Economic Warfare: Keeping Visible the Iron Fist


Vice Admiral (retd.) Vijay Shankar

This article is forthcoming in the Centre for Joint Warfare Studies’ Journal Synergy.

Download full article here: Shankar_Economic_Warfare

Keywords: Economic Warfare, Economic Sanctions, Sanctions: Cuba, Iraq, Iran, Perpetual peace, Military and Political Economy

Abstract: The foundational weakness with all ‘open-access’ nations to this day is that Markets do not work well unless governments get out of them, at the same time Markets do not work at all unless governments get into them using power to stabilise. Herein lies the inseparable linkage between Markets and Power, both are joined at the hip and any system that seeks to operate one without the other or recognises one for the other is destined to crash.


Perpetual Peace: Economics the Rejoinder to the Waste of War

By 1793, a Europe sickened by colonial massacres and the bloodshed of the past three centuries of debilitating imperial wars saw in the aftermath of the American Revolution an impulse to transcend war. George Washington wrote from his experiences of the war of independence “it is time for the age of Knight-Errantry and mad heroism to be at an end,” because “the humanizing benefits of commerce, would supersede the waste of war and the rage of conquest; … as the Scripture expresses it, ‘the nations learn war no more’.”[i]

Washington’s declaration inspired the German philosopher Immanuel Kant to pen an essay in 1795, titled Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical sketch. The essay, in its preliminary articles, described a proposed global order that in inception was defined by a renunciation of arms, strategic military treaties and violence as an arbitrator of conflicts. His succeeding formulations were founded on three pillars; firstly, the civil constitution of every nation be democratic, similar and based on open-access egalitarian principles; secondly, law of nations would be founded on a federation of Free Sates and thirdly guarantees of discord resolution between States would be settled through the “natural course of human propensities” identified as restraints intrinsic to the mercantile spirit, the power of money, the weight of majority commercial interests and should the need arise, economic injunctions. Central to Kant’s treatise was the belief ‘that war would be no more’[ii].

Perpetual Peace, attempted to underscore the indispensible condition for lasting peace. Even to this day despite its idealism it remains very influential. However, in its day, before the ink was dry on Kant’s thesis, ground realities asserted that there was something drastically skewed with the arguments. Far from ushering in perpetual peace, the economics of republicanism plunged Europe into competition and wars. France, without too much deliberation, transformed its internal peoples revolution (which in 1794 had slaughtered a quarter of million of its citizenry) to a peoples war of imperial conquest. While the continuing carnage in the ‘new lands’ built colonial empires which generated wealth to fund wars and surpluses which gave rise to new and lethal technologies. This in turn demanded innovative military doctrines and developed organisational skills that set off a string of irresistible revolutions in military affairs that eventually paved the way for the World Wars of the 20th century. So much for the reality of commerce and economics providing a basis for bloodless conflict resolution.

Marriage of the Invisible Hand with the Very Visible Iron Fist

Laissez-faire was a political as well as an economic doctrine of minimum governmental interference in the economic affairs of individuals and society. The origin of the term is uncertain, but folklore suggests that it is derived from a reply given by a French industrialist when asked what the Louis XIV government could do to help business: “Leave us alone” he retorted. Laissez-faire is usually associated with the economists who flourished in France from about 1756 to 1778. The policy of laissez-faire received strong support in classical economics as it developed in Great Britain under the influence of economist and philosopher Adam Smith. The pervading theory of the 19th century was that the individual, pursuing his own desired ends, would thereby achieve the best results for the society of which he was a part. The function of the State was to maintain order and security and to avoid interference with the initiative of the individual in pursuit of his own desired goals. But laissez-faire advocates nonetheless argued that government had an essential role in enforcing contracts as well as ensuring civil order. Smith also laid the intellectual framework that explained the free market. He is most often associated with the expression “the invisible hand,” which he used to describe the self-regulating behaviour of the marketplace and demonstrate how self-interest guided the most efficient use of resources and provides balance to the economy of a country, with public welfare coming as a by-product.[iii] To underscore his laissez-faire convictions, Smith argued that the State and personal efforts to promote social good are ineffectual compared to unbridled market forces.

