One of the new dimensions of 2019 parliamentary elections is that the issues connected with foreign policy and national security have assumed significance.
This is evident from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of the successful test of an anti-satellite missile ahead of Lok Sabha elections, which invited criticism of violation of model code of conduct. Critics have accused the Modi government of politicising the foreign policy. It is, therefore, imperative to evaluate the failure and success of foreign policy under PM Modi with a view that to what extent the issue of “strong leadership”, “muscular foreign policy” and “national security” discourse would influence the electoral outcome of 2019 parliamentary elections.
Critics have accused that Modi government could not succeed in ensuring a good relationship with its neighbours, particularly Pakistan, and restoring peace in Jammu and Kashmir. PM Modi’s foreign policy has been criticised for alienating the neighbour countries except Bangladesh. It’s considered that India does not have a good relationship either with Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan etc. How true is this perception?
Such analysis is based on a traditional understanding of foreign policy and lacks a thorough comprehension of changing the dimension of globalisation and its impact on foreign policy behaviour of the states, at a time when terrorism has become a global agenda and national security has assumed core agenda of foreign policy. Hence, it is futile to expect India behaving in terms of traditional understanding of the interstate relationship.
It may be noted here that had India paid attention to national security and developed doctrines of national security, India would not have lost 1962 war. The traditional Indian foreign policy, as fashioned by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, has been a failure in ensuring India’s great power status in international relation or even curbing Pakistan’s belligerent foreign policy.
Under PM Modi, India has achieved a new sense of dignity and status in the international arena, as well as, in the South Asian region. PM Modi has successfully checked the Chinese advancement in Doklam and insulated Bangladesh and Nepal from falling into the hands of China. PM Modi’s great leadership has been acknowledged at world level as evident from Trump’s exemption of India from US sanctions, which would ensure that Indian import of oil from Iran would continue without interruption.
This is indeed a major success of PM Modi ’s foreign policy. Thus, in all probability, a 'muscular foreign policy' with assertive Indian nationalism is likely to yield good electoral dividends for PM Modi.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)
Jyotika Teckchandani teaches at Amity Institute of Social Sciences, Amity University, Uttar Pradesh. Her expertise includes Gender, International Politics, Foreign Policy Analysis, Indian and West Asian Politics.
Under PM Narendra Modi's India has achieved a new sense of dignity and status in the South Asian region.