In a meeting of the National Executive Committee of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Bangaluru last Friday, a resolution was passed to elaborate and sanctify a new foreign policy doctrine for India titled ‘panchamrita’.
Coming in the wake of India’s non-aligned approach during the cold war and ‘Look East’ policy after it, the new policy seeks to harness the economic and intellectual growth made by India over the past decade and crowns the hectic efforts made by Prime Minister Modi and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj during the last ten months in engaging with 94 countries from around the world, chief among them being Barack Obama becoming the first US President to attend India’s Republic Day as chief guest.
The new policy essentially says that India is no longer afraid of crossing high seas and is all set to use the history, size, and intelligence of its people for global influence.
From Pakistan’s point of view, particularly notable is the acknowledgement that India’s ‘innumerable problems with almost all our neighbours is evidence that we had not engaged with the neighbourhood properly in the past,’ and the claim that India has ‘rendered irrelevant geo-politics of hyphenation while boosting bilateral relationships without being influenced by any third country.’
In other words, India no longer finds Pakistan a handicap to her external ambitions as had usually been the case since 1947.
This vainglorious BJP resolution on the new Indian foreign policy comes at a time when Pakistan is desperately looking for a new foreign policy too. Ever since 1947, Pakistan’s foreign policy has essentially focused on survival in the face of an existential threat from India. While survival still continues to be the chief concern, the recent paradigm shifts in regional and global politics demand that Pakistan must adopt a home-grown foreign policy that offers more.
In its struggle for survival, Pakistan has made several Faustian bargains with foreign vultures and is still not in any position to refuse them their pound of flesh. However, the time has come to stand on our own two feet.
We must develop an outside-in foreign policy that takes ownership of Pakistan’s unique diversity and potential and permits foreign engagements exclusively and directly for the security, dignity and prosperity of the territories and citizens of Pakistan.