Follow Us
Epaper Thursday, June 13, 2024


Viksit Bharat and Vishwa Bandhu

May 03, 2024 04:58 PM

The pathway to reaching the goal of Viksit Bharat in the next 25 years will have many requirements. To begin with, it needs a vision for the nation and equally, the ability to deliver it on the ground. We can develop confidence in that through sustaining a track record. Steady advancement and continuing reform are also possible only in a climate of political stability. That alone would enable policy prescriptions of a long-term nature to be conceptualized and implemented. Much of this will be determined by the cumulative political choice of the Indian people in the coming weeks. But one crucial facet will be the international environment and its ability to throw up both opportunities and challenges for Viksit Bharat.

Ideally, countries formulate their foreign policy as best leveraging the world with a view to promote their national development. The targets are often increasing access to resources, markets, technologies and best practices. Those who have posted impressive growth performance in the last many decades are the ones who have clarity in this regard. In our case, that focus has been sharp since 2014, but for ideological reasons, was more diffused in the first four decades of our independence. Swayed by imported prescriptions, we sometimes subordinated our own goals to the benefit of others. The big change now is a strong sense of ‘Bharat First’, where we have both the confidence to think through the pathway and using our national interest as the primary metric of judgement. This has encouraged us to pursue a multi-vector diplomacy that would maximize our partners and minimize our problems. Where we have to take a stand, we do not hesitate or come under pressure. At the same time, there is a constant assertion of our relevance. This is Vishwa Bandhu Bharat.

If India is to emerge as a leading power, it must develop deep national strengths. Much of that will emanate from expanding manufacturing as that serves as the foundation for technology. To overcome the neglect of the past, it is essential that we plan to leapfrog, especially in regard to critical and emerging technologies. This is best achieved through strong international collaboration built on trust and comfort. In a polarized and suspicious world, those doors can only be opened by effective diplomacy. The international economy is right now in the midst of rebuilding its supply chains and ensuring more reliable manufacturing. This is most starkly evident in competitive domains like semiconductors, electric mobility and green technologies. It is only a Vishwa Bandhu that can ensure that India is fully embedded in these networks.


In the post Covid world, all significant nations are in the quest for strategic autonomy. Even the most developed are concerned about the hollowing out of their capabilities and dependence on over-concentration elsewhere. In a world where everything is being weaponized, India too has to ensure that its basic needs and critical infrastructure are nationally developed. That is why ‘Make in India’ is so vital, not just for our economy but even for national security. As we are already seeing in challenging domains like defence, it can open up possibilities of exports as well. India is also today increasingly positioned to emerge as one of the global hubs of research, design and innovation. It is only by a more intensive engagement with international partners that we can hasten our journey towards Viksit Bharat.

The growing realization of the value of Indian skills and talent is also one of the welcome realities of our times. It is enhanced by the premium put on trust and transparency in the digital domain. Drastic demographic changes in the world are also creating new demands in various professions. Taking advantage of such prospects require massively expanding our own education and training capacities. But they can be best harnessed only when our partners fully appreciate their compatibility with Indian values and practices. And when we can credibly assure our own citizens of their security, wherever they may be. Ensuring these today is a major goal for India’s foreign policy. We have already seen the conclusion recently of mobility agreements with European nations, Australia, Japan and others. The creation of a global workplace for Indians will not only widen personal opportunities but contribute to broader national capacities.


The era of conflict and climate change that we have entered has powerful implications for connectivity. Just as supply chains are seeking to become more resilient and redundant, so too are logistics. We have witnessed the consequences of tension in the Red Sea or the blocking of the Suez Canal. De-risking is only possible when enough countries come together for their shared enterprise to become serious. Interestingly, many of the recent endeavours are focused on India. The IMEC corridor connects us to Europe and the Atlantic through the Arabian Peninsula. The INSTC one traverses Iran and Russia with the same objective. To our East, the Trilateral Highway can take us all the way to the Pacific.

The same logic applies to ensuring security and political balances in a changing world as well. Whether it is Quad or BRICS, I2U2, SCO or East Asia Summit, India’s interests have been at the core of its calculations. These initiatives involve a range of partners, often at odds with each other. It requires a Vishwa Bandhu to carry them all. That is why this is such an important element of Modi Ki Guarantee.

By S Jaishankar

Have something to say? Post your comment