ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Foreign Policy Fizzles Out

Prime Minister Modi is traversing the globe but his foreign policy is travelling nowhere.

Over the past two years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given single-minded attention to foreign policy. Often attacked by his critics for his many visits to capitals across the world and the well-curated meetings with people of Indian origin, his supporters and government spokespersons have stressed the fact that the Prime Minister is infusing new energy and giving a new direction to Indias relations with the world. There has been the predictable strengthening of relations with the United States (US) to the extent that India is now almost an ally of the worlds most powerful country; if not in words but surely in its self-projection. In some areas, like the outreach to African countries, Iran and Afghanistan, Indias foreign policy has only reinforced the trends which were already in place for some time now. The Prime Minister also personally pushed for outreach to both Pakistan and China, surprising both his critics and his admirers.

Whatever ones opinions of Modis foreign policy, he can justifiably claim that he is the first Prime Minister in independent India to have pursued foreign policy in such an intensely mediatised and personalised manner and has expended so much of his political capital on it. However, outside the echo chambers of social media and government publicists, there has been little to talk about in concrete terms. After the recent rebuff to Indias membership at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at its meeting in Seoul, the echo chambers too have fallen silent. On Pakistan and Chinathe two of the most difficult yet crucial foreign policy challenges for the Indian stateModis outreach has been shown to have neither vision nor any grand strategy behind it. Between living up to his chauvinist and war-mongering bluster of the election campaign, visiting wedding receptions, enjoying swing rides on the banks of the Sabarmati, dealing with terrorist attacks and military and diplomatic rebuffs, relations have fluctuated precariously with both countries. The Prime Minister has tried to use personal charm and public relation stunts as diplomatic weapons to break the wall of hostility and suspicion with both these neighbours but relations with both are worse off today than they were in May 2014.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 59

(Readers in India)

$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.