Modi’s One Year and India’s Foreign Policy

Modi’s One Year and India’s Foreign Policy – India Acts East and Links west 

Narendra Modi has completed one year in office and the media is abuzz with articles on his performance so far. Many had expected that Modi will be more inward looking and will be focused on domestic issues like rampant corruption, ineffective governance and bringing the major economic reforms legislations. However, he has surprised all and has emphasized on improving India’s foreign relations and its image in the world. ‘Look East’ has long been the talk, now India under Modi is down to reshaping it as Act East Link West.

It would safe to say that India’s foreign policy had become dormant by the end of UPA2 and like policy paralysis elsewhere, India’s policy was no different as it suffered the same. In his one year in office so far Modi has visited 18 countries so far and would be visiting Russia and the C.I.S. /S.C.O. bloc countries in central Asia Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan in June. The central Asian countries have huge energy resources. These five countries also known as ‘Stans’ control the most energy rich parts of the world which are pretty diverse as well. It has become very important for both the Asian giants, India and China; in fact it makes a very important part of China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiatives. It is needless to say that this visit would be watched the world over as all the fight is about central Asia as the situation in the Middle East, the traditional energy hub of the world has worsened.

Here are some major takeaways from his foreign visits which are happening for a reason the opposition has failed to understand or is pretending so on account of their own failure. India is successfully executing its Act East Link West Policy under pragmatic and visionary Modi. 

Economic Agenda is high on all the visits

Modi has attempted to be India’s chief salesman, selling the idea of India as the resurgent economy and has been quite successful in that. For example, in China he was quite successful in telling the Chinese businessmen that they are ought to be on the train and must not miss the India’s growth train that can hugely benefit them. The observations of IMF, World Bank, World Economic Forum about India’s growth surpassing China bode very well for us. He has so far signed agreements nearing 100 billion dollars. Japan is investing 35 billion dollars, China has so far signed agreements worth 42 billion dollars including Xi Xinping’s India visit and Modi’s recent China visit.

Make in India and Digital India have evoked a very positive response from all over the world. The world is now looking curiously at how India brings the reforms in the domestic Economy like GST, Land Acquisition and retrospective taxation which is a very irritant so far.

Defense Co-operation

India has signed agreements with USA for assistance in Aircraft carrier technology as India prepares to start building its largest aircraft carrier so far. Defense Co-operation with South Korea was a major underpinning of his recent South Korea Visit. South Korea has expertise in ship building and the agreement will bode very well for our Navy. India needs to revamp its Navy big-time and South Korea will be a great country to work with in this regard. They have already been manufacturing in India and their brands like Hyundai, Samsung and LG are household names in India. Now this co-operation can be taken to another areas which are more strategic.

France will be supplying India with 36 ready to fly Rafale aircrafts which is going to bring some respite to our Air Force as it faces a shortage of Aircrafts. India needs about 42 squadrons of different air crafts in its Air Force and at present we do not meet that criterion. This deal with France will be a breather for the Air Force which has been facing a depleting force challenge of late on account of lethargy of previous governments to move forward with big deals. The deal with France was clinched in a government to government format and has helped change India’s perception of moving slow in big ticket decision making.

Seeking Co-operation for Make in India and Digital India

Most countries which Modi has visited have their core strengths in key areas like Defense Equipment (France, USA, Germany, Japan and South Korea), Innovation (Germany and USA), Skill and Vocational training (Germany).

Germany has excellent strengths in dual education training that can help us in training and equipping our young work force with key essential skills as they will enter the Industry. For make in India to be a success we need skilled labor. Manufacturing base enhancement is not only a need but a necessity. It is one sector which can absorb all the three segments of work force Skilled, Semi-Skilled and largely unskilled.

Focus on China

It would be very safe to say that Modi has been pretty focused on China and many of his visits like Japan and USA in particular had a very significant China dimension to it. India has sought to increase presence in China’s neighborhood and has been successful with Modi’s successful visits to Japan, South Korea, and Mongolia. Our relations with Vietnam are also gaining traction in co-operation. The proposed visit to the ‘stansis also going to increase India’s stature in central Asia.

