Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook: India’s Independent Foreign Policy

Alpesh Patel Wednesday 10th May 2023 07:54 EDT

“Ultimately, what should guide India is the quest to make itself a great power with a difference, namely, in a way which enables it to achieve Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of ‘wiping the tear from the eye of every Indian.’ That would be in keeping with India’s core values and national interest. That is the right objective for a great country like India.” Writes India’s former National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon.

On the eve of the Coronation, sadly I could not make dinner with His Excellency the Vice President of India. But it did give me pause for thought.

In addition to its bilateral relations, India has been actively participating in multilateral forums such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the G20. India has been advocating for global issues such as climate change, sustainable development, and the fight against terrorism.

Overall, India's current stance on international relations is one of engagement and cooperation. India is committed to building strong relationships with other countries and contributing to global peace and stability. With its growing economic and political influence, India is poised to play an increasingly important role in the international arena.

India's economic growth has had a significant impact on its foreign policy in recent years. As one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, India has become an influential player in the global arena, and its economic success has helped to shape its foreign policy objectives.

One of the most significant ways in which India's economic growth has influenced its foreign policy is by increasing its global stature and influence. As India's economy has grown, it has become a more attractive partner for other countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. India has also become a key player in international trade, with its exports and imports increasing significantly over the past decade.

India’s foreign policy has undoubtedly been shaped by its nuclear capability. Since India's nuclear tests in 1998, the country has faced a complex set of challenges and opportunities in the international arena. On the one hand, India's nuclear weapons have given it a more prominent role in global affairs, allowing it to assert its position as a major regional power. On the other hand, India's nuclear status has also led to a number of diplomatic challenges and complications, particularly with regards to its relationship with the United States and other Western powers.

What are the major challenges facing India's foreign policy?

1. China's Rise: The rise of China as a global superpower has changed the power dynamics in Asia. China's assertive and aggressive foreign policy has raised concerns in India, particularly with regards to its territorial claims and military presence in the region. India must find a way to balance its relationship with China while safeguarding its own interests.

2. Terrorism: India has long been a target of terrorist groups.

3. Pakistan: Pakistan has been a longstanding adversary of India and continues to support terrorist groups targeting India.

4. Energy Security: India is heavily dependent on imported energy sources, particularly oil. The volatility of global energy markets poses a significant threat to India's energy security. India must diversify its energy sources and reduce its dependence on imports.

5. Climate Change: India is one of the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases and is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. India must balance its economic growth with sustainable development practices to mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure a livable future for its citizens.

6. Cybersecurity and National Infrastructure: Jealous neighbours near and far threaten India’s infrastructure, civilian, military and nuclear. Actions of allies and adversaries will determine the speed and change of India’s foreign policy.

Finally, God save the King! As I said, I am sorry to have missed meeting the Vice President of India.

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