contributed 70000 pounds, which was used to build part of the National Defence Academy in Pune. The main building of NDA is called Sudan Block. The two nations established diplomatic relations shortly after India became known as one of the first Asian countries to recognize the newly independent African country. India and Sudan also share geographic and historical similarities, as well as economic interests. Both countries are former British colonies, and remotely border Saudi Arabia by means of a body of water. India and Sudan continue to have cordial relations, despite issues such as India's close relationship with Israel, India's solidarity with Egypt over border issues with Sudan, and Sudan's intimate bonds with Pakistan and Bangladesh. India had also contributed some troops as United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur.

International organizations

India participates in the following international organisations:[242]

Non-Aligned Movement

Nonalignment had its origins in India's colonial experience and the nonviolent Indian independence struggle led by the Indian National Congress, which left India determined to be the master of its fate in an international system dominated politically by Cold War alliances and economically by Western capitalism. The principles of nonalignment, as articulated by Nehru and his successors, were preservation of India's freedom of action internationally through refusal to align India with any bloc or alliance, particularly those led by the United States or the Soviet Union; nonviolence and international cooperation as a means of settling international disputes. Nonalignment was a consistent feature of Indian foreign policy by the late 1940s and enjoyed strong, almost unquestioning support among the Indian elite.

The term "Non-Alignment" itself was coined by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during his speech in 1954 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

United Nations

United NationsIndia As a founder member of the United Nations, India has been a firm supporter of the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations, and has made significant contributions to the furtherance and implementation of these noble aims, and to the evolution and functioning of its various specialized programmes. It stood at the forefront during the UN's tumultuous years of struggle against colonialism and apartheid, its struggle towards global disarmament and the ending of the arms race, and towards the creation of a more equitable international economic order. At the very first session of the UN, India had raised its voice against colonialism and apartheid, two issues which have been among the most significant of the UN's successes in the last half century. India exulted in the UN's triumph, and saw in the UN's victory, a vindication of the policy relentlessly pursued by it from its initial days at the world forum. India has been a participant in all its peace-keeping operations including those in Korea, Egypt and Congo in earlier years and in Somalia, Angola and Rwanda in recent years. India has also played an active role in the deliberations of the United Nations on the creation of a more equitable international economic order. It has been an active member of the Group of 77, and later the core group of the G-15 nations. Other issues, such as environmentally sustainable development and the promotion and protection of human rights, have also been an important focus of India's foreign policy in international forums. See more

World Trade Organization

Described by WTO chief Pascal Lamy as one of the organization's "big brothers",[243] India was instrumental in bringing down the Doha round of talks in 2008.[244] It has played an important role of representing as many as 100 developing nations during WTO summits.[245]

SAARC

Certain aspects of India's relations within the subcontinent are conducted through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Its members are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Established in 1985, SAARC encourages cooperation in agriculture, rural development, science and technology, culture, health, population control, narcotics control and anti-terrorism.

SAARC has intentionally stressed these "core issues" and avoided more divisive political issues, although political dialogue is often conducted on the margins of SAARC meetings. In 1993, India and its SAARC partners signed an agreement to gradually lower tariffs within the region. Forward movement in SAARC has come to a standstill because of the tension between India and Pakistan, and the SAARC Summit originally scheduled for, but not held in, November 1999 has not been rescheduled. The Fourteenth SAARC Summit was held during 3–4 April 2007 in New Delhi.

International disputes

India's territorial disputes with neighboring Pakistan and People's Republic of China have played a crucial role in its foreign policy. India is also involved in minor territorial disputes with neighboring Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives. India currently maintains two manned stations in Antarctica but has made some unofficial territorial claims, which are yet to be clarified.

India is involved in the following international disputes:

Bangladesh

  • 6.5 km of the border between India and Bangladesh remains to be demarcated.
  • Ongoing discussions with Bangladesh to exchange 162 minuscule enclaves between the two.

Nepal

  • Kalapani village of India is claimed by Nepal and Nawalparasi district of Nepal is claimed by India.

The dispute between India and Nepal involves about 75 km2 (29 sq mi) of area in Kalapani, where China, India, and Nepal meet. Indian forces occupied the area in 1962 after China and India fought their border war. Three villages are located in the disputed zone: Kuti [Kuthi, 30°19'N, 80°46'E], Gunji, and Knabe. India and Nepal disagree about how to interpret the 1816 Sugauli treaty between the British East India Company and Nepal, which delimited the boundary along the Maha Kali River (Sarda River in India). The dispute intensified in 1997 as the Nepali parliament considered a treaty on hydro-electric development of the river. India and Nepal differ as to which stream constitutes the source of the river. Nepal regards the Limpiyadhura as the source; India claims the Lipu Lekh. Nepal has reportedly tabled an 1856 map from the British India Office to support its position. The countries have held several meetings about the dispute and discussed jointly surveying to resolve the issue.[246] Although the Indo-Nepali dispute appears to be minor, it was aggravated in 1962 by tensions between China and India. Because the disputed area lies near the Sino-Indian frontier, it gains strategic value.[247]

Maldives

  • Some in the Maldives claim that Minicoy Island is Maldivian; although there is no official Maldivian claim to the atoll.[248] In addition, Maldives and India have made arrangements to allow Maldivians to travel directly to Minicoy without a visa. The Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development, which was signed by former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his recent visit to the Maldives, includes an article on establishing a transport network between the Maldives and Minicoy.

