A disappointing feature of India’s foreign policy since Independence has been the almost complete absence of a meaningful debate about it. Early on, no one dared, within and without the government, to question the policy laid down by Jawaharlal Nehru. This continued right up to the present times, when the nuclear deal with the United States generated a good deal of discussion, much of it though on ideological grounds. Equally unfortunate is the importance attached to the desirability of consensus in foreign policy. Why should consensus, per se, be essential to the conduct of foreign policy?Indicates ‘strategic autonomy’Eight eminent men ??? alas, not a single woman ??? have rendered a very useful and much-needed service by producing ???Nonalignment 2.0: A Foreign and Strategic Policy for India in the Twenty First Century.??? The document gives us a comprehensive overview of the challenges facing and opportunities available to India in the years ahead. The analyses of the issues involved are sound and give a good basis on which to take the debate forward.Why did they have to choose ???non-alignment??? as the title for their document? In this day and age, to talk of non-alignment is completely un-understandable. The authors explain that they use the term to indicate the ???strategic autonomy??? of decision-making which was supposed to be the essence of previous non-alignment. This is true only to an extent. The word itself was conceived in the context of the state of the world in the Cold War period and does not necessarily have connotations of success in foreign policy. It is not as if ???Nonalignment 1.0??? was a golden era for Indian diplomacy. Some of us are unlikely to forget that we did not receive support from a single fellow non-aligned country when China attacked us in 1962. Nehru himself might not have approved the use of this term if he had lived long enough to see the distortions that crept up in the practice of non-alignment. Today, ???Non-alignment??? so
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