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Foreign Policy Approach of India Post 2019: With and Without Modi

  • Madhura Joshi
  • March 29, 2019
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Today at 8 in the Morning, PM Modi kick started last phase of his campaign for 2019 General Elections by giving interview to Republic Bharat. This was at the backdrop of successful ASAT missile test by India that has put India is elite club of Space Superpowers.

The ASAT missile test is significance as it not only shows capability of India but also the political will power PM Modi has to make such a brute display of force at such hostile times. Since the elections are around the corner, political game-playing will go on but its more important to read in between the lines about the timing of this test.

With deciding to carry on with the test at such a crucial juncture, PM Modi, has not only showcased capability of India under him, but also made us wonder what would be the Foreign Policy of India vis-a-vis South Asia with and without him.

Right from pre-2014 PM Modi had this tough man image build around him, so it was expected of him to be a little rebel when it came to taking drastic decisions pertaining to domestic policies, but little was expected to change on India’s traditional soft power approach. That was even made clear, when PM invited SAARC countries to the swearing in ceremony and tried to build a personal relationship with Nawaz Sharif, his Pakistani counterpart. Although, Pakistan, a military state where civil government had absolutely no say in foreign policy matters and approach especially India, but still there was hope as Mr. Sharif had been three times PM and was genuinely willing to co-operate.

But then, Uri happened, and everyone was expecting a cliché approach where there would be condemnation and talks but a sudden 360-degree turn happened and India did surgical strikes. Then began operations against internal menace of naxalism. Doklam made it clear to the Dragon that its not easy to bully us anymore. Balakot Air Strike after Pulwama, further made it clear that India had dumped its policy of ‘Strategic Restraint’ in the garbage where it belongs, and a message was sent that this South Asian emerging Super Power will adopt Military Offensive against an intrusion on its soil. Balakot Air Strike was significant in all this Military Scenario as India, for the first time, actually went inside a sovereign country and hit the target. A thriller pre-cap to US Navy Seal’s Abottabad Raid. But let’s not restrict this government’s Foreign Policy successes to just the Military offensives. There have been pretty good Diplomatic Offensives as well. It was clear when all countries without any ifs and buts stood by us after Pulwana and also during listing of Masood Azhar as terrorist, where countries like France, USA called out China for its hypocrisy. Bringing Afghanistan and Iran to a table of negotiations and further development of Chabahar port is another feather in cap of PM Modi’s successful diplomacy.

Sanction by Oman to give Indian Military as base on its shores as Indian Policy of encirclement of China was another illustrious achievement. Israel-Indian relations and co-operation got strengthened. ‘Look East’ approach strengthened our relations with countries like South Korea and Japan which will be fruitful in enriching Indian Economy. Cherry on cake was when OIC, a traditionally bureaucratic and Islamic organisation ditched its founding member Pakistan, when it protested against invitation of Sushma Swaraj as ‘Guest of Honour’. These are the most significant achievements that I have listed and there are many more such. Although much more needs to be done, this government has done pretty good work as far as foreign policy is concerned.

That means if PM Modi comes back, we will see India taking a major lead and say in South Asian and World Matters and may be a Permanent UNSC seat in diplomatic missions are planned and executed well. Although India still maintains a very soft approach towards China, there is a hope that we would be able to stand up to the Chinese misadventures.

Now, lets see a scenario where Congress comes up, it will be a weak government, cause lets be fair, going by current seat share and alliances being made, Congress isn’t coming back with thumping or any type of majority. It would be a very dysfunctional ‘Khichadi’ with almost every regional leader wanting to sit on the throne. I won’t go into whose son and which Didi or Behen would be the PM, as it really doesn’t matter, it would be an extremely unstable government with no sole agenda to stay together rather than thirst for power aftermath of defeating Modi. So, there would be no concrete decisions on any important matters of National Security which in result will soften the approach to any misadventure. Defence deals will come to a standstill. It would be just a pudding of different kind of tastes with no amalgamation to each other thrown into a bowl for apparently no reason to stay together which would demand a reelection, again costing our country billions of dollars.

Although its upon voters for who to choose, but in current hostile conditions in neighborhood and upcoming Geo-political conditions with Brexit, Afghan Peace Deal, advent of ISIS in Afghanistan, Pakistan spiraling into Economic collapse, India needs a strong government with absolute majority to sustain with its current economic growth rate and Political Standing.

– Madhura Joshi

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