The earlier policy required Maldivians to get a visa from New Delhi before boarding a ferry en route to Minicoy from India's Kochi. The Government of the Maldives has stressed that the ferry service to be established between Kulhudhuffushi in Haa Dhaal atoll and Minicoy will also allow cargo to be transported between the Maldives and Minicoy. President Nasheed also expressed hope to start a regular passenger cargo ferry service between the Maldives and Minicoy in the near future.[249]

Pakistan

Indus and tributaries

People's Republic of China

Two regions are claimed by both India and China. Aksai Chin is in the disputed territory of Kashmir, at the junction of India, Tibet and Azad Kashmir. India claims the 38,000-square-kilometre territory, currently administered by China. India also considers the cessation of Shaksam Valley to China by Pakistan as illegal and a part of its territory. Arunachal Pradesh is a state of India in the country's northeast, bordering on Bhutan, Burma and China. Though it is under Indian administration, China calls the 90,000-square-kilometre area as South Tibet. Also the boundary between the North Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal with China's Tibet is not properly demarcated with some portions under de facto administration of India.[250]

Look East Policy

In the post cold war era, a significant aspect of India's foreign policy is the Look East Policy. During the cold war, India's relations with its South East Asian neighbours was not very strong. After the end of the cold war, the government of India particularly realised the importance of redressing this imbalance in India's foreign policy. Consequently, the Narsimha Rao government in the early nineties of the last century unveiled the look east policy. Initially it focused on renewing political and economic contacts with the countries of East and South-East Asia.

At present, under the Look East Policy, the Government of India is giving special emphasis on the economic development of backward north eastern region of India taking advantage of huge market of ASEAN as well as of the energy resources available in some of the member countries of ASEAN like Burma.[251] Look-east policy was launched in 1992 just after the end of the cold war, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After the start of liberalization, it was a very strategic policy decision taken by the government in the foreign policy. To quote Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "it was also a strategic shift in India's vision of the world and India's place in the evolving global economy".

The policy was given an initial thrust with the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao visiting China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Singapore and India becoming an important dialogue partner with ASEAN in 1992. Since the beginning of this century, India has given a big push to this policy by becoming a summit level partner of ASEAN (2002) and getting involved in some regional initiatives such as the BIMSTEC and the Ganga–Mekong Cooperation and now becoming a member of the East Asia Summit (EAS) in December, 2005.[252]

India – ASEAN

India's interaction with ASEAN in the cold war era was very limited. India declined to get associated with ASEAN in the 1960s when full membership was offered even before the grouping was formed.[252]

It is only with the formulation of the Look-East policy in the last decade (1992), India had started giving this region due importance in the foreign policy. India became a sectoral dialogue partner with ASEAN in 1992, a full dialogue partner in 1995, a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1996, and a summit level partner (on par with China, Japan and Korea) in 2002.

The first India-ASEAN Business Summit was held at New Delhi in October 2002. The then Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee addressed this meet and since then this business summit has become an annual feature before the India-ASEAN Summits, as a forum for networking and exchange of business experiences between policy makers and business leaders from ASEAN and India.

Four India-ASEAN Summits, first in 2002 at Phnom Penh (Cambodia), second in 2003 at Bali (Indonesia), third in 2004 at Vientiane (Laos) and the fourth in 2005 at Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), have taken place till date.

The following agreements have been entered into with ASEAN:

  • Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (for establishing a FTA in a time frame of 10 years) was concluded in Bali in 2003.
  • An ASEAN-India Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism has been adopted.
  • India has acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in 2003, on which ASEAN was formed initially (in 1967).
  • Agreement on "India-ASEAN Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity" was signed at the 3rd ASEAN-India Summit in Nov 2004.
  • Setting up of Entrepreneurship Development Centres in ASEAN member states – Cambodia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam. (The one in Laos is already functional)

The following proposals were announced by the Prime Minister at the 4th ASEAN-India Summit:

  • Setting up centres for English Language Training (ELT) in Cambodia, Laos, Burma and Vietnam.
  • Setting up a tele-medicine and tele-education network for Cambodia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam.
  • Organising special training courses for diplomats from ASEAN countries.
  • Organising an India-ASEAN Technology Summit in 2006.
  • Organising education fairs and road shows in ASEAN countries.
  • Conducting an India-ASEAN IT Ministerial and Industry Forum in 2006.

