Daily Current Affairs – 26th October, 2016DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
India and it’s Foreign Policy
Need for changes in foreign policy
The present day geopolitical world is continuously evolving and relationships, multilateral or bilateral, and alignments are neither permanent nor consistent. Although India has been making necessary changes in it’s foreign policy by pursuing a robust and an aggressive approach, it needs to evolve its strategy in tune with the changes taking place across the world. Hence, a few key aspects those have to be kept in mind while making these changes are as follows
- Comprehensive consideration of ‘all’ relevant aspects,
- Systemic, national and international decision making factors and
- Coherent and balanced policy approach
Role of Multilateral Groupings
The relevance of multilateral groupings, both old and new, continues to be very high. These multilateral groupings such as NAM(Non Aligned Movement), SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), BRICS (Brazil, Russia, Indi, China, South Africa) and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) are indispensable and how a nation deals with these and the importance that it gives to them is very critical. Even if some of these institutions are not as significant as they used to be, still how they are dealt with is important.
India’s Approach towards Multilateral Groupings
Since the world is gradually moving towards exchange politics and certain groupings are losing their relevance, India is seeking membership of various new institutions such as the NSG (Nuclear Supplier Group), Wassenaar Agreement (on Export Control for Conventional Arms and Dual-use Goods and Technologies) and full membership of organisations such as SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation).
However, India needs to assess the utility of older groupings, of many of which India has been a founder member, in a very careful manner before discarding them completely and India should attempt to have its presence at as many groupings as possible.
Relevance of NAM and SAARC
Even though the world is shifting towards strategic alignment from non alignment, NAM should not be written off completely. It’s contemporary relevance is as follows:
- Continued relevance for the Third World Nations
- Acts as an alternative stage for presenting different opinions
- For India, it is important for countering the aggressive growth of China
Unlike NAM, SAARC holds greater significance for India and it is like an anchor of the SAARC. Undermining SAARC solely due to the Indo- Pak crisis is not advisable and will lead to letting go off benefits of a bigger picture.
BRICS and BIMSTEC cannot be an alternative to SAARC because of the following reasons
- Growing influence of China in the region
- The increasing proximity between Russia and China and weakening of the Russia India China trilateral
- Deteriorating economic conditions in Russia, Brazil and South Africa
Changing Equations Changing Foreign Policy
India needs to ensure that various changes in it’s foreign policy are not just isolated steps which bear only short term fruits of marginal importance.
Signs of such instances can be seen in India USA relationship which was not at a similar high as it is now and India Russia relationships are probably at their lowest today. As a result of such an approach India is also witnessing increasing ambiguities in its neighbourhood and losing out on benefits it could have gained from the Russia India China trilateral.
India needs to ensure that it does not see the world through a very narrow lens of terrorism only. It needs to focus on numerous other matters of global concern. India needs to focus on accelerating its economic growth and human resource development.
Connecting the dots
- As the world moves from non alignment to strategic alignment, discuss the contemporary relevance of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
- Along with coherence and balance in policy, it is essential that foreign policy has to evolve in line with the changes taking place across the globe. Highlight how India’s foreign policy has been in line with the above criteria and suggest necessary changes which India still needs to incorporate in it’s foreign policy.
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