Reshaping India’s foreign policy

Are you frustrated over Narendra Modi’s frequent foreign trips? Ever wondered why he tours the world or even to the smallest of small countries? To clear your minds, this article dwells upon how India benefits from Modi’s foreign tours.

“For me, Globalisation is the manifestation of Nationalism”, says Modi in Japan. India is the second fastest growing country after China. And all economic power houses (World Bank, IMF etc.) are confident of India surpassing China in terms of GDP growth in next five years or so. Given such potential for India’s growth, India must consistently engage in trade and business relations across the world for various reasons. Politics, Business and Trade are interdependent and are relevant both within and out of India.

Modi

Narendra Modi’s first stop was Bhutan followed by Brazil and other countries. Here is why India should build good relations with these countries.

  • Bhutan: India signed hydro power projects on this state visit. Bhutan has been slowly moving towards China’s side and this trip was to bring back the country to our sphere.
  • Brazil: To attend BRICS summit 2014. BRICS bank was established to fund infrastructure needs of all five member countries. First BRICS bank President is Indian. Govt. recently announced K.V.Kamath for the post.
  • Nepal: Narendra Modi is power hungry and he therefore promised uninterrupted power supply to all parts of the country. Nepal has huge potential of power generation especially hydro power. India announced 1bn$ support to Nepal during this trip.
  • Japan: Narendra Modi, as Chief Minister of Gujarat had good relations with Japan. His Japan visit promised 35bn$ investments for the next five years. Investments involving solar energy, infrastructure projects, industrial corridors are on cards.
  • United States of America: To attend United Nations General Assembly meeting. He met various business leaders and asked them to make in India. This visit helped reinforcing relations with US. As a result, Obama attended our Republic Day parade. Here is what US Prez Obama has to say about Modi.
obamapti-m
chai pe Charcha with American counterpart
  • Myanmar: To attend ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) summit. India’s engagement with south east countries is likely to spur development of North-east states of India like Tripura, Mizoram etc.
  • Australia: To attend G20 Summit. The trip’s agenda topped trade and culture. India signed pact on uranium which Australia will supply. Along with uranium, huge potential of rich mineral resources of Australia come to India’s benefit.
  • Fiji: A small Island in Pacific Ocean. Good relations with Fiji can help India increase its grip over Pacific Oceania where China considers itself as supreme authority over pacific waters. Cultural diplomacy was also on the agenda.
  • Nepal: Second visit to Nepal to attend SAARC summit. The policy of “Neighbourhood First” is evident.
  • Seychelles: A small Island in Indian Ocean. India signed pacts on ocean security, renewable energy etc. India helps Seychelles build its naval strength.
  • Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s new presidential elections were very much like Indian elections, the elections that hoped for change. Sri Lanka under previous Govt. had been inclined more towards China which changed under Sirisena’s govt. Modi has been driver to divert Sri Lanka from China towards India. All diplomacy on Indian Ocean waters is to concentrate on free trade and maritime security which is very important to India’s security.
  • Singapore: To attend the state funeral of Lee Kuan Yew, founding father of Singapore, a city-country.
  • France: Business topped the agenda. He visited Airbus and various other business houses and asked them to explore investment opportunities in India. France will deliver Rafael helicopters to India.
  • Germany: Germany is the one of the hubs for manufacturing. India was the main partner for the event, Hannover Messe, a manufacturing show where exhibits come from across the world. New technologies and products were on show. Narendra Modi hard sold “Make In India” programme in a unique way. Click here to see India’s unique performance at the inauguration of Hannover.

    345835-narendra-modi-germany-hannover-make-in-india
    At Hannover Messe
  • Canada: To strengthen state relations. Canada has been a house for large numbers of Indian Diaspora.
  • China: You don’t need much introduction to Indo-China relations. Border, trade grabs the show. China readies huge investment plans into India’s infrastructure projects.
  • Mongolia: Modi is the first prime minister to visit Mongolia. Culture ties are strengthened. India announced 1bn$ credit to Mongolia.
  • South Korea: It is house for electronics manufacturing. With growing demand in India, electronic manufacturers evince interest in establishing their plants in India. Under Digital India programme, India aims to achieve net zero imports on electronics by 2020. It is right time that Modi visited South Korea.
  • Bangladesh: Modi accompanied by Mamatha Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal visited Bangladesh. 40-year-old land agreement came to an end and this is one of the biggest achievements of Modi govt. India inked several pacts to boost security and trade across the border.
sushma-1
Sushma Swaraj with Modi

Narendra Modi will be visiting Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan on a weeklong visit from 6th July. Central Asia is a pivot point for all politics of Russia and United states. Now, Indian Prime Minister visits the region which is something interesting. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs is also equally responsible to the whole episode of reshaping India’s foreign policy. Pro-activeness and focused work are her strengths.

In foreign policy regard, it is tough for any leader to beat Modi. If you still say to Modi, “Concentrate on domestic affairs instead of touring foreign nations”; for your kind information, there is whole administration that remains in the country while the Prime Minister leaves on a foreign trip.

Hope your frustration over Modi’s foreign tours has become little less.

