Is the Indian foreign-policy ship changing course?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AUKUS

Mains level : Paper 2- Changing course of India foreign policy

Context

India plans to host an international conference on Afghanistan in the second week of November.

Is the Indian foreign policy changing course?

  • All signs point towards a major calibration of the foreign-policy compass in recent weeks since the tumultuous events in Kabul two months ago culminated in the formation of an interim government by the Taliban.
  • As regards the way forward in Afghanistan, India has opted to align with the Anglo-American camp in the international line-up arrayed against the Eurasian axis of Russia, China and Iran.
  • While the US has an attitude of “You’re either with us, or against us”, vis-a-vis the Taliban, Russia, China, Iran and other neighbouring states give primacy to stability and security of Afghanistan.
  • Being a discontented party, unsurprisingly, India would have more in common with the revisionist powers — the US and the UK.
  • While the stated purpose of the participating countries is marking Afghanistan, it is the future that matters, being an epochal one that would transform the geopolitics of the region.
  • Thus, Delhi has moved up to the centrestage of the Quad.
  • In turn, the US accepts that the Quad ought to be “inclusive”. Global Britain is knocking at the door.
  • On its part, Delhi has displayed its comfort level with the AUKUS.
  • The historical Western experience of the EU and NATO moving in tandem to weaken a common enemy is being replicated with Asian characteristics.
  • A dual containment strategy is unfolding against China and Russia.
  • Thus, its short-lived dalliance with Iran is losing its gravitas and India has swung to the other extreme to identify with a new quadrilateral platform in West Asia, with Israel, UAE and the US.
  • India shrugs its shoulders as its “time-tested” friend, Moscow, bemoans the Quad and AUKUS.
  • This astonishing zigzagging in India’s regional policy takes the breath away.

Challenges for India

  • India lives in its region and the Quad and AUKUS are of no help when it comes to Afghanistan.
  • Pakistan and China are riding high in the Hindu Kush; Moscow and Beijing have moved close in Central Asia which Washington is having a hard time in dealing with.
  • India’s much-touted “influence” in Kabul has turned out to be delusional.
  • Its own capacity to shape future events is virtually nil. These are the hard realities.

Conclusion

With the conference where India hopes to create an equivalent of the vajrayudha of the ancient Vedas which would allow India to reclaim its rightful place in the Afghan pantheon of gods and demi-gods.

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