The media play a major role in making or toppling the governments. The advent of social media as a powerful game changer is a new phenomenon on the stage of power and politics. The recent allegations of the Russian meddling in the Presidential election in the USA make the point more forceful.
But, a sweet surprise is that in spite of a vast popularity and huge following, the electronic and social media have not been able to match the credibility levels of the Print media. They are seen more as a medium of entertainment than as a reliable source of unbiased information. Newspapers however are still kept in high esteem and their commitment to professional ethics by and large remains unblemished. The periodicals and magazines of vernacular languages though have gone the social media way.
Individual groups, organizations and associations have been able to influence and pressurize the governments to change their course of action. The pace at which the social media creates an impact and its potential capability of gathering huge support in a short time have earned it a special attention and a distinct identity in formulating the policies, plans and programs of the governments. Elections are, by and large, fought in the social media and whom-so-ever is good in diligent handling of the social sites becomes the ultimate winner.
But in spite of all these modern, technological developments, there is one particular field, a particular department, a particular ‘interest’ that is the ultimate decider that has become the focal point of International relations – the Economy.
Its all about International Aid, Grant, financial assistance and ‘bailing out’ the troubled state from imminent economic slowdown or fall out. Foreign Direct Investments, Foreign Capital and Foreign ‘interest’ play a crucial role in matters of foreign relations.
Nobody, no leader, no government is ready to forego the commercial interest of the relationship for whatever reason. Money casts its shadow over every other ingredient of social and personal life. Finance swallows all other demands and requirements. Trade, Commerce and Business loom large over the nationalistic, regional, religious, ethnic and racial commotions and conflicts.
Turbulence in its economy forces the country to turn all its focus on the urgent need for restoration of normalcy and it in turn restricts everybody else to raise the non-economic issues. Control of prices, generation of employment and concessions and subsidies fetch a solid support to the rulers that a victory in a war could not do.
This is the most welcome development as also the most worrisome factor in the study of International relations among various countries. The world bodies like the U.N.O. are losing its sheen before a formidable agreement for an ‘economic co-operation’.
America and China can fight over any serious issue; but would never go in for a war because that would mean collapse of the peaceful business arrangements among the giant corporate houses of both the countries. A verbal duel and a temporary breakdown of relations would be the maximum that a dispute can be stretched to.
Words have taken over the role of swords. A devastating war has more or less disappeared because of the presence of ‘economic’ agents who remain so active all over the world, cutting across their nationalities and every other limitation, arising out of the geographical territories.
The nation itself has become an imaginary political divide as it really is and the huge amount of ‘exodus’ of youth for a good career and employment outside their motherland has made the nationalistic fervor – a slightly, if not vastly, outdated and outlived theory.
A country’s balance of payment, foreign exchange reserve, the level of imports and exports, foreign direct investment, ease of doing business, tax exemptions, relaxation of visa restrictions… all these constitute the life cells of Inter-relations between the countries – pushing to the back seat – any serious difference emanating from the past history.
In a way this signals the emergence of a more peaceful relationship where it is only through discussions and deliberations that the disputes could be amicably settled. This is what the Gandian way of addressing an issue stipulates. This means that the world is slowly but surely turning its attention towards the Gandian way – for harmonious inter- relations.
This is where India stands to gain since it is the land of Mahatma.
The study of International relations, sooner than later, is bound to revolve around the philosophy of Mahatma that says nobody is bigger as nobody is smaller too.
It would hence be most appropriate to study International politics from the point of view of India.
At every International Forum, whether we take part in it or not, the discussions invariably touch upon India. At every Global Meet, India plays a significant role. Every single decision, be it at the U.N.O. or the ASEAN or the BRICS, India’s views are heard, considered and discussed upon.
Since 1947 when India was just a push-over, to 2018 when India is a major partner in every International arrangement, we have come a long way. Our growth as a power to reckon with is the direct outcome of our democratic republic political arrangement that makes countries like China and Russia look dwarfed.
It seems a near possibility that we emerge as a ‘super power’ – not in the context it was used in the last century; but in the present day concept of mutual interest in trade and commerce; in terms of imports and exports and in spreading our wings to envelop the whole world.
Let us wear the ‘Indian glass’ and look at International Politics. That would help enjoy a much clearer picture and would facilitate to understand the inherent challenges before the developing countries distinct from the external conditions imposed on them by the developed ones.
Neutrality is an essential prerequisite to gauge, to judge and to support or oppose various stands of the affected parties and humiliating stance of the afflicting powers.
In short, it is required that one remains a passive onlooker to read the pulse, to diagnose the deficiency and to prescribe dosage of medicines. That also gives us a comfortable cushion to rest upon and stay as much detached as we would be drawn into it.
Let us look at the World polity from a position that is neither too close nor too far.
Let us start with the most intriguing one – relations between India and Pakistan!
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