Millennium Post

Domestic colours to foreign policy

It is a truth universally acknowledged that international relations are usually the byproduct of how stable or unstable things are at home, and how economic underpinnings give shape to political leanings and affiliations, both within and outside the borders. This election season, it seems, more is at stake than the reinvention of India as a democratic republic; it is also about rediscovery of a global standing, of possible recovery of a lost pride that a series of diplomatic debacles have brilliantly squandered. There are a number of international tugs of war happening simultaneously – whether it is the dragging on of the indictment of Devyani Khobragade, or the China question, or even, as illustrated by the Crimean situation, a reassessment of old ties with Russia. Obviously, these equations are not mutually exclusive. For example, India’s siding with Russia and opposing Western sanctions against Moscow over the Crimean secession and joining the Russian Federation, is not likely to go down well with Washington. On the other hand, New Delhi has interests too many, particularly in sectors such as defence and space cooperation, as well as in terms of pure market penetration, and India looks towards the USA in such matters. However, with the fresh stretch on its Beijing strings, such as Chinese incursions along Line of Actual Control, or the leaking of the ‘top secret’ Henderson Brooks Report by British journalist and one-time India correspondent Neville Maxwell, puts spotlight on New Delhi’s attempt to walk the tightrope.

Post election, questions of choice and strategic affiliation will assume a significance far outweighing present circumscriptions. There might just be a definite redrawing of entente contours, given that the world is fast rearranging itself along the known bipolarity, with Washington and Moscow on either side of the divide. In all likelihood, past errors, whether military or diplomatic, will be reread in the light of new alignments and India might be forced to pick and choose allies carefully. However, a change in regime at the Centre might bring with it a baggage of its own, and India’s international responses may change accordingly. An NDA regime is likely to be more in favour of ties with USA and Europe, given its traditional outreach with the transnational and diasporic communities in the regions. Inasmuch as there is almost no chance of the UPA dispensation staging a comeback, global political coordinates will not stay in present continuous. A third or federal front will possibly want to explore the extrapolations on a wider scale and look out for South-south cooperation more rather than the traditional but discredited alliances. Whatever be the outcome, global shores will see a different tide emanating from Indian waters.
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