A Vision for India’s Global Leadership

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A Vision for India’s Global Leadership

Friday, 19 April 2024 | Kumardeep Banerjee

A Vision for India’s Global Leadership

The BJP manifesto focuses on strategy to make India a champion of Global South

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unveiled its election manifesto earlier this week, opting for a departure from the conventional strategy of enticing voters with freebies and subsidies. Instead, the manifesto takes on the guise of a policy document, delineating the achievements of the PM Modi administration over the past decade and pledging to propel India into a developed economy within the next 25 years. Notably absent from the document is any significant mention of Pakistan, a focal point of India’s foreign policy for years, in either the BJP manifesto or the Prime Minister’s interviews.

The manifesto underscores the government’s emphasis on foreign policy, echoing the strategic vision cultivated during India’s G20 presidency. It celebrates India’s emergence onto the global stage, exemplified by the unanimous consensus achieved for the New Delhi Declaration, a feat accomplished amidst doubts about US-Russia concordance. Prime Minister Modi elucidated his approach in an interview, emphasising the imperative of working towards global good without personal reservations, a principle that guided India’s diplomatic endeavours.

In delineating the government’s foreign policy outlook, Prime Minister Modi reiterated the cornerstone principles of “Neighbour First” and “Act East” since assuming office. The Act East policy has extended India’s influence into the ASEAN region, fostering positive perceptions even among nations geographically distant. India’s proactive assistance to neighbours during crises, such as earthquake relief in Nepal and aiding Sri Lanka during times of turmoil, exemplifies its commitment to regional solidarity.

The manifesto boasts of the safe repatriation of 1.5 crore distressed Indian citizens and positions India as a vocal advocate for the Global South, a central tenet of its foreign policy stance. Technological innovations like the Digital India stack, including UPI, have amplified India’s presence on global platforms, albeit challenges persist in enhancing the acceptability of the Indian rupee in international trade. The document briefly touches upon India’s burgeoning focus on the Indo-Pacific, a region of strategic interest for major global players and pledges to safeguard navigation rights and maritime security.

Under Modi’s leadership, the manifesto pledges to bolster India’s standing as a champion of the Global South, leveraging the Prime Minister’s 5S approach of respect, dialogue, cooperation, peace and prosperity. It articulates aspirations for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and vows to enhance collaboration within the Indo-Pacific region to foster mutual growth and security.

Furthermore, the manifesto underscores the importance of securing critical minerals essential for the digital age, signalling intentions to forge partnerships with friendly nations to integrate India more deeply into global supply chains. In sum, the BJP’s manifesto serves as a testament to continuity in India’s foreign policy objectives, underlining a commitment to advancing the nation’s interests on the global stage.

(The writer is a policy analyst; views are personal)

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