[Model Answer] UPSC GSM2: Diplomacy- Modi’s De-hyphenation Policy vs Nehru’s NAM Policy (250 words, 15 Marks)

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Majid Hussain
  1. Mock Question for UPSC Mains GS2/IR
  2. Introduction (Define De-hyphenation Policy)
    1. Body#1: Similarities between Nehru & Modi’s Foreign Policies
    2. Body#2: Differences between Nehru’s NAM & Modi’s De-hyphen
  3. Conclusion (both good in their own merits)
  4. Mistakes and Self-Assessment Benchmarks (SAB)

Mock Question for UPSC Mains GS2/IR

  • Compare and contrast PM Modi’s ‘De-hyphenation foreign policy’ with PM Nehru’s ‘Non-Alignment policy. (250 words, 15 marks)
  • प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी की बिन-योजक विदेश नीति तथा प्रधानमंत्री नहेरु की गुटनिरपेक्षता नीति के बीच समानता व् भेद स्पष्ट कीजिए.
  • Relevance to UPSC GSM2-Syllabus? International Relations (IR)

Introduction (Define De-hyphenation Policy)

  • PM Modi’s De-hyphenation policy involves engaging separately with two countries having acrimonious relations with each other, without trying to balance each and every move or looking at both of them through same prism.
  • For example, PM Modi became the first Indian PM to visit Israel, and signed defense deals. Previous prime ministers had avoided personally visiting Israel, due to its perceived impact on India’s relationship with Arab nations as well as on domestic politics.
  • India has an embassy in China. Simultaneously, India ties with the representative office of Taiwan, whereas many nations have completely cut-off diplomatic, cultural and commercial ties with Taiwan, to avoid the anger/displeasure of 11th Jingping China.

De-hyphenation Policy Foreign Policy Modi Israel Nehru

Body#1: Similarities between Nehru & Modi’s Foreign Policies

Nehru’s NAM Policy Modi’s De-hyphen Policy
  • Focus on Afro-Asian unity and South-South cooperation for de-colonization. (उपनिवेशवाद का अंत लाने के लिए)
Focus on Afro-Asian unity and South-South cooperation is still there, but in context of:

  1. International treaties at UNFCCC, WTO etc. to resists the unilateral emission and tariff norms imposed by the West.
  2. Countering the Belt-road-initiative of China.
  3. Gaining permanent seat at UN security council.
  • 1956: when the USSR invaded Hungary, PM Nehru did not join Western powers to condemn it (आलोचना नही की). (If Nehru truly practiced his Anti-Colonization-Preaching then he should have condemned it)
  • 2014: PM Modi (and previously PM Manmohan Singh) did not join the Western powers’ condemnation of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. India kept a low profile on the issue, because of our defence ties with Russia.

Body#2: Differences between Nehru’s NAM & Modi’s De-hyphen

Nehru’s NAM Policy Modi’s De-hyphen Policy
  • The cornerstone of Nehru’s non-alignment movement was not joining any military bloc led by USA (NATO, SEATO) or USSR (Warsaw Pact)
  • Focus on peace, disarmament.
  • India is no longer averse to defense-ties. For example,
  • India signed LEMOA and COMCASA military pacts with USA while buying S-400 Triumf air defence missiles from Russia. (USA and Russia don’t have cordial ties with each other)
  • While USA and China are engaged in trade-war with each other, India obtained Strategic Trade Authorization-1 status from USA and conducting military exercises with China.
  • India has also joined Shanghai Cooperation Organization which is both an economic and a security alliance.
  • NAM policy was motivated by Anti-colonialism and Anti-imperialism.
  • De-hyphen policy is motivated by India’s own commercial, strategic and diaspora interests at bilateral, multilateral and global levels.
  • Example, Iran and Saudi Arabia don’t have cordial relations with each other, yet PM Modi signed oil and port deals with the Iran, while receiving the highest civilian award from the Saudi king.
  • Nehru aimed for a unified secular nation inhibited harmoniously by both Palestinian Arabs and the Jewish. Therefore, he voted against UN partition plan of Israel and Palestine.
  • PM Modi supports independent statehood to Palestine, and separate recognition of Israel as a country.
  • Passive about commercial and economic engagements, due to our own economic policy of import substitution.
  • Active about commercial and economic ties. We engage with China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as well as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for infrastructure funds.
  • 2018: We welcomed the visit of oil-rich Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro to India, even though US-President Trump has imposed variety sanctions against his regime.
  • Nehru’s non-alignment is related to non-engagement with Western powers and military superpowers.
  • Modi’ policy is equal and active engagement with all nations important for India for commercial, strategic and diaspora.

Conclusion (both good in their own merits)

  • Both PM Modi and PM Nehru’s foreign policies shaped by the needs, opportunities and constrains of their respective times. It will not be appropriate to compare their merits against each other. Ultimately both aimed for peace, prosperity and development of India in a dynamic global scenario. OR
  • Nehru’s non-alignment policy could not de-hyphen the relation between USA and USSR because of the cold war and variety of factors beyond the control of Nehru. At that time, India was not a ‘large market’ for either superpower, nor did our diaspora play a great role in the domestic politics of USA. Infact, the success of De-hyphenation policy owes its credits to the evolution of Nehru’s non-alignment policy.

Mistakes and Self-Assessment Benchmarks (SAB)

Parameter Marks Benchmarks
Introduction 0-1-2
  • +2 marks if defined either of the policy.
Conclusion 0-1-2
  • 0 marks, if showered too much praise on Modi.
Body 0 to 4 marks
  • Not more than 1 mark if only repetitive narration of IsraelPalestine.
  • Not more than 1 mark if two separate notes written about Modi and Nehru’s policies without highlighting their similarities and differences.
Logical structure -1 to 0
  • (-1) Wrong interpretation of de-hyphenation that it means engaging with same country on two fronts in two directions e.g. on one hand we seek US support to gain entry in NSG, at the same time we criticise US for leaving Paris treaty.
Concise expression -1 to 0
  • (-1) if writing long background of the de-hyphenation policy that in Post-cold-war era, US Presidents looked at India-Pak in a hyphened manner but since Obama and Trump this has changed given India’s economic strength. Modi has also adopted similar stand on Israel-Palestine, given Israel’s R&D strength in defence and agriculture.
Language -1 to 0
  • (-1) If using English words in vernacular language.
Total Marks out of 15 0 to 8
  • After adding / subtracting above parts, give yourself NOT less than zero and not more than eight marks.

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