International diplomacy, corporate diplomacy, and economic diplomacy, public diplomacy need special experts who can envision a strong & stable future for a country in the forthcoming centuries. International relationship largely rests on trade & commerce. Cross (2007) argues that diplomacy is a process that individuals engage in. It is a known fact that International diplomacy is quid pro quo, not a carte blanche. In a globalized world, developing or developed nations have to engage in trade & commerce. The diplomacy is not submissive as pursued so far by Modi. A leader has to watch & protect the interest of the country despite economic & political turmoil, turbulences in the world.
The general populace of India understand international diplomacy only through the prism of Indo-Pak relationship but there is a need to evaluate the current situation of India under Modi`s international diplomacy. Some of the disturbing facts & data show a dismal picture.
India has strong consumer market of 130 million people. During UPA II government, the developed countries like the US, UK, China, Russia & Japan were focusing on Indian huge market for selling their wide-ranging products As per India – China trade relationship 2018 published by PHD chamber, Delhi Chapter which shows Chinese products in the India market has entered profoundly from 2001 to 2016. But under Modi`s diplomacy, multi-national companies are exploring options in other emerging economies. The reason behind shifting is well known in the political circle. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat urged Indian citizens to abandon the tendency of buying Chinese goods. The Swadeshi Jagran Manch(SJM), the economic wing of the Sangh Parivar went one step further to stop an ‘invasion of merchandise from overseas’. This political stand by the RSS and its affiliated Hindu organizations have undermined the trust of the multinational companies & hurt the Indian economy to a larger extent.
There is no doubt that Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has enormous state-level administrative & political experience. But Modi has no experience in international diplomacy. He lacks a vision of ‘Value Creation’ in the pursuit of mutual benefits. Integrative negotiations should be the mantra of diplomacy. Bargaining leverage misses the bus in several of the Modi`s diplomatic attempts. Modi is unable to understand the national interest of the country. Modi is unable to understand who can be a better strategic partner in bilateral & multilateral relationships.
His speech at the United Nation exudes no enthusiasm & earnestness from world global leaders expect the President of America, Donald Trump. Experts in the field of international diplomacy wittily sneer at Modi
s international diplomacy. Had Donald Trump has been sanguine about Indias huge consumer market his commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, would not have put up many ‘ifs & buts’ to India for a trade agreement. Hugs & red carpet welcome in the USA during Howdy Modi stand no chance of getting sustainable business from US President Donald Trump. Modi`s diplomacy failed when Trump has succeeded in selling US oil to India. The statics shows that Indian imported expensive US oil 48 million barrels in 2018. Here, Modi hugely comprised of the national interest and stooped to the pressure of the US. Modi looks like a complete follower of Donald Trump.
A few years back, India was importing oil from Iran with less price and without shipping charges & extending credit period. The prices of essential commodities rose with the import of US expensive oil. Another bad news for India is that Trump is planning to scuttle the Indian economy through Countering America
s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Donald Trumps attention is to suppress India under US sanctions and heavy Tariffs. It is unfortunate that Modi is unable to understand the vile tricks of Donald Trump.
After abrogation of 370 & 35A, Modi and Shah are not tired to tell the world that the valley of Kashmir will develop and economic opportunities will come in the future. Although Modi has been telling at the world forum that his step in abrogating 370 & 35A is welcomed by the international community. The inordinate delay in restoring normalcy in the valley has attracted the attention of the world leaders to oppose India`s stand in the valley. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said, ‘India invaded and occupied Kashmir’ at the UN General Assembly. Similarly, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said, ‘residents of Jammu & Kashmir are ‘virtually under blockade with 8 million people’. The tone of language by both world leaders at the UN General Assembly is definitely obnoxious. Malaysia & Turkey are Islamic countries and Muslims in these two countries & respective Prime Ministers feel that their Muslim brothers & sisters in India are mercilessly killed under the nose of the Modi government. Human Rights Report 2019 illustrates that 36 Muslims are killed between 2015- 2018. Mob violence by extremist Hindu groups affiliated with the ruling BJP against minority community especially Muslims continued. Such heinous acts against the members of the religious communities certainly engender hate & anger in the hearts of Muslims. The British government has always sided with Pakistan. From all these intrigues on behalf of the Pakistan government, old and new allies are joining hands with Pakistan against India. The platform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is aggressively used by world leaders against India.
s diplomacy failed in bilateral relations with Nepal. Pakistan & Nepal international borders are very sensitive in terms of infiltration of terrorists into India. Indias influence is declining in Nepal since the day the Chinese government has pumped $ 8 billion in investment in Nepal. No doubt, China is aggressively trying to establish economic connectivity with Nepal & Pakistan in the region. India`s huge investment in Afghanistan did not yield the desired results. A recent quadrilateral talk held between US, Russia, Pakistan & China and no invitation to India has certainly raised eyebrows in the Indian establishment. In this scenario, Pakistan is getting closer to the US, China, Russia than India. The efforts by anti-India world leaders to circumvent India seems to gain ground to a larger extent.