The ASEAN region has an abundance of natural resources and significant technological skills. These provide a natural base for the integration between ASEAN and India in both trade and investment. The present level of bilateral trade with ASEAN of nearly US $ 18 billion is reportedly increasing by about 25% per year. India hopes to reach the level of US $ 30 billion by 2007. India is also improving its relations with the help of other policy decisions like offers of lines of credit, better connectivity through air (open skies policy), rail and road links.[252]

Further reading

  • Cohen, Stephen P., and Sunil Dasgupta. Arming Without Aiming: India's Military Modernization (2010) excerpt and text search
  • Ganguly, Sumit. India's Foreign Policy: Retrospect and Prospect (2012)
  • Guha, Ramachandra. India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Jain, B. M. Global Power: India's Foreign Policy, 1947-2006 (2009)
  • Kust, Matthew J. Foreign Enterprise in India: Laws and Policies (2011)
  • Malone, David. Does the Elephant Dance?: Contemporary Indian Foreign Policy (2011) excerpt and text search
  • Muni, S. D. India's Foreign Policy: The Democracy Dimension (2009)
  • Schaffer, Teresita C. India and the United States in the 21st Century: Reinventing Partnership (2009)

See also

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External links


India–Israel relations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Indo-Israeli relations
Map indicating locations of India and Israel



India

Israel

Indo-Israeli relations refers to the bilateral ties between the Republic of India and the State of Israel. The two countries enjoy an extensive economic, military and strategic relationship.[1]

After decades of non-aligned and pro-Arab policy, India formally established relations with Israel in January 1992 and ties between the two nations have flourished since, primarily due to common strategic interests and security threats. Formation of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) allegedly neglected the sentiments of Indian Muslims and blocking of India by Pakistan from joining OIC is considered to be the cause of diplomatic shift.[2][3][4] One multi-national study revealed India to be the most pro-Israel nation.[5] On a diplomatic level, both the countries have managed to maintain healthy relations despite India's repeated strong condemnations of Israeli military actions in Palestinian territories, which are believed by analysts to be motivated by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's desire for Muslim votes in India.[6]

India is the largest customer of Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second-largest military partner of India after the Russian Federation. As of 2009, the military business between the two nations is worth around US$9 billion.[7] Military and strategic ties between the two nations extend to joint military training[8] and space technology.[9] India is Israel's largest defense market, accounting for almost fifty percent of Israeli sales.[10]

India is also the second-largest Asian economic partner of Israel.[11] In 2010, bilateral trade, excluding military sales, stood at US $4.7 billion.[12] Currently, the two nations are negotiating an extensive bilateral free trade pact, focusing on areas such as information technology, biotechnology and agriculture.[13]

Contents

History

Bene Israel, a group of Jews from India who migrated in the nineteenth century to Israel.

India's position on the creation of Israel was affected by its own partition on religious lines. Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi opposed the creation of Israel as he was against the creation of countries based on religion.[14] India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru supported the creation of Israel.[15] Although India did not subscribe to the Partitioning of Palestine plan of 1947 and voted against Israel's admission in the United Nations in 1949, it did recognize Israel as a nation in 1950.[15] In a statement in 1954, Nehru said he would not "be a party to a resolution which stated that the creation of Israel was a violation of international law". He also wrote a letter to Frances Gunther expressing his support for the general Jewish behavior in Palestine.[16]

Various Hindu nationalist organizations, led by the Sangh Parivar, supported the Jewish cause and the creation of Israel.[17] Hindu nationalist politician Vinayak Damodar Savarkar supported Israel when it was created and viewed its creation as "joyous" and condemned India's vote at the UN against Israel.[18] According to Subhash Kapila, the opposition to the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel during the 1960s and 1970s arose from the Congress Party's desire to appease the Muslims in India as well as to continue the foreign policies of the Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi era.[15] Sushma Swaraj (Bharatiya Janata Party leader, and leader of opposition of the 15th Lok Sabha) said that Israel is a reliable partner, and that the current government acknowledged it.[19]

India established official relations with Israel in 1991, although informal ties had existed previously, involving such figures as Moshe Dayan.[20] Israel provided India with crucial information during its multiple wars.[21]

Diplomatic visits

Israeli and Indian flags in New Delhi during Ariel Sharon's visit, September 2003

In 2000 Jaswant Singh became the first Indian foreign minister to visit Israel.[22] Following the visit, the two countries set up a joint anti-terror commission. The foreign ministers of the two countries said intensified cooperation would range from counter terrorism to information technology.[23][24]

In 2003 Ariel Sharon was the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit India. He was welcomed by the center-right wing Bharatiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance coalition government of India.[25] Several newspapers expressed positive views on his visit, and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee voiced confidence that Sharon's visit would pave the way for further consolidating bilateral ties.[26] Sharon's visit was condemned in leftist[27] and Muslim circles.[28] Hundreds of supporters of India's various pro-Islamic and communist parties rallied in New Delhi. Nearly 100 Muslims were arrested.[28] Students of Aligarh Muslim University demanded that India sever ties with Israel and increase ties with Palestine.[29] The Hindi-language daily Navbharat Times called Sharon "an important friend of India." The Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) condemned the protest against Sharon.[30][31] RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said: The entire world acknowledges that Israel has effectively and ruthlessly countered terror in the Middle East. Since India and Israel are both fighting a war against terrorism, therefore, we should learn a lesson or two from them. We need to have close cooperation with them in this field.He further point out the role of Islamic Universities in India in increasing the Muslim terrorism and praised Israel for successfully combating against the Islamic Terrorism and urge Indian government to deal with Islamic Terrorism in the same manner.[30][31] The RSS newspaper Panchjanya described the visit as an opportunity to get closer to Israel and fight terrorism jointly.[30][31] Sharon expressed satisfaction over his talks with Indian leaders. Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said the visit would increase ties between India and Israel.[32] Sharon invited Vajpayee to visit Israel.[33] Sharon said that Israelis "regard India to be one of the most important countries in the world," and Vajpayee was sure that Sharon's visit would bring the two states closer together.[28]

