A call for reforming India's foreign policy

A leading Dhaka daily says UPA ought to undertake a review of the foreign policy in the context of recent global developments.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 10:52 IST

Much has already been said about India's foreign policy under the UPA regime. At home, it continues to draw flak from the Left and BJP over the Iran issue.

Experts from the world over have also criticised UPA's foreign policy saying that now a days it is more or less governed by US interests.

"The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ought to undertake a rigorous review of India's foreign policy in the context of recent global developments," says leading Bangladesh daily The New Nation.

It adds, "The country (India) should seek to position the country as a major world player that can articulate the concerns of the global south, while fully engaging the US on the bilateral front.

In playing this role, India could also count on the support of powerful civil society movements in the West."

India's main opposition BJP says that the foreign policy under UPA is being devoid of any independent ideology.

The Bangladesh daily in turn accuses the BJP and the "Hindutva harangue of stripping the country of the respect it had earned as a legitimate leader of the global world".

"The Hindutva foreign policy has reduced India to competing with Pakistan to become a client state of US."

But it is cautious enough to add: "the NDA cannot claim the whole credit for this decline. It was in fact a progression of the course set by the Narasimha Rao regime, which discarded the country's cherished principles on foreign policy".

The UPA, meanwhile stands by the fact that the policy takes care of national interests.

Speaking on the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which has been reduced to more or less a "talk shop" of late, the editorial says: "The country must attach priority for revitalisaing the NAM".

The NAM is made up of 116 developing nations and is committed to representing the political, economic and cultural interests of the developing world.

The paper says that resuscitating NAM can significantly improve collective security and a permanent secretariat and some operation funds should be considered for the movement.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his maiden address at the United Nations promised to take part in the structuring of a "just and dynamic world order."

The edit says that to see that Manmohan's promises are fulfilled, India's "foreign policy should be radically shaken to incorporate a range of existing and emerging global issues.

Debt relief, global denuclearisation, fair trade, civil society engagement etc should be firmly on the agenda of the foreign ministry without compromising the traditional tracks of bilateral relations," the paper concludes.

First Published: Feb 13, 2006 19:35 IST