Indian Foreign Policy – Mid Term Review (Part 1)

This is the first post in a series on Indian Foreign Policy. In this 4 Part series we will analyse the Indian Foreign Policy of PM Modi for the past two and a half years.

At the first look, PM Modi’s Indian Foreign Policy looks awe-inspiring. The kind of capital and energy he has invested in realising his foreign policy objectives are incredible.

As a review we would be talking about some of the important questions pertaining to Indian Foreign Policy such as:

  • What are the outcomes of his foreign policy initiatives?
  • How he has been able to mould international opinion and environment in India’s favour?
  • What is the state of his ‘neighbourhood-first’ policy?

Indian Foreign Policy | An Overview

modi-doctrineWhat were the major Indian Foreign Policy objectives of the Modi Government when it assumed power in 2014 and to what extent has it achieved those objectives?

  • The most important objective for PM Modi was to mend his personal relationship with the United States. This initiative stands out of all other initiatives that he had undertook in the last two and a half years. PM Modi has imparted a new impetus to this relationship because of his dynamic personality and energetic participation.
  • PM Modi has had a good experience with China since his ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ summit days as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He even tried to mend the ties initially but Indian overtures were not adequately reciprocated. Rather we have entered into a field of tensions with China but this responsibility lies with the Chinese leadership alone with its ‘hyper-nationalistic’ ambitions.
  • In context of the neighbours, PM Modi did very well with regards to Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, with Nepal in particular.
  • One of the unique initiatives of PM Modi was his thorough engagement with Indian diaspora, which probably no other previous Prime Minister gave so much attention to, as part of building up the image of India abroad.

Indian Foreign Policy | The legacy PM Modi?


PM Modi has not brought a new Indian Foreign Policy but his initiatives are marked by continuity but with much vigour and activeness. So, there is nothing new that he has done which he predecessors have not done. For example – Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh and Civil Nuclear Deal with Japan were already in pipeline, but he surely injected decisiveness, strong diplomacy and energy to such initiatives to make them a successful venture for India. He has brought greater clarity to the objectives of Indian foreign policy, something which was missing earlier.

He had declared it during his campaign days itself that he aims to bring :

  • समृद्धि (Economic Prosperity),
  • सुरक्षा (Security) and
  • स्वाभिमान (Status)

India must sit at the high tables to shape international decision making). If we look overall, his foreign policy has made significant gains over all these areas.

Indian Foreign Policy | A Personalised approach of PM Modi


Foreign policy is a personalised approach in most of the countries today. The times of architecting foreign policy by the Foreign Ministers and the supporting diplomats has gone away with the Chief Executive or the real head of the State taking a leap in the architecture of a country’s foreign policy.

It is also not new to India as Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Mr. Rajiv Gandhi were the central authority of their foreign policy administration. In the world of sovereign actors having their own interest individually, a personalised foreign policy approach has certain limitations, however decisive it is in domestic politics. Therefore, PM Modi understood this fact and penetrated his prudence from all the constraints of a fluid international environment by bringing Decisiveness, Acceptance of India as a major power and Greater emphasis on cultural footprints.

These traits of PM Modi on the Indian Foreign Policy have been detailed in the next part in this series.

To read the Part 2 in the series of Mid-Term Review of Indian Foreign Policy : Click Here

To read the Part 3 in the series of Mid-Term Review of Indian Foreign Policy : Click Here

To read the Part 4 in the series of Indian Foreign Policy | Mid-Term Review : Click Here

To read the Part 5 in the series of Indian Foreign Policy | Mid-Term Review : Click Here

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