By Santosh Bhartiya
A major change in the working style of the government of India has take place after 2014, when Narendra Modi became the prime minister. The question as to who is in-charge of the External Affairs Ministry? Although the Prime Minister is responsible of every minister in his cabinet, but he has not taken the responsibility of any other minister as he did of the External Affairs Minister. The Prime Minister has toured all around the world without taking along any policymaker of the External Affairs Ministry. He negotiated with the governments, struck deals with them, and tried to participate in as many programs of their interests or of his own interests as possible. We got the impression that we have turned all the roads of investment from across the world towards India.
When on the one side such great works were being done, the external affairs ministry was idling about on the other. No one knew where the foreign policy was heading. In the last three years, all our neighbors have turned against us. Pakistan was our traditional rival, which presented challenge before us that we take the people of Pakistan in confidence and increase our support in their government and their army. We have failed miserably on these fronts. We have had traditional ties with Nepal. To visit Nepal Indians do not require visa or passport; today we have reached to such a pass where it is on the verge of becoming our biggest enemy. To help Sri Lanka, we lost the our top-most commandos of our army, our soldiers died there, due to that support our former Prime Minister was assassinated, the same Sri Lankan stands against us today. With Bangladesh we have signed a border agreement and their government is sympathetic towards us, but because of our own policies, the people of that country have turned against us. No wonder if due to her support of India, Sheikh Hasina loses the next election. Then there is China, with whom we have our sweet and sour relations, but there was never so much tension on the border which might escalate to a war. Today our relations with China are bitter. The Chinese army is standing at the door of Sikkim. As far as Leh is concern, they often come strolling there. They consider Arunachal as their own part; people of the state can go to China without visa.
Most importantly, the relations between us and China has become so bitter that China has now refused to leave the place which is part of Sikkim, and which China is claiming as its own. China is pressurizing India to withdraw its troops from Dokolam, which is known as many names. We take three days to reach at China border. Roads that take army personnel are not in good shape, while on the other hand, the border area of China is well connected with good roads. We started paying attention to border areas from three to four years ago, which yields no dividend because we did not try to neutralize China. We forgot that China wants to become world power and is resorting to every kinds of maneuver against the US. China has invested so much in the US that in next three to five years it can be in position of manipulating the US economy.
At the same time, China has maintained its economic empire in Pakistan from the beginning. Now, the road which it built through the Pak Occupied Kashmir, named as C-Pack, has make India anxious. It has taken over the Gwadar port from Pakistan, which is an important strategic place. China has built roads through Nepal and has become a major contributor to Nepal’s economy. Of late, Nepal has stood against us. China has plenty of investment in Sri Lanka. All the ports and the navy there are going through China’s door. Another small country that remains in the neighborhood of India is Myanmar; China has reached that country as well. In other words, if you look at the situation today, India is standing in the vortex of stressful relationships around, having no friends with it.
The language of China towards India is hard and humiliating. Whereas our media, instead of showing the problem in correct manner, is talking in such a tone, as if we will attack China tomorrow and teach a lesson to them. Our media and especially the television channels, as they advocate war against Pakistan, are advocating war against China. If we have a limited war with China, where will we get help from? Only way through which we can get the help from the US or Russia is through sea. But keeping in view the relationship between Russia and China, it should be understood that Russia will not help us, and until the time of Indira Gandhi nobody had any confidence of the help coming from the United States. During the 1971 war, America’s seventh fleet had come to the Bay of Bengal.
The Ministry of External Affairs needs to deliberate immediately on its foreign policy. If the external affairs ministry is working on the direction of the Prime Minister, then it is the responsibility of the Prime Minister that he should call the Foreign Ministry officials. It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister that he should ask the foreign ministry officials to formulate such a plan, which will make our relationship slightly soft towards our neighbors. If it is correct that the Prime Minister is dependent on our National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in the matter of foreign policy, then Ajit Doval should consider this situation with great responsibility as to how he can remove China from our neighboring countries with whom our relationship was cordial, because no country expect peace by keeping a stressful situation with its neighbors.
In our country, fake notes, arms, weapons smuggling and terrorists come only through our neighboring countries. No one comes by airplanes, so the time ripe that the Prime Minister must travel abroad, but he should give more attention to the relations with the neighbors, so that if there is any impression of development in the country, then that should really happens.
By Santosh Bhartiya