29 Feb 2012

Why India must work on its Foreign Policy

Given the status that India currently enjoys in the diplomatic world, it is only natural that India be required to make tough decisions.
The diplomatic power of a country can be analysed by simply taking together factors that act for and against the state at the international level and the state's ability to work out a plan to balance out the negatives that it may face. United States can be considered to be a country that is more or less able to balance out the negatives at the international level (recent 'stand-off' with Russia and China on the Syria and Iran issue can be considered to be a negative that it hasn't balanced out in the UN). 

If we look at India under the same lens, then a couple of inconsistencies do crop up which are common in countries which are still developing their diplomatic power (i.e focus more on the soft power). One of the major  problems that the current foreign policy of India has is the inability to move out of the neutrality sphere. 

After the end of the Cold War, the diplomatic world underwent a period of 'secondary power vacuum' wherein, the west was able to take major decisions without being challenged in a manner that would threaten its dominance in the diplomatic world. Yet soon countries like Russia, China and India caught up and three together are no able to form a major opposition to the west at the international level.

Thus while the three are able to form a formidable opposition, India's foreign policy still hasn't evolved enough to take a stand with one side and through out the course of the event remain on the same side. One of the major example of this would be the recent decision by the Indian government to send a diplomat to attend the Friends of Syria meet which is considered to be an anti-Assad and a pro-change forum. This decision has certainly raised a few eyebrows towards the effectiveness of the Indian bureaucracy and government in formulating a foreign policy meant for the long term.

While at the same time, this can be considered to a successful practice by India of its principle-based foreign policy. However such a practice cannot be considered to be an exactly ideal path to follow at the international level and thus a certain reworking of the foreign policy is in order as India tries to analyse the pro-cons of its relationship with various countries in this every changing world.