The break down of the USSR in 1991 as a result of the end of the Cold War created space and scope for India to move flexibly in its foreign and domestic economic policies. In the past 20 years, India has worked on creating several distinct strong points to integrate its economy on a global level. A gradual enhancement of India’s voice and role in regional and global affairs has also been noticed.
For this, India has made several new strategic partners like the US, Israel, EU, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), while maintaining its relations with old friends and partners like Russia. If we see India, its participation in the multilateral fora is increasing. For example, India is associated with the Asian Regional Forum and is regularly participating in G-20 deliberations along with holding India-EU Summit-level meetings. India is also a member of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and has expressed interest in global nuclear export control such as NSG and the Wassenaar Agreement.
If we pay attention, we’ll notice that, in the recent years, India has been conducting many political and diplomatic campaigns. This was noticed during the PM’s travel and meetings with world leaders.
India’s relations with Afghanistan are becoming stronger. We also have a complete convergence of views with Afghanistan on the issues of peace, stability, and reconstruction of Afghanistan. India is invariably associated with the regional and global efforts for the stabilisation of Afghanistan.
India’s relations with Bangladesh are in the ascendancy. PM Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in June 2015 and PM Sheikh Haseena’s visit to India in April 2017 have been considered instrumental in consolidating relations in important sectors like defence, connectivity, land routes, etc.
The change of government in Sri Lanka in January 2015 created an opportunity to remove the negative trend set by President Mahinda Rajapakse who allowed China to capture important strategic spaces in Sri Lanka. The interaction at the highest levels has helped reset the relations. PM Modi’s presence as the chief guest at the international Vesak Day celebrations in Colombo in May 2017 was a deliberate move to impress upon the Sinhala Buddhist majority that Buddhism is an important link which binds the two nations.
The relations between India and Nepal have witnessed several ups and downs. PM Modi’s visit to Nepal led to the growth of goodwill between them. In 17 years, Modi was the first Indian PM to visit Nepal. The situation, however, took a turn for the worse when India was accused of instigating the roadblocks at the border by the agitating Madhesi community causing hardships in landlocked Nepal, due to short supplies of important commodities.
India’s relations with the US has registered a multi-dimensional growth in recent years, which now include areas like defence, energy, trade and investments, cyber-security, science and technology etc. USA has emerged as the largest supplier to India’s defence forces. In December 2016, India was accorded the status of ‘major defence partner’ of the US, enabling India to procure certain dual-use technologies from the US.
Relations with the time-tested friend USSR have come under scanner in the wake of India ‘s growing proximity with the USA and its diversification of its sources of defence acquisitions. Russia’s evolving proximity with Pakistan and China have not helped the cause. However, no major setbacks have been observed in key areas. India has given surety to Russia about its importance to its relations. Russia, on its part, remains committed to extending its co-operation in the defence and the nuclear energy sector as reflected in the negotiation for the supply of Russia’s advanced anti-missile defence system (S-400) and the ongoing co-operation for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh.