In Modi 3.0, the command of the Foreign Ministry is again in the hands of Jaishankar, how will he deal with the challenges of Indian diplomacy?

Ananya Shroff
5 Min Read

New Delhi: In Modi 2.0, many dimensions of India's foreign policy looked different. From the success of bringing both Western and Russian factions on one platform in a world divided by the Ukraine war during the presidency of the G-20 to the attempt to present itself as the voice of the Global South. However, during this period, Canada's allegations and America's comments on the issue of religious freedom became a challenge and made the path of Indian diplomacy challenging. In such a situation, the changing world order and the presence of regional conflicts have only increased India's challenges. ORF Fellow Kabir Taneja also believes something similar, he says that 'Jaishankar's priorities start from the issues that he left incomplete before the election. The complexities of the constantly changing world are not decreasing, but increasing. The nature of the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza has not changed. In such a situation, as he has been doing for the past years, he will try to protect India's priorities, one of his major priorities will be that geopolitical events do not have a negative impact on the economy. In such a situation, it is believed that Jaishankar will continue to shape foreign policy on India's narrative and the agenda of the Global South.

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However, some experts say that even if there is no change in the basic structure of foreign policy, some major changes can be seen in diplomacy. International affairs expert and JNU professor Amitabh Singh says that 'In view of the Israel-Hamas conflict, there was a strong message in India's stance on terrorism after the October 7 attack last year, some changes can be seen in it. Along with this, it will now be difficult for India to adopt the kind of stance that right-wing governments adopt on conflicts around the world, although this was seen in the previous government on the issue of the Middle East. Along with this, there is also a possibility of a decrease in the Modi-centric atmosphere on foreign forums, which was clearly visible last time.

China's aggression will remain a challenge

Experts believe that China's aggression towards neighboring countries will remain a challenge. The fact cannot be ignored that since last year, India has been continuously returning to the policy of Neighbor First, in which efforts are being made to improve relations with other countries including Nepal and Sri Lanka through economic aid and other efforts. But the policies of many neighboring countries including Maldives are under the influence of China. In such a situation, Muizzu's participation in the swearing-in ceremony is a positive sign, but it does not seem that he will back down from his original pro-China policy. On the other hand, presidential elections are to be held in Sri Lanka this year, so Ranil Wickremesinghe is probably looking for support in terms of geopolitical equations. But despite this, India will have to continuously work on the foreign policy of its neighbors.

Focus on closeness of relations between America and India

Diplomacy with respect to China is a pivot around which many dimensions of foreign policy take shape. On one hand, by strengthening relations with Russia, closeness between China and Russia will have to be sought, while on the other hand, there is also the challenge of maintaining balance with China. China's insecurity about the closeness of relations between America and India will have to be strengthened. Along with this, Indian strategists would also want to keep a constant eye on the US presidential elections, because who will come to power there will decide how close the relations between the two countries will be?

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