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Synopsis: A new research paper has emerged which offers some directions for alternatives to India’s foreign policy.
For the first time, a document has emerged from the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) named ‘India’s Path to Power: Strategy in a world adrift’. It is authored by eight well-known strategists and thinkers and provides foreign policy alternatives.
India does not have a shadow cabinet. Under such circumstances, strategic papers by experts, which provide alternate foreign policy options, become very important.
What have been the changes in foreign policy by the current government?
The government has taken a bold, and assertive foreign policy, overcoming the hesitations of history. For instance, after peace initiatives with Pakistan failed, the Government of India took a firm stand against terrorism. This has resulted in the following benefits,
Even though close relations with the other neighbours did not materialize, the government’s helpful attitude managed all situations and has averted any crisis.
There is a new synergy in India-U.S. relations.
The government is also engaging with China continuously to build strong bilateral relations.
India’s relations with Israel and the Arab countries have now become productive.
What were the challenges faced by the government?
Article 370 was a domestic matter. But, questions have been raised in the West about human rights and the state of democracy in India.
The pandemic, the economic meltdown and China’s incursion into Ladakh added to the troubles of the government.
Moreover, political polarization and majoritarianism might diminish India. For example, the opposition in India questioned the foreign policy of the government.
What should be the way forward?
India should keep its focus on economic growth and should promote further globalization. There is a fundamental need to change the outlook towards China. India should also look at resuming political dialogue with Pakistan.
All this can be best done when ruling parties and opposition parties have coherence in the terms of foreign policy.
The source of India’s influence in the world rests on four pillars, domestic economic growth, social inclusion, political democracy and liberal constitutional order. If the government strengthened these integral pillars, then there is no stopping for India.
Source: This post is based on article “A shadow foreign policy for the first time” published in The Hindu on 19h October 2021.