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The Big Picture – Indian Foreign Policy: Is it heading in the right direction?

Summary:

2014 has been a year of dramatic developments with the major shift in the political scene. This has also resulted in a new approach towards foreign policy.

Probably no other Indian PM has ever participated in so many high powered multilateral and bilateral summits as Narendra Modi has done in his first 6 months in office.

The engagement with all the major world powers and also with the neighbours has been the hallmark. Engagement in particular with neighbourhood is being appreciated.

The previous government was also successful in its foreign policy. But the previous government failed to engage with the neighbours.

Some people say that the PM has overplayed his role.

Look east to act east policy is also being appreciated.

Failures as pointed out by some:

  • Not assessing the capacity and the mood in the neighbouring countries to respond to some of the initiatives.
  • There is also an impression that in the overall global strategic context we seem to have leaned a little more towards the US and a little away from China.

Hopefully the Russian President’s visit has brought back the Hope.

India has been successful in maintaining the balanced relationship between the Arabs, Turks, Israelis and Iranians.

It is important to be cautious for the government in its foreign policy experiments.

The attitude towards Pakistan needs a change.

Chinese know the limits beyond which India can be pressed in one way or the other.

Foreign minister should also be seen along with the PM during foreign visits.

The challenges in Foreign Policy:

  • Gap in the delivery deficit.
  • Mismatch between the political statement of the ruling party and its implications for foreign policy particularly in the neighbourhood.
  • Lack of firm institutional arrangements within India.

The internal polarization issue will eventually affect adversely.

The foreign policy has been PM centric. It is essential that all the sections of the government be involved.

Reform and restructuring of Ministry of External Affairs is also necessary and urgently required.

It is also necessary to involve the states, along the border, in the framing of Policy for neighbourhood for its successful implementation.