In early 2006 Indian government ministers Sharad Pawar, Kapil Sibal and Kamal Nath visited Israel.[34] Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has also visited Israel.[35]

Refusing to budge under the pressure from extremist Islamic Groups and pro-Muslim Communists Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna visited Israel, Israel PM called this visit by Indian Foreign Minister a historical step forward in developing the relations between the two friendly countries.[36][37]

Military and strategic ties

India and Israel have increased cooperation in military and intelligence ventures since the establishment of diplomatic relations. The rise of Islamic terrorism in both countries have generated a solid strategic alliance between the two.[38] India recently launched a military satellite for Israel through its Indian Space Research Organisation.[39]

In 1997, Israel's President Ezer Weizman became the first head of the Jewish state to visit India. He met with Indian President Shankar Dayal Sharma, Vice President K.R. Narayanan and Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda. Weizman negotiated the first weapons deal between the two nations, involving the purchase of Barak 1 vertically-launched surface-to-air (SAM) missiles from Israel. The Barak-1 has the ability to intercept anti-ship missiles such as the Harpoon.[40] The purchase of the Barak-1 missiles from Israel by India was a tactical necessity since Pakistan had purchased Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft and 27 Harpoon sea-skimming anti-ship missiles from the United States.[40] Israel was one of the selected few nations, a group that also included France and Russia, that did not condemn India's 1998 Pokhran-II nuclear tests.[41]

In naval terms, Israel sees great strategic value in an alliance with the Indian Navy, given India's dominance of South Asian waters. Since the Mediterranean has a dominant Arab and European presence that is hostile to the Israeli Navy in varying degrees, it thus sees the potential of establishing a logistical infrastructure in the Indian Ocean with the cooperation of the Indian Navy. In 2000, Israeli submarines reportedly conducted test launches of cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads in the waters of the Indian Ocean, off the Sri Lankan coast.[38]

In 1996, India purchased 32 IAI Searcher unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Electronic Support Measure sensors and an Air Combat Manoeuvering Instrumentation simulator system from Israel.[40] Since then Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has serviced several large contracts with the Indian Air Force including the upgrading of the IAF's Russian-made MiG-21 ground attack aircraft and there have been further sales of unmanned aerial vehicles as well as laser-guided bombs.[42]

A Rediff story in 2003 revealed that the Indian external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had clandestine links with the Mossad, Israel's external intelligence agency. When R&AW was founded in 1968 by Rameshwar Nath Kao, he was advised by the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to cultivate links with Mossad. This was suggested as a countermeasure to military links between that of a hostile Pakistan and China, as well as with North Korea. Israel was also concerned that Pakistani army officers were training Libyans and Iranians in handling Chinese and North Korean military equipment.[43]

Pakistan feared intelligence relations between India and Israel threatened Pakistani security. When young Israeli tourists began visiting the Kashmir valley in the early nineties, Pakistan suspected they were disguised Israeli army officers there to help Indian security forces with counter-terrorism operations. Israeli tourists were attacked, with one slain and another kidnapped. Pressure from the Kashmiri Muslim diaspora in the United States led to his release.[43]

Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd signed a $2.5 billion deal with India in 2007 to develop an anti-aircraft system and missiles for the country, in the biggest defense contract in the history of Israel at the time. IAI CEO Yitzhak Nissan visited India to finalize the agreement with heads of the defense establishment and the country's president. IAI is developing the Barak 8 missile for the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force which is capable of protecting sea vessels and ground facilities from aircraft and cruise missiles. The missile has a range of over 70 kilometres. The missile will replace the current obsolete Russian system used by India.[44]

On November 10, 2008, Indian military officials visited Israel to discuss joint weapons development projects, additional sales of Israeli equipment to the Indian military, and counter-terrorism strategies. The new round of talks was seen as a significant expansion in the Indian-Israeli strategic partnership.[45]

In 2008, Israel surpassed Russia as the largest arms supplier to India.[46]

In December 2009, Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Chief of Staff of the Israel Defence Forces, made a historic state visit to India to cement the defense ties between the two countries. He pledged every help to India in fighting terrorism.[47][48][49][50]

In March 2011, defense news reported that India is about to buy 8356 Israeli Spike anti-tank missiles, 321 launchers, 15 training simulators and peripheral equipments, for a $1 billion deal, with Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems[51][52]

Trade agreements

The Israeli headquarters of the State Bank of India, located in Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv District.

