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'Talks succeed only when you talk with the puppeteer and not the puppet.'
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India's retaliatory surgical strike across the LoC on 29 September, 2016, produced such a long-awaited sense of national requital that the phrase has entered the popular lexicon—even the PM's de...
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India's recent supercharged bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has drawn both admiration and flak back home. Despite New Delhi's efforts failing, many have cited this as an example of bold and imaginative foreign policy. Others have castigated Indian foreign policy framers for a lack of objectives and foresight. Both arguments have some truth to them.
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A foreign policy assessment based on a two-year report card might be tempting but it can also be hugely challenging. Assessments of achievement are based essentially on three criteria: Has there been a foreign policy gain? Has a crisis been handled successfully? Has a long-standing conflict been resolved? Let us consider each of these.
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In the two years of BJP government, Modi's strongest footprint can be seen in the domain of foreign policy. However, his high-octane diplomacy has not always been a resounding success. There have been flip-flops and strategic miscalculations emanating from a dearth of clarity and professionalism, an absence of policy-based strategic planning and, of course, the systemic malaise of bureaucratic inefficiency. For all this, the scorecard still goes in his favour.
The NDA government has every reason to feel satisfied with its performance on the foreign policy front since it came to office. In the coming year, the priorities of the government will be a continuation of the agenda it has pursued over the last 19 months. Here are some opportunities and challenges.