By S. Sivathasan –
Time for Change, Time for Modi. So says the cover page of the 42 page Manifesto quite assertively.
Foreign Relations – Nation First
“BJP believes a resurgent India must get its rightful place in the comity of nations and international Institutions. The vision is to fundamentally reboot and reorient the foreign policy goals, content and process, in a manner that locates India’s global strategic engagement in a new paradigm and on a wider canvass, that is not just limited to political diplomacy, but also includes our economic, scientific, cultural, political and security interests, both regional and global, on the principles of equality and mutuality, so that it leads to an economically stronger India, and its voice is heard in the international fora.”
“In our neighbourhood we will pursue friendly relations. However, where required we will not hesitate from taking strong stand and steps.” – Emphasis added.
This declaration denotes a drastic departure from “Decision and Policy Paralysis”, a feature of successive Congress administrations which had taken a proud nation to levels of degeneracy. A predicament in which the nation was smarting and chafing. A position which the BJP was determined to change and the authority for which is coming the way of the Party now. Even as the Party is on the verge of capturing power and has moved on to the threshold of getting an absolute majority, it declares its policy in no unambiguous terms.
The words look ominous for neighbours seen as errant or recalcitrant or working for purposes perceived by India to be inimical to her interests. No longer will a great power take kindly to being assailed by any of the smaller states acting on the strength of super power support erroneously misplaced. This is the message. The declaration is unmistakably with reference to the South Asian region. A theatre destined to see a decisive determination to secure India’s sphere of influence. Soft Power potential appears to be the resource to be tapped first.
“BJP believes that political stability, progress and peace in the region are essential for south Asia’s growth and development. The Congress-led UPA has failed to establish enduring friendly and cooperative relations with India’s neighbours. India’s relations with traditional allies have turned cold. India and its neighbours have drifted apart. Instead of clarity, we have seen confusion. The absence of statecraft has never been felt so acutely as today. India is seen to be floundering, whereas it should have been engaging with the world with confidence. The collapse of the Indian economy has contributed to the sorry state of foreign affairs in no small measure.
“We will build a strong, self-reliant and self-confident India, regaining its rightful place in the comity of nations. In this, we will be firstly guided by our centuries old traditions. At the same time, our foreign policy will be based on best National interests. We will create a web of allies to mutually further our interests. We will leverage all our resources and people to play a greater role on the international high table.
“India has long failed to duly appreciate the full extent and gamut of its soft power potential. There is a need to integrate our soft power avenues into our external interchange, particularly, harnessing and focusing on the spiritual, cultural and philosophical dimensions of it…..This continues to be equally relevant to the world today in today’s times of Soft power. We will adopt Proactive Diplomacy to spread the same. India was reckoned not only as Vishwaguru but also a vibrant trading society. Guiding Principles of our Foreign Policy will be among others:
Equations will be mended through pragmatism and a doctrine of mutually beneficial and interlocking relationships, based on enlightened national interest.
Instead of being led by big power interests, we will engage proactively on our own with countries in the neighbourhood and beyond.”
‘We aim to build a modern, prosperous and vibrant India Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat based on our ethos and values. We have to convert ourselves into a knowledge based society and economy, powered by experience, tools of technology and energy of our people. BJP commits itself to this task and promises to work relentlessly towards this goal, for which we are seeking sixty months”.
A clear enunciation of what India is about. A reversal of Congress policies and inaction which are seen as having impaired the image of India. A pronouncement that is sure to touch the imagination of all Indians. The positive impact of the Manifesto brought out on April 7th, on voting will be visible in two weeks.