In the context of the vast, and for most, savage imperial enterprise that Europe unleashed in the 18th and 19th centuries, the matter of unbridled ‘market forces’ had manifold meanings. To the colonies where, Europe’s expansion into their worlds had transited from commercial and cultural equality to exploitative hegemony and finally to direct rule; market forces translated to loot, subjugation, slavery, lopsided indigenous economies and monopolies; making conquest and denying it to competitors, the new and most copious source of wealth.

The ‘invisible hand’ of the 19th century had a curious handmaiden, ‘the very visible Iron fist’. This lethal combination created capital on an inconceivable scale along with vast undivided apathetic governments (Hobbes’ Leviathan), organised armies and massive bureaucracies. Significant to our study is the emergence of another power tool of coercion and this was ‘political economics’.

Political Economics: A Branch of State Craft

The phrase political economics is not new, however it lost its essence through history and was replaced by ‘economics’ (literally in Greek to mean ‘run the household’) a more precise and formal scientific notion which stood for the mathematical study of the processes that govern production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. And yet, what differentiates is that political economics as an idea places economics in a position inseparable from politics and gives it a much more expansive span as an essential branch of state craft organised within the larger scope of a nation’s comprehensive power. It endows states with the capacity to selectively influence economic processes both internal and external; with it comes the potential to coerce and control political orientation of challengers and competitors.[iv]

Political economic analysis examines the strategic pressures and interests that affect policies and how these pressures influence the political process, taking into account a range of interests, international environment, competing strategies and philosophical perspectives. In particular, analysis takes into account how non belligerent aspects of national power can be leveraged as a strategy to influence the pattern of economic growth or bring about sought after biases in the global system. This terminology in large part reflects the belief that economics is not really separable from politics. More than just a semantic classification of disciplines; it arose from the widespread view that economic factors are crucial in determining political outcomes. Hence, as a discipline political economics historically viewed economic forces not only as influencing politics, but often as the principal determinant when military power reached its “Culminating Point”. Our examination will therefore be better served by keeping this framework in perspective.

Culminating Point of Military Power

Success in the application of power results from the availability of superior strength. However, as Clausewitz pointed out, when power is a function of physical force only, then it gradually diminishes with continued application and beyond a point the scales are turned and the reaction that follows is with a force stronger than that of the original force applied.[v] Events in Vietnam, Soviet Union and more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq would suggest that not only had military power extended beyond the culminating point, but reached a chapter when reaction resulted in strategic losses that outweighed gains originally envisaged.

Indeed the history of contemporary wars has made planners question the efficacy of violence as an unconditional arbiter of friction between states. This is not because of any abstract concepts or illusion of happy endings but more on account of three very good reasons:

  • The disproportionate destructive and disruptive promise that violence holds to all sides.
  • The diminishing existence of any such thing as a productive war.
  • The mounting reluctance of rational governments to employ radical means to alter the status-quo.

The dilemma about wars that societies face today are twofold, while wars in the past created larger, wealthier and more organised communities and governments, “it today has got so good at fighting and our weapons so destructive that war is beginning to make further war of this kind impossible”.[vi] The utility of military power may have reached a culminating point when the suppression of violence demands less destructive solutions than what brute military power offers. In this context it would be interesting to examine if the concept of economic autarky provides a satisfactory retort.


The Curious Case of Cuba

The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, financial and economic ban. It began on 19 October 1960 (almost two years after the Batista regime was deposed by the) when the US prohibited exports to Cuba. On 7 February 1962 this was extended to include almost all imports. Currently, the US embargo is enforced through six statutory US instruments: the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the Cuba Assets Control Regulations of 1963, the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, and the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Act of 2000.[vii] The Cuban Democracy Act was signed into law in 1992. This was significant for its opprobrium, for not only did it degrade the idea of choice of self governance but was also intriguing in rationale. The Law stands in direct opposition to the right of self determination, a cardinal principle of International Law, which has been sanctified by United Nations General Assembly Resolution1514 (XV). The Cuban Democracy Act’ stated purpose is to maintain sanctions on Cuba so long as the Cuban government refuses to move towards “democratization and respect for human rights”. Quite clearly the law was expected to be defied and Cuba was condemned to a slow economic haemorrhage.

