Is Indian foreign policy attracting the world’s attention?

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UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2021, was published on 21 June 2021. The report states that foreign direct investment in South Asia rose by 20% to $71 billion, driven mainly by a 27% increase in FDI in India. A robust FDI inflow into India has been boosted by investment in ICT and construction. The value of cross-border mergers and acquisitions soared by 83% to $27 billion, with significant transactions in the ICT, health, infrastructure and energy sectors. There was a drop in FDI in other economies in South Asia that rely on export-oriented garment manufacturing. In Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, inflows fell by 11% and 43%, respectively. Foreign direct investment decreased by 6% in Pakistan to $2.1 billion, despite continued investments in power generation and telecommunications.

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Pankaj Jagannath Jayswal (Guest Author)

Bharat’s (Indian) foreign policy was shaky for decades. It was influenced more by superpowers, Westerners, and the Islamic world. Even a country like Pakistan benefited from the weak mindset and slavery mentality. The mindset of succumbing to international pressure was common and it was part of foreign policy to compromise on values ​​to make the international community feel good.

We lost economically on many fronts because of such policy, including losing self-respect, allowing China to grow exponentially in the global market, and increasing unemployment. Prior to 2014, foreign direct investment (FDI) was not on an equal footing, but rather benefited both the MNC and the country of origin.

FDI in other countries, on the other hand, was always based on the host country or equal footing. It is clear that India had a lower level of credibility on international platforms. Many issues raised by India or issues related to India were not supported by many nations, instead, internal issues were highlighted with a fabricated narrative in the UN Assembly and other platforms to tarnish the country’s image. Interference by the US government in many internal issues was a major impediment to foreign policy and economic decisions. There were many good points in foreign policy earlier as well, but they were not in our favor or were a missed balancing act.

We can clearly see this poor treatment of India in many cases, particularly in late vaccine availability to India, late or no technology transfer, forcing India to take loans to purchase obsolete technology and too many loan conditions.

However, the situation has changed since 2014, when the government adopted a new approach to foreign policy, believing that every country, large or small, is important and acting accordingly. The first step was to invite SAARC nations to the oath ceremony, followed by the Prime Minister’s first foreign visit to Nepal, rather than to a wealthy and prosperous nation. We can easily detect a shift in mindset and decisions in favor of a strong Bharat foreign policy.

During a budget session, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that FDI has totaled USD 500.5 billion in the last eight years, which is 65 percent more than the amount received during the UPA government’s ten-year tenure, indicating that investors have confidence in the Modi government’s economic management. According to a UNCTAD report, India is still one of the world’s top five foreign direct investment recipient countries.

The self-sufficiency of Bharat shall be the key to exponential growth with local talent, skills, and knowledge. S. Jaishankar, EAM in Raisina dialogue 2022 expressed that the change in foreign policy is self-reliance (Aatmanirbhar Bharat) in capability and mindset and accepting greater responsibilities. It will necessitate a narrative about “New India.” Getting the world right is one of three issues on which we must concentrate our efforts. The second step is to mobilize the operational strategy while also developing capabilities and narratives to deal with it.

The mindset of importing most things from China has shifted as a result of a more balanced and “Bharat first” approach to dealing with the world without jeopardizing the dealing country’s social, political, and economic interests.

The global footprints with the right diplomatic approach, mechanisms to engage with every country on equal footings, caring and sharing with the right intent as per Sanatan Dharma principles such as the evacuation of more than 80000 people from war zones of 26 countries including friends and foes, and supplying medicines and vaccines to many countries during the Corona pandemic. Help suffering neighbors in financial and social distress, such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, and Bangladesh, without any ill intent of grabbing land or natural resources, as China does.

Investors are drawn in by the ease of doing business and the reduction in red-tapism.

Bharat (India) is no longer a nation that succumbs to false claims or stories made against it on international platforms; rather, it responds appropriately to counter the allegations made in order to put pressure on Bharat’s government to dance to the tune of the US government or a European nation.

S. Jaishankar recently confronted the US and EU with questions about Bharat’s purchase of oil from Russia owing to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The External Affairs Minister responded correctly, saying, “Whatever purchase India makes in a month, European nations do in an afternoon.”

The majority of humanitarian issues occur in the United States, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and North Korea, but the United States, China, and Pakistan are habitual liars when it comes to pointing it out to Bharat. S Jaishankar responded in the same way to one of the questions posed by the US. Bharat is the most tolerant nation, as evidenced by minorities increasing in number since independence and growing socially, economically, and politically, whereas in Pakistan and Bangladesh, minorities such as Hindus, Jain, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Christians have decreased in number as well as social, economic, and political status. Who will talk about the many riots taking place in the United States on the basis of black and white?

This “New Bharat” believes in equally adoring all nations, whether superpower, rich or poor. The New Bharat, which adheres to Sanatan Dharma principles, will strive for harmony, peace, growth for all, and environmental protection.

Bharat’s youth must believe in themselves by developing knowledge and skills, as a self-sufficient Bharat will have many opportunities to prosper in every sector.

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