Skip to main content

Options before India: Modi's 'please all' foreign policy failed to rope in neighbours

By NS Venkataraman*
During the last six years, the Government of India, with Naremdra Modi as Prime Minister, has been following a “please all” foreign policy. In fact, Modi tried to please every country, including China and Pakistan, even though both these countries have not concealed their hostility towards India.
While Modi visited China several times and received the Chinese Prime Minister two times extending lavish welcome to him, he also visited Pakistan to attend the marriage function in the family of the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Shariff. This visit to Pakistan caught everyone by surprise.
Modi visited a number of countries and personally participated in several international conferences and tried to create an image of friendly and forward looking India.
This “please all” policy cannot be faulted, though there could be different views as to whether it has succeeded and went on expected lines. What is obvious is that this policy and approach is being challenged by a hostile China, a hostile Pakistan, and now a hostile Nepal.
China has not let anybody in the world in doubt that it has the ambition of emerging as the world’s super power at any cost, with least regard for overall peace and harmony in the world. It has also become crystal clear now that in the march towards the goal, China appears to think that subjugating India is necessary to ensure that India is not be in a position to challenge its supremacy in Asia.
As China appears to be uncompromising in its objective, one can see that Modi’s “please all” foreign policy has failed with regard to China, and consequently with regard to what at present look like satellite countries of China -- Pakistan and Nepal.
China is bent upon subjugating India and is threatening military conflict with India and inventing reasons to provoke such conflicts. This scenario has created a compulsive condition for Modi to drastically change his “please all” foreign policy. India is now left with no alternative other than stand up to China, Pakistan and Nepal. This is an unenviable situation for the Indian government.
In the last six years of the Modi government, the primary objective has been to promote economic, industrial and social growth of India to alleviate the poverty conditions and to improve India’s economic and social status in the world.
For this to happen, peaceful relations with neighbouring countries is necessary to ensure that the resources would be primarily spent to achieve economic and social targets and less on military empowerment.
Unfortunately, China does not appear to be any mood to allow such a scenario, and India now has no alternative other than confronting it with grim determination. Hope for friendly relations with China in the next few years is nothing short of a Utopian expectation.
In this scenario, the option before India is to firmly align itself with USA and West European countries as well as those countries which are concerned about China’s expansionist policies. Such alignment is considered necessary for India to checkmate China.
Of course, the primary focus would be on building alignment with the USA, which is the only country now that has the strength and capability to stand against China on its own.
Many observers feel, Trump is an unpredictable person and he may soften his stand towards China in the event he wins in US elections
However, with the US Presidential election in the offing, there is a certain element of uncertainty about the future policies of the USA towards China and India.
The US Presidential candidate for democratic party Joe Biden has already criticized India severely for what he called as human rights violation by India in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Obviously, he has an element of hostility in him towards India. 
While Trump has been acting against China, one is not sure as to whether he would be reelected. Many observers warn India that Trump is an unpredictable person and he may soften his stand towards China in the event he wins in US elections.
While doubts persist about the future policies of the USA towards China, perhaps it would still be good for India to have strategic alliance with the USA, just like several other countries such as Japan, South Korea, Israel and West European countries.
While Prime Minister Modi has been laying stress on a sort of close relationship with the USA, the fact is that it has not been a strategic alliance so far. India has been buying arms from Russia on a large scale. Surely, the USA would not like this, particularly when India expects support from the USA in confronting China.
In the present conditions, Russia is unlikely to criticise China to help India and at best it can only be lip support to India.
No doubt, both India and the USA are free democratic countries and share common interests in several spheres. In the USA, there is a significant population of Indians and of Indian origin. While there could be minor irritants in the relationship between India and the USA from time to time that have been overcome, friendly relations appear to have stood the test of time.
Facing an aggressive Chinese government with territorial ambition, India has to necessarily develop strategic relations with the USA. This has to be done without any ambiguity. Even in the event of change in policy of the USA towards China after the US election, it may not be in the interest of the USA to allow China to subjugate India.
The fact is, the USA and India need each other, and development of a strategic relationship between India and the USA may prove to be a win win situation for both the countries.
---
*Trustee, Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai

Comments

TRENDING

'These people shouldn't be in jail': UN official seeks release of 16 human rights defenders

By Our Representative A United Nations human rights official has called upon the Government of India (GoI) to “immediately release" 16 human rights defenders who have been imprisoned on charges of terrorism in the Bhima-Koregaon Case, insisting, “These people should not be in jail. They are our modern-day heroes and we should all be looking to them and supporting them and demanding their release.”  

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).