Conference on People’s Foreign Policy
7-8 December 2006, Mumbai
Following two days of discussions at the Conference on People’s Foreign Policy on 7-8 December 2006 in Mumbai attended by delegates from trade unions, social movements, resistance movements, students organisations, women’s organisations from Bangladesh, India, Lebanon, Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka and regions of Kashmir and Tibet along with academicians and social critics,
We note that:
In the first four decades of independence, India made efforts to chart an economic policy based on the principle of self-reliance. It also acquired a degree of manoeuvrability in foreign policy based on principles of non-alignment;
Following the shift in India’s economic policy in favour of an accelerated neo-liberal agenda since the early 1990s, the foreign policy has come to be aligned closely with the US while assuming a misplaced sense of power as a nuclear weapon state and its quest for emerging as a regional power;
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has come to be dominated by the United States that has extended its domination by suppressing all forms of resistance to US policy and has following 9/11 sought to divided the world between those ‘for us’ and ‘against us’, directed in substantial measure against the countries and peoples of West Asia;
India’s acceptance of the global domination of the US is reflected in 18 July 2005 agreement on nuclear policy with the US, its recent conduct in the WTO, cooperation with the US agenda for India on genetically modified foods, its growing relationship with Israel including military relations, its complete reversal on its support for Iran and virtually pulling out of the Indo-Pak-Iran gas pipeline deal and its willingness to be part of the ‘global war against terror’;
India’s policy in South Asian is based on a principle of domination and inequality; and as a consequence, continuing to suppress the democratic aspirations of the people of Kashmir, while it has sought to prove to the world that Pakistan is a primary site for spawning global terror; and further claiming to support the democratic aspirations of the people of Burma, Nepal and Sri Lanka while providing these states with military, political and financial support to suppress these very struggles;
Through the deployment of armed forces in Kashmir and the North-East is to large extent for suppressing the peoples movement, the projected threat perception along the borders has provided the Indian state with the rational to justify an enormous defence budget that otherwise cannot be justified by any acceptable measure of force requirement for self defence and standards of public spending for a country that is home to the largest number of the worlds poor;
The Indian foreign policy assessment of a unipolar global order dominated by the US fails to fully understand or estimate the balance of power globally of the EU, Russia and China and the perceived lack of space for an intervention for changing the balance of force by an independent foreign policy is invalidated by the course adopted by some countries in Latin America and West Asia where struggles of people has changed the nature of the foreign policy;
The major victory against Israeli aggression in Lebanon by Hezbollah led Lebanese National resistance, the strengthening of the National resistance in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan and the world wide opposition and protests against war and occupation is forcing US imperialism into a defensive position
Foreign policy is very much a reflection and outcome of the policies pursued by government at home and thus has a direct impact on the daily lives of citizens.
We believe that foreign policy, like any other policy, must be rooted in the democratic aspirations of citizens. It must be rooted in building a society that is based on economic, social and political equality and is free from all forms of discrimination where people are free to chart their own destinies without internal or external force or coercion. Such a policy must seek to defend and advance the right to independence and self-determination of nations and towards this end promote a multi-polar world order. Indian foreign policy is out of sync with these aspirations.
Laying the foundation for such a policy needs us to ground our aspirations with a sense of realism so that we successfully evolve strategies for struggles for a people’s foreign policy.
We resolve to:
Secure Global peace by
- Building on equality of nations and respect for human dignity within countries that eliminates all forms of racism, xenophobia, religious and social prejudices and demonisation of Muslims and other peoples
- Global disarmament and denuclearisation
- Securing and sustaining independence, sovereignty and right of development of nations
- Demilitarisation of the society by abrogating all laws that enables military to intervene in domestic social and political conflict
- All states signing and ratifying the Rome Treaty of the International Criminal Court.
- Supporting Liberation movements and Struggles of Nations against aggression by the US and its’ allies and by other expansionist powers.
- Working for a genuine and just settlement of the Palestinian peoples’ right to self determination and securing the early, complete and permanent withdrawal of US forces from Iraq
- Initiating Diplomatic and economic sanctions against military regimes
- Abrogating of Indo-US nuclear treaty
Build a South Asia on the basis of:
- Democracy, Secularism and Social equality by eliminating all forms discrimination
- Peaceful political settlement of peoples’ aspirations, including Kashmiris, Tamil and Baluchis, according to widely accepted international principles and practice
- Regional framework for peaceful and equitable development of peoples and nations of this region with resolution of bilateral issues, including border disputes and where needed renegotiation of bilateral treaties, on the basis of equality and mutual interest
- Reduce and chanellise defence spending for social development and demilitarise the region including nuclear disarmament.
- Elimination of the US hegemony and domination of imperialist states
- Work towards Alternative Economic Policies based on peoples’ economies for prosperity and increased co-operation and socialisation, and rejecting those that are anti-people and neo-liberal led market policies, which enrich a few corporations and countries.
- Ensure Rights of Migrant Workers: Assure migrant workers the security of movement and right to livelihood, facilitate easy visa and naturalisation and penalise human trafficking. In particular, provide mechanism for work permits for South Asian countries and protect fishing rights of the fisher communities in South Asia in the territorial waters of the South Asian region.
- Evolve a rational and ecologically sustainable policy on water, energy and pollution.
And affirm the following Plan of Action:
- To build a sustained campaign for a people’s foreign policy for India, holding a series of regional conferences and workshops and deepen this process by creating commissions for study and drafting specific policies on:
- Global militarisation and nuclearisation
- labour rights
- social and gender discrimination
- global environment and climatic change
- Peoples’ movement in North-East
- Religious Minorities
- Indigenous people
- To develop a wider alliance with other countries with focus on people-to-people dialogue of the discriminated and the oppressed and organise a parallel ‘Peoples Conference of South Asian’ during the SAARC meeting in Delhi
- Focus and prioritise solidarity movements in support of the resistance against the illegal occupations of Iraq and Palestine and organising a ‘West Asia-South Asia Solidarity Conference’ in India and join the international day of action on 9 June 2007 marking the 40th year of Israel’s occupation and control of the West Bank and Gaza