Decoding India’s Foreign Policy under the MODI Government

India under the MODI Government…if I have to write an essay on it, there would be a couple of areas, where I would praise the performance and a hell lot of many where I would be brutally criticising the performance. But, the Foreign or External Affairs minister, is the one area I feel that this government has done a great job, even better than many of its counterparts. The foreign minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has done a great job, but it’s not just about him. Actually, it is about the whole vision and approach of this government. So, in this article, I would try to talk about all the pillars of India’s foreign policy one by one.

Phases of India’s Foreign Policy Strategies:

  1. Non-Aligned Movement (1947-1962): This was one of the pillars of the newly independent India. This strategy basically meant that India did not align with any of the superpowers of that time, ie, the US and Russia. The reason was straightforward, India had just gotten independent and Britishers were kind enough to have left it in a very dire state. At such a crucial stage, India could not have afforded to align with big power and be a pawn of some selfish interest. Because of this very reason, India rejected the UN permanent membership, not once but twice, offered by the US and Russia each time. Now, that has been a recipient of many criticisms of being defensive, wasting opportunities, and all. But, in my opinion, that was the best thing India could have done at that time. And, it is this very pillar that has helped India in pursuing an independent policy even today. If we look at some examples. In 1950, the Korean War began, between the two Korean sides, eventually forming North and South Korea. While countries wanted India to choose a side and send its troops into the war. India again remained neutral. Instead, India sent its medical team to help and assist the injured troops.  It actually helped 2,00,000 injured troops and also performed many field operations. India eventually garnered worldwide praise for its stand. Around 1960, the US and the West wanted to form a Non-Proliferation Treaty consisting of India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Here, the signatories won’t be able to hold more than a permitted amount of nuclear weapons. But, the permanent members of the UN Security Council such as European countries and the USA will be able to hold unlimited nuclear weapons. Nehru was not at all convinced of this hypocrisy and he never signed the deal.Non-Alignment Movement - When India Initiated A Global Alliance That Kept Countries Away From Being Part Of Cold War                                                                                            Pic: Nehru and India’s Non-Aligned Movement
  2. Change of Plan Post 1962 War (1963-1971): Nehru initially thought, that he will be able to keep peaceful relations through his diplomacy. But, after the heavy defeat against China in the 1962 War, Nehru understood that it was time to change his foreign policy. The focus was laid on more focus on defence, security and realism. One thing very less people know. In 1964, India signed a security agreement with the US. After which, a security base was set up in Delhi with a 2-star US Army General being the head. Also, by this time India started being pressurised on the world stage, mainly from the West, on the Kashmir issue. Now, it was also the time for India to choose its partner. Without any surprise, it was the Soviet Union and India signed the Treaty of cooperation with it. So, within a span of 2 years, India had an agreement with both US and the Soviets.
  3. Fight against a Complex Axis (1971-1991): By this time, US and Pakistan had gotten close. The reason was US’s interest in Afghanistan and for that, it needed Pakistan (because of its location). Also, China and Pakistan too started getting close by this time. So, eventually, it became a complex axis of all the Anti-India forces (for that time). At this point in time, India started getting even closer to the Soviet Union. That also got truly reflected in India’s voting at the UN. USSR too always voted in India’s favour, vetoed for India in tough times, and who can ever forget the biggest moment, when during the 1971 War, America and the West were with Pakistan, but the USSR jumped into India’s help like a big brother.
  4. The Economic Challenge (1991-1999): This was also the time if you remember when India opened up its economy under the LPG Model. Just before this phase, in 1989, the Soviet Union disintegrated. India was back at stitching its economy and again taking a neutral stance on the world stage to cushion all the turbulence. As India opened and strived towards becoming a big economy, it became an important member of the world stage. India was also sanctioned by the US in 1998 for the Pokhran tests, but being a strong economy helped it recover from the sanctions soon enough.
  5. India on the verge of Stability (2000-2013): This phase started under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and stayed onto Manmohan Singh’s tenure. India again kept its position balanced between the two superpowers (Russia and the US). So, we can clearly see from being sanctioned by the US to signing a deal with it, India came a long way. In 2003, when the US decided to invade Iraq after Saddam Hussain’s regime, the US also wanted India to support the US stand on the international stage. But, guess what, forget about support, India went on to criticise what the US did. India also signed 2 nuclear deals with the US in 2005. India’s economic development further helped India in getting foreign attention. So, as we saw, the strong foundation that was laid by Vajpayee Ji was well-executed by Manmohan Singh as well.