To understand the magnitude of the embargo certain macro economic figures make the enormity clear. In 1958 US investments in Cuba amounted to near $ 2 billion, which was more than 25% of all US investment in Latin and South America; Cuba’s GDP at that time was $ 20 billion and per capita GDP was $3170 (approximately the same as Japan in that period).[viii] The economic blood loss becomes clear.

Despite the Cuban government referring to the embargo by the Spanish term bloqueo (blockade) which by international law is an act of war there was neither a formal declaration nor public censure. The embargo includes foreign countries that trade with Cuba who could be held liable and penalised by the U.S. However Cuba has and continues to conduct international trade with many third-party countries. The awkward irony is that Cuba has been a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1995.

To date, US-Cuba relations remain frozen and the latter also remains designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism by the United States Department of State. The UN has with ineffective monotony, passed a resolution every year since 1992 condemning the ongoing impact of the embargo and declaring it to be in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law. Human rights groups have also been critical of the embargo as too harsh, citing the fact that violations can result in 10 years in prison. In an absurd reversal, some critics bemoan the economic price on the United States itself, as 10 different agencies are in charge of overseeing the embargo resulting in further government bureaucracy and debt. Despite the massive effort the U.S. puts into the embargo, Cuba still benefits from trade and tourism from all other major countries, making the embargo a pointless egoistic labour. Still others say that the embargo places an unnecessary stress on Caribbean politics, and that the U.S.’s resources would be better served through re-establishing relations with Cuba. In short economic warfare waged against Cuba has been an utter failure on all counts despite having been imposed by the global ‘policeman’.

The Cuban case suggests to any prospective instigator of economic warfare six critical considerations:

  • In a globalised and networked world, economic warfare does not work when stretched over protracted periods (half a century in Cuba’s case) even when a vast differential in power and influence exists between protagonists.
  • Economic sanctions and embargoes must relate to a strategic environment and must be linked to time and effects if they are to produce a desired outcome.
  • There must also be a Plan B that defines conditions when a back down becomes the best option.
  • Protracted embargoes can be frustrated by increased trade between defiant nations unwilling to cooperate. In the absence of objectivity and resolve, economic warfare loses meaning, promotes sanction busting, has a reverse deleterious effect and degenerates to ineptness on the part of the instigator of the embargo. Both Cuba and Iran are studies in point. In a multi-polar world the situation gets further vitiated.
  • Although economic warfare is often considered a relatively inexpensive complement or alternative to military engagement, it imposes costs on the initiating country by denying it access to economic exchange with the targeted country.
  • The brunt of the impact of economic sanctions is unfortunately and ultimately borne by the civilian populace.

Military Power a Necessary Adjunct to the Invisible Hand

Relying just on the invisible hand of the market rather than integrating it with the Iron fist of military power in the hope that the target dispensation will crumble and alter its political and economic orientation, is a forlorn expectation. Far from breaking the country apart the crisis becomes an opportunity to push political centralization further and a rallying point that polarises international opinion as in Cuba’s case.

Under certain circumstances, introducing military power deliberately combined with an embargo may offer rapid results, provided its entry is marked with a focussed aim that targets the oppositions centre of gravity.[ix] The effectiveness of economic warfare is also limited by the ability of the adversary’s government to redistribute sufficient domestic wealth toward the military or other institutions to compensate for reductions in capability caused by the loss of the restricted goods. In the 1990s, for example, economic warfare against Iraq and North Korea did not substantially reduce the military threat posed by those countries because both were able to direct their limited economic resources toward their militaries. Critics of economic warfare have argued that it often imposes greater costs on the general population of the adversary e.g., through starvation, the spread of disease, or the denial of basic humanitarian goods, as it did in Iraq, than it does on its political or military leaders. At which time military power may be the more appropriate instrument to bring about political reorientation.


A resurgence of the concept of Political Economics puts into stark relief the contemporary state of global order and the stresses that competing interests place on it. The reluctance of nations to willingly subordinate their regional concerns to stability, well and truly, hammers the last nail into the coffin of a universal system that is defined by a renunciation of arms and an acceptance of the mercantile spirit as a strategic arbitrator of conflicts. The foundational weakness with all ‘open-access’ nations to this day is that Markets do not work well unless governments got out of them, at the same time Markets do not work at all unless governments got into them using power to stabilise. Herein lies the inseparable linkage between Markets and Power, both are joined at the hip and any system that seeks to operate one without the other or recognises one for the other is destined to crash.

