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Election outcome won’t alter India’s foreign policy – experts

Analysts interviewed by RT ahead of the announcement of voting results opined that New Delhi’s “strategic autonomy” approach will remain valid

There will be continuity in India’s foreign policy irrespective of who comes to power as a result of the recently-concluded general election, senior diplomats told RT as votes were being counted on Tuesday.

“The broad contours of our foreign policy will remain the same,” Manju Seth, a former ambassador and consul general of India to Madagascar and Comoros, told RT. The guest asserted that New Delhi would continue to maintain its “strategic autonomy” and its “multilateral” approach towards dealing with other nations. India would also continue pressing for a permanent seat at the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC), the former diplomat asserted.

“The beauty of Indian foreign policy is that it doesn’t change drastically. Because it is formulated based on national interest, it does not change – it remains more or less constant,” according to Ambassador Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, former Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs. He, too, suggested, however, that “there will be little tweaking and nuancing” of the country’s foreign policy. 

The Indian election is being watched closely worldwide as the country’s foreign policy had been perceived by many analysts as more ‘assertive’ under Modi’s administration. Most recently, the South Asian country’s policy on the global stage has been marked by ‘balancing’ ties with both Moscow and the Western partners. 

After the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict, India refused to condemn Russia and maintained its defense and commercial relations, as well as ramped up oil purchases despite scrutiny from the West. India also stressed the need for the peaceful resolution of the conflict through “dialogue and diplomacy.”

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The rise in the assertiveness of New Delhi’s role on the global stage has coincided with the sharp rise of its economy: it is now worth $3.7 billion, making it the fifth-largest in the world. By the end of the decade, it is expected to become third-largest, beating Germany and Japan.

However, there might be some “re-thinking” regarding the country’s policy toward neighbors if the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (or INDIA) alliance, led by the Congress party, comes to power, Seth suggested, without providing further details.

New Delhi has been actively pursuing its “Neighborhood first” policy, aimed at enhancing political, trade and interpersonal cooperation with its peers in the region, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. While the Modi government has maintained robust relations with most of its neighbors, ties have arguably deteriorated with China and Pakistan – with whom the country has long-standing border disputes. Some of the smaller nations in the region, too, have been in increasingly focus of India’s foreign policy as they are seen as diplomatically inching toward Beijing.

Whoever comes into power and forms the government will have to be “very nimble-footed” and devise its foreign policy approaches with the changing geopolitical environment, which is rapidly evolving,” Seth asserted.

June 04, 2024 at 08:11PM
RT

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