Focus on maintaining India’s edge Indian Ocean

India has increased its efforts to maintain its supremacy in India Ocean. Our relations with other Indian Ocean powers like Australia and Indonesia are ‘positive’ and ‘correct’. Modi has been successful in upsetting Chinese equations in Sri Lanka.

Mauritius and Seychelles visits were particularly successful in ensuring that India remains the most important naval presence beside USA in Diego Garcia. Though Indian Ocean will continue to be a theater of increased India-China rivalry as the two Asian Giants continue to increase their influence in the region.

Summary

Amid the talks of Asian Century and resurgent and increasingly assertive China, it is imperative for India to step up its game and use its edge in edge in soft power and democracy before it is too late.

India cannot defer improving its foreign relation as China has already begun to make explicit outreach to be the dominant power in Asia. India cannot and will not play a second fiddle to China in Asia. The time is ‘now’ before it’s too late. Though there are avenues of positive co-operation with China in many areas but realistically we are fighting for influence in the same region.

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Contributor: Sachin Diwaker

 

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India and China: A tale of two Tigers on one Mountain Part II

In previous article we had a look at the transforming nature of India and China, their economies and demography. Also the change in political understanding of the rapidly changing world in Asia is becoming increasingly important.

India and China can together shape the Asia. Both the countries realize it well as echoed in statements of top political leadership of both the countries that for making this century an Asian century. India and China would have to assume the leadership and broaden their understanding and co-operate with each other. The recent visit has taken that understanding to a more action based approach yet making it clear that India also has its core interests just as important as Chinese interests to the Chinese.

Modi asked China to ‘reconsider’ its approach 

This visit was indeed very significant as India successfully sounded its concerns in very clear words. Mr. Modi asked China to “reconsider” its approach on some matters, like visa policy towards residents of Arunachal Pradesh, as he asserted that the two nations have a “historic responsibility” to turn the relationship into “a source of strength for each other and a force of good for the world.” Modi said , while making clear that there was “no question of going back”, asserted that “standing still was not an option” and “moving forward is the only way out” in the relationship that has been “complex” in the last few decades. “There is a need for China to reconsider its approach on some of the issues that hold us back from realizing full potential of our partnership. I suggested that China should take a strategic and long-term view of our relations,” he said.

In past our Prime Minister have refrained from taking such approach while on China visit, asking China to reconsider its approach. It led to a very interesting commentary in diplomatic circles. Some even alluded to India finding new strengths while dealing with China.

Broadened spectrum relations with China

India has unveiled an ambitious agenda to elevate its ties with China, with External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj announcing a six-point proposal to jointly realize with Beijing, the dream of an “Asian Century”. Ms. Swaraj said at the inaugural of the Second India-China Media Forum that a six-point template can enrich the civilizations of India and China in the modern era, resulting in the realization of an “Asian Century”.

India has stressed the need for an action based approach. Listing out the proposals in alphabetical order A-F, Ms. Swaraj stressed that New Delhi-Beijing ties can reach the next level if both sides enforce an “action- oriented approach and a broad-based bilateral engagement

Not just center to center but state to state and city to city as well

Modi held meetings with Provincial leaders as well and was accompanied by Indian state level leaders and Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Karnataka as well. India has so far backed the BCIM proposal that would connect Kolkata with Kunming-the capital of Yunnan province, which is the gateway to three ASEAN countries: Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.

Hyderabad, Chennai and Aurangabad have established sister city relations with Chinese cities.  Chennai has established a sister city relationship with the Chinese city of Chongqing. Hyderabad and Aurangabad are the other two cities to have sister city relationships in China, with Qingdao and Dunhuang respectively.