Also Read: My Blog on the China-Taiwan issue and China’s rising dominance 

Foreign Policy under the MODI Government

Post-2014, under the Modi Government, India has been very clear and blunt on its foreign policies. India is developing itself as a national security state. For strengthening its military, India has purchased all kinds of ammunition, ranging from the controversial RAFAEL from France to the S-400 from Russia. Though the latter annoyed US, still it wasn’t able to take any stringent action against India. After that, the  Abrogation of Article 370, at the international diplomatic level, was of almost the same impact as the Pokhran test in 1998. But, unlike the former, in the latter case, the abrogation didn’t see India being sanctioned, simply because India is too strong and ‘important’ in world politics today.

Also, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, our External Affairs minister,  has pointed out India’s focus on the world stage. India’s position can be understood by just two statements given by Jaishankar, “The oil that India India buys from Russia in a month, Europe buys in a day”  and “The West needs to come out of the mindset, that Europe’s problems are world’s problems, but world’s problems are not Europe’s problem”. India hopes on its economic drivers to guide its external policy and will also be looking to manage multiple global complexities. as we saw in the examples above. Also, India understands the global contradictions, like the West criticising Saudi Arab and then President Biden having a meeting with him. The crux of the matter is everybody works only for their OWN national interest, and that’s what India too would focus on. Also, India will be taking some calculated risks like we saw in the surgical strike and air strike.

Terrorism will not end in one day: EAM Jaishankar

Pic: S Jaishankar leading India’s foreign policy

India’s stand on the Russia-Ukraine Issue

When Russia started its attack on Ukraine, the whole of Europe and the US wanted India to condemn Russia bluntly, vote against it on several occasions and even help in the ‘Isolate Russia’ movement. But, India again acted smartly and not emotionally. India thought about its national interest first before garnering some attention. It was again Western propaganda because there is little that the whole West has ‘actually’ done to stop the war. But, they expect India to toe their line, which is something India will no longer be doing. While India condemned all the war and violence. At the same time, it even signed cheaper Oil deals with Russia, to counter rising oil prices. It is planning to come out with a Rupee-Rubel solution to cope with the falling currencies across the world. This is one of the most independent displays of strategic autonomy in India’s history.

Also Read: My Blog on the Russia-Ukraine War, where I have talked in detail about India’s stand

India’s Importance in the BLOC

Believe it or not, China being so evil and also so successful, has given India an edge. Now, the US and Europe know that to counter China, they need to keep India at their side. Because of this reason, we get to see blocs like QUAD and I2U2 coming up. India’s stature is also at all the world summits. Most importantly, India was even left out of the CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). It is an act, which sanctions countries that offend US interests. In the past, India has done multiple things, that could have attracted a CAATSA, whether it is purchasing the S-400, making oil deals with Russia, or not voting against Russia. But, as I said India’s importance today is so high, that the US can’t make such a blunder, even if Biden is drunk more than Boris Johnson was during his Lockdown parties (HA HA).

Watch Viral Video, Joe Biden came to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G-7 summit in Germany, during which PM Modi and Joe Biden greeted each other by shaking hands, it

Pic: Biden’s Handshake with Modi

The Future of the NEW INDIA

As I just explained, how India’s foreign policy has evolved over the years and what are the major blocks in India’s foreign policy today. From a futuristic point of view, you can only expect India’s stand on the world stage getting more stronger. Though it’s not confirmed and will be very difficult as well to do. But if G-20 is held in Kashmir, it will be a huge statement on the world stage on an issue, where India has always been defensive. India might also try to improve ties with Pakistan if cross-border terrorism doesn’t happen. While, India will try to solve all its border problems existing with its neighbours, as S. Jaishankar also pointed out. But, I frankly neither expect nor want India to attack and take back PoK, as it will only spoil our foreign reputation and damage our domestic economy.

So, while India maintains strong relations with the West, it even keeps its good relations with Russia alive. While it is ready for a strike against Pakistan, it also holds peaceful relations with the Arab and Gulf countries. This is the complex and unique policy of New India. Though, a strong foreign policy is not something that ONLY this government can take credit of. But, what is sure that under this government, our foreign policy has only propelled and got more plain sailing. And because of India’s importance, whether it is the rising Islamophobia or curtailing Democratic rights within India. On all these matters, the West will at max criticise India a little bit, in maybe one or two articles and reports. But at the larger level, you won’t see ANY action against India. Now, whether it’s good or ethical, that’s a different point altogether. But this is what it is. I guess, you all must have seen that viral handshake, between Biden and Modi, where the former came towards the latter, that perfectly represents India’s importance in today’s global order. That even opposite ideologies have no option left but to be at good ends with India.  This is very complex, this is unique actually, and this is…the NEW INDIA.



Don’t miss my posts!

We don’t spam!

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *