Inviting The Neighbours

Inviting The Neighbours
  • Prime Minister candidate Narendra Modi, who all through his campaign attacked the ex-PM Manmohan Singh’s soft treatment of neighbouring countries, including Bangaldesh’s treatment of Hindu majority, Pakistan on its terror attacks and firing at borders.
  • He has now started afresh by inviting the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders to his swearing-in ceremony, a significant step in establishing strong bi-lateral ties.
  • He has also called in all economic ministries to send in reports on all the policies UPA failed to execute successfully and impractical policies.
  • His pushing for economic officers in every embassy could set the stage for revamping Indian Foreign Service. This will lead to the inclusion of experts on region, security and trade from other services who could then be posted worldwide.
  • Lessons for Modi from Mr. Singh:
    • His foreign policy of giving more than what was received.
    • Focussing better relations with Pakistan.
    • Trade concessions in Bangaladesh.
    • Reconstruction and rehabilitation work in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
    • Loyalty to multinational forums despite opposition, be it SAARC, Non-Aligned Movement, building of BRICS (along with Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa), bringing India to prominence on world stage.
    • His policy of economic diplomacy and quest for nuclear energy as an alternative source.
  • Modi’s economic policy will be put to test when he will be invited to G20 in Australia. This is also the event where India-Australia Uranium deal is expected to finalise.
  • His advantages over Mr. Singh:
    • Unlike Mr. Singh, he isn’t dependent on the approval of the State govt who may try to block him, as was done by TMC in Bengal, or DMK and AIDMK in Tamil Nadu. This will give him a free ride over foreign and domestic policies.
    • Unlike Mr. Singh, he doesn’t face opposition within the party itself as was observed during Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of Mr. Singh’s policy, or his party’s disavowal of the Sharm el-Sheikh declaration.
    • An independent stable govt means that he doesn’t have to rely on allies for policy implementation
  • Modi however carries with him the burdens of severed bi-lateral relations.
  • Terror groups and in-establishment people in Pakistan, who may attempt to sabotage Indo-Pak ties.
  • Firing at LoC with China, will be a sensitive issue.
  • India can set an example at SAARC by focussing on political power structure rather than religious majorities and sectarian policies.
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Exams Perspective:

  1. SAARC
  2. India's role in SAARC
  3. LoC
  4. Sharm el-Sheikh declaration
  5. Indian Foreign Service
  6. BRICS