Bharat’s 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 normal and compromising values to make the international community feel good was part of foreign policy. We lost economically on many fronts as a result 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 on the basis of 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 favour 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 favour of a strong Bharat’s foreign policy.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated during a budget session 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 top five foreign direct investment recipient countries in the world.
The self-sufficiency of Bharat shall be the key to exponential growth with local talent, skills, and knowledge. The change in foreign policy, as expressed by S. Jaishankar, EAM in Raisina dialogue 2022, is self-reliance (Aatmanirbhar Bharat ) not only in capability but also in 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 mobilise the operational strategy while also developing capabilities and narratives to deal with it.
The mindset of importing the majority of things from China has shifted as a result of a more balanced and “Bharat first” approach to dealing with the world without jeopardising 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 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 to suffering neighbours 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 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 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.