[Editorial Analysis] Defense Diplomacy

Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: Defense Diplomacy
Mains level: Role of India in Defense Diplomacy


• India is currently facing international criticism for some of its actions.
• The “defence diplomacy” which is at the centre stage in the pursuit of its foreign policy, has helped India to stay afloat.

About defence diplomacy:

• Defence diplomacy is a term used in international politics.
• It refers to the pursuit of foreign policy objectives through the peaceful employment of defence resources and capabilities.
• In earlier years, India hardly looked at military interactions as a means to further the national interest. But, this has changed.

Benefits from defence diplomacy to India:

• India is currently under international criticism, especially from the muslim world, for some of its actions.
• At the same time, its economy has also been sliding.
• Defence diplomacy has helped India to stay afloat in this worrying environment.
• It has taken the form of frequent and ambitious joint exercises with militaries of the region and beyond, port visits by warships, and so on.
• While with most countries this has been not very significant, with the US in particular, and with Japan, the interface has been substantial.

India’s defence diplomacy strategy:

• The Indo-Pacific has been repeatedly proclaimed as a region of mutual interest and our understanding of the term is different.
• The precise purpose of the term “freedom of movement at sea” is to counter growing Chinese influence in the region.
• With no other country with which India has defence cooperation at sea does the term Indo-Pacific form the basis of cooperation.
• So, the one significant element of our defence diplomacy in the last decade has been the relationship with the US.
• This has revolved on our purchases of military hardware from them.
• This having been said, if defence diplomacy has become a key ingredient of our foreign policy as we aspire to move up in the global power chain, then it is all to the good.

How should India’s diplomacy be?

• With China, India share disputed borders and a tense security relationship.
• With Russia, a defence interface that goes back six decades stands in some difficulty now.
• In the Muslim world, Iran cannot be easily ignored, nor Indonesia in the ASEAN, or Bangladesh next door.
• With these countries, India needs to increase its defence interactions so long as India recognises its limitations.

Impact of defence diplomacy:

• India’s profile as seen from outside is now increasingly getting predicated on domestic issues within its borders.
• As India is seeking to emerge as a major power, its domestic issues must mesh holistically with the desired international image.
• Defence diplomacy can only take India thus far. But, it cannot, by itself, overcome the negatives.


Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), consider the following statements:
1. Every year, February 6 is observed as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
2. WHO classifies four types of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both
(d) None

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) What is defence diplomacy? How is defence diplomacy helping India? Describe the Impact of defence diplomacy in India.

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