Modi@4: Foreign Policy – Much To Be Desired

By the end of UPA II, there was a general feeling among commentators on India’s foreign policy that a lot needed to be done which Manmohan Singh government left undone or was incapable of doing. Prime Minister Modi entered office with a foreign policy bang, inviting SAARC heads of governments at his swearing in ceremony and at once people were thrilled to have discovered the right man at the right time who would fix all deficiencies on the foreign policy front of his predecessor government. As we are inevitably moving towards the end of NDA II, and the general elections next year, it is time to have a look at the state of our foreign policy today.

Let us recollect that after coming to power Modi selected Bhutan as the country of his first foreign visit which was quickly followed by a trip to Nepal. He coined the phrase “neighbourhood  first” as the guiding star of our foreign policy while quickly rephrasing Narasimha Rao’s “Look East” into “Act East” policy.

Not only did he start travelling through the neighbourhood in quick succession; he made a surprise visit to Lahore on 25 December 2015 to wish his then Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday as also to attend the marriage of his granddaughter. Already in September 2014 Modi had welcomed Xi Jinping to India when they jointly agreed to uphold “Peace on the Border”. India truly looked like in the driver’s seat resetting South Asian relations and adding the necessary heft to Sino-Indian relations. Read More…

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