Narendra Mod is yet to shed some light regarding his perspective on India’s foreign policy and relations. He has given a couple of remarks saying that his focus would be more on ‘trade treaties’ as opposed to strategic matters and that the states would be given more autonomy when it comes to forging alliances with foreign countries- however, these sundry propositions need to be explained better by him.
There are many issues going on in the subcontinent and there are multiple politics-based challenges pertaining to nuclear blackmail. Terrorism, extremism amongst others and by taking the foreign policy from the Centre’s control, there is more likely to be confusion and an intrusion by outside people.
Modi has often lamented the fact that India has failed to provide leadership to SAARC on economic issues and this could be rectified if the relatively smaller economies of our neighbouring countries were linked to India, as it would lead to dependency bonds that would protect us from adversarial politics. Little does he realise, that this is too far-fetched a vision considering what is happening such as Sri Lanka delaying the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement etc. The question here is whether the Modi-led NDA would follow in the footsteps of the erstwhile Vajpayee-led NDA’s foreign policy or form its own strategy.
As for Vajpayee, he referred to the US as a “natural ally” as it was during his government that the Indo-US nuclear deal was formulated. He supported America’s decision to intervene in Afghanistan. He also made key advancements to China and apparently agreed to the formulation on Tibet that was sought by the country. Likewise, Vajpayee made many advancements to Pakistan. He also managed to nurture his relationship with Russia and forged a strategic partnership with Iran as well.
Looking at the stark realities that face the subcontinent and the geopolitical boundaries, there are not many changes that Modi can make in the foreign policy, however, the best he can do is correct the areas where the UPA has failed to deliver.
Modi can bring about many proactive changes when it comes to reacting to the provocations by China as he has recently vowed that he would not give an inch of our territory to China. Likewise, he can also enhance relations with Japan and ASEAN. Another key area would be to increase diplomatic relations with Pakistan by delinking terrorism from dialogue.
Modi should rectify his so-called “anti-Muslim” image and should visit Pakistan and try to resolve the issues between the two neighbouring countries. Modi is a very seasoned politician, as he knows when to talk and when to refrain considering his reaction to his cancellation of the US visa. Modi should try to visit the US while Obama is still the President in order to develop the relationship between the two countries and should also consider meeting the heads of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and resolve the pending issues.