India needs a forward looking foreign policy: C Raja Mohan

The leading policy expert suggested ways for India to adapt to shape its foreign policy

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Taru Bhatia | April 14, 2016


#C Raja Mohan   #India   #foreign policy  


“We have never been so connected to the world. The scale of India’s external engagement today has become quite dramatic. And so, dealing with it is going to be a challenge. This cannot be done through traditional foreign policy,” C Raja Mohan, director of think tank Carnegie India, said while delivering a lecture on ‘India in a changing Asia: towards a forward policy’ in Delhi on April 13.

India today is the seventh largest economy in the world with its GDP at $2.2 trillion. Around 50 percent of this comes from the export and import of goods and services. However, “much of the discourse continues to be that we are weak”, Mohan said.

He added that India being an important member to Asia, it is now time for it to look into a forward looking policy, which would shape the future of the region.
Suggesting different ways that India could adapt for shaping its foreign policy, Mohan said one would be by accepting the “China-centered growth” for the Asian region. He, however, added that for America, it would be a big problem to accept.

Another way, he highlighted, is by exploring the accommodation for China and the United States, the two big powers of the world, by a way of “G2”. For this, “China says yes to it but on its own terms which is not acceptable to the Americans”.

Mohan stressed that India needs to look forward to a multi-structured balancing power policy in which three or four big powers of the region come together and set the rules. “But the problem with Asia is that there are too many big countries. Who is going be in the group is a real challenge to decide,” he said.
Hence, India could take a middle power coalition policy, forming a coalition with Japan and Australia, and not putting Asia’s destiny in the hands of the Chinese, he suggested. That way, India would have a “coalition of its own”, instead of waiting for the Chinese to define a way forward.

Another foreign policy India could think of is “collective security”, which Mohan termed as the “most beautiful of all solutions in which everybody can sit together and work out rules”.
 

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