Saturday, February 12, 2011

Foreign Policy Reinvigorated

This might sound harsh, but the truth of today's world order is that economics, cold hard numbers, counts. Countries, no matter how big or how small, are counted in the International order if and only if they can influence the world's economy.

After Independence, Nehru wanted India to be the prime voice of Asia. Sadly, we went into a long speed of silence the Asian Tigers and ASEAN quickly overtook us. However, over the last twenty years, our foreign policy has found a new voice, this time backed not by the moral high ground of Nehru but by the solid foundation of India's robust economy.

As such, we do not influence world exports in a great way. India still accounts for only about 2% of merchandise trade in the world and is a small player in terms of currency. But in the services sector, India has proved itself to be the world leader, capturing over half the International services market and influencing decisions at various high tables because of it. Our economic success today has provided that stepping stone that we needed to make our voice heard abroad.

The year 2010 was a watershed year for Indian foreign policy, because all the Permanent Members of the UNSC had their heads of Government visiting and acknowledging India's economic miracle. Except for the Chinese, we have now won the support of the P5 for a through reform of the UN. After 19 years, India was re-elected to the world' high table as a rotating member of the UNSC, giving us an opportunity to shape our world like never before.

Would all this have happened without economic might? Perhaps, some would opine. But I doubt it. Although the LPG policy was primarily designed to help India meets its balance of payment crisis, it has crated immeasurable benefits for other wings of our nation as well, including Foreign Policy. The question is whether we will be able to take our strength further. For this, I think, we need to strengthen our economy even further. After all, the world will listen to you only if you can make them. And money talks, loudly.

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