Bilateral trade, which was at $200 million in 2001, grew to $4.1 billion by 2009, excluding defense trade. This includes manufacturing, satellite launch, agriculture and diamond industries. In 2008, PBEL, a joint venture of two Israeli real estate firms and an Indian developer, announced an investment of $1 billion in real estate projects in India. The plan is to build 10,000,000 square feet (930,000 m2) of world-class residential and business space in three cities.[53] A formal free trade agreement was on progress as of 2010 for a two way agreement that would give Indian industries access to the Israeli high technology sector, and Israel access to Indian domestic market.[54] This is a step ahead of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) that a Joint Study Group (JSG) set up by the two countries had recommended to improve trade ties. It is estimated that bilateral trade would exceed $12 billion in 5 years with this trade agreement. The current areas that are to be given focus are software, communication, homeland security, science and medicine, bio and agro-technologies, water.[55][56] India's commerce minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia, visited Israel in February 2010 to discuss a free-trade agreement. He met with Israeli president Shimon Peres; Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, and representatives of Israel's water technology and high-tech industries. During the visit, Peres offered New Delhi his country's complete cooperation in the fight against terror saying, "India's security is as important to Israel as its own" [57][58]

Science and technology collaboration

India is building closer ties with Israel in the areas of nanotechnology, information technology, water technology and biotechnology.[59] In 1998, the Indo-Israel Joint Symposium on Human Genome was held in Jerusalem. Subsequently, as a follow up to the symposium, a call for joint research proposals on Human Genome was issued in July 1999 for which 11 proposals were received. Out of these, 6 research projects have been recommended for implementation.[60] Another Indo-Israel status seminar on human Genome Research was organized in India on December 2000.[61] In 1999-2000, Israel and India were involved in 22 joint research projects.[62] Scientists from both countries visited the laboratories of their collaborators and short term exchange visits were organized.[60][63] The Indo-Israel Joint Committee of scientists was constituted with the DST (Department of Science and Technology)and India as Co-chairmen with representatives from various research organizations in India and the Ministry of Information Technology as members. The 4th Meeting of the joint committee was held in the first week of November 1999 in Jerusalem, attended by a 3 member Indian delegation.[60]

In 2003, Israel's Minister for Science and Technology said that Israel was interested in strengthening science and technology ties with India considering that the latter had a rich base of scientists and technologists and the two countries could benefit by synergising their activities.[63] In 2003, the two countries proposed to double the investment under the ongoing science and technology collaboration to $1 million with $0.5 million from each country in the next biennial period starting October 2004.[63]

In 2004, the Ministry of Science and Technology in India signed an MoU with Israel for jointly funding industrial R&D projects.[64]

In an agreement signed on May 30, 2005, India and Israel pledged to set up a fund to encourage investment and joint industrial ventures. According to the Press Trust of India, there are five priority areas for enhanced collaboration: nanotechnology, biotechnology, water management, alternative energy, and space and aeronautics. India and Israel will each start by contributing US$1 million to provide risk-free grants to entrepreneurs in the two countries.[65] India purchased 50 Israeli drones for $220 million in 2005.[66] India was considering buying the newer Harop drone.[67] India is also in the process of obtaining missile-firing Hermes 450s.

In 2008, Israel and India finalised a three-year plan to introduce crops such as olives, dates and grapes to be introduced and cultivated in the states of Rajasthan and Maharashtra, to create an agricultural market that meets Western demand for products like olive oil. In addition to the hope that this plan would boost yield and stave off famine, officials presented the project as symbolic.[68]

In August 2012, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding for launching a programme for promoting collaborative research across a wide range of disciplines from medical and information technology to social sciences, humanities and arts. The programme will run for five years. [69]

Space collaboration

Israel's Minister for Science and Technology has expressed interest in collaborating with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) towards utilizing satellites for better management of land and other resources. Israel has also expressed interest in participating in ISRO's Chandrayaan mission of sending an unmanned craft to the moon.[63] A Memorandum of Understanding, signed by ISRO and Israel's space agency, provides for cooperation in multiple areas of space science and technology[70]

Israel's TecSAR radar satellite was launched by India on 22 January 2008.[71][72] The Indian PSLV launch-vehicle was chosen instead of its own home grown Shavit rocket.[73] This was due to the cost of the PSLV, $15 million compared to the Shavit at $20 million.[74] Tecsar is an Israeli spy satellite, primarily meant to monitor Iran's military activities.[75]

In March 2009, India launched the RISAT-2 satellite which is based on the technology employed in Israel's TecSAR. The satellite has the capability to take high resolution images at night and can carry out reconnaissance operations even through a dense cloud cover. Most Indian satellites currently in operation lack these capabilities. The decision to purchase the satellite was taken in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[76] The 300 kilogram RISAT-2 was successfully launched by India's PSLV rocket in April 2009.[77]

A spokesman of the Indian Space Research Organization said that RISAT-2 is an Indian satellite built with assistance from Israel.[9] India is also developing its own, indigenous version of RISAT-2, capable of taking images through clouds and at night.[78] It was launched in late 2009.[79]

Bihar development bid

Israel's ambassador to India Alon Ushpiz said in August 2012, following a meeting with Bihar (Indian state) chief minister Nitish Kumar, that he looks forward to increasing cooperation with the Indian state Bihar in the fields of agriculture, solar energy, water harnessing, and health insurance. In adition, cooperation in the energy sector between Bihar and Israel would be increased, especially in regards to solar energy. Uhspiz said:

"We have certain technologies which we can use here to increase productivity... Bihar is an integral part of our plans in agriculture and we will try to go the extra bit for the state... Your country is huge and has very fertile land, while we are very small and do not have much water or land. So, we use technology. We employ techniques for water management, improving water quality, including purification of water etc. We have the lowest percentage of water leakage in the world - about 12% - and we use 75% of our sewerage water.[80]

Israel centres of excellence

In September 2012, Israel's consul-general Orna Sagiv attended the four-day Agritech-Asia business summit, and noted that 3/28 Israel centres of excellence (COE) which will be set up across India will be hosted in Gujarat. Sagiv said that two COEs in Gujarat will be dedicated for growing mangoes in Gir, while the third COE will raise awareness regarding post-harvest treatment of date palms and bananas. Sagiv said that "the COE is a complete government-to-government engagement with no-profit motive.. Drip irrigation using recycled water is what we practise in Israel, while water from desalination plant is supplied to houses. It is this philosophy that we want to share with Gujarat."[81]

Cultural ties

In April–May 2011, renowned Indian artists from India flew to Israel to participate in a three-week-long cultural festival commemorating 20 years of Indo-Israel diplomatic relations. According to India's ambassador to Israel, Navtej Sarna, "the idea is to bring the entirety of India, showcasing the multi-layered nature of the country, and to mainstream it into the Israeli society...It will lead to greater understanding of each others culture, mindset and impact on all aspects of bilateral relationship.".[82] According to a multi-national study conducted by an international market research company, India was found to be the most pro-Israeli nation.[83]

Tourism

More than 40,000 Israelis, mostly youth, after finishing their military service, visit India annually.[82] Many Israelis visit the Himalayas, Old Manali, Vashisht, Naggar, Kasol and the villages surrounding Dharamsala.[84] Even shops and public transport vehicles in the Kullu Valley, sport Hebrew signs.[84] The number of tourists from India visiting Israel touched 20,000 in the year 2007.[85] By 2010, India replaced Korea as the top source market for Israel from Asia with 41,000 tourist arrivals.[86] Indian tourists were also the biggest spenders in Israel with an average of $1,364, outranking the average tourist expenditure in Israel of $1,091.[87][88]

In September 2011, Stas Misezhnikov, Tourism Minister of Israel and Union Tourism Minister, Shri Subodh Kant Sahai, met in Delhi and decided to collaborate in the sphere of destination management and promotion, as well as manpower development. Also discussed were an exchange program for teachers and students, and the exchange of information on teaching modules.[89] 40,000 Indians visited Israel in 2011, double the number of visitors in 2009. [90]

Interfaith relations

In August 2007, a delegation of the All India Organisation of Imams and Mosques led by Maulana Jamil Ilyas visited Israel. The Israel visit followed a trip by Jewish rabbis to Delhi for an inter-faith meeting.[91] Maulana Ilyas said

We are coming with the message of peace and goodwill from Indian Muslims who believe in the Indian tradition of resolving issues through dialogue and peaceful means," said Ilyasi, who is the leader of 500,000 imams across India. Our visit to Israel will be historical in terms of developing a dialogue between Judaism and Islam in the Indian subcontinent, where more than 40 percent of the world's Muslim population lives. Interaction with both Palestinian and Jewish sisters and brothers and their religious leadership will lay a solid foundation for future engagement.[91]

Ilyasi claimed Israel treats Muslims better than India does: "I was pleasantly surprised to know that the Sharia (Islamic law) is being supported by the Israeli government; whereas, in India, only local Muslims implement it. That is unique." Ilyasi was apparently referring to the existence of government-sanctioned Islamic courts in the Israeli justice system, which handle marriage, divorce and conversion issues for Muslim Israelis. Similar religious courts exist for Jews and Christians.[92] The visit was organised by the American Jewish Council. The visit was touted as a dialogue of democracies.[93] The world's first Jewish-Hindu interfaith leadership summit, spearheaded by Hindu organizations in India and Jewish organizations in Israel, as well as the American Jewish Committee, was held in New Delhi on February 2007. The chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, was actively involved in the dialogue, together with Swami Dayanand Saraswati. They stated that "The Jewish and Hindu communities are committed to the ancient traditions of Judaism and Hindu dharma respectively, and have both, in their own ways, gone through the painful experiences of persecution, oppression and destruction."[94] Mertzger quoted:

"For thousands of years we have marched on parallel causes and have now built bridges of cooperation between the two religions. Jews have lived in India for over 2000 years and have never been discriminated against. This is something unparalleled in human history".[95]

A second Hindu-Jewish summit took place in Jerusalem in February 2008. There, the Jewish delegation accepted that true Hindus accept One Supreme Being and do not think that the representations used in worship are idols.[96] Despite snowy weather in Jerusalem, the Hindu delegation visited and said their prayers at the Kotel, also known as the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites for Jews.[97]

In June 2009, another Hindu-Jewish interfaith meet was held in New York and Washington. The International Hindu-Jewish Leadership Dialogue was hosted by the American Jewish Committee, the Hindu American Foundation, and the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha and was sponsored by the World Council of Religious Leaders. It began with a lunch and presentations amid saffron-robed swamis, dark-suited rabbis, and Hindu lay leaders wearing lapel pins combining the Israeli, Indian, and American flags.[96]

