Its been four years, and each Indian citizen has now learnt that we have a mastermind for a Prime Minister. Whatever this man does, he does with a long term plan in mind that executes to shock of all citizens – including his own party men! Having said that, we all witnessed the most recent move made by the Prime Minister with regard to the foreign policy. Never before had been multiple national leaders invited as guests for Republic Day, except 2018. It is convention to invite a national leader from a foreign nation as the guest of honour for Republic Day, which indicates the friendship between India and that country. However, there were multiple leaders invited this year. What plan is that move a part of? Why after all, was the convention broken by the Prime Minister and so many of the leaders from the Asian Countries invited as guests for the 2018 Republic Day Celebration?
South Asian countries have never been disregarded by eminent foreign policy analysts. Geographically, economically and politically – South Asian countries have always stayed extremely active and intense, despite their small areas. More so from the Indian perspective, these countries obtain a larger importance considering its existing heated exchanges with the neighbours along the north.
Not only the invitations for numerous leaders ensure a friendly relation with all the countries, it also plays a strategic role in dealing with the intentions of China. China has always aimed at becoming a world power through all means, and lately has laid an evil eye on India. Though a number of moves by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past four years have kept them at bay, they haven’t given up. The intention of China to establish a stronghold over the Indian Ocean and alienate India from the rest of the world has never been unseen by the Prime Minister. Isolating India from its neighbours and surrounding it seems like an easy and feasible plan for China, but of course, never would a Prime Minister of Modi’s stature let that happen. At a single stroke, Narendra Modi has managed to cut off China’s plans at the root.
10 South Asian nations’ representatives were invited for the Republic Day celebrations this year. The countries were Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Brunei and Laos. Not only are these countries officially India’s friendly nations, they all are in a position to facilitate India’s defences against China. Narendra Modi has, through this move, flaunted India’s friendly relations with these South Asian countries; as well as warned China to back off.
The move is not completely new – Narendra Modi has been targeting to build relations with South Asian countries ever since he came to power. He appointed a brand ambassador for the Asian Commission mirroring India’s interests in Asian country relations. To emphasise the same, he also declared the Act East Policy. Through this policy, India’s ties with East Asian countries have fastened. Asian countries have been ever so supportive since then, and the economic ties between India and other South Asian countries have grown as well. Today, India is the fourth largest investor in Asian countries! The investment of India was USD 65 Billion in 2015-16, which grew to USD 76 Billion in 2016-17.
The ‘Chanakya neeti’ goes on. Collective collaboration of all South Asian countries has made it harder for China to execute its ‘divide and conquer’ strategy. It is pretty much impossible for China or Pakistan to now target any one of the South Asian countries, for one stands at the support of another. China has an ongoing clash with a number of South Asian countries such as Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia owing to the South China Sea conflict. The South Asian countries have taken the issue to the world court, stating how China is making attempts to conquer the sea and consequentially the smaller countries.
The World Court decided that after China’s baseline 24 nautical miles, the sea is exclusive economic zone- which means that the ocean belongs to all countries. After this judgement, the recent union of South Asian countries firmly stand together. This way, it clearly means that China can never hope to deal with the smaller countries and eventually reach India; for all South Asian countries now stand as one.
This area of the sea subject to conflict was also a matter of interest for India owing to the abundant availability of oil resources in the area. While the partnerships with the South Asian countries will ensure India’s accessibility to those resources, it also ensures a safe play for India should a war break out in the future.
The invitations to 10 countries was a master plan, hands down. On a number of levels, Narendra Modi has not only shut China down, he has also ensured a safe playing ground for India. There would be just one eminent guest every year for Republic Day; but this time, there were 10. 10 guests, accomplishing over 10 purposes for India and themselves. Narendra Modi is pure genius, and there is simply no denying that.