India’s Foreign Policy Strategy and Foreign Affairs in 2024

  • Despite pleas for peace, 2023 saw the continuing and emergence of serious hostilities, most notably between Russia and Ukraine, and in the Gaza Strip.
  • China’s Attitude: Despite its economic difficulties, China’s assertive posture continues to worry the West and India, contributing to global tension.

Strategic Realities and Challenges in 2023

  1. Middle East Crisis: The Hamas attack hampered efforts to normalise Israeli-Arab relations, prompting a catastrophic Israeli response and derailing the peace process.
  2. Allegations that an Indian official was involved in an assassination plot have strained relations, with India offering to investigate if given information.
  3. War Fatigue in Russia-Ukraine: The West is battling with finance issues as the conflict drags on, while Russia, despite sanctions, remains resilient, thanks in part to its close relationship with China.
  4. The new government’s proposal for India to evacuate military personnel and cancel agreements indicates its proximity to China, complicating India’s geopolitical posture.
  5. The Biggest Concern: China The continued border stalemate and China’s regional influence, particularly connections with Russia and the Maldives, remain India’s top strategic worries.
  6. Positioning of the G20 and the Global South: India’s G20 leadership and role in uniting the Global South show its desire to carry on the Non-Alignment heritage while adapting to new realities.
  7. Engagement in Kabul: India’s cautious engagement with the Taliban and cooperation for consular services show a balanced approach to Afghanistan that balances security and diplomatic concerns.

Anticipating Challenges and Opportunities in 2024

  • The Impact of the Lok Sabha Elections: The outcome of the election would have a considerable impact on India’s foreign policy, with a stronger mandate potentially leading to more assertive views, whereas a weaker mandate may reflect coalition compulsions.
  • Relationships with the United States and Canada: Navigating the complications of the assassination plot claims while retaining strong ties with both countries will be critical for India.
  • Pakistan’s New Administration: Depending on the political dynamics and India’s geopolitical choices, the post-election scenario in Pakistan may provide a window for re-engagement.
  • Outcome in Bangladesh: India’s interest in Sheikh Hasina’s government’s continuation reflects security and connectivity goals, with the opposition viewed with scepticism.
  • Continuation of the Border Standoff with China: The border standoff and its possible escalation will be significant factors in India’s security and diplomatic policy, particularly in an election year.
  • West Asia Dynamics: India’s developing attitude in the Israel-Hamas conflict, as well as the ramifications for its standing in the Global South, will be constantly monitored, with an emphasis on balancing relations and principles.
  • The Future of the Ukraine War: India’s difficult balancing act between economic interests and geopolitical pressures, particularly in its ties with Russia, will continue.
  • Trade Treaties and Technology collaborations: With potential substantial advances predicted in 2024, finalising trade treaties and strengthening tech collaborations with the West will be crucial areas of focus.
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