Several changes were made in the foreign policy of India in 2014 when the new government was formed. Act East Policy was one of them. Since its enactment, it has come a long way in improving India’s ties with various nations in East and Southeast Asia and Indo-Pacific. However, since its enforcement, circumstances have changed. China’s influence is challenged by various aspects like the trade war, regional tensions in China, an increase in protectionist policies, etc. India needs to make use of this situation to enhance the Act East Policy to its advantage to counter China and improve its economy through trade with East and Southeast Asian nations.
The informal summit was held between India and China in October this year in the coastal town of Mamallapuram also known as Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. This is the second of such summits held between the two nations. In recent times, the informal summits have increasingly become an important tool to ease the tensions between the two rival nations and enhance the diplomatic relationship to prevent any future conflicts for the peace and stability of the region.
Russia has been a time-tested partner of India for a long time now. Relationship with Russia is a key pillar of India’s foreign policy. The bilateral ties, in recent times, have suffered minor drawbacks due to India’s inclination towards the West and Russia’s growing relationship with China. Despite these differences, India-Russia ties remain strong. It can be seen through PM Modi’s visit to Vladivostok to participate in the 20th India-Russia annual summit and the 5th Eastern Economic Forum. Mr. Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Russian Far East and this visit is intended to give “a new direction, new energy, and new speed” to the bilateral relations.
India and the US in the recent trade negotiations in New York have failed to even arrive at a limited trade deal. The deal staggered over the duties imposed by India on Information and Communication Technology Products. The US wanted the 20% duty on mobile and ethernet switches to be reduced or eliminated. Also, America had called for greater access to the Indian market for medical devices, diary and agricultural products. These are sensitive products in the political perspective for India as the current government has promised to make them affordable. If the Indian government loosens trade restriction on these products, the price of these products will be increased. India, on the other hand, had called for the restoration of the Generalised System of Preferences. As for the full-scale trade talks, it would involve sensitive issues like H1B visas, intellectual property and e-commerce. Currently, even limited trade deal between India and the United States seems to be a challenge. Both sides must put aside these minor differences for achieving the common strategic interests of both the nations.
India and Myanmar have recently signed an MoU after holding talks on a range of issues on joint military exercises and training provided to Myanmar Defence Services in India, joint maritime security surveillance and cooperation in new infrastructure projects. These talks are of vital importance given the growing influence of China in the region.
The UN General Assembly on May 2019 adopted a resolution that welcomed the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion on the legal consequences of the separation of Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965. This resolution, in accordance with the ICJ's advisory, has demanded the complete withdrawal of the UK and the US within six months from the archipelago. Countries like Australia, the US, the UK, Hungary, Israel, and Maldives were against this resolution. It has stated that the decolonization of Mauritius was not in accordance with the right to self-determination and that the UK’s sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago establishes a “wrongful act”. However, the stance taken by the major colonial powers like the US and the UK shows their unwillingness to adapt to the new era, the one that is defined by freedom and liberty of their previously colonised territories.
The 45th G7 summit was held for three days at Biarritz, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a special invitee to this annual summit between the 7 major world economies. This invitation is seen by many as the recognition of India’s growing importance in global politics. Joint communiqué was not issued at the end of this meeting. This shows the growing differences between the member nations and also the growing inefficiency of the G7 in recent times.
The first ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX) was initiated this month. It is a joint naval exercise that involves the US and 10 South-East Asian nations in the disputed South China Sea. The countries that participate in this exercise include Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Singapore along with the US and …