Skip to main content

2017 produced largely satisfactory foreign policy outcomes for India

2017 produced largely satisfactory foreign policy outcomes for India
We should look at our foreign policy options realistically and judge our successes and failures keeping in mind that we do not control the policies of other sovereign countries who may view their interests differently from ours, and that even small countries can be defiant. We cannot also put a limit on the presence of outside powers in our neighbourhood. Shaping our external environment as we like for realising our goals and priorities is not possible
In the light of these caveats and limitations, our foreign policy in 2017 was largely successful in promoting our interests in an uncertain international environment. We have had to cope with the reality of US foreign policy becoming unpredictable and inconsistent under Trump. We have had to deal with China's growing ambitions in Asia and the expansion of its influence in our neighbourhood at our expense.
We have had to cope with the reality of US foreign policy becoming unpredictable and inconsistent under Trump. We have had to deal with China's growing ambitions in Asia and the expansion of its influence in our neighbourhood at our expense. We have had to protect ourselves from the geographic spread of religious extremism and terrorism in a situation where the world is still not united in dealing with this twin menace.
If the US stepped up essentially verbal pressure on Pakistan in 2017 to curb its terrorist links, China countered it by lauding Pakistan's role in combating terrorism. 2017 saw the situation in West Asia — where we have huge energy, manpower and financial interests — becoming ominous with mounting confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with its sectarian Shia-Sunni dimension.
We have waded through these developments reasonably well in 2017. We managed our relations with Trump, his team and members of his immediate family well. Any untoward escalation of economic differences was avoided. As part of a deepening strategic relationship with America, Japan was brought further into the security fold by its permanent inclusion in July 2017 in the India-US Malabar exercise.
A quadrilateral US-India-Japan-Australia dialogue at official level was initiated in November. As a balancing exercise consistent with our interests, we participated in the Russia-India-China dialogue, the BRICS and SCO forums where we have convergent interests with member countries.2017 was marked by a show of much-needed confidence in dealing with China, both in our opposition to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the handling of the Dokalam standoff. With the US and Japan subscribing to our critique of the BRI and the US embracing the concept of the Indo-Pacific, India's growing regional importance got recognition.
Our continuing tough response on the LoC and rejecting a dialogue unless Pakistan ceased terrorist activity directed at us did not, as in the past, generate any external pressure on us to talk to Islamabad, and to that extent we are now less encumbered diplomatically. Our equities in Afghanistan were recognised in Trump's Af-Pak policy review in August, much to Pakistan's dismay.
China no doubt made gains in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives in 2017 at our expense, compounding our longstanding difficulties with these countries. But we too were able to raise our profile with China's neighbours such as Japan, and oppose China's position on South China Sea and UNCLOS issues. We navigated ourselves reasonably well on the Myanmar-Bangladesh refugee rift, with requisite political and humanitarian gestures.
Our success in not only  delinking our relations with Israel from those with Arab countries but also separately fortifying ties with both continued in 2017, especially with Modi's path-breaking visit to Israel in July. With Russia, despite concerns about its overtures to Pakistan and the Taliban, Modi was able to renew understandings with Putin during his June visit to St. Petersburg.On the whole, 2017 produced satisfactory foreign policy outcomes.
The Economic Times, New Delhi, 03rd January 2018

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

RBI minutes show MPC members flagged upside risks to inflation

RBI minutes show MPC members flagged upside risks to inflation Concerns about economic growth and easing inflation prompted five of the six monetary policy committee (MPC) members to call for a cut in the repo rate, but most warned that prices could start accelerating, show the minutes of the panel’s last meeting, released on Wednesday. The comments reflected a tone of caution and flagged upside risks to inflation from farm loan waivers, rise in food prices, especially vegetables, price revisions withheld ahead of the goods and services tax, implementation of house rent allowance under the 7th pay commission and fading of favourable base effect, among others. On 2 August, the panel chose to cut the repurchase rate—the rate at which the central bank infuses liquidity in the banking system—by 25 basis points to 6%. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. Pami Dua, professor at the Delhi School of Economics, wrote that her analysis showed “a fading economic growth outlook, as …

Shrinking footprints of foreign banks in India

Shrinking footprints of foreign banks in India Foreign banks are increasingly shrinking their presence in India and are also becoming more conservative than private and public sector counterparts. While many of them have sold some of their businesses in India as part of their global strategy, some are trying to keep their core expertise intact. Others are branching out to newer areas to continue business momentum.For example, HSBC and Barclays Bank in India have got out of the retail business, whereas corporate-focused Standard Chartered Bank is now trying to increase its focus on retail “Building a retail franchise is a huge exercise and takes a long time. You cannot afford to lose it,” said Shashank Joshi, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ’s India head.According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, foreign banks’ combined loan book shrunk nearly 10 per cent from Rs 3.78 trillion in fiscal 2015-16 to Rs 3.42 trillion last financial year. The banking industry, which includes foreign banks…

Differential Tax Levy under GST: Food Firms May De-Register Trademarks

Differential Tax Levy under GST:Food Firms May De-Register Trademarks The government’s decision to charge an enhanced tax rate on trademark food brands is leading several rice, wheat and cereal manufacturers to consider de-registering their product trademarks. Irked by the June 28 central government notification fixing a 5 per cent goods and services tax (GST) rate on food items packaged in unit containers and bearing registered brand names, the industry has made several representations to the government to reconsider the differential tax levy, which these players say is creating an unlevel playing field within these highly-competitive and low-margin industries. Sources say that the move has affected the packaged rice industry the hardest and allowed the un-registered market leaders, India Gate and Daawat, to gain advantage as compared to other registered brands such as Kohinoor and Lal Qilla. Smaller players are even more worried with this enhanced rate of tax (against the otherwise …