Military power and its application has not quite reached that point of culmination when it is good for nothing; at the same time economic power does not have the gravitas to bring about perpetual peace, at least not quite as yet. In the circumstance prudence will suggest that the interest of stability would best be served if the Invisible Hand of economic power be tempered by the Visible Iron Fist.

Download full article here: Shankar_Economic_Warfare

End Notes

[i] Washington, George. Letter to Marquis de Chastellux, 25 April, 1788.

[ii] Kant, Immanuel. Perpetual Peace a Philosophical Sketch 1795, translated by M Campbell Smith. George Allen and Unwin Ltd London, 1903, p 106-158.

[iii] Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations, W Strahan & T Cadell, London 1776,Book IV Chapter 2 Para IX.

[iv] Author’s definition.

[v] Clausewitz, Carl Von. On War, Princeton University Press, 1976, p 528.

[vi] Morris, Ian.War Profile Books, London 2014, p 9, 65-111 and 259-271.

[vii] Amnesty International. The US embargo on Cuba its impact on economic and social rights. Amnesty International Publications,2009, UK.

[viii] Statistics extracted from UN,WHO and ILO figures for 1958. Other sources: Bank of Cuba,US Department of Commerce and Investments in Cuba by HC McCcllelan 1956.

[ix] Clausewitz, Carl Von, in his work On War develops the concept of Centre of Gravity of a State as the source of power that provides it moral or physical strength, freedom of action, or will to act.

Syria: “loosening the blood-dimmed tide”*


Arundhati Ghose

This article was first published in the August 2012 issue of Defence and Security Alert. 

An anniversary issue gives one an opportunity to step back from viewing the ebb and flow of the current and to take a wider view from a not-too-distant shore, and to try and read the portents of the welling of the sea, the threatening of a tidal wave. A ‘tide’, for some accuracy, has been variously described primarily as ‘the alternate rising and falling of the sea due to the attraction of the moon and sun’ and ‘a powerful surge of feeling or trend of events.’ Today, events in the Middle East in general, and in Syria in particular, is viewed  by most commentators mainly through immediate and bloody events, with different interpretations of these events by countries with differing goals. India’s votes in the UN, with the Arab League and the West in the Security Council and abstaining in the vote in the General Assembly, have been judged from this perspective, reflective of a short or medium term judgement of India’s interests. But what if the tide swells and spreads, what if it becomes a global tsunami and the “Syrian moment’, as it were, becomes as portentous as the assassination, almost a hundred years ago, in Sarajevo? The likelihood is no longer only a probability; there are currents that would seem to make this a near and ‘blood-dimmed’ certainty.

Without going into pre-history, which one would have to if the issues were related purely to religious sectarian rivalries, or indeed only political and ideological ones, (after all, it has long been conventional wisdom that the next world wide war would start in the Middle East)-it would have to be admitted that the faultlines becoming apparent today might be traced to  years more recent, when ambitions for power and control began to be stoked by the sudden and almost unexpected wealth created by the first oil shock in the 1970s and the interventions by outside powers upset delicate balances in complex regional rivalries. What started as diplomatic jostling for leadership  within the Ummah between Saudi Arabia, made newly powerful not merely by immense oil wealth but  by its courting as a power in global affairs by the established old powers of the West, and the Iran of the Shah who saw a revival of dreams of the Persian Empire of old, injected the concept of ‘political Islam’ into international discourse. The use of ‘political Islam’ to oust the failing Soviet rule over Afghanistan, encouraged in part by the Iranian revolution that saw the establishment of a purely theocratic State, engendered the arming and funding of disparate groups, which were led to believe they were in the vanguard of defending Islam against the atheist. As the Soviet Union withdrew, these groups were lauded as ‘mujahideen’ victors of the war for Islam.

Into this fragile situation, the second Gulf  War and the invasion of Iraq led to consequences which are today determining the outlines of the current crises- in the Arab world in general and in Syria in particular. Whether the US could have, should have or whether it ignored the possibility of these consequences is not the issue here: there is no doubt the there were at least three major consequences which unsettled such stability as had existed in the region before the invasion. These were , at a level, the  so-called Arab Spring, the hardening of the Shia-Sunni divide within the Ummah and the  emergence of Iran as a regional power.

