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The Ethics of Excess and Indian Intervention in South Asia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2012

Ralph Buultjens
Affiliation:
RALPH BUULTJENS is Senior Professor at the New School of Social Research and teaches at New York University. He was awarded the prestigious Toynbee Prize for the Social Sciences (1984) and has written extensively on South Asia. His most recent book, Windows on India (New York: Express Books, 1987) was published in early 1988.

Abstract

This article examines four interlinked historical aspects of intervention from a philosophic and ethical perspective. What are the dimensions of intervention and how is it managed? What conditions govern intervention? How can intervention be evaluated? What are the moral issues in intervention? India, the world's largest democracy, has promoted its power through intervention in neighboring countries under the cloak of morality. The United States, Great Britain, and Russia have nonetheless tacitly endorsed India's role as the policing force in the region. Does this recognition justify India's actions toward its weaker and smaller neighbors?

Type
Ethics and Intervention
Copyright
© Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 1989

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References

1 Morgenthau, Hans J., quoted in Robert J. Myers, “The Virtue of Moral Restraint,”Internutional Journul, Vol. XLIII, No. 2 (Spring 1988) p. 320Google Scholar.

2 Otto von Bismarck, quoted in Pompe, C. A., Aggressive War: An International Crime (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1953) p. 152CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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5 Adapted from Thucydides, , The Peloponnesian War, trans. by Warner, Rex (Harmondsworth, Britain: Penguin Books, 1985) pp. 400–7Google ScholarPubMed.

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9 Ibid., p. 254Google Scholar.

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20 speech in the constituent Assembly, New Delhi, March 8, 1949. See Nehru, Jawaharlal, Independence and After (New Delhi: Publications Division—Government of India, 1949) p. 242Google Scholar.

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22 Ibid., p. 371. Broadcast to the nation, New Delhi, December 31, 1950Google Scholar.

23 Ibid., p. 379. Television and radio address, Washington, D. C., December 18, 1956Google Scholar.

24 Ibid., p. 380. Speech to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, New Delhi, December 2, 1957Google Scholar.

25 Ibid., p. 415. Speech in the Indian Parliament, New Delhi, September 17, 1955Google Scholar.

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28 Kaufmann, Walter, Religion in Four Dimensions (New York,: Reader's Digest Press, 1976 ) p. 248Google Scholar. Kaufmann discusses Gandhi and nonviolence extensively, pp. 243–48.

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35 Author's interview with Indira Gandhi, New Delhi, June 25, 1981Google Scholar.

38 V. V. Givi was elected president of India on August 24, 1969 with Mrs. Gandhi's support, against strong opposition from her Congress Party. In 1971, the Ministries of Defense and External Affairs were held by Jagjivan Ram and Swaran Singh, who were both appointed by Mrs. GandhiGoogle Scholar.

39 For information on the history of the Research and Analysis Wing of the Cabinet Secretariat, see Raina, Asok, Inside RAW–The Story of India's Secret Service (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1981)Google Scholar.

40 Interview by the author with Indira Gandhi, New Delhi, June 4, 1983. Also see Kaul, T. N., Diplomacy in Peace and War (New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1979) pp. 195–96Google Scholar. Negotiators on the Indian side were T. N. Kaul (ambassador to the Soviet Union 1962–1966 and then foreign secretary of India 1968–72), D. P. Dhar (ambassador to the Soviet Union after Kaul), and their principal assistants in Moscow, Rikhi Jaipal and Romesh Bhandari. Negotiators on the Soviet side were Foreign Minister Gromyko, Defense Minister Grechko, and Vice-Foreign Minister Firubin. So secret were the negotiations that no written reports were made by the Indians and only verbal briefings were made to the prime minister.

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44 Indian proposals to build a protective fence on the Bangladesh-Assam border in the early 1980s were strongly condemned by BangladeshGoogle Scholar.

45 Buultjens, Ralph, “The Call of Destiny—Mahatma and Indira Gandhi,”Mahatma Gandhi Peace Week Commemorative Souvenir (New York: The Federation of Indian Associations, October 1, 1983) pp. 11–13Google Scholar.

46 Author's interview with Indira Gandhi, New York, October 2, 1983. This was later confirmed to me by Mrs. Gandhi's special assistant, R. K. DhawanGoogle Scholar.

47 Kotelawala, John, An Asian Prime Minister's Story (London,: Harrap, 1956 ) pp. 186–94Google Scholar.

48 Such statements include: Sri Lanka's public indication of its interest in joining the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), a pro-Western group, or Sri Lanka and Singapore's private castigation of Prime Minister Nehru's economic programs of the past (at a Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference in the early 1980s)Google Scholar.

49 SOUTH ASIAN COUNTRIES–SELECTED DATA

From Ratnatunga, Sinha, Politics of Terrorism: The Sri Lanka Experience (Melbourne: International Federation for Social and Economic Development, 1988) p. 371Google Scholar. Ratnatunga's book is the most extensive treatment of the Sri Lankan situation currently available.

50 Crossette, Barbara, “India Is All Over and South Asia Resents It,” The New York Times, November 27, 1988Google Scholar.

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