Context: 5th edition of Raisina Dialogue is jointly organized from 14-16 January 2020 by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
Possible issues before delegates attending Raisina Dialogue:
During two post-Cold War decades (1991 to 2011), the performance of the Indian economy improved and India realistically dealt with diplomatic challenges. India carried out economic liberalization in 1991 and took many foreign policy initiatives in the 1990s.
Through its initiatives, India secured cooperation with all major powers and neighbours. India’s economic situation from 1991 to 2011 was good. But, the Indian economy’s performance has not been good in recent times, and domestic political issues related to Jammu and Kashmir and student protests are posing challenges to Indian foreign policy. These issues will also be in the minds of delegates attending Raisina Dialogue.
Prospects of India’s relations with other countries in 2020: Trade policy has been the main area of conflict between India and US. US has filed a complaint against India’s subsidy measures at WTO. The geopolitical conflict in West Asia caused by US intervention also affects the economic situation in India. As US will go through the presidential election in 2020, differences over trade policy are less likely to be resolved. Currently, there are economic differences between India and China. So, India should build on its strength and try to become as powerful as China. In 2020, Russia may focus on the Eurasian region and energy projects. Its good relations with China and Pakistan also poses challenges for India. India’s ties with Pakistan have not been good in recent years. To improve relations, India needs a new Pakistan policy.
Need for a coalition between middle powers: Countries like Germany, France, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Vietnam are referred to as middle powers. Developed and developing economies are included in middle powers. The term ‘middle power’ means a state that is neither a great power nor a superpower. However, middle powers cannot influence the policies of major powers like US and China. They are affected by their policies related to trade and West Asian geopolitics. These likeminded middle power countries having similar interests should come together and form a coalition.
India can play a greater economic, political, and ideological role in the 21st century. But, economic and domestic instability raises questions over what role India will play in 21st century global order. Unlike powerful countries such as US, India cannot take risks in its foreign policy due to changing economic and domestic situations. The stable economic and political situation at home will give India strength to firmly pursue its foreign policy initiatives and priorities with other powerful countries in the world.