According to some  influential Arab commentators, the ease with which Saddam Hussein’s regime was dismantled-with foreign intervention, to be sure, was an important factor in the impulses which resulted in the revolt of the peoples of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya-three neighbouring but very different countries – against the dictatorial though secular regimes in these countries. Iraq had also been a ‘secular’ country, though a Sunni minority formed the elite in power and the majority Shia were ruthlessly suppressed.  The equally ruthless dismantling of the structures of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq by the American occupation forces, turned Iraq into a Shia majority country closely allied to Iran. The introduction of religion, specifically the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood into the governing structures of these countries was also presaged by the changes in Iraq. The new element making the mixture more complex has been the use of the social media when mainstream media faced controls; this has caused concerns in other States, and not only those of centralized States such as China.

All these trends have coalesced in Syria, where the Shia-Sunni divide has divided the Arab world and threatens to spill over world-wide. Turkey, which had envisaged a leadership role for itself following the early days after the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, presenting itself as a ‘model’ of a democratic, modern Islamic State, has found its support for the Sunni rebels in Syria being challenged not only among its Alevi (Alawite-Shia) minority- 15% of its population, but threats from Syrian Kurds who have been trying to make common cause with the Turkish Kurds (20% of its population). Syria is reported to have ceded control over several areas in its north to its Kurds, with the latter raising the Kurdish flag over governmental buildings. Turkey has reportedly joined Arab Sunni States like Saudi Arabia and Qatar in funding and arming and providing ‘safe havens’ for the opposition ‘rebels.’ There are credible reports that many of these ‘rebels’ are not Syrian, but an unholy mix of  Sunni  Chechens. Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Yemenis, with groups of al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood among the more organized elements in the otherwise  disorganized Free Syrian Army. It cannot be discounted that the Kurds are similarly supported by Syria and Iran. Shia Iraq has its own problems with its Kurds, but the country has been more supportive of Arab Shia Syria than other Sunni members of the Arab League. Sunnis and Alawites are already fighting in Lebanon with Hezbollah threatening armed retaliation if Syria were to be attacked and Jordan is on the edge.

Syria’s strongest regional supporter is, of course, Iran. The strengthening of Iran is also a direct consequence of the collapse of the Sunni led regime of Saddam Hussein. That the current hostilities between both major sects poses a threat to Islamic unity, vis-à-vis the US and the West for Iran, and from movements to topple established regimes from Saudi Arabia, seems to have been recognized by both countries; the recent personal invitation to the Iranian President from the Saudi King to the emergency session of the OIC, the high level composition of the Iranian delegation, the seating of Ahmedinejad on the right of King Abdullah might indicate some back-room efforts to stabilize the situation. Iran is also reported to have announced that it had a proposal to sort out the situation in Syria at (at the time of writing) the forthcoming NAM Summit to be held in Iran would seem to be a pointer in this direction. However, given that the situation has now several non-regional countries and non-state actors involved, any such attempt might be difficult to implement.

Iran of course faces challenges on two fronts- in the Syrian situation and, long predating even the invasion of Iraq, with Israel, the US and the West over  Iran’s alleged determination to develop nuclear weapons. Today, whether for domestic political reasons or not, Israel appears to be straining at the leash to mount an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities; faced with an impending election, the US, in an effort to restrain such a disastrous step, has tightened sanctions on Iran almost effectively isolating Iran economically. In Syria, the US sees an opportunity to weaken Iran further and has supported the Sunni Arabs and Turkey, even threatening military action in the event Syria uses or even moves its chemical weapons, in addition to other support already being extended to the so-called ‘rebels’. Action against Syria under the aegis of the UN has been effectively stalled by vetoes by both Russia and China. Apart from Russia’s close friendship with Syria, the experience of NATO action in Libya and its fear of Chechen militants becoming empowered to act in Central Asia, the many initiatives taken by Russia would seem to signal a more assertive global role by Putin’s Russia. China has been less active, but has consistently opposed the involvement of outside powers to effect regime change using the UN for military action. Some China watchers feel that China is being cautious , as officially, at least, it has cited the Libyan case; it is possible that it would change its stance once its change of guard is smoothly accomplished in October. Others feel that not withstanding its global stature, there is a degree of nervousness about possible external incitement in its restive provinces of Tibet and Xinjiang. Whatever the reasons, the world is gradually becoming divided as the impact of the trends in the Middle East as a whole but in Syria in particular, starts spilling over outside the region, even into Africa.

