Foreign Policies of India’s Prime Ministers

Three years of Narendra Modi’s foreign policy
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Three years of Narendra Modi’s foreign policy - Livemint

For the initial few months, an argument was being made that while Modi was pursuing foreign policy with great vigour and enthusiasm, the change was largely of style, not substance. It is indeed true that the foreign policies of major powers do not change dramatically with a change in leadership. Structural factors matter more in shaping their contours. But if we look closely, we will find that something substantive has changed in Indian foreign policy.

Foreign policy of the Narendra Modi government

Gone is the diffidence of the past in articulating the need for robust Indo-US ties. And for a change, rather than Beijing challenging New Delhi, India is standing up to China and challenging its profile.

Non-alignment has been given a decent burial and major power diplomacy is being conducted on the basis of strict reciprocity. In the name of non-alignment, New Delhi had been pandering to Chinese sensitivities, imaginary or otherwise, for far too long. Now India is building pressure points around the Chinese periphery and is not hesitant in using powers like the US, Japan and Australia to stabilize the Indo-Pacific. While sections of the Indian intellectual establishment still retain reflexive anti-Americanism, Modi has used his decisive mandate to carve a new partnership with the US to harness its capital and technology for his domestic development agenda.

This has given India greater strategic space for manoeuvring. For long, it was Pakistan that was testing Indian boundaries by needling India. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Promoting our security in the Indian Ocean, managing our difficult neighbourhood, dealing firmly with Pakistan on terrorism, revitalising our Act East policy, strengthening bonds with the US and Japan, engaging Europe, building stronger links with the Gulf countries, fully normalising ties with Israel, preserving the closeness of ties with Russia and both standing up to at Dokalam and engaging with China are other elements.

All his foreign policy actions are directed towards this.

Politics and Nation

In this context, the ASEAN gathering is nothing short of a coup, according to a government official who is well-versed with the dynamics of South East Asia. Notwithstanding this, ASEAN countries are desirous of a wider Indian presence in the region to balance power dynamics.

Its hegemonic tendencies need to be watched. India should reduce capability asymmetries with respect to China. Rise of China will make India relook its foreign policy. The indirect swipe was for all to read. In the same month, in Sri Lanka, a 99 year old lease of a strategic port was granted to a Chinese company with direct links to the Communist regime.

In Nepal, the political alliance that swept the polls has been campaigning for closer ties with China at the cost of historical ties with India. A month earlier, Maldives became the second South Asian country after Pakistan to ratify a free trade agreement with China. The scale, scope and speed at which Beijing was encircling India seemed unprecedented to many observers.

From Bhutan to Central Asia, its expansionist policies made many sit up and notice.

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Retrieved 31 March India too was keen to strike an energy agreement on line of above. Who will Modi appoint as foreign minister? Over the years EAS has become the most important multilateral body in the Asia pacific region for discussing security, trade and commerce, environment and others unlike APEC which is purely economic in nature. About 3, more nationals registered with the embassy in Tripoli in order to return. Although the official response was much restrained as they termed it 'significant'. President Rousseff emphasized the special place this relationship enjoyed in Brazil's foreign policy, because of the potential for bilateral cooperation and the international significance of their partnership.

They will overtake the US too. But we finally have a PM who wants to leave a lasting legacy. So we will be far more assertive than before. Positioning himself as global statesman — and India as a soft power that is democratic at heart, multi-cultural in spirit, multi-dimensional but the fierce defender of an open global order — Modi warns against the rise of new forms of tariff and non-tariff barriers and the slowing in cross-border flows of investment. Modi stressed on common human destinies: That belief is key to eradicate the fault lines of today.

Both salesmen-in-chief heads of states have leveraged the strategic Davos platform it to the maximum. Last year, Xi had been special invitee and gave a rousing speech championing free trade and open market access. But both premiers fancy themselves as transformational.

He laments that while Chinese companies are expanding globally, we are struggling to grow our exports. And each one is thinking out of the box to incrementally enhance that system. India should strengthen its economic linkages with Indian Ocean countries. Africa should be high on our outreach agenda, suggests Gupta of VIF. Many countries are looking up to India for help and assistance as we are seen as benign, non-threatening and helpful.

However, first, it must strengthen the capacity of its institutions, which desperately need upgrades. The ministries of external affairs and defence must act in synergy. Undoubtedly, India cannot be a leading power without deriving strength from within.

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While Look East — transformed into Act East — has gained in momentum, Delhi needs to up its game in South East Asia and make connectivity projects operational. What is equally important is to put meat into strategic partnership with each of the South East Asian nations even as soft power quotient has received much desired attention. Virtually on the day that President Xi arrived in India, his army intruded into Indian territory. To give substance to the concept of India-Africa corridor, India needs to be a little more proactive, as per Ghoshal.