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Bharat's multi-dimensional foreign policy designed to protect national interests

Bharat's foreign policy is characterised by its multi-dimensional approach, where policymakers and implementers adapt their actions according to current circumstances. Ultimately, the nation's interests dictate diplomatic manoeuvres, shaping its actions and responses

Bharats multi-dimensional foreign policy designed to protect national interests

Bharat is emerging as a reliable global partner that stands for mutual trust and cooperation and believes in bridging gaps between nations, thus paving the way for a more inclusive and interconnected world

This week, Bharat extended its support to the Maldives, amid tense ties between Male and New Delhi and a growing Chinese influence, by allowing the export of essential commodities like sugar, wheat, rice, and onions to the island nations. Maldives' Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer took to X to extend his thanks to Bharat. Significantly, in this year's Indian Budget, there was a notable increase in the budget allocation to the Maldives, rising from 400 crores to 770.90 crores, despite ongoing provocations from Male under the leadership of Dr Mohamed Muizzu.

Bharat's Foreign Policy is not one-dimensional; it is multi-dimensional, with policymakers and implementers adjusting their actions on the ground as per the need of the hour. Ultimately, what matters is whether the diplomatic manoeuvres are in the nation's interest, and that defines actions and reactions.

A few months ago, Bharat and Maldives had a major diplomatic standoff, which seemed like the end of the road for Bharat in the Maldives to inexperienced geopolitics observers. However, those who understand Bharat's new foreign policy approach know that even though Lakshadweep was projected as a counter to the Maldives' diplomatic manoeuvring, New Delhi will not act in haste or let go of an opportunity to entrench its position in the island nation. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the holiday pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi did have the desired impact of sending a strong message to the Maldives and firmly putting Lakshadweep on the domestic tourism map.

The rationale behind New Delhi's decision to provide aid to Maldives is closely linked to Prime Minister Modi's leadership style. It's worth recalling that during the 2014 General elections, analysts at a prominent US think tank suggested that the US government's stance on PM Modi's alleged role in the Gujarat riots of 2002 could strain bilateral relations between India and the United States if Modi were to become Prime Minister. However, contrary to the predictions of political pundits, Modi's first official trip was to the US, which was marked by significant diplomatic efforts characteristic of his leadership style.

Essentially, this illustrates that New Delhi's foreign policy is crafted with a focus on national interest, regardless of the size or proximity of the nation involved.

Below are some initiatives the Modi government has undertaken to enhance Bharat's global image.

Neighbourhood First Policy: The Neighbourhood First Policy focuses on building stronger relationships, promoting regional cooperation, and addressing shared issues with its immediate neighbours. It has been a crucial part of India's foreign policy. Since 2014, under Prime Minister Modi's leadership, it has taken a new direction, with New Delhi committed to developing friendly and mutually beneficial relations with all its neighbours. Some of the outstanding initiatives and actions taken in the past decade that define this commitment are:

1.1 "Bold Step:" In 2014, Narendra Modi invited Pakistan's PM to his inauguration and "analysts hailed it as a bold step" in regional engagement. Then, in 2015, Modi followed up with another bold move, ignoring protocol and security risks, by paying a surprise visit to Pakistan to meet Nawaz Sharif in Lahore; it was the first visit to Pakistan by an Indian premier in more than ten years.

1.2 First responder: During the past decade, Bharat has earned recognition as a dependable first responder. This was evident when the Government of India swiftly responded to the dual natural disasters in Nepal in 2015 and Turkey in 2023. The two operations, named Maitri and Dost, respectively, involved comprehensive rescue and relief efforts. In response to the crisis, the government promptly dispatched relief and rescue teams, including medical personnel. The global community acknowledged New Delhi's dedication on both global and regional scales.

1.3 Global vaccine Hub: During the Global Covid crisis, Bharat sent over 200 million doses to 150 countries “without increasing prices and compromising on the quality.” This was in line with Vasundhara Khutam’s traditional belief that the whole world is one family.

1.4 "History" border deal: In June 2015, India and Bangladesh signed a 'historic' land pact in the presence of PM Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart, Hasina, in Dhaka. The Land Boundary Agreement included the exchange of 162 enclaves, with 111 enclaves (totalling 17,160 acres) being transferred to Bangladesh and 51 enclaves (totalling 7,110 acres) to India. Despite being favourable to Dhaka in terms of land parcels, it was seen as a much-needed step for fostering a better neighbourly relationship."

1.5 Friends with benefits: The economic crisis in Sri Lanka in 2023 highlighted Bharat as a steadfast ally. Their relationship transcends mere diplomacy and is deeply rooted in cultural and historical ties. Bharat demonstrated its commitment by promptly offering assistance when it was most needed. The provision of $4 billion in aid from India played a crucial role in preventing Sri Lanka from plunging into economic chaos.

1.6 Military support: In 2017, at the request of the Bhutanese government, Indian troops armed with weapons and two bulldozers entered Doklam, a strategically important area. Their objective was to prevent Chinese troops from illegally constructing a road, demonstrating that New Delhi was prepared to utilise its military to support its neighbours against a larger aggressor.

1.7 Committed to People: In August 2021, New Delhi pulled out all its diplomats and officials from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of Kabul. But, Bharat's commitment to the people of Afghanistan forced it to re-establish a diplomatic presence in the country by deploying a `technical' team at the Indian mission in the capital, Kabul.

2. Global South: The Global South refers to a group of 139 countries spanning across Africa, Asia & the Pacific, the Arab region, Latin America, and the Caribbean. These countries primarily consist of the world's developing and least developed nations. Bharat sees itself as an integral part of the Global South and consequently champions the region's cause. With its economic and military ascendancy and strategic geopolitical positioning, Bharat is ideally situated to bridge the developed world and the Global South. While New Delhi has utilised governmental and national initiatives, such as capacity building and leveraging the strengths of private industries in emerging technologies, to support partner countries in the Global South, its role as a champion of the Global South extends beyond development and governance issues. It is accompanied by a clear desire to play a globally influential role, acting "as a bridge between its Western strategic partners, such as the United States (US) and France, and the developing world."

3. Reliable Partner to Island Nations: Bharat has made all the right calls to establish itself as a reliable partner to island nations across the globe, including giving a fresh strategic perspective to island nations instead of the one defined by hegemonic powers. At the 3rd India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit in Papua New Guinea in May 2023. Co-chairing the Pacific Summit, Prime Minister Modi addressed the Pacific island nations as "large ocean countries and not small island states" The message aimed to encourage all island nations spread across the oceans to envision themselves in a new light and assert their rightful place in the world order. The large ocean countries exert control over extensive oceanic territories, encompassing crucial marine trade routes and abundant natural resources. Therefore, their significance on the global stage should be acknowledged, and they should not be solely evaluated based on their land resources.

Bharat is emerging as a reliable global partner that stands for mutual trust and cooperation and believes in bridging gaps between nations, thus paving the way for a more inclusive and interconnected world.

(The author is Founder of

My Startup TV)

Major Sunil Shetty
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