Changing the order of battle

Changing the order of battle


  1. K. Narayanan, former national security advisor, says that traditional diplomacy paved the way for summit diplomacy.

Important analysis

2. Diplomacy is one of the world’s oldest professions.

3. However, summit level diplomacy is comparatively a recent phenomenon which started during the 2nd world war

4. The first instance was when Chamberlain took a trip to visit Hitler in 1938

5. One of the most important event of summit level diplomacy is at Yalta conference which feature S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin

6. However in post-war era traditional diplomacy was prevalent but in recent time summit level diplomacy has come into picture again

7. Salient feature of summit style diplomacy

  • Foreign Office and ministers in charge of foreign affairs are being pushed into the background
  • Leaders engaged in summit diplomacy are not unduly constrained by the need to adhere to the Westphalian order
  • In summit level diplomacy, leaders took diplomatic steps in their own personal beliefs only, ignoring past history and current problems

8. The meeting between Mr. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Singapore in mid-June, is a classic example of ‘daredevilry’ at the highest level

9. The Trump-Putin meeting held in Helsinki last week, in July, was another example which negates the negative response from the majority of western countries, especially among the diplomatic and policy-making fraternity

10. Author also compare the summit level diplomacy of US president Trump, Russian president Putin, Chinese president Xi and Indian Prime ministerNarendraModi

11. About Trump author observes that he hardly constrained by diplomatic etiquette

12. He is clearly an advocate of the thesis that ‘a crisis by definition poses problems, but it also presents opportunities’.

13. About Mr. Putin Author observe that he want to take Russia from the low point of the Yelstin years to future glory.

14. About Mr. Xi Author observe that Xi is in the process of establishing a new political orthodoxy based on ‘traditions’ of the Qing dynasty, Maoist socialism and Deng’s policies of reform

15. Indian Prime Ministers have also experimented on occasion with variants of summit diplomacy.

  • Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was in effect his own Minister for External Affairs, conducted policy discussions with a whole range of world leaders, achieving a mixed bag of results.
  • He was successful as the architect of the Non-Aligned Movement, but met with setbacks in his China policy.
  • In 1988, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi ended a 25-year India-China stalemate by personally taking the initiative to reopen talks with Deng Xiaoping and the Chinese leadership.
  • Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee achieved a temporary respite from cross-border attacks from Pakistan by engaging with General, later President, Pervez Musharraf.
  • Prime Minister Modi in its informal summits held recently with Mr. Xi (in Wuhan) and Mr. Putin (in Sochi) have contributed to improving the ‘fraying’ relations with China and Russia.

16. Author observes that In the case of Indian prime ministers they did not made any attempt to effect systematic change in foreign policy, nor talked of establishing a qualitatively new order in the realm of foreign affairs but they only use their personal credibility to achieve results

17. In support of summit level diplomacy MK Narayanan says that

  • Summit diplomacy shows positive results in area where traditional diplomacy has struggled for years to achieve, whether they be long-lasting or short-lived.
  • If diplomacy is generally viewed as ‘war by other means’, then summit diplomacy is changing the ‘Order of Battle’ in a bid to succeed where all else has failed.
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