FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Roundtable on Accommodating Rising Powers: Past, Present and Future led by Prof. T.V Paul and Chairperson, Amb. Shyam Saran at Private Dining Hall, India International Centre, 27 January, 2017
Updated:Feb 4, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Society for Policy Studies (SPS), in association with India International Centre (IIC), organized a Round Table on “Accommodating Rising Powers: Past, Present and Future by Prof. T.V Paul, James McGill, Professor of International Relations, Department of Political Science, McGill University, Canada. Amb. Shyam Saran, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research & former Foreign Secretary, Government of India Chaired the proceedings.

 Amb.  Saran dwelt on  the importance of the book at this juncture when there is global anxiety about emerging powers (such as China) and  the outcome of the Trump transition that may adversely impact the bi-lateral relations , between the US and China ;  US and Russia and other global players.

Prof. Paul opined that the historical legacy of war reflected  more examples of the failure to accommodate rising  powers than the converse. The rise and fall of great powers through war was prominent in the past. As war is unimaginable in the nuclear world and with a number of so many rising powers, appropriate  strategies have to be devised for a peaceful transition. However, dominant theories of International Relations contend that major changes in the system are generally possible only through violent conflict. 

Prof. Behera highlighted  the limitations of IR scholarship in predicting momentous developments in international politics specifically pointing to the inability of IR theory to predict the collapse of the bipolar world order. He also questioned whether it is still useful to view power simply from the prism of realism. Power in the international system is too dispersed. He further questioned the idea of polarity and thought that the future world order may be acquiring a non-polar character. In his assesment, rising powers were already being accommodated in the global governance structures and therefore they had a stake in the existing normative order. He averred that power transition in the future was unlikely to be very violent.

The book explores ways of peaceful accommodation of rising powers. Dr. Paul defined accommodation as mutual adaptation by existing and rising powers and elimination of hostility between them. Accommodation of rising powers can be studied in different categories: partial accommodation, non-accommodation, symbolic accommodation (eg. : India-U.S. Nuclear deal) and region-specific accommodation (eg: Brazil).  Referring to  specific historical cases, he argued that peaceful change is possible through the pursuit of effective long-term strategies on the part of both status quo and rising powers.

In the discussion  Amb. Saran refuted  the proposition that that the US-India nuclear deal was "symbolic accommodation" of a rising India.  Saran averred the US would not have entered into  the deal unless they saw material and strategic benefit and that this was driven by recognition of India's proven strategic profile post the nuclear tests of May 1998.

Dr.  Kalyan Raman observed  that the non-accommodation of rising powers is not a major reason of friction. He said that past instances of hegemonic wars to determine the hierarchy and distribution of power and status occurred not because of the non-accommodation of rising powers by the established powers;  but because one of the already recognised great powers, driven by a combination of domestic and international systemic factors, sought to overthrow the prevailing (European) , and by extension the global, balance of power of the Europe-centred and-dominated international system.  Instead, Raman argued, these hegemonic wars were caused by the combination of a radical change in their self-definition of  national and geopolitical interests and their perception of spotting  a favourable opportunity to attain their interests. In other words, accommodation was not an issue or the cause of these hegemonic wars. To that extent, this book misapprehends and misstates the correlation between power transition, accommodation of rising powers and the outbreak of hegemonic wars. This is not a problem that is exclusive to the current volume, but is widely prevalent in the IR theoretical discourse. There is a wide and unbridgeable gulf between IR theory and history.

The understanding of the term accommodation and what it meant were also raised during the discussion. Prof. Mahesh Shankar raised the issue that what are the global powers accommodating and how would the current design of global institutional structure facilitate relatively bloodless transitions? Amb. Bhaswati Mukherjee questioned  the concept that accommodation meant not challenging territorial integrity. She pointed out that territorial integrity  has been challenged by the US led West on various occasions - and who is going to decide where it should be respected?  Ambassador Jaimini Bhagwati said it was the strategic balancing concept of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) that ultimately led to  accommodation between the former USSR and the USA during the Cold war. This ensured that there was no direct conflict between the two super-powers but proxy wars were pursued

 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image A career diplomat, Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, is the first woman to be the island nation’s envoy to India. As Foreign Secretary, she was Sri Lanka’s top diplomat for 18 months before being posted to New Delhi.
 
read-more
"Look forward to welcoming India's PM Modi to @WhiteHouse on Monday. Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend!" US President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival for a three-day official visit. 
 
read-more
“Prime Minister Modi and President Trump found some common ground on international security and economic growth.
 
read-more
With weird concoction like "Beer Yoga" getting popular as the next big international fitness craze, the ancient art of inner blossoming is seemingly going topsy-turvy. And as yoga hogs the limelight on its third International Day, the loud call for saving the spirit of the ancient and modern practice can't be swept under
 
read-more
“We cannot allow the state brutality to which we are subjected each day snatch our humanity and values,” the Mirwaiz said, asking: “What will be the difference between them and us then?”
 
read-more
India First meets America First and agree Pakistan is third-rate. The most tangible consequence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden summit with the United States president, Donald Trump, has been the blacklisting of the Hizbul Mujahideen leader, Syed Salahuddin, and an agreement both countries should go after terrorist safe
 
read-more
The city of Marawi in the south of the Philippines has been engulfed by a deadly, ongoing siege since late May, when government forces began to take on heavily armed militants linked to the Islamic State. Local media estimate the death toll to be above 300. Over 200,000 residents have fled what has effectively become an urban battlefie
 
read-more
The Iraqi city of Mosul this week celebrates its first Eid free of the oppressive rule of the self-styled Islamic State (IS) in three years.
 
read-more
President Donald J. Trump hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India at the White House on June 26 for an official visit to Washington, D.C.
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Reporting Pakistan; Author: Meena Menon; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House; Pages: 340; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  A former Indian civil servant, who is currently a professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, US spent long periods in distant villages and city slums of India. The result? A scholarly book that presen...

 
Column-image

  Title: The Exile; Author:  Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrian Levy; Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; Pages: 640; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Jim Corbett was a British-Indian hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author and naturalist; who started off as an officer in the British army and attained the rank of a colonel. Frequently called in to kill man-eating tigers or leopards,...

 
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive