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.

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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.