India’s Foreign Policy: Lack of Debate Raises Concerns

GS-2 Mains IR

Question : Discuss the reasons behind the lack of debate on foreign policy among opposition parties. What are the implications of this silence for India’s diplomatic engagements?


Question : Analyze the role of think tanks, social media, and retired bureaucrats in shaping foreign policy discourse in India. How influential are these factors in the formulation of government policies?


NDA Government’s Foreign Policy Edge

  • Strong leadership: PM Modi enjoys greater control over foreign policy compared to previous coalition governments.
  • Economic growth: India’s rising economic power strengthens its diplomatic position.
  • Favorable global environment: New opportunities for strategic relationships.
  • Experienced leadership: Foreign Minister Jaishankar provides diplomatic expertise.


Concerns Over Opposition Parties’ Silence:

  • Declining interest in world affairs among demoralized Opposition.
  • Lack of genuine consensus on foreign policy.
  • Congress party’s reluctance to challenge government’s foreign policy.
  • Rahul Gandhi focuses more on domestic issues during foreign visits.
  • Left parties’ diminishing influence on foreign policy.


Drawbacks in India’s Foreign Policy Formulations:

  • Rising interest in foreign policy among public.
  • Think tanks, retired bureaucrats, and social media contribute to discourse.
  • Political leadership crucial in shaping foreign policy.
  • Hinge moment in global politics requires serious reflection.
  • Four big ideas demand political attention:


Four Issues Needing Political Attention

  1. Changing International Order
  • Diagnose the shift towards renewed rivalry between major powers.
  • Debate India’s response to this changing power dynamic.
  1. Deglobalization of the Global Economy
  • Discuss strategies to maximize India’s gains in a restructuring global economic order.
  • Explore ways to deepen regional economic integration amid changing US-China relations.
  1. Dealing with a Rising China
  • Develop strategies to address China’s challenges across various policy domains (trade, security, etc.).
  • Consider China’s influence on India’s regional and global policies.
  1. Replacing Outdated Concepts
  • Rethink the relevance of “non-alignment” and “strategic autonomy” for a rising India.
  • Develop a “new strategic lexicon” and “geopolitical grammar” for a future major power.


  • India’s aspiration to become a developed nation by 2047 requires a new strategic approach.
  • Political classes must engage in meaningful debate on foreign policy for India’s future on the global stage.

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