Utilising India’s moment under the diplomatic sun – Understanding the dynamics of India’s current foreign policy | 6th March 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

Please Share with maximum friends to support the Initiative.

What's the article about?

  • It talks about the dynamics of India’s current foreign policy approach.


  • GS2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests;
  • Essay
  • Prelims


  • At present, India is at its peak of geopolitical activities.
  • India hosted the G-20 Foreign Ministers meeting, the G-20 Finance Ministers meeting and the Quad Foreign Ministers meeting.
  • At the same time New Delhi has been teeming with global leaders and thinkers attending the Ministry of External Affairs-supported Raisina dialogue.
  • A few weeks ago, India also organised the ‘Voice of Global South Summit’.
  • The writer of this article discusses India's objectives and the positives of these geopolitical activities.

Significance of these geopolitical activities:

  • For a very long time India has been on the sidelines of world politics. She has been often seen as an irritant by great powers for even having an opinion.
  • But now India’s pivotal position at the G-20, the Quad (the United States, India, Australia and Japan), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Global South today has given it a sudden surge in stature and reputation.  
  • But one year is too short in geopolitics, and geopolitics is not always a function of happy coincidences.
  • For New Delhi, thus, this is its moment under the sun, the near realisation of a long-awaited pivotal power moment.

The nature of current India’s current foreign policy approach – Treading the fault-lines

  • Contemporary Indian foreign policy is a textbook example of treading the fault-lines of world politics – “advancing national interests by identifying and exploiting opportunities created by global contradictions”.
  • New Delhi has become adept at playing both sides (though not without its costs).
    Consider this.
    • India is the chair of both the United States/West-led G-20, and the China-centered SCO at the same time. It is seeking to be at the global high table while staking a serious claim to be the leader of the Global South.
  • Contemporary India speaks the language of revisionism and status quoism in the same breath, and with ease.

What is the Global North and Global South Divide?

  • It describes a grouping of countries along socio-economic and political characteristics.
  • Global North comprises mostly industrialised & developed countries of Europe, N. America, etc
  • Global South comprises mostly developing countries of Asia, Africa, S. America, etc.

What does India want?

  • India has long wanted a seat at the global high table.
  • But it has realised that it has little chance of getting one currently, particularly with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) out of reach.
  • It has, therefore, been hinting at the dysfunctionality of the UNSC, and the utility of more inclusive and flexible forums such as the G-20.
  • So, in New Delhi’s pursuit of actively seeking a seat at a restructured global high table, the G-20 has its utility as does the Global South.
  • In its pursuit for a seat at the high table, New Delhi also knows only too well that falling in line with the U.S./the West (on the Ukraine war for instance) reduces India’s instrumentality (even for them).
  • ‘Fall in line, and you will be forgotten’ appears to be the lesson that it has learnt about realpolitik over the past several decades.

Challenges in current foreign policy approach:

  • Limited time:
    • New Delhi’s moment in the sun is not without its inherent challenges.
    • For one, the sun will set, and the moment shall pass. Indian chairpersonship of the G-20 and the SCO ends this year.
  • Nature of diplomatic language:
    • Some of the language that emanates from New Delhi in response to western or the U.S.’s statements/criticisms could be construed as needlessly offensive.
    • Indian diplomacy needs to adopt the language of finesse and authority rather than that of aggression. Confident nations need not talk like reactionaries.
  • The balancing opposites have their limits:
    • If you play all sides, you might not end up making strong strategic partnerships that should come to your aid if and when something major goes wrong such as a future conflict with China.
    • While bridging the divide in world politics is a noble task, indecisiveness might not yield lasting partnerships.

Way Forward:

  • So far, this foreign policy has done a great joba true world leader.

Please Share with maximum friends to support the Initiative.

Download the Samajho App

Join 5 lakh+ students in downloading PDF Notes for 2000+ Topics relevant for UPSC Civil Services Exam. &nbsp Samajho Android App: https://bit.ly/3H9hva1 Samajho iOS App: https://apple.co/3H8ZJE2 &nbsp Samajho IAS Youtube Channel (300K+ Subscribers): https://www.youtube.com/@SamajhoIAS