- The various developments that have affected Indian foreign policy decisions are,
- The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to severe restrictions on travel.
- Deadlock over the continuing occupation of Indian territory by China that witnessed violence at Galwanvalley.
- The unsettled situation in the U.S., with only three weeks to go for Joe Biden to be sworn in as President.
- The game-changing developments in West Asia, the progress in Israel-Saudi bilateral relation.
How impactful were the India’s Foreign policy decision during the year 2020?
India’s Foreign policy as a result of various global developments had its own pros and cons. Some decisions that we took raised our status in the global arena as a rising global superpower whereas some decisions have invited criticisms.
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- First, India’s efforts towards pandemic recovery through India’s pandemic diplomacy have made a positive impact.
- India helped many countries with relief supplies, medicines, and equipment during the pandemic. For example, supply of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol to other countries.
- India has also contributed immensely to international mobility and migration during the pandemic. For example, we supported the movement of more than 1,10,000 foreigners out of India to 120 countries while, more than 2.5 million citizens were facilitated to return to India.
- Second, India’s stress on multilateralism and international cooperation have been appreciated.
- Third, India has been increasingly involved in adequately securitizing foreign policy by integration of foreign and defence policies, a new dimension to policymaking for settling border disputes. For example,
- The visit of the Chief of the Army Staff and the Foreign Secretary to Myanmar.
- The visits of the Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, the Chief of the Army Staff, and the Foreign Secretary to Nepal.
- Third, in few examples, India was seen as distancing itself from globalisation and moving towards protectionism as against the rules of Free trade. For example,
- The concept of “Atmanirbharta” to reducing dependence on countries like China.
- India’s decision to keep out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership has stating that globalization and trade agreements have resulted in de-industrialization in certain sectors.
- Fourth, the visible intolerance towards international criticism had made other countries to express displeasure over India’s action. For example, two boycotts by Mr. Jaishankar have been seen as an increased intolerance of external criticism.
- The first was his decision not to meet Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal owing to her critical view on the Kashmir issue. Senator Bernie Sanders and Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris, now Vice-President-elect, criticized India for ‘silencing’ its critic.
- The second was his decision to boycott Ministerial meeting on COVID-19 convened by Canada. The reason for the boycott was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement on the agitation of Indian farmers which is significant to interference in our internal affairs.
However, India’s policy is to be supportive of our diaspora abroad and we need to showcase tolerance towards such criticism from abroad.