Bnei Menashe

The Bnei Menashe ("Children of Menasseh", Hebrew בני מנשה) are a group of more than 8,000 people from India's remote North-Eastern border states of Manipur and Mizoram who claim descent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel. On March 31, 2005 Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar, one of Israel's two chief rabbis, accepted the Bnei Menashe's claim because of their exemplary devotion to Judaism. His decision was significant because it paved the way for all of the Bnei Menashe to enter Israel under Israel's Law of Return. In the past two decades, some 1,300 Bnei Menashe have moved to Israel. Indian Jews including the Bnei Menashe have never suffered anti-Semitism in India, but they regard Israel as their homeland and decided to emigrate "on Zionist considerations." [98]

See also

References

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External links

International reaction to the Gaza War

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Protest against the war in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Protest against the war in London, UK.

International reaction to the Gaza War came from many countries and international organisations. International reaction to the conflict was also notable in the level of civilian demonstrations all around the world, which in many cases displayed sentiment significantly different from the official government line.[1][2][3]

Contents

Long term effects and reaction

In the aftermath of the crisis, observers suggested Israel's diplomatic position and foreign reputation had been permanently tainted. The New York Times reported in March that Israel was "facing its worst diplomatic crisis in two decades."[4] Other effects on Israel included: Its sports teams met hostility and violent protests in Sweden, Spain and Turkey. Mauritania closed Israel's embassy. Relations with Turkey, an important Muslim ally, deteriorated severely. A group of top international judges and human rights investigators called for an inquiry into Israel's actions in Gaza. "Israel Apartheid Week" drew participants in 54 cities around the world in March 2009, twice the number of last year, according to its organisers. "And even in the American Jewish community...there is a chill."[5]

Official reactions

Involved parties

 Israel|| Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said "we tried to avoid, and I think quite successfully, to hit any uninvolved people - we attacked only targets that are part of the Hamas organisations".[6]

 Palestine Hamas flag2.png Hamas|| Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas' leader in Gaza, called Israel's attacks an "ugly massacre".[6] The leader of Hamas in Damascus, Khaled Meshal, threatened revenge attacks, saying "the time for the Third Intifada has come".[7]

President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attacks and called for restraint.[6] President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Hamas for triggering Israel's deadly raids on Gaza by not extending a six-month truce with Israel.[8] Speaking from Cairo on December 28, 2008, he said that 'we ask[ed] [Hamas] … not [to] end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop so that we could have avoided what happened'.[9] Later he called Israeli attacks "barbaric and criminal aggression", and threatened to cut off negotiations with Israel.[10]

Fathi Abu Moughli, the Palestinian minister of health, abruptly cut off the payments to Israeli hospitals for treatment of Palestinian patients, forcing hundreds of Palestinians to halt their treatments and cutting them off from proper medical care.[11][12][13]

United Nations

The United Nations Security Council issued a statement on December 28, 2008 calling, "for an immediate halt to all violence",[14][15] the Arab League,[16] and the European Union made similar calls,[17] as did Argentina, Brazil, China, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam.[14] Libya pushed to issue a Security Council Resolution urging for a cease-fire, an effort which the US blocked, citing the failure of the statement made December 28.[18][19]

On January 9, 2009, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1860 calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and a full Israeli withdrawal by 14 votes to one abstention (the United States), even though US diplomats had been involved in its drafting.[20] Israel and Hamas both ignored calls for a ceasefire.[21]

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution ES-10/18 on January 16, 2009, calling for support of Security Council Resolution 1860. Only 3 countries (Israel, United States, Nauru) voted against the Resolution.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate ceasefire and condemned both Israel and Hamas.[22]

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, has called for independent investigations into possible war crimes committed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.[23]

International Organisations

Non-governmental organisations

Countries

International reaction to the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict
  Israel-Gaza
  States that endorsed the Israeli position/defined Israel's action as falling within its right to defense.
  States that condemned Hamas action only.
  States that endorsed the Hamas position/defined Hamas' actions as falling within its right of resistance.
  States that condemned Israeli action only.
  States that called for an end to hostilities, and condemned neither/both belligerents.
  States that made no official statement on the conflict.

Most of the world condemned both belligerents, or neither of them, and simply called for peace or expressed concern for civilian casualties.

35 states condemned Israel's attacks exclusively. Three of them expressed support for Hamas' operations or defined them as falling within its right of resistance. Bolivia, Mauritania, Qatar, and Venezuela significantly downscaled or severed their relations with Israel in protest of the offensive.

19 states, mostly in the western world, condemned Hamas' attacks exclusively. 13 of them expressed support for Israel's operations or defined them as falling within Israel's right to self-defense.

For detailed diplomatic responses, refer to the table below.