India still lags behind the technologically advanced nations of the world. Wobbly progress under ‘Make in India’ initiative & marginal hike in 2019 budget allocation for Science & Technology further added woes to making indigenous arms & defense products locally. ‘Make in India’ initiative aim is to invite the private sector to boost up manufacturing of indigenous defense products. But this is not happening. In IDSA occasional Paper No. 48, Captain Vinay Kaushal, a defense expert, tells a depressing story of ‘Make in India’ initiative. Kaushal explains, ‘Ministry of Defense(MoD) accorded acceptance of necessity (AoN) for 145 proposals worth Rs 3,99,800 crore approximately, out of which 103 proposals worth Rs 2,46,400 crore approximately have been approved under “Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured [IDDM])”, “Buy (Indian)”, “Buy and Make (Indian)” The policy intent was followed up by the MoD with the requisite action. For example, in the period 2014-15 to 2016-17, 23 “Make” categories of capital acquisition.17 However, the momentum built up appears to be dissipating because the MoD has not been in a position to sign any major contract with the private sector as the meager budget allocations available are just about enough for paying for the “committed liabilities”.
In the same vein, S. Chandrasekhar states that ‘an analysis of R& D expenditure in India shows that funding for technology in specific sectors is not in consonance with the size of domestic & global market’. Slow-release of funds for the purpose of scientific projects has further circumscribed the speedy output of the scientists in India. India cannot match the technology superiority unless reforms to promote the scientists are made.
India has been of the world`s top import importers spending billions of dollars annually. India is also facing tremendous price escalation in procuring submarines due to red tap-ism, bureaucratic lethargy & indecisiveness. The Scorpene submarines programme called Project -75(P-75I) earlier at the cost of Rs. 50,000 crores are running late over five years behind schedule. This delay has escalated additional cost to the tune of Rs 25, 700 crores.
36 Rafale aircraft delivery to India is getting delayed day by day. Rafale is a highly sophisticated & costly aircraft and needs a proper hanger. Contractors Builder Association of India (BAI) told that construction of hangers to house the two squadrons of Rafale aircraft comes to a standstill due to shortage of funds. Group Captain Vinay Kaushal(Retd) a distinguished fellow at the Institute of Defense Studies, New Delhi raises a question, ‘Are these 36 aircraft enough to sustain two squadrons over 40 years?
For arms & defense equipments producing countries like US, Russia, Britain & China, India remains a milch cow. A huge budget is earmarked for procurement of foreign arms and defense products. Inducement is as big in the procurement as not a single government could save skin without blemish. Modi speaking at the Aero show in February 2015, he said that defense manufacturing was ‘at the heart of the ‘Make in India’ in Indian programme” and that the country should aim to manufacture 70 percent of military equipment domestically in the next five years. Four years have already passed by talking loudly but no visible progress in indigenous defense manufacturing is seen. Today, the armed forces in India have all imported aircrafts, tanks & odd combat vessels. Modi`s philosophical theories are nothing but a vain chimera.
After analyzing the worst condition of the economy and missteps taken by Modi government one can safely conclude that Modi`s leadership in international diplomacy has failed miserably. Modi has the right to dream of making India a $5 trillion economy in 2024. But before MOON is offered, Modi must focus on three strategies to save further stultification of the country (1) focus on domestic market (2) reduce maximum import (3) dominate in technology. The sooner he follows the better will be for the economic health of the country.
Dr. Rahul Kumar, PhD in sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. India. He is an independent researcher and senior media columnist. He is working currently with the “The Asian Independent UK” newspaper as a Bureau Chief. His book on “Elderly Punjabis in Indian Diaspora” traces trajectories of Elderly Punjabi migration to U.K. He is a member of the Editorial Committee of Global Research Forum for Diaspora and Transnationalism (GRFDT) New Delhi. India. The views expressed by the author in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the paper.