ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A BRICS Initiative on Syria

The situation in Syria presents a ripe moment for India, China, and Russia to mount a non-aligned initiative for a peaceful transition through the aegis of the BRICS forum. Unfortunately, there has been no such initiative so far. While Russia and China are increasingly coordinating their stance over Syria, they are overwhelmingly on their own on the diplomatic plane. India, as chairman of the BRICS grouping, needs to take the lead, as it transits from a US-centric foreign policy out of compulsion.

Recent media reports suggest the intriguing possibility that nonalignment is likely to be gaining currency once again as the core tenet of India’s foreign policy. Life is taking a full circle after almost six or seven years from when the former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice exhorted Indian pundits to purge from their thinking the last trace of the d octrine of “non-alignment” associated with the world of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. She sought that I ndians should instead trust the US’ determination to make their country a truly global player.

Thus, in the period that followed, Chanakya (circa 3rd century BC) who is credited with authorship of the ancient Indian political treatise called Arthashastra, was brought out of the woodwork to replace Nehru and Indira Gandhi as the “new game in town” in New Delhi. The “Hindu Machiavelli” who was forgotten for some two millennia as a relic of the archaic past and of little relevance to the modern-day world, provided the “civilisational alibi” for the Indian establishment to bring about a paradigm shift in its foreign policy – under the garb of “national interests” – attuned to its “unipolar predicament” in the postcold war era.

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