Optimal Foreign Policy
December 11, 2005

1. Perspective

Pre-British India contributed to about 20% of global gross domestic product (GDP).  But it has dropped to about 2% now.  It is mainly because a shackled India could not gear itself to produce high priced industrial goods driven by oil.  The GDP depends on virtual prices of goods and services set (often manipulated) in the market. 

The key to higher prices for a country’s produce is innovation by people.  India was very innovative in agriculture and had high prices of its products that attracted the British.  But India could not join the process of innovation in the subsequent industrial age. 

Innovation will continue to dictate power and wealth.  Today it is based on oil and oil- based products.  Oil supplies will last about 50 to 100 years.  Wealth and power based on oil and products driven by oil will be subdued by newer innovation needed for human survival. 

Human innovation is inexhaustible.  Humans will continue to endeavor for their survival.  Those who fail to innovate will perish.  Our foreign and domestic policy should therefore be based on a goal to enhance innovative power of Indians. 

2. Survival Strategy

India has fallen far behind in the process of creating centers for developing contemporary innovative skill.  As a result Indian society has become very vulnerable.  India’s system of governance does not trust even a Presidential declaration made in 2003 to establish four National Institutes of Science.  Indian political agenda appears very inexplicable because it does not resonate with long term social needs. Our only political agenda should be to do everything to make world-class innovation to survive as a society. 

Our dependency on oil, importing of engines and computer chips, and even reliance on NRI remittances of a governing machine that has brought us to a rut should have alarmed everyone by now.  But it does not seem to.  Touting bogus GDP growth is not sufficient. 

The only measures of our international competitiveness and survival ability are (i) the international value of rupee and (ii) trade deficit.  We have faltered on both these counts since independence.  It is due to a colonial system of governance we continue to cherish. 

Government control over institutes and laboratories will unlikely result in world-class innovation needed for our survival.  India needs collaboration with innovative human endeavors everywhere on earth.  This is possible only if:

  1. the government transparently encourages and provides incentives for establishment of world class private institutes with no government interference,
  2. the government institutes a fair system of grants for research and innovation, and
  3. Indian foreign policy is based on a principle of amity with all and enmity for none. 

Element (3) is the cardinal principle on which Indian civilization has been founded.  This is why India has conquered the minds everywhere without really conquering others’ lands.  Shaping our foreign policy to sharpen our innovative minds by collaborating with all is the only way to remain in the forefront of innovation.

We cannot simply erect buildings and campuses and call them world class centers of innovation.  We need everything that goes with it, starting with a complete unshackling of such facilities from government yokes.  Only then collaboration for research around the world will be feasible and innovations within India will take root.  Otherwise we will remain mired in training talents to fill innovative laboratories and universities elsewhere outside India.  Eventually we can and should have many more world class independent private universities as centers of research and innovation.  We can have some tangible achievement if we strategically proceed now.  It is also very important to stop debating on foreign policy based on pecuniary interests of individuals and parties. 

 

3. Rational Political Philosophy

The anti-imperialist stance or pro-oil foreign policy is reckless trivialization what Indian civilization needs as its foreign policy.  Why do we import oil?  Is it not to fuel imported automobile engine technology developed by imperialists?  So, the sanctity of anti-imperial mission or pro-oil proclivity is pathologically irrational. 

It is rational, however, that we not initiate or join any imperial mission to conquer other lands.  It is because every imperial mission is rooted in ethos of subjugating masses like the vast majority of Indians.  Imperial missions are vacuous without an agenda to subjugate Indians.  This means India collaborating or leading any imperial mission is completely at odds with the best interests and desires of masses within India and around the world. 

4. Rational Governance

Indian civilization was invaded by Moguls who ransacked the prevailing culture and heritage and converted people to Islam to rule the land.  The British came to India for commerce and ruled a bitterly fractured society by economic oppression, but they did not ravage local culture and heritage.  The neo-colonial rulers have taken over the reign of independent India to perpetuate the economic oppression on masses by giving lip-service to culture and by pitting masses against each other based on religious and caste division. 

The secular-communal argument of politicians is as irrational as it can be.  People do not care for such political mumbo-jumbo designed to illegitimately enrich decision makers, while weakening the nation and civil service institutions.

People want optimal rules of law designed to enhance prosperity of masses.  They want rational governance based strictly on such rules, applied equally to all. 

5. Elements of Foreign Policy

Given the above perspective, the vote for or against Iran at the IAEA is a trivial foreign policy decision.  A nuclear bomb-equipped Iran is not in the best interest of either the Iranians or the Indians.  It is also in the best interest of Iranians as much as of the world to enforce rules of law, true democracy and principles of free markets for oil it produces.      

In summary, our foreign policy should be based on following principles:     

  • Join no imperial mission to conquer other lands.
  • Befriend all to keep India at the forefront of technology and innovation.
  • Pursue democracy everywhere and global democracy among nations.
  • Join global efforts to thwart any nation or group hobbling above objectives.
  • Lead the world to eliminate weapons of mass destruction.  Work for containment in growth of WMDs until a credible mechanism is evolved for all nations to abandon such weapons altogether.
  • Lead the world to not engage governments to protect patents.  Why protection of patents is detrimental to long-run prosperity and stability is shown in a recently published book, entitled, “Prosperity: Optimal Governance.
  • Lead the world to ban selling (short) financial securities not owned by individuals and institutions.  This activity exacerbated the hold of Great Depression.  Short-selling facilitates robbing of wealth from the less endowed by the more endowed.  “Prosperity: Optimal Governance” proves formal economic propositions on why short selling of financial securities is detrimental to prosperity and stability.

Sankarshan Acharya

Citizens for Development and Pro-Prosperity.Com

Pro-Prosperity.Com is rated as number one by Yahoo! for information on: optimal governance for prosperity

PS: This article is based on a series of letters written to President Kalam, Prime Ministers Vajpayee and Singh of India during 2001 through 2005. Indian government has taken many concrete steps in line with specific proposals following those letters. But the most crucual proposals on reforming the system of governance have not been yet embraced.