Increased and More Balanced Economic co-operation

Given the size of the two economies, trade is far below its potential India is not among China’s ten largest trade partners.In 2011-12, bilateral trade between India and China stood at $73 billion. Two years later, it was less than $66 billion. New Delhi has been worried about the rising trade deficit between the two countries, and so has been trying to prune imports while boosting exports, although slowing growth in China is partly responsible for the decline.

A high level working committee has been set up to look into the trade imbalances. India has asked China to give access to Indian IT companies, Pharmaceutical giants in particular among others to its huge market. India’s strength is in service sectors and China’s core strength is manufacturing. Both countries can learn from each other.

India and China have signed MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) on investment projects worth 22 billion dollars.

Acknowledged understanding to solve the border dispute politically

Many Indian are still deeply suspicious of the Chinese, given the ever-present border disputes and the shadow of the war of 1962.

During their talks in Beijing, Mr. Modi and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang decided to increase the number of border meeting points of their military personnel from the existing four, as they underlined that maintenance of peace and tranquillity on the border was an “important guarantor” for the development and continued growth of ties.

Briefing media on the discussions, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said Mr. Modi asserted at the meeting that the two countries seriously need to work on issues and build a higher level of trust.

Summary

India and Modi realize that that the rise of China is unavoidable and may not be all against us. Modi also knows that India’s rise is also unstoppable. The two countries have a mature leadership. Contrary to what certain war mongering media outlets would like you to believe, the war is a very far possibility as that would take away the benefits of growth of past twenty years. There are areas where we can co-operate and are doing so, like in BRICS. Rise of Asian and Asian Century depends a lot on the relations between these two countries.

As China continues its phenomenal economic development, there is a growing realization in India that China can be used as the “engine” of its own economic growth. Modi knows this well. As he goes on to build India comprehensively.

The Chinese would have to accept the presence of Indian Lion on the Asian Mountain.

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Contributor: Sachin Diwaker

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India and China: A tale of two tigers on one Mountain: Part 1

A good way to understand a culture is to read its folk tales, proverbs and adages. In countries like India and China there is an abundance of them. It is through these proverbs and tales that we can develop and understanding of these two giant neighbors of Asia are so near yet so far. I am an admirer of Chinese sayings. One such Chinese saying is, “There cannot be two Tigers on one mountain”. Another one is, “Neighbors can never be true friends.”, though the second one is not really about the countries but two people living next to each other. In contrast to these India believes in “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam”, meaning whole earth is a family. It is not surprising that we have championed the art of mixing cultures over thousands of years and widely regarded as the most diverse country on earth, something which can find a parallel only in continent of Africa. India and China have been different in the way they see the world and their place in the world. Modi’s biggest challenge while dealing with China would be understand this. Vallabhbhai Patel once told Nehru that he needs to take an objective view of Chinese and their territorial ambitions. He said, China has been an imperialistic country and civilizations do not change their character overnight.

China has embarked on its journey to transform its Economy and is seeking markets untapped so far and is strengthening its security. When the China Pakistan Economic corridor was announced the India media reported it in a very skeptical way. It is indeed a serious development and needs to be watched cautiously. Modi’s China visit has come shortly after the Pakistan visit of the Chinese president. Just before Modi’s visit state owned Chinese newspaper People’s Daily and Global Times reported that Modi is a pragmatic person who is trying to change the ‘border scenario’ with his tactics.

Understanding the transformed and transforming China 

China is an economic giant with a 10 trillion dollar economy set to overtake USA by 2030. It has currency reserves to the tune of 4 trillion dollars. Moreover, China is also a recognized nuclear power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and possesses a very strong military which is increasingly assertive, not only in its traditional region of influence but also regions unchartered by them so far. It has embarked on huge transformation journey of its economy and has come up with Belt and Road, earlier known as One Road one Belt, Maritime Silk Route, and BCIM corridor to increase its economic clout. Also it is part of big initiatives like AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Development Bank), The New Development Bank of BRICS, which are being seen as a signal to urgently address the need to reform IMF and World Bank and make them more reflective of the changed scenario.

