Since he became PM, Narendra Modi has given almost obsessively high priority to foreign affairs. He’s made more than one overseas visit a month, he’s received a galaxy of world leaders at home, and he’s put foreign minister Sushma Swaraj in the shade. He crowned his record by inviting a US president as the Republic Day chief guest—something unthinkable only a few years ago. This hyperactivism has less to do with Modi’s background, acumen or a need to severely reform India’s foreign relations than with winning legitimacy for himself. Modi’s anxiety to overcome the pariah status he had worldwide until recently thanks to the 2002 Gujarat carnage is understandable, albeit deplorable. But we must ask, who pays the price? What’s at stake today is the collapse of India’s longstanding position, which survived old-styled non-alignment, that it won’t sign up as a permanent ally of anyone even while maintaining friendly relations with a range of countries within a complex foreign policy agenda.