With the 100-day mark of Narendra Modi Government approaching, let’s look at what he achieved in the realm of foreign relations.
* There is change in style and substance of diplomacy from Indian side.
* His decision to invite SAARC PMs, including Pak PM Nawaz Sharief was a master stroke of sorts. It took Pakistan off-guard. This made Modi a statesman and a natural leader of the SAARC, who sets agenda and implements it in South Asia.
* But, more importantly, the presence of Taiwanese representative and Tibetan Prime Minister in Exile at Modi’s swearing-in is a signal to China that it has to deal with a different leader with different set of priorities.
* His visits to Bhutan and Nepal have reassured our neighbours, who form buffers between giants India and China. The positive atmosphere created by Modi’s visit to these two countries has sent right signals to SAARC neighbours.
* His decision to call off talks with Pakistan over its ambassador meeting Kashmiri separatists is being seen as a clear re-drawing of red lines. This decision makes sense as Pakistan itself is in turmoil and its PM Nawaz Sharief’s complete authority is in doubt.
* Modi’s befriending of Japan is a significant development. This will help in countering the other Asian giant – China. Indo-Japanese relations can work as an effective bulwark against a belligerent China.
* Modi’s Nepal visit has failed to yield desired results on power project agreements. Doubts linger and questions remain. No agreement has been signed during his visit.
* Also, his failure to visit Lumbini during his tour of Nepal is being seen as an inadequacy. Many experts feel that he should have visited Lumbini, where China is proposing a tourism development project.
* Calling off talks with Pakistan may not be a good idea.
* Japan was to be the first country Modi was to visit. But, that was put off. Instead, Modi met Chinese premier Xi on the sidelines of BRICS meet in Argentina. This has added confusion in Japanese minds. Of course, the PM is amending it by extending his stay in Japan by one more day.
* Defter handling of India-US-Japan-China quadrangle is needed.