China is discussed on every multinational international platform. Modi understands that any efforts on Indian side to contain or falling for containment of China policy would not be successful. On the contrary Modi has demonstrated to the Chinese that any efforts to containment India would meet the same fate. It is perhaps this that has led to China acknowledging that India-China relation are two ‘Major Power relations”.

This shift in Chinese stand on India is an acknowledgement of India’s rising status. China has often accused India of seeing the world through the eyes of west and has mocked India’s democracy for lacking foundation of a social democracy. This view is predominant among the ultra-nationalists.

However, there is now a significant section Chinese political discourse that India’s rise. Chinese are mostly very objective in their decision making. The ultra-nationalist of Mao’s time have now given way to those who take a more informed view of the world and are ready to accommodate the ideologies and trends which China has long considered ‘western’ . India has long been grouped into the same category mocking India for its democracy lacks social democracy in their opinion.

China believes that for democracy to work in a diverse country, there must to greater equality which India lacks and which is in fact true. However the India’s deeply rooted successful democracy is very perplexing to many Chinese. It gives India a significant edge over China in western countries. Western countries believe that India’s model of democracy is more suitable for long term growth as it is more participative unlike China where the communist government can ask you to settle in areas like Xing Xian and Tibet and where Western culture is still not very welcome. China allows only 20 Hollywood movies to be released in a year.

But the wealthy Chinese today want a ‘western’ lifestyle and the new Chinese leadership is acknowledging that too.

Why China is broadening its engagement with India 

Under Narendra Modi, India is pegged to grow at around 8% or more in years to come and China’s slowing economy and its huge manufacturing industry needs India. Modi is so far very successful in selling the idea of ‘Make in India” to China as is evident encouraging response by Chinese corporate honchos to his visit.

China needs India not only to sell Xiaomi but also looking enthusiastically to make it here. India’s young demography and China’s aging population is making India look very attractive to China.

Modi knows that the relatively newer corporates of China would be very eager to the “Make in India” and “Digital India” initiative. A fast growing, young and more prosperous India is very lucrative with its more than half a billion middle class which is going to grow by 180 million (18 crores) in next 15-20 years.

Summary 

India and China both are Asian giants who have now begun the process to be develop a better understanding of each other. It is noteworthy that media reporting largely makes or break impression of a country in another country. We Indians see China as an adversary and Russia as an all-weather friend. Similarly Pakistanis view China as their all-weather friend as news of Chinese actions in Muslim dominated far western province of Xiangxiang Uyghur hardly make any news there.

This needs to be corrected. This is what Modi wants to establish with China, a deeper understanding of its largest neighbour as you need a true understanding before you tag someone friend or foe. In next article we will be taking a look at the developments of his China visit.

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Contributor: Sachin Diwaker

 

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NARENDRA MODI VISIT TO MONGOLIA- LAND OF BLUE SKIES

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is creating international connection by visiting various countries like France, Germany. Now he has come to Mongolia. He came to the capital of Mongolia, Ulan Bator. This is the first time an Indian Prime Minister visited Mongolia. This is a great achievement for India. It shows Modi can spread the message of India far and wide all over the world. He is extremely good at public relations and public speaking.

Modi came from Shanghai in China to Mongolia. This is the second country of his three-nation visit. He toured China for 3 days. He travelled Beijing and Xi’an in China. Mongolian Foreign Minister L. Purevsuren welcomed him from the airport.

Mongolia is located between China and Russia. The country has a population of over 2.9 million. Majority of the population follows Buddhism as their religion. Only three per cent are Muslims. People following Chistrianity are 2.2 per cent. Shamanist comprise 2.9 per cent.

The land area of Mongolia is smaller than Alaska. The density of population is around 1.7 people per square km. Among the independent countries, it has the lowest population density.

Mongolia is commonly known as Land of Blue Skies. It is named so because there are approximately 250 sunny days. There is close relationship of Mongolia for hundreds of years. Emperor Ashoka spread Buddhism to Mongolia. His disciples also spread Buddhism. The reputed Mughal emperor of India was Babur. He was the descendent of Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan established the Mongol empire.

