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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 31 New Delhi July 23, 2016

Reverse our Present Course in Foreign Policy

Tuesday 26 July 2016

by Dibalok Sen

The forthcoming BRICS summit in Goa and the bilateral Indo-Russian high-level meeting in New Delhi will provide a major opportunity to India to balance its foreign policy course and restore its non-aligned approach to global problems that had suffered erosion due to the present Government of India‘s inclination to align with the US Administration.

Washington’s proposal to New Delhi to join its campaign to contain Beijing can drag India into the vortex of an unncessary escalation of tensions with China and imperil the much-anticipated investments from China. Despite the well-known problems and frictions in our relations with China, it is not in our interest to exacerbate these for dubious dividends by joining the US-sponsored alliance and being called a “natural Pacific country” (the last description of this state is a typical American absurdity).

India’s historic strategic partnership with Russia should not be compromised by the unilateral, time-serving and shortsighted drift towards the US’ international agenda. It is worth mentioning that while cooperation in nuclear energy, transfer of defence technologies and supplies of oil and gas are still being discussed with the US (and with no sign of any positive outcome expected in the foreseeable future), our joint collaboration with Russia in all the aforementioned spheres is proceeding full steam and should be further developed in our long-term national interest. Besides, Moscow’s complete support to us in all international issues of interest and concern for us cannot be overestimated. This is a token of the success of Indian diplomacy in safeguarding our interests worldwide.

Indian investment in development of the Chabahar port as a part of the much-needed South-North trade corridor can be successful only if New Delhi signs a trade agreement with the European Economic Union sponsored and crafted by Moscow offering considerable protection and opportunities to Indian businesses and thereby promoting the country’s economic development. This is another reason why our relations with Russia must be reinforced.

However, our latest steps in the international field have the potential to frustrate Moscow and push Russia into developing closer ties with China at the expense of our vital national interests.

Moreover, India’s leadership in the developing world and the Non-Aligned Movement must be reclaimed and consolidated because that is the only way to move towards evolving a really independent foreign policy so as to make India one of the poles in the multipolar world that is emerging in defiance of unipolar proclivities.