In the last article we saw India’s relation with key countries like USA, South Asia etc. In this article we will continue from where we left and will see our relations with other part of the world, prominent among them will be Middle East and Israel.
India & Middle East
One of the biggest achievement of previous government is to strengthen the ties with all the middle -east nations, be it UAE, Bahrain, Oman or The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
This region is extremely important for India, as more than 80% of India’s oil and gas is imported from this region, also the region provides employment to a large section of our Diaspora. More than seven million Indians work in this region, remitting $ 35 billion every year.
Hence to strengthen it a lot of political capital was invested from both the sides and frequent bilateral visits were made leading to signing of plethora of MOU’s, prominent among them are development of world’s biggest oil refinery in Gujrat by Reliance in partnership with Saudi’s Aramco, storing of oil in strategic oil reserve in India, creation of a $75 billion fund by UAE to make infrastructural investments in India, development of special economic zone at Duqm port in Oman by India.
In the recent years to express their respect for India, several regional countries like KSA, UAE, Oman etc have awarded their highest civilian award to the Indian Prime Minister
The special aspect of this strong relation is evident from the fact that it is not affected by the inter-regional rivalry especially with Israel and Iran.
India & Israel
One of the biggest moment in the Indian foreign policy history was when Indian Prime Minister set foot on the Jewish land in 2017. Even though India officially recognized the Israel back in 1950’s and set up an embassy in 1992, still no Indian Prime Minister set foot in Israel, partially because of the fear that it might agonize the Muslim world.
But a strong Indian leadership and a proactive foreign policy showed the world that India’s relation with Israel stands on its own merits and are not affected by inter-regional tension.
Israel has been a strong ally of India and also helped India secretly in many of our battles despite US sanction. This relations was always under a wrap as far as India is concerned, but the previous government brought it to the forefront with the famous bear hug between Modi and Bibi.
Israel being the prominent innovators in the field of agricultural science opened various agricultural research institutions and provided India with the modern technologies to increase the productivity of Indian agriculture like the Drip irrigation which not only saves the scarce water resource but also increase the production.
Not only agriculture, many Israeli companies are working in India in the field of water conversation and replenishment technologies.
But the biggest highlight of this relation is the strong defense collaboration between the two nations, Israel provides India with sophisticated attacking Drones, missiles like HAROP and Heron attack drones, Barak 8 missiles, which other countries are hesitant to provide.
All this has led to Israel being the third biggest defense partner of India after Russia and US.
Hallmark of this relation is that it doesn’t get affected by the India’s stand of supporting the Palestine at the UN also because of India’s traditional support to Iran.
India, Iran and Afghanistan
India historically has a strong ties with the Persian nation since ancient times due to bilateral trade and cultural similarities. In recent years the relationship has become even stronger.
India recently invested $ 8 billion to develop the Chabahar port and also persuaded other countries like Japan to make investment. Post US sanctions against Iran, India reached a Rupee-Rial agreement for purchasing oil, also India obtained special waiver from the sanctions to invest in Iran. India also entered into an agreement with Iran to fill up the strategic oil reserves in India.
In the eyes of Afghans, India is their foremost friend and rightly so as we have been helping them in their development, by building developmental projects like the Zeranj-Delaram highway, which will not only reduce the cost of trade between India and Afghanistan but will also provide Afghanistan a huge market for its product.
India has also gifted the parliament building to Afghan people along with several other developmental projects like Salma dam. India is also helping the redevelopment of the nation via soft loans, transfer of technology. Not only this, even Afghanistan cricket team has a home base in India.
Due to these all these efforts Modi was recently accorded the highest civilian award of Afghanistan The Amir Amanullah Khan Award, which signifies the trust we were able to build with our Afghan counterparts
India & Japan
India and Japanese relations dates back thousands of years, but it has not been as strong as it is now, it is because of the personal touch the leadership in both the countries has given to cultivate the relation and this relation has become so strong that Japan is our partner of choice for getting investments and technology into our economy
Japan has been an instrumental in providing infrastructural funding to India, be it for development of Delhi Metro or extending ODA loans worth Rs 4,000 Cr at a concessional rate of interest of approx. 1.4% to fund highway project in the seven sisters or the recent bullet train project, thereby benefiting the people immensely.
Not only India, but the world at large has benefited due to strong ties between India and Japan. Both the countries are collaborating with each other for development projects around the globe like the recent Asia-Africa growth corridor or development of ports of Sri Lanka.
And this relation is not limited to investments but has extended to other areas like holding annual joint naval exercise Malabar etc.
Due to all these reasons the relations between us has been upgraded to Special strategic and Global partnership
India & World
Not only bilateral relations, the government has given equal weightage to multilateral relations as well.
Shining examples of such multilateral engagement is the Paris climate deal, in which the Modi government took the front stage and announced the ambitious target of producing 175GW of energy from renewable resources by 2022, which motivated other countries as well to focus on green energy and not only this Modi along with then French President Franco Holland announced the initiative of International solar alliance head-quartered in Gurgaon, whose focus will be to develop and fund various solar projects in countries lying between the two tropics. This initiate will not only boost energy generation from solar technology but has also increased India’s standing around the globe as the leader in renewable energy sector
Recognition of 21st June as World Yoga Day by the UN was a proud moment for us Indians and this became possible due to untiring efforts of the Modi government, it not only increased the respect for ancient practice of Yoga around the globe, but also proved that India still believes in the philosophy of Vasudev Kutumbkam (World is one family) as it wants to share the age old practice with the world so that whole world can benefit from this science.
Also due to this proactive foreign policy initiatives more weight is now been given to Indian voice in all the multilateral forum like at the UN, G20 summit etc
As foreign affairs is a very dynamic and a delicate topic so there are bound to be some setbacks and India is no different as we also faced some setbacks in the last five years, prominent among those are the downward trend in relations with Pakistan, Russia and uncertainty in the relation with the Dragon.
In the last leg of this series we will analyse the misses of our foreign policy and how this Modi government 2.0 remediate these mistakes and move forward to make India the next Super-power.