Modi will stay on Sunday in Mongolia. He is going to speak at the parliament of Mongolia, Generally the parliament is closed on Sunday but this is special occasion. As an internationally reputed Prime minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi is visiting here, it will be open as a special gesture.

The prime minister will begin his day by giving a gift to the chief of Gandan Monastery in Ulan Bator. The gift is a sapling of the Bodhi tree. The Bodhi tree is chosen as it is under a Bodhi tree Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. This Monastery is located in Ulan Bator.

India to gift Bodhi Tree sapling to China, Mongolia

India to gift Bodhi Tree sapling to China, Mongolia

Sri Narendra Modi will meet Mongolian Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg. There will be discussions on various issues and finally both countries will sign an agreement. He will meet the present speaker of the Mongolian Parliament.

Modi will also meet the speaker of the Mongolian parliament. He is going to meet Mr. Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia. Then he will be honored with a banquet lunch.

Modi will inaugurate an Information Technology centre by laying the foundation stone. He is going to visit a mini Naadam festival. It is a national festival of sports. He is going to watch wrestling, archery and horse racing events. It is held in an open arena.

Modi will also address a community reception and banquet in Ulan Bator. Both countries are interested in trade and economic cooperation. The talks will include transport, energy sector and highways.

The Prime Minister’s two-day visit is taking place in the backdrop of celebrations of the 25th year of democracy and 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Mongolia.

On the second leg of his three-nation tour, PM Modi will meet Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj to strengthen bilateral cooperation in diverse areas like shipping and logistics, transport, highways and electric power development in new energy industries.

PM Modi is the first Prime Minister from India to visit Mongolia. The two countries will sign an agreement on Double Taxation Avoidance Convention. It is the first time an Indian going to speak in parliament of Modi. He is a foreign leader but the country has welcomed him warmly. For the first time, the parliament is open on a holiday like Sunday.

A foundation stone will be laid for the inauguration of Information Technology Centre in Mongolia. Sri Modi supports information technology and he uses social networking sites and Twitter. So this is a positive sign of technological revolution and inspiration for Mongolian citizens.

Modi is going to meet the Mongolian counterpart and communicate over a wide range of regional, bilateral and global problems.

The two sides are expected to sign an agreement on cooperation in the field of application of nuclear technology for cancer cure in the National Cancer Centre of Mongolia.

India is providing the Bhabhatron, the indigenous machine developed by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre successful in cancer treatment.

Another agreement will be signed for cooperation in solar and wind energy. The two sides are also expected to step up cooperation between the two National Security Councils, cyber security, border management, culture, air services, animal health and diary, besides training of diplomats.

India has a strong linkage of Buddhism and democracy with Mongolia and was the first country outside the Soviet bloc to establish diplomatic relations with it.

India predicts the presence of Mongolia in the minerals area. Mongolia is full of minerals. They have rich deposits of coking coal, copper, rare earths and uranium.

India already has a civil nuclear agreement with Mongolia which provides for uranium exports to the country once the domestic laws here permit prospecting and mining.

Sri Modi visited Mongolia and attended the Yoga and Tai Chi event. As the United Nations made International Yoga Day, Mongolia also plans to have a Tai Chi day. Narendra Modi visit to Mongoliais a memorable event for the two countries. Modi plans to spread the message of India to all countries of the world is gaining momentum. Our foreign trade will expand into all countries.

Pratanu.punjabi

 

CONTRIBUTOR: PRATANU BANERJEE

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INDIA and China work together on climate change

China is the first biggest emitter of greenhouse gas.  India ranks third in greenhouse gas emission. The two countries spoke unitedly on climate change on Friday. They gave a joint statement and urged the developed countries to curb down carbon emissions.

