From an economy that faced the challenge of feeding its population until the 1960s,

  1. India has emerged as the fifth largest economy.

  2. India’s ties with countries across regions — in the South Pacific, through Southeast and South Asia, in other parts of Asia, Europe, the Indian Ocean region, Africa, North America and Latin America — show it to be an aspiring, as well as a major player on the world.

  3. A leading member of the UN, an oft-invitee to the G7, a founding member of the BRICS, and a pivotal part of the G20 now ready to take over as its chair, India has become a major stakeholder in the comity of nations.


  1. National Interest
  2. nuanced balancing of interests and values
  3. National security
  4. belief that external relationships accelerate the country’s economic
  5. desire to enhance the nation’s standing externally and the impulse to do good for the world – ex- sharing COVID vaccine with the world

Before 1991


accorded the highest priority to India’s immediate neighbours, given the history of conflicts with Pakistan and China, the liberation of Bangladesh and the military interventions in Sri Lanka and Maldives

India has moved more time and resources to careful nurturing of relations with the major powers — the US, EU, especially France and Germany, the UK, Japan, Russia and China


  1.  India’s enhanced GDP and its IT prowess have positioned it in parallel with the apex group of leaders
  2. At the height of the Non-Aligned Movement and G77, India was the leader of the “have-nots
  3.  By enjoying proximity with the West and demonstrating the capability to cooperate and communicate with the “other” side — Russia, the time-tested partner, and China, the principal adversary but also a consequential neighbour — India now acts as a balancer and leader. 
  4. Good relations with neighbours.
  1. Relation with Bangladesh and Maldives are excellent.
  2. The tide that ran against India in its ties with Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka in recent years seems to have turned since the Covid-19 pandemic.
  3. A fine balancing act between the military government and its opponents in Myanmar is underway.
  4. More needs to be achieved in regional cooperation and integration. Having concluded that SAARC’s shelf life is over, New Delhi accords priority to BIMSTEC, but this train runs too slow.

• emerged as a principal theatre for Indian diplomacy

• The increased emphasis on cooperation with Japan, Australia and the US has turned the QUAD into a strong forum.

• The combined impact of formations such as AUKUS (Australia, the UK and US), the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, Partners in the Blue Pacific and India’s continuing focus on ASEAN, despite the setback of its exit from RCEP, is a determined pushback to China.


Across the Western shores, prospects have improved with the establishment of I2U2 (India, Israel, U.S. UAE) — this became possible due to the progress in India-UAE, India- Israel and UAE-Israel relations


Foreign policy making is aided by academia, think tanks, civil society and media more than ever before.The increasing engagement of the wider public — especially the youth and business community — with foreign policy issues reflects the maturity and sophistication of Indian democracy.

These trends must deepen and India’s G20 Presidency provides a perfect opportunity and beginning for the next anniversary era.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *