Sovereignty of India
Sovereignty is a sensitive issue in India even sixty years after independence. Take the recent fracas over the Indo-US nuclear deal, ignited quite ironically by both the Left and the Right at the same time. It has seen the debate Centre not so much on the actual agreement, as on the notion of an independent foreign policy. This article isn't about the nuclear deal. It is about understanding the meaning of sovereignty in the 21st century. A proper understanding of the concept, without rushing to hoist the flags of nationalist hysteria, will show that much of the outrage about the 'loss of sovereignty' is quite unnecessary, and without basis. Sovereignty, defined at its simplest and most relevant to recent events, refers to the independent and absolute authority of the state. This definition implicitly accepts that it is the prerogative of each state to conduct its policies in a matter it alone deems fit. Any discerning reader would deduce from this basic definition a recipe for international chaos. The fact is we live in an interdependent, globalized world, where the actions of one state often have a bearing on the existence and well-being of others.
That is perhaps why, after the destruction caused by the two world wars, the leading nations of the world got together to form the United Nations, which could, at least in theory, set out the international rules and restraints, for the game of war. That is the reason why the countries of Western Europe, which had destroyed each other in the first half of the twentieth century, spent the next half of the century establishing an ever closer economic and political union in Europe, ceding and then pooling a lot of sovereign space. That is also the reason why George W. Bush's United States is much criticised for exercising its sovereign, unilateral right to go to war in Iraq. That is precisely why there is a strong argument to rehabilitate the UN. The case for all countries, and this includes the...
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