Congress Plenary 2018: Modi has undermined national credibility on foreign soil 

Consensus built over years on foreign policy has been disrupted. In the last four years they followed a divisive foreign policy. The BJP govt pursued it in a cavalier manner, non-serious manner


S Khurram Raza

Pointing fingers at Modi’s flawed foreign policy, Congress, in its resolution, stated “There is an urgent need to re-calibrate equations with United States, arrest the slide in relations with Russia and improve communication and trust with China”.

Presenting the resolution in the 84th Plenary session of the Congress former Union Minister Anand Sharma said, “He would like to advice the Prime Minister that the foreign policy of the government should be effective and should carry depth.” Sharma said that Prime Minister’s foreign visits lacked a futuristic approach.

Criticising the foreign policy of the government, Sharma said that he was the first PM who had undermined national credibility on foreign soil by regularly saying that India got the identity and respect for the first time. He said India was a nuclear state and had been to moon before 2014, so the Prime Minister should stop undermining his own country. He denounced the Prime Minister for bringing disrepute to the country by his remarks.

The foreign resolution stated that the current Prime Minister pursued a personalised foreign policy and the Prime Minister’s visits abroad, have been reduced to being purely transactional.

“Never before in Independent India the country has been so diminished in is immediate periphery. Despite being big country we are having very bad relations with our small neighbors” says Sharma. He says it is all because that we have disrupted the foreign policy and there is no national consensus over the foreign policy which has brought down the reputation of the country. He further says that no effort is being done to repair this damage.

Raising the issue of Prime Minister’s unannounced visit to Pakistan, Sharma said that he brought disrespect to the country as he never got the salute and due respect on Pakistan soil which has undermined the image of the country.

Criticising the Modi-led BJP government, Sharma said, the Congress-led UPA government had focused on the neighbourhood first policy. “We had pursued a robust foreign policy that enhanced India’s standing in the world. Neighbourhood first was the rallying point for our foreign policy but it has now become neighbourhood last.”

Parliament member, Gaurav Gogoi, who seconded the resolution said, “The result of Prime Minister’s foreign policy is a big zero as he is busy promoting himself and compromising on the promotion of national interests”.

Expressing concern over the present state of foreign policy, the resolution states, “The foreign policy must have dept and gravitas. Grand events and photo opportunities cannot be substitute of effective diplomacy. There should credibility and a ring of sincerity in India’s international engagements”.

Congress Resolution on Countries:

United States: Indo-US relationship is strategic and has seen a major transformation in the recent years. Congress, however, notes with concern that that under the BJP government, the Indo-US relations have narrowed to being transactional. It is important that India and United States remain focused on a multi-dimensional partnership between the two democracies. Movement of people, particularly professionals, needs to be promoted and secured. The givernment has failed to respond to the move restricting H1B visas and free movement of skilled professionals, and in ensuring, that there should be no discrimination against our citizens.

Russia: There is a disturbing dilution of India’s engagement with Russia. It cannot be restricted to ritual exchange of visits and mere rhetoric.

Africa: It is important that India harnesses the vast potential of Africa by building strong links with the economies of the region. Congress is concerned that, under the BJP government, the focus on Africa has weakened. The BJP government has failed to engage with the resource-rich and strategically important African region.

China: China has emerged as major power. It is and will continue to be a significant figure for India. India and China have shared objectives in promoting new global governance and architecture. In 2005, India and China have decided to take the relationship forward. It was enshrined in the strategic and cooperative partnership established between the two countries and adoption of set of Political parameters and guiding principles for the settlement of India China boundary question. This should be reaffirmed and continue to be the basis on which India should engage with China. It should remain our endeavour to work for peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues.

Pakistan: Pakistan continues to be a challenge and there is no discernible shift in use of cross border terrorism as a tool of state policy. There has been disturbing increase in hostile actions by Pakistan Army including shelling along our border and LOC. Unarguably; these actions require appropriate response Countering cross border terrorism with robust security response has across the board national consensus. Regrettably this is being undermined by the government by making policy towards Pakistan a divisive domestic issue. The claim of a more effective and assertive towards Pakistan are boastful and have not yielded any positive results. Congress is of a considered view, that the BJP government has no roadmap and its Pakistan policy has been a disaster.

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Published: 18 Mar 2018, 11:48 AM