A good foreign policy must also make a difference at home 

News: India’s foreign policy is at the centre of debate due to ongoing geopolitical issues like the treatment of Indian students from the conflict-ridden Ukraine.  

What are the ingredients of a good foreign policy 

A good foreign policy does not necessarily have to sound nice. It must be able to meet the everyday needs of Indian national nationals from the outside world, like assuring our national security.  

Foreign policy is the link to the outside world. It must pass the test like It enables us to draw what we need for everyday need, like technology or capital, best practices, or even work opportunities.  

At Personal level: (1) For a student, it means ease of getting visas, the ability to travel during times of Covid, employment after studies, safely evacuation of the Indian nationals from the geopolitical crisis like Russia-Ukraine Conflict 2022, (2) For a businessperson, it mean access to foreign markets, receiving information about regulations and practices, and where circumstances demand it, assistance to solve problems, and (3) For the professionals and workers, it may be fair employment contracts, protection and welfare measures in times of difficulty etc. 

For external or internal security: Diplomacy can help prevent, mitigate or solve a security problem. For example, countries can partner against common dangers, like terrorism, radicalization etc.  

For an economy: Foreign policy can facilitate the creation of new capacities at home. It helps in obtaining capital, technology and best practices from abroad vis-à-vis information technology, auto manufacturing, food processing, metros or bullet trains, space capabilities or nuclear energy etc. For example, Japan was the pioneer in this regard during the Meiji era, while China after Deng Xiaoping. Therefore, it can accelerate India’s progress, expand employment and improve your quality of life 

The foreign policy must be able to address big issues of like Pandemics, Terrorism, and Climate change.

It is important that our foreign policy shape India’s image and influence the narrative prevalent worldwide about India. It matters what other nations think of India, our culture and our way of life. 

Indian diplomacy should be able to deal with contingencies. For example, the neighbours (like China) may be unpredictable due to divergence of interests. Therefore, the policy must be able to show capabilities and deterrence.  

Objectives of India’s Foreign Policy Since 2014

There were six broad objectives that were spelt out to the policy-makers and implementers:.  

One, we must bring about a change in the way of thinking about us in the world.  

Two, we should create a partnership which is on more equal terms, and more generous with smaller countries.  

Three, the global agenda and the big issues of our times should be shaped by India as much as possible.  

Four, foreign relationships should be actively explored and leveraged for domestic development and progress.  

Five, the very conceptualisation of India’s foreign policy should be guided by a people-centric approach.  

Six, our culture, traditions and thoughts should be able to influence international debates and initiatives. For example, Yoga and Ayurveda were obvious examples in this regard. 

What is the way forward?

India has entered into the 75th year of independence. We are going to celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. In this regard, we should be fully aware of the opportunities and challenges that the world currently presents.  

Source: The post is based on an article “A good foreign policy must also make a difference at home” published in the Indian Express on 26th Marc 2022. 

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