Neighbourhood First - Policy and Perspective:
When Narendra Modi took oath as the 14th Indian Prime Minister in May 2014, he made an unprecedented diplomatic outreach to India’s neighbours by inviting their heads of government. It was the very first initiative of what later came to be known as the ‘neighbourhood first’ policy of the Modi government. This year this is set to be recreated, here is a review on what all constitutes this strategic development:
Modi’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy outlook prioritises improvement of relations with immediate neighbours for there is recognition that peace and tranquillity in South Asia is not only essential but a pre-requisite for realization of any developmental agenda. ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy is based out of the concept of para-diplomacy wherein each state and city would have the liberty to forge special relations with countries or federal states or even cities of their interest. This means that, there will be plentiful changes in Foreign Policy, especially:
The centrality of economic and technological development: not merely a reiteration of the economic development objective that has been India’s mantra but a recognition of the role of “technology” in all aspects of economic development & economic power.
Integrations of domestic and foreign policy: Significantly greater alignment of foreign policy with domestic objectives; while at the same time growing creating and implementing policies that lay emphasis on national power (real time and realistic assessment of the appropriation of “power dynamics)
Exporting culture and art onto the global socio-politics and establishing the self as an important soft power has been a dimension of ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy that has helped expand common grounds for people from different spheres of life to come together – that includes not only the Indian diaspora. This stress on soft power has also revealed the appreciation of the government for strategic relations instead of brute force.
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