Other sovereign entities

Others

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has warned that there was a possibility of renewing another conflict. He stated that he was ready for another confrontation with Israel and had previously put all his fighters in the Israeli-Lebanese border on high alert.[253]

Religious leaders

South African Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said Israel's bombardment of Gaza "bears all the hallmarks of war crimes. In the context of total aerial supremacy, in which one side in a conflict deploys lethal aircraft against opponents with no means of defending themselves, the bombardment bears all the hallmarks of war crimes." The attacks would not contribute to the security of Israel, he said.[254]

Iraqi Shia leader Ali al-Sistani, has called for decisive action by Arab and Muslim states for an end to Israeli attacks on Gaza. Though he condemned the operation, he stated that "supporting our brothers only with words is meaningless, considering the big tragedy they are facing."[255]

Humanitarian aid

Civilian demonstrations and protests

Demonstrations in San Francisco.
"Peace for the people of Israel and Gaza", a Pro-Israel London rally, Jan 11, 2009

Major protests against Israel were held worldwide.[256][257] Protesters in London, Paris, Oslo, and other cities clashed with the police.[258][259] Throughout the West Bank, daily demonstrations were held against the Israeli attacks. Some demonstrations developed to "violent" clashes between stone throwers and Israeli security forces. At least two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank during protests against the offensive on Gaza: On January 4, a man among a crowd in Qalqilya who clashed with Israeli forces was shot dead, while on January 16, a teenager died after being shot in the head during a demonstration in Hebron.[260][261] The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR) reported that between January 15 and January 21, 36 others, including 16 children, were wounded by Israeli forces in the West Bank in various protests against the offensive.[262] There were global isolated attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets,.[263][264] Over 300 Israeli websites were hacked and defaced with anti-Israeli and anti-US messages during the first days of the conflict.[265][266] In France, anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim attacks spiked after December 27.[267] and similar increase in attacks happened in the United Kingdom and Sweden.[268]

A rally against Israeli operations held in Melbourne, Australia.
Pro-Israel demonstration in Berlin, Germany (11.01.2009).

On January 10, a new wave of protests were held in Europe. In London, an estimated 100,000 people protested against the Israeli attacks. Further protests were held across Europe.[269][270] Nearly 10,000 gathered in New York City on January 11 to support Israel.[271] In the United States, a McClatchy / Ipsos poll showed that 44% of the general public favored the Israeli operation,[272] while a CNN poll showed that 63% thought Israeli military operation was justified.[273] CNN also reported that 75% of Republicans and 52% of Democrats held this view, though Newsweek found 55% of Republicans and 45% of Democrats approved of Israeli actions.[274] In the Jewish community, the ADL showed that 79% felt the Israeli response was appropriate.[275]

Many demonstrations against the strikes occurred in cities around the world,[256] and in Israel protests both for and against the strikes were held.[276][277] In Egypt, the protests caused the government to reopen the Rafah border crossing to allow the delivery of food and medicine to the Gaza Strip.[278]

The largest protest, of up to a million people, was held at a government organised event in Damascus on January 7.[279] On December the 10th, a new wave of protests were held in Europe. In London, 50,000 people marched to the Israeli embassy - the largest ever pro-Palestinian demonstration in the UK. In Paris 30,000 people marched with banners reading 'We are all children of Gaza'. Further protests were held across Europe.[280][281]

The Israeli peace movement Gush Shalom condemned the war;[282] they marched in Tel-Aviv in a massive demonstration.[283]

Demonstrations condemning the Israeli offensive

Israeli supporters in Santiago, Chile.

Protests were held in the following cities. A number of student 'sit-in's were also organised, calling upon university authorities to condemn the Israeli bombing of educational institutions in Gaza.

Note: The table can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the "><" icon. Size figures are according to police estimates. Other estimates are noted in the "Notes" box.

Demonstrations supporting Israel

Note: The table can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the "><" icon.

Demonstrations calling for peace

Note: The table can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the "><" icon.

Artists' response

Songs

  • In January 2009 Syrian-American singer-songwriter Michael Heart composed and released a song in support of the Palestinian civilian victims of the Israeli war in Gaza, titled "We Will Not Go Down (Song For Gaza)", which gained popularity on sites like YouTube, internet blogs and forums.[484] The official YouTube video of the song was viewed over 1 million times within a month of its release;[485] the recording of the song was broadcast on radio and television in many countries along with blogs and websites[486][487][488] worldwide and it was chanted in many demonstrations in cities ranging from Sydney, Australia to London, England.[489] The Palestine Argentine Delegation Embassy website also put the song with lyrics on its page.[490] Heart made the mp3 of the song freely downloadable from his official website, which he reports has been downloaded over 500,000 times, encouraging the listeners to make a donation to UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).[491] Though musically praised around the world, the song received some political criticism from the Israeli camp.[484]

Theatre plays

  • Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza is a controversial six-page, 10-minute play by British playwright and a co-patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign Caryl Churchill, written in response to the Gaza War, and first performed at London's Royal Court Theatre on 6 February 2009. Churchill has said that anyone wishing to produce it may do so gratis, so long as they hold a collection for the people of Gaza at the end. consists of seven scenes spread over roughly seventy years, in which Jewish adults discuss what, or whether, their children should be told about certain events in recent Jewish history that the play alludes to only indirectly.

Short plays written in response to Seven Jewish Children

See also

References

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