S Jaishankar writes: How India Wins Friends and Influences the World

The path to achieving the goal of Viksit Bharat in the next 25 years will be demanding. For starters, it needs a vision for the nation, as well as the ability to deliver it on the ground. We can develop confidence in this by maintaining a track record. Steady progress and continuous reforms are also only possible in an environment of political stability. That alone would allow policy prescriptions of a long-term nature to be conceptualized and implemented. Much of this will be determined by the cumulative political choice of the Indian people in the coming weeks. But a crucial facet will be the international environment and its ability to create both opportunities and challenges Viksit Bharat.

Ideally, countries formulate their foreign policies in such a way that they can make the best use of the world with a view to promoting their national development. The objectives are often to increase access to resources, markets, technologies and best practices. Those who have achieved impressive growth performance in recent decades are the ones who are clear about this. In our case, that focus has been sharp since 2014, but for ideological reasons it was more widespread in the first four decades of our independence. Inspired by imported regulations, we sometimes subordinated our own goals to the benefit of others. The big change now is a strong sense of ‘Bharat First’, where we have both the confidence to think about the trajectory and use our national interest as the prime benchmark for our judgment. This has encouraged us to pursue multi-vector diplomacy that would maximize our partners and minimize our problems. Where we need to take a stand, we will not hesitate or come under pressure. At the same time, our relevance is constantly confirmed. This is Vishwa Bandhu Bharat.

If India wants to emerge as a leading power, it must develop deep national strengths. A large part of this will come from the expansion of production, as this serves as the basis for the technology. To overcome the neglect of the past, it is essential that we plan to leap forward, especially when it comes to critical and emerging technologies. This can best be achieved through strong international cooperation, based on trust and comfort. In a polarized and suspicious world, these doors can only be opened through effective diplomacy. The international economy is currently in the midst of rebuilding its supply chains and ensuring more reliable production. This is most evident in competitive domains such as semiconductors, electric mobility and green technologies. Only a Vishwa Bandhu can ensure that India is fully embedded in these networks.

In the post-Covid world, all major countries are seeking strategic autonomy. Even the most developed countries are concerned about the erosion of their capabilities and dependence on over-concentration elsewhere. In a world where everything is being weaponized, India too must ensure that its basic needs and critical infrastructure are developed at the national level. That’s the reason ‘Making in India’ is so essential, not only for our economy but even for national security. As we already see in challenging areas such as defense, this can also open up export opportunities. Today, India is also increasingly positioned to become one of the global hubs of research, design and innovation. Only through more intensive cooperation with international partners can we accelerate our efforts journey towards Viksit Bharat.

The growing realization of the value of Indian skills and talent is also one of the welcome realities of our times. It is reinforced by the emphasis placed on trust and transparency in the digital domain. Drastic demographic changes in the world are also creating new demands in various professions. To take advantage of such prospects, we must vastly expand our own education and training capacities. But they can only be best utilized if our partners fully appreciate their compatibility with Indian values ​​and practices. And when we can credibly assure our own citizens of their safety, wherever they may be. Ensuring this is an important goal of India’s foreign policy today. We have already recently seen the conclusion of mobility agreements with European countries, Australia, Japan and others. Creating a global workplace for Indians will not only increase personal opportunities but also contribute to broader national capabilities.

Festive offer

The era of conflict and climate change we have entered has powerful implications for connectivity. Just as supply chains are looking to become more resilient and redundant, so too are logistics. We have witnessed the consequences of tensions in the Red Sea or the blockage of the Suez Canal. Reducing risks is only possible if enough countries come together to take their shared endeavor seriously. Interestingly, many of the recent efforts have focused on India. The IMEC corridor connects us to Europe and the Atlantic Ocean via the Arabian Peninsula. The INSTC is crossing Iran and Russia with the same goal. To our east, the Trilateral Highway could take us all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

The same logic also applies to ensuring security and political balance in a changing world. Be it Quad or BRICS, I2U2, SCO or East Asia Summit, India’s interests are at the center of the calculations. These initiatives involve various partners, who are often at odds with each other. It takes a Vishwa Bandhu to carry them all. That’s why this is such an important part of Modi Ki Guarantee.

The writer is the Foreign Minister of the Government of India

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First uploaded on: 03-05-2024 09:00 IST