The developing nations India and China jointly said in their statement that rich countries to give financial support as well as technological expertise. The rich countries are requested to raise the targets of emission before 2020. They must pay respect to their commitment. The developing countries must get a financial assistance of $100 billion per year. Both countries India and China has agreed to submit their proposals on how to reduce greenhouse gas emission. There is an upcoming talk on global climate. It is quite important for the world. It will be held in Paris at the end of this year.

India has to give a statement. There are two top emitters of greenhouse gas in the world. They are China and United States. India is the third. They are setting up their limit within 2025.

Modi is going to emphasize on application of clean energy. This is a major step of fighting against climate change. The target of Modi is to increase the renewable energy capacity within 2022. He plans to quintuple this capacity.

According to the government of India report, India is unable to cut down greenhouse gas emissions. Our country must focus on industrialization. Our target is to improve the lives of millions of people. We have to work towards alleviation of poverty.

India and China has planned to work jointly on climate change. They will work on projects like clean energy technologies, renewable energy and energy conservation. They expressed themselves in a joint statement.

INDIA and China work together on climate change.Both countries China and India are going to take actions at the domestic level on fighting against climate change. There are challenges to be met on economic and social development. Steps need to be taken for alleviation of poverty.

The statement, issued by the two largest developing nations during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China, asked wealthy countries to provide finance, technology and other necessary support to emerging countries to help reduce their own emissions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in China. Both countries have taken steps to fight against climate change. They have published a document jointly. At the end of this year, there will be a UN climate conference in Paris.

The climate change is a concern of mankind. It is a great challenge to humanity globally in the 21st century. There should be international cooperation for sustainable development.

The two biggest developing countries, China and India are taking actions on fighting climate change at the domestic level. They have plans, policies and measures on negotiation and adaptation. They are concerned with social and economic development. India want to eradicate poverty and China has supported it in the joint statement.

China and India have planned intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). They have signed an agreement 2015. They will talk about their INDCs immediately before the conference in Paris.

The two countries want to establish partnership on both sides for climate change. They will increase the role of partnership in overall strategic cooperation partnership. A joint statement needs to be implemented.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol provides guidelines for cooperation on issues related to climate change. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a environment regulating agency which welcomed the signature of other countries in 1992. A conference named United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was organized in Rio de Janeiro. This is also known as Earth Summit. It is a great achievement for UNFCCC when 154 nations signed an agreement. The sign of agreement was achieved on 12 June 1992, The governments who signed this agreement agreed to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They have a target of preventing lethal human being related intervention with climate system of the earth. This agreement will make the country committed. They need significant reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases.

The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement of international standard. It prolongs the United Nations Frameworkd Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) . It creates a commitment among State Parties. They will decrease the emission of greenhouse gases. There are a few characteristics. They are the belief that global warming is going on. Carbon dioxide emission are caused by man. Kyoto is a place in Japan where Kyoto Protocol was signed. The agreement was signed on 11 December 1997. It was put into effect on 16 February 2005. At present, there are 192 Parties. Canada took off the support. It was held on December 2012. Their objective was put into effect by Kyoto Protocol. The objective of UNFCCC is to fight against global warming, They decrease the density of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The control of gas will prevent significant interference of human being affecting climate change. .

Both the United Nations support the principles of equity. There is responsibility for a developed country. There is demand for leadership in developed countries. Our target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They must provide finance and technology. They must develop capacity building for developing countries.

The agencies on climate change have made up their mind to work jointly. They are interested in negotiations at multilateral level. They want to reach a holistic, equitable, stable, effective agreement. They work for the UNFCCC in 2015. They have the desire to provide effective and sustained implementation of UNFCCC.

The joint document shows an agreement made in 2015. They will follow the principles strictly. The UNFCCC shows historical responsibilities for climate change. There are stages for development. There are situations for nation between developed and developing countries. The 2015 agreement engages in negotiation. The agreement provides financial support. It engages in development of technology. There is scope for capacity building. The action is quite transparent. They support it holistically and in a balanced way.

Pratanu.punjabi

 

CONTRIBUTOR: PRATANU BANERJEE

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