Shift in india’s foreign policy

shifting trajectory of India’s foreign policy

Context- The significance of 3rd India-USA 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue and the shifting trajectory of India foreign policy.

What are the key highlights of 3rd India-US 2+2 dialogue?

1)The USA reiterated its support to India in defending its territorial sovereignty in the background of the ongoing stand-off between India-China.

It also referred to the greater threats posed by China in the Indo-Pacific region and by the Covid-19 pandemic in general.

2)Signing of the BECA– India signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for Geo-Spatial Cooperation, which marked India’s entry as a full member into the select category of nations entitled to receive highly classified U.S. defence and intelligence information.

BECA is one of the four foundational military communication agreements between the two countries. The other three are:

  • GSOMIA- General Security of Military Information Agreement.
  • LEMOA- Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement.
  • COMCASA- Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement.

Other Steps Taken:

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Technical Cooperation in Earth Observations and Earth Sciences.
  • Agreement to extend the duration of the MoU on the Global Center for Nuclear Energy Partnership.
  • Agreement on the electronic exchange of customs data.
  • Letter of intent regarding cooperation in traditional Indian medicines.
  • Discussions on the status of Afghanistan and support for its peace process.

What are the issues related with signing of BECA agreement?

1)Compromising strategic autonomy– India prides itself on maintaining strategic autonomy, by synchronizing its systems with those of the US, it will enable the US to enter its decision-making loop.

2)India’s Aversion to Alliance System– From the perspective of the US, in order to counter China, it would want India to be getting close to an alliance system. By appending its signature India has signed on to becoming part of the wider anti-China ‘coalition of the willing’.

3)Impact on China-India relations– India’s willingness to sign foundational military agreements with the U.S., would suggest that India has made its choice, which can only exacerbate already deteriorating China-India relations.

4)India has effectively lefts its previous policy of neutrality, and of maintaining its equidistant from power blocs.

What are the challenges for India with recent foreign policy shift?

1)India and the Taliban challenges– The challenge would be for India to stay relevant in Afghanistan, with the recent developments in Taliban issue. India must decide how a shift in policy at this time would serve India’s objectives in Afghanistan, considering the tremendous investment it has made in recent decades to shore up democracy in that country.

2)India’s balancing with SCO– India has to act as a willing partner of regional cooperation that is led by China and Russia while assuring that India doesn’t reflect its increasing strategic convergence with the USA.

3)India-Russia relations– It is the combination of a changing regional order, closer Russia-China ties and India’s alignment with the United States and other like-minded countries to manage Beijing’s rise that has the potential to create hurdles for India-Russia cooperation in the Asia.

4)India needs to devote greater attention to try and restore India-Iran ties which have definitely frayed in recent years.

Way forward-

India-Russia ties– This is one relationship which India will need to handle with skill and dexterity, as it would be a tragedy if India-Russia relations were to deteriorate at a time when the world is in a state of disorder.


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