The tide has started lapping at our shores; Malaysia has suspended its diplomatic relations with Syria after the OIC suspended Syria’s membership and Pakistan, where sectarian violence is endemic, and which has been seen by many commentators as the epicentre for the export of terrorists, has seen a rise in the hunting down of minorities especially Shias. Indeed, India’s stake in stability in the region has increased manifold.

The Syrian crisis cannot be easily disentangled from the ones facing Iran; if one looks at some of the albeit worst case scenarios, any military action against Iran or against Syria even be declaring ‘no-fly zones as proposed by France, would have major global spill-over effects. The forces that have been loosed would almost certainly spread to territories outside the Middle East. This would also be the case if the perilous geopolitical situation described earlier, continues at the current bloody levels. Taking an overview of the situation, it appears that, unlike other recent crises-Iraq and Afghanistan, the major powers are no longer the major determinant of a possible solution: today, most US positions seem to be taken in the throes of Presidential election fever, tempered into trying to ensure that while Iran can be weakened by a Syrian implosion with the provision of a limited number of arms to the ‘rebels’, Israeli hawks need to be restrained from actually attacking Iran. The UK and France are merely mischief-makers, with little power to act on their own; given the stalemate in the Security Council, they (and Turkey) may try to energise NATO, as in the case with Libya. In the Lybian case, however, the centrality of the West in settling disputes in the Middle East had already started to erode, presaged by the split within NATO on the issue of Iraq. Russia and China may have the veto, but China is unlikely to get directly involved, given its clashing ideological and economic interests in the region and Russia is hardly likely to have the stamina of facing down the West and the Sunni world alone. The crucial countries in a possible solution are Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The forces of extremist groups which were let loose in Afghanistan, have gained in power and ambition. India has been subject to their vicious depredation for decades. There is no doubt that in addition to India’s own economic interests and its expatriate population in the Gulf, the dangers of a Global War of Terror would pose extreme challenges to India’s security, should it, as it is bound to, if the worst case scenarios happen- unless India, having first-hand experience of dealing with these forces, at least tries to do more that merely ride out the storm. One possible direction could be for India to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia- the countries that have the power to limit the stalemate or escalation.  It is just possible that, notwithstanding the public action of the OIC, given the unusual cordiality of the interaction between the King of Saudi Arabia and the Iranian President at the OIC meeting in Riyadh, some deal was negotiated; at the very least, it is clear that both countries would see a continuation of the Syrian crisis as being harmful to themselves and to the Ummah. All India would need to do would be to support the initiative and press for its implementation-on whatever lines agreed to – by both countries. If there is any give on the part of both, and, India could use the challenges she faces at the moment in the current situation, as bilateral leverages for encouragement, other countries, the US and Russia, for example ,could also be asked to support an Iranian-Saudi led solution.

If we fail, there is near certainty that the war will go global- and unlike any of the earlier World Wars, it will be a war without clearly defined armies, State against State, State against non-State actors and non-state actors against other similar groups with no loyalties except to their own ambitions. It will be a war without end.

[*] W.B.Yeats: The Second Coming

“Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.”

About the Author:

Ambassador Arundhati Ghose joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1963. She worked in various capacities in the Embassies of India in Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium and The Netherlands; and as Ambassador of India to the Republic of Korea, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UNESCO; Ambassador of India to Egypt; Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to UN Offices in Geneva, and the Conference on Disarmament. After retiring from the foreign service in November 1997, Ambassador Ghose served as Member, UPSC (1998-2004); Member and Chairman of UN Secretary General’s Disarmament Advisory Board (1998-2001); Member from India on Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2004-2005); Member of Executive Council, IDSA (2004-2007) and functioned for two years as Chairman of its Programme Committee and as member of the task force on non-proliferation and disarmament set up by the MEA in 2007. She is currently Adjunct Fellow at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore and on the editorial Board of the journal Faultlines, New Delhi. The Ambassador has contributed chapters to books and articles in journals and newspapers on nuclear issues, disarmament and has been invited to speak at various fora on these and related topics.