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Why India’s Foreign Policy Consensus Has Been Demolished

4/10/2022 at 11:10 AM

PM Modi

Sutanu Guru

Executive Director, C Voter Foundation


In 2008, a bedraggled and desperate BJP led by L. K. Advani broke India’s foreign policy consensus
by opposing the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. Now, the desperate & bedraggled Congress has completely
demolished it.
The Foreign Minister of India, S. Jaishankar has been getting a lot of praise and applause for the
forthright, blunt and non nonsense manner in which he has been dealing with diplomats from
developed countries in the West. At the same time, he has also faced an avalanche of strident
criticism from what is known as the Congress or Lutyens or Khan Market or Nehruvian ecosystem.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022 and NATO allies led by the United States imposed
harsh sanctions on Russia, there has been relentless pressure on India to stop buying oil & gas from
Russia. Jaishankar has politely and firmly pointed out in European capitals that it is in India’s national
interest to get cheap oil & gas from anywhere and no sovereign nation can be expected to sacrifice
its strategic national interest at the altar of some nebulous “noble cause”.

In May 2022, Rahul Gandhi went to London to take part in an “Idea of India” program. There, Gandhi
slammed the Indian foreign service and pronounced: “I was talking to some bureaucrats from
Europe and they were saying that the Indian foreign service has completely changed, they do not
listen to anything. They are arrogant… There is no conversation,”. Jaishankar, figuratively speaking,
was quick on the uptake. He sent out a tweet in response that said: Yes, the Indian Foreign Service
has changed. Yes, they follow the orders of the Government. Yes, they counter the arguments of
others…It is called confidence. And it is called defending national interest. No, it’s not called
arrogance”. The Khan Market “Gang” (though quite a few members have given up on the Crown
Prince) erupted in fury at this public ticking off of Rahul Gandhi by someone who was “encouraged
and given promotions” as a diplomat during the 10 year UPA rule. For them, it was nothing short of
lese majeste .
As a matter of fact, Jaishankar has been in the crosshairs of Congress acolytes ever since he was
handpicked by Narendra Modi to become Foreign Minister. In November, 2019, during a visit to the
US, Jaishankar point blank refused to interact with a Senate Panel because it insisted that the
virulently anti—India Congresswoman Pramila Jaypal would attend the meeting. Senior Senator
Elizabeth Warren did not take kindly to this defiant gesture by Jaishankar. Suspended Indian
Congress part spokesperson Sanjay Jha picked up the gauntlet and posted a tweet: “India’s Foreign
Minister has hugely embarrassed India. What a pathetic response by S. Jaishankar. A sharp rebuke
by of all people Elizabeth Warren who could be the next president of the United States. This
government is a joke. It has made India an object of ridicule”. There is no space here to repeat all the
childish and churlish barbs hurled at Jaishankar since he firmly told Rahul Gandhi where to take off.
Suffice to say that paid up members of the Khan Market gang are now convinced he is India’s worst
foreign minister ever.

Forget Jaishankar, the Congress ecosystem has been reflexively slamming India even when it comes
to contentious issues like terror, Pakistan and China. When the Indian armed forces deployed fighter
aircraft to enter Pakistani airspace and destroy a terrorist camp in the aftermath of Pulwama in
February, 2019, the ecosystem demanded proof. The same was done after the successful assault
inside Pakistan occupied Kashmir after the Uri terror attack in 2016. And when the Indian army lost
20 soldiers during a border clash with China in Ladakh with an undisclosed number of Chinese killed,
the ecosystem slammed India rather than China. Ironically, the same ecosystem did not even raise
an eyebrow during the tense Indo-China military standoff at Doklam near Bhutan in 2017 when
Rahul Gandhi visited the Chinese Ambassador and had dinner with him. Nor were any eyebrows
raised in 2007 when Rahul and Sonia Gandhi signed an agreement with the Chinese Communist
Party in Beijing. There is no issue, no event, no initiative and no foreign policy gesture of the
government that the Congress ecosystem doesn’t routinely slam.
This is a far cry from the 1990s when the Indian Prime Minister P. V. Narashima Rao deputed Atal
Bihari Vajpayee and Farooq Abdullah to defend India’s human rights record at a time when terrorism
in the Kashmir valley was at its peak. To be fair, it was the BJP that first broke India’s foreign policy
consensus. The NDA government led by Vajpayee had started the process of concluding a nuclear
deal with the United States. Strangely, when Dr. Manmohan Singh was ready to formally sign, the
BJP noisily opposed it in the Parliament. The Left, of course, voted against the deal in 2008 along
with the BJP. In the ensuing Lok Sabha elections of 2009, the BJP was humiliated and the Left
decimated.
Liberal pundits presume that the average Indian voter is a simpleton who doesn’t understand or care
about foreign policy and national interest. They should look at the fortunes of the Left in Indian
electoral politics. Poverty, unemployment and exploitation of workers s still rampant in India. Yet,
the Indian voter wouldn’t touch the Left with a barge pole, forget about voting for it. The Left is
paying the price for consistently adopting positions that the average voter instinctively senses is
against India’s national interest. By hurling absurd allegations against Jaishankar, the Congress
ecosystem is in danger of travelling down the same path.

About the Author:

After his master’s degree in economics, Sutanu Guru has been a journalist for more than 30 years in media outlets like Times of India, Economic Times, Business Today, Business World, Business India & others. Currently, he focuses more on research and writing.

DISCLAIMER

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com.

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