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`India must drop negative stance in global talks`

Lomdon: India needs to change its `just say no` stance on issues like climate change and Doha and adopt a more balanced approach during multilateral
negotiations, an Indian-origin Cambridge academic says.

In a book-length study titled `New Powers: How to Become one and How to Manage Them`, senior lecturer in the Department of Politics Amrita Narlikar says that both India and the West need to change their approach in negotiations on global issues.

India, it suggests, will secure greater acceptance at the global high table by leading more balanced negotiations internationally and regionally.

The West, which has shown a preparedness to bend rules to accommodate India, should be demanding more concessions from it in return.

The study sees India as characteristically argumentative on the international stage, not least because its domestic political culture rewards its politicians for standing up to the west and its legitimacy rests on the support of smaller, developing countries.

Narlikar writes that the negotiating styles of the world`s biggest rising powers (China, India and Brazil) could offer important clues about any future challenge they may pose to international stability.

She argues that the negotiation behaviour of these three emerging giants could act as an early warning system for diplomats, enabling countries like the US to better understand and handle them.

China, India and Brazil are all expected to rank within the world`s top five economies by 2050. All three, however, also sit outside the circle of liberal, western powers which has dictated the course of international politics since the end of the Cold War.

The study argues that any new power will temper its diplomacy while still rising in an effort to gain acceptance on the world stage. At the same time, however, it suggests that by forensically examining their negotiating behaviour, clues emerge about what kind of great power each of China, India and Brazil will be.

Narlikar says: "Rather than attempting to make educated guesses and predictions about these powers` future behaviour, we should be examining the methods that they are using to negotiate their way to the core of the international system.

If correct, this research suggests that so far the established powers in the west have not negotiated correctly with any of the three."

The study examines the negotiating approach of each of the three emerging powers, with particular emphasis on recent talks such as the Doha Development Round, or the UN Climate Change Conference at Copenhagen in December 2009.

Among other recommendations, it suggests that the west should be moving towards a policy of "containment, rather than engagement" with China, which, it argues, will pose perhaps the biggest challenge to the existing international order in the future.

Narlikar suggests that the time has come to engage Brazil more seriously, rather than treating it as a "pushover" because it does not pose a threat to the existing order.

Doing more to accommodate Brazil, she adds, for example by granting it a much-coveted seat on the UN Security Council, would legitimise and strengthen existing forms of international governance, and send out powerful signals to India and China as they strive for similar levels of acceptance.

PTI

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