Change or Continuity: India’s Foreign Policy Under Modi
Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won India’s 2014 parliamentary elections in a landslide, debate among analysts has intensified over the likely direction of the country’s foreign policy. BJP and the new prime minister, Narendra Modi, have received the strongest mandate ever for an Indian political party other than the Indian National Congress. Given that, there are unprecedented expectations that the new government will finally unburden the country’s foreign policy from the ideological fixation of the Nehruvian era, reorienting it to meet the demands of new geopolitical realities. BJP’s vision, Modi’s own political beliefs, and some of his recent statements—offer clues into direction in which he is likely to steer India.
Unlike his predecessors, Modi has underscored foreign policy as a priority from the beginning alongside a strong promise to put India’s economy in order. Modi aspires to re-invigorate India’s drive as an emerging power, which had suffered a setback in recent years, due to poor economic growth. He has not only injected vigor into India’s foreign policy, but also linked it directly to his plan to transform India’s economy. Launched in September 2014, ‘Make in India’ has become Narendra Modi’s signature programme as he aspires to convert India into a global manufacturing hub. His foreign policy therefore is strongly driven by geoeconomics – especially focusing on foreign direct investments.