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India upholds sanity in international relations

India’s foreign policy of opting for bilateral and even multilateral friendships based on mutual security and economic benefits that did not prejudice global peace has in a way helped the country to reinforce its position as an independent-looking power in the comity of nations

India upholds sanity in international relations
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On the Ukraine-Russia military confrontation and more recently in the Israel-Hamas conflict India took a stand that seemed to indicate an approach of sanity befitting a world leader who could see things in the wider perspective of the good of humanity

All conflicts - interpersonal, social and political - are traceable to lesser thoughts afflicting the human mind at the cost of sanity. Sanity is broadly the gain accruing from a combination of ‘awareness’ with ‘acceptance’ of the larger realities of life and a certain capacity to relentlessly follow the path of duty without the fear of failure. Life is not a journey entirely free of turbulence and these two precepts by and large provide a level of peace of mind that was the prime requisite for successfully negotiating that journey.

Indian spiritual thought upheld the primacy of mental peace over any other form of advantage in life and even prepared the individual to face the journey’s end with calm and a healthy sense of ‘surrender’ to the higher order. This is what imbues the Indian mind with a sense of wisdom -- this was particularly true of the women of India - and sees an individual preferring peace over want. It goes without saying that India surely is one country where this kind of intrinsic wisdom should come into play to make governance people-oriented going beyond what was done in a so-called ‘welfare’ State. The State has to nurse the spiritual gift of Indians that got them to opt for peace. We have changed our penal codes to free them of the colonial hangover. Of equal importance is the need for giving a suitable orientation to our national civil services to enable them to serve the larger objective of giving all citizens fair treatment within the firmness of the administrative ethos and contributing to policy-framing for the larger good of the nation.

India upholds sanity in international relations as well which is why it has in a short period of time risen to become a major power in the world espousing the cause of global peace and human advancement. India’s foreign policy of opting for bilateral and even multilateral friendships based on mutual security and economic benefits that did not prejudice global peace has in a way helped the country to reinforce its position as an independent-looking power in the comity of nations. Projection of the strategy of making India self-dependent in economy and defence has added to this image.

On the Ukraine-Russia military confrontation and more recently in the Israel-Hamas conflict India took a stand that seemed to indicate an approach of sanity befitting a world leader who could see things in the wider perspective of the good of humanity. In both these developments of geopolitical importance, India was upfront in suggesting negotiations for peace -- the initial condemnation of the ‘terrorist’ attack of Hamas on Israel on October 7 was in line with India’s declared policy of zero tolerance towards ‘terrorism’ of all kinds.

Even in the Ukraine-Russia armed confrontation, India had reached out to the two countries at the highest levels to call for the cessation of hostilities and return to talks on the basis of the willingness of the mediators to understand the ‘security concerns’ of both sides. All this enabled India to continue with its bilateral friendship with both Russia and Israel without running into any problems with the rest of the international community. In handling geopolitical developments, India has apparently made the point that what was right from the point of view of the interests of humanity, was the correct policy for the simple reason that the voice of sanity would ultimately find the widest global support.

The country should move towards declaring health and education as strategic sectors where the writ of the Centre would be equally important. The framing of the National Education Policy should have come earlier and its implementation was insisted upon because the responsibilities of the state in respect of education were supposed to stand above party politics.

India is a land of multiple faiths and modes of worship but its governance does not carry any stamp of religion. This makes it so much superior to the fundamentalist regimes in its neighbourhood with a declared system of treatment of minorities that allowed the latter less than equal rights compared to Muslims. India houses more Muslims than what their number was in Pakistan but has secularism built into its governance by way of the grant of an equal voting right under the Constitutional mandate of ‘one man one vote’, development policies of the State being open to all regardless of community and the same protection of law being provided to all citizens. Any flaws in this regard noticed locally can be fiercely opposed in the exercise of the freedom of lawful protest.

Political parties may be tempted to rely on communal appeals but beyond a point, this would attract adverse notice of law enforcement. Notions of supremacism of faith that lead to an attitude of ‘rejectionism’ towards other religions have often caused political separatism but that too was largely because of the manipulation by leaders.

Indians have the civilisational legacy of living in harmony with others respecting their faiths and social practices -- this is the reason why the narrative of ‘majoritarianism’ built by interested lobbies had not brought many converts and the faith in the Constitution had held on. However, the legacy of politics of ‘minorityism’ keeps on getting revived from time to time though without making too much headway. All communities in India have the uncanny realisation that this was a practising democracy where a party would succeed only on genuine performance. This is a great tribute to the sanity of Indian voters.

The maxim of sanity for peace applies to the personal life more than it does to the social and political spheres of the individual’s existence. It would be of great help if three civilisational learnings were put to good use while traversing through the journey of life -- a conscious effort to see that there was not too much serious ‘unfinished business’ at any point of time, a certain degree of awareness that excessive ‘attachments’ would not work and a willingness to have ‘forgiveness’ of all those one had dealt with perhaps not fairly. This is not a very big call to make for a sane mind that sees the importance of having an environment of goodwill around oneself. It is important to realise that a sane mind is a rational mind and that rationalisation is the gift of logic. A logical mind is thus the best evidence of sanity and also an instrument of right decision-making in all situations. It brings in peace when it is most needed - in difficult moments of life. A rational thinking helps to keep away clogging thoughts of the ‘after-life’ and makes it easy to believe that life had a beginning and an inevitable end -- nothing more. In a strange way, a sane mind will thus bring in peace when it is most needed -- at the final destination. Values of sanity can be cultivated and practised in the lifetime and in fact, should be adopted as the guide for purposeful living.

D C Pathak
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