States Play Diplomacy

After the NDA government assumed office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been successful in pursuing foreign policy and consistent in engaging with other nations. From USA lifting Modi’s visa ban to US president’s Republic Day visit to Yemen evacuation, Modi has proven his mettle in making his external affairs team proactive in framing foreign policy. Now, it is first time that the Prime Minister urges states to actively participate in foreign engagement.

21st century is going to manifest aggressive globalisation be it political or economic globalisation. Therefore it is evident that

Business will eventually be on foreign policy agenda of a country like India.

If we dwell upon the history, it is S.M.Krishna, former Chief Minister of Karnataka and Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh who actively engaged with foreign nations in promoting business and trade. Both worked hard in placing India at the top of Information Technology exports. Hence, Bengaluru and Hyderabad witnessed rapid progress in terms of infrastructure and economic activity. Following them, Narendra Modi while serving as Chief Minister of Gujarat actively visited foreign countries to attract investments and is known as pioneer of Global business summits. ‘Vibrant Gujarat’, the first of its kind global business gathering is now followed by such meetings being organised by states like Rajasthan, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh. Some states including Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are set to hold such meetings this year. Modi having felt that states have more potential in attracting foreign investments, urged states in that regard.

Countries like Canada, China have been successful in making their provinces play a pivotal role in foreign policy, Government of India too is trying hard to work with states in promoting diplomatic relations. Sending a delegation led by Chandrababu Naidu, CM-AP on China visit is a welcome step. During this visit, the Chief Minister not only promoted his state and its opportunities but also held fruitful meetings with governors of Guizhou and Sichuan provinces promoting bilateral and sister state relations. This tour was planned by the Ministry Of External Affairs upon the request from Chinese side ahead of Prime Minister’s China visit next month. In a great fillip to Government’s Smart Cities project , interested parties like Singapore, Japan have been directly engaging with state governments in building them.

What is still missing in action is the “proper roadmap” to make states active in playing diplomacy in keeping national interests above everything. This becomes delicate while dealing with Border States of Tamil Nadu, Jammu Kashmir, and West Bengal because there are some unresolved issues like that of Tamil fishermen-Sri Lanka, Kashmir-Pakistan. Now, Narendra Modi Government which is aspiring for the empowerment of States for a larger role keeping larger interests, it is time to lay down perfect framework to consistently pursue the matter with states. Keeping politics aside, there should be friendly relations between the Minister of External Affairs and State Governments. Knowing ‘Diplomacy’, a central subject, it would be better if external affairs body is created for every state with local government officials playing definitive role to help states attract direct Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). More leaders like S.M. Krishna, Chandrababu Naidu are key to define pivotal role of states in playing diplomacy.

Diplomatic touch

Briefing Indian diplomacy:

To handle international negotiations, India has relatively large diplomatic network. Indian diplomacy has its missions in almost every country which includes High Commissions, Embassies and others. India has been very active in engaging with other nations and partnering the same in promoting bilateral resources.  Ministry of External Affairs had set up its Public Diplomacy wing in 2006 to proactively discuss and entertain foreign policy statements of the country.

The ministry has taken many initiatives to elevate conversations with the world on day to day basis. And there are many instances in looking into issues of NRIs. Its e-governance initiatives are amazing. Let me share some of its webpages and social media handles.

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/MEAINDIA

www.facebook.com/IndianDiplomacy

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/MEAIndia

https://twitter.com/IndianDiplomacy

For passport related queries: https://twitter.com/CPVIndia

Webpages:

http://www.mea.gov.in

http://www.voiceofindia.com

http://www.indiaperspectives.in/

So, you are few clicks away from your executive.

Recent and renewed developments:

I should now say it is a perfect mix of economic diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, and even cricket diplomacy as is witnessed in the delegation led by PM to Australia. The new Prime Minister has defined it the rock concert style and is extremely successful in connecting with the NRI community. Not every country has diaspora like India does. World Leaders must be taking notes.

When it comes to foreign policy, Pakistan comes first though it should not be the case. Now, India is the most sought in any coalition be it BRICS or G20. India has rolled out its ambition to turn itself as manufacturing hub by launching “Make In India” campaign. I think this is nearly impossible without being given priority in foreign policy statements.

Let us observe some recent foreign policy achievements:

  • BRICS Bank – India to chair the bank. Equal contribution from all BRICS countries as India proposed. India thinks it is the key driver to fund infrastructure projects.
  • Border tensions – India cancelled secretary level meeting with Pakistan when the High Commissioner of latter met separatists. I think India should be consistent with this stand.Also India took up the issue of Chinese incursions with Chinese Prime Minister during his visit.
  • G20 – India reiterated its will to boost infrastructure and therefore facilitate investments through amending labour laws and FDI structure.
  • “Look East” Policy is a part of India’s foreign policy which was first adopted by the then Prime Minister P.V.Narasimha Rao. It has now gained momentum and turned to be “ACT EAST” Policy. Galvanizing ties with Australia and Fiji are positive signs.
  • Latest development shows US President accepts invitation to attend Republic Day Celebrations in New Delhi next January. This is the first time an US President will travel to India for the Republic Day parade. Perhaps, this is the biggest diplomatic achievement.
  • WTO Negotiations- US compromised and listened to India on Bali- trade agreement. India to make final report on its stand by the year end.

India has been delicately combining its democratic interests with global integration.

Write your comments below. Discussion is welcome as always.