20 September, 2020

Better Tomorrow

Manmohan’s foreign policy will be credited for its conceptual progress

Better Tomorrow

As May 16 draws nearer, obituaries of the UPA government are pouring off the presses. In particular, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s handling of foreign policy has been sharply criticised for its ostensible lack of coherence, drive and consistency. Interestingly, such post-mortem views have also been voiced by diplomats who served under the UPA governments: a classic instance of the corpse pretending to be the coroner. It may be more useful at this point to try and anticipate the judgement of posterity. How will a future historian looking back, say three decades on, regard Indian foreign policy under PM Manmohan?

Historians will assess this in terms of continuity and change with the past. Indeed, they may be tempted to see the entire period from 1998 to 2014 as a single phase in the longer-term evolution of Indian foreign policy. This is largely because the nuclear tests of 1998 created a new strategic context for India’s external engagements. That said, they will also outline some important changes during Manmohan’s tenure.

Manmohan Singh shaped...



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