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From the ashes of centuries of British plunder and colonization, India has risen like a phoenix, embarking on a path that few former colonies have dared to tread, a path to a stable democracy that is a beacon of hope. Although European powers claimed moral superiority, they used manipulative divide-and-rule tactics in their colonies. They unscrupulously drew new borders without taking into account the diverse mix of cultures and communities living in these regions, leading to permanent divisions and conflicts. Their actions contradicted their professed ideals and exposed the exploitative nature of colonial rule.
Once freed from the clutches of colonial rule, India found itself navigating the currents of global politics and relying somewhat on Western support for various pressing matters, both on the world stage and within its own borders. However, with the arrival of the Modi government at the centre came a consequential shift in destiny. India’s foreign policy has undergone a metamorphosis of unprecedented proportions, shaking the very foundations of convention and ushering in a new era of accession and attainment. Like a masterful symphony, India’s story unfolds in its unique harmony, blending struggle and success into a captivating melody of progress. It walks the corridors of time as a testament to an indomitable spirit that triumphs over the darkest ages and emerges as a light that amazes the world. India has witnessed a noticeable transformation in its diplomacy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi’s strategic approach and dynamic engagement with the international community have elevated India’s position on the global stage over the last nine years. From strengthening bilateral relations with various nations to spearheading international initiatives and promoting India’s rich cultural heritage, Prime Minister Modi’s diplomacy has garnered recognition and respect across the globe.
Shri Narendra Modi’s visionary approach to diplomacy has been evident since the beginning of his tenure. In 2014, he invited South Asia’s immediate neighbors to his swearing-in ceremony, emphasizing the importance of regional cooperation and the “Neighborhood First” policy. This marked a significant shift in India’s foreign policy, with connectivity and security taking precedence in the region. Launched by him, the Act East Policy aimed to strengthen India’s relations with the nations of Southeast Asia. India celebrated its 69th Republic Day with all ASEAN leaders as chief guests, showing the importance attached to the ASEAN-India relationship. Additionally, India has expanded its engagement with Central Asian nations and strengthened its presence in the Eurasian region. Prime Minister Modi’s diplomatic efforts were not limited to the Asian continent. He became the first Indian PM to visit both Israel and Palestine, signaling India’s commitment to maintaining balanced relations in the Middle East.
Under the leadership of PM Modi, India has actively participated in various forums and alliances such as the QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue), I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE and USA), the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. These initiatives have shown India’s proactive role in shaping global discussions and addressing regional issues.
Additionally, India has played a significant role in strengthening the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as an influential forum for emerging economies and has held its own in the rapidly expanding Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (BRICS). This has enabled the country to work with other nations on issues of common interest, including economic development and cooperation. On the economic front, India has worked hard to expand its global footprint. The Modi government has been pushing for free trade agreements (FTAs) with several countries and regions, including South Korea, Japan, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and ASEAN. These agreements were intended to strengthen trade ties and promote economic growth. As a result, India has recorded the highest-ever FDI inflows, indicating its position as an increasingly attractive investment destination for the global community. India’s defense sector has also seen significant progress under Modi’s leadership. The government has increased military spending, reflecting its commitment to improving its defense capabilities. India has also embarked on defense exports, such as the supply of BrahMos missiles to the Philippines, and forged new defense partnerships with nations such as the US, France and Japan. These efforts contributed to enhancing India’s role as a key player in global military affairs.
Prime Minister Modi’s foreign policy favors strategic autonomy that allows India to independently navigate international issues and advance its national interests. This was evident during the Russo-Ukraine conflict, towards which the country maintained a nuanced stance. India’s soft power has seen considerable growth since 2014. A 2019 Pew Research Center survey found that it was viewed more favorably than China in most countries surveyed. Initiatives like globalisation of Yoga, the Brand India campaign and the Prime Minister’s promotion of Indian culture have contributed significantly to strengthening the nation’s soft power and cultural diplomacy. Another area where India has made remarkable progress has been renewable energy. The country has witnessed a substantial increase in installed renewable energy capacity, exceeding 250%. India has set ambitious targets to achieve 40% of its electricity from non-fossil sources by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2070. Prime Minister Modi’s diplomatic efforts have not been limited to strengthening ties and advancing India’s interests, but have also extended to helping other nations in times of need. From providing aid to Nepal after the devastating earthquake in 2015 to helping countries like Maldives, Mozambique and Sri Lanka during crises, India has demonstrated its compassionate and humanitarian approach to global affairs.
In conclusion, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indian diplomacy has entered a golden era of assertive and compassionate global engagement. His strategic approach, vision and proactive initiatives have elevated India’s position on the global stage, as the country founds its voice and role in shaping international discussions and addressing regional challenges. From strengthening regional cooperation and economic ties to promoting India’s cultural heritage and renewable energy initiatives, PM Modi’s leadership has left a lasting impact on India’s foreign policy and standing in the world. As India continues to assert its strategic autonomy and lend a helping hand to those in need, it is poised to play an even more significant role in global affairs in the coming years.