India’s recent decision to skip the much-hyped ‘Belt & Road Forum’ (BRF) in Beijing came to be recognised as diplomatic master-stroke by New Delhi. Normally, India has never before publicly confronted China’s hegemonic ambitions in the past. But this time round, the Modi government took a firm stand and boycotted OBOR organised by China. The MEA spokesman clearly stated the reason why India is taking such a stand.
MEA spokesman Gopal Bagley said that India is not participating in it on the basis of sovereignty. In what proved dampener for China, the EU too backed away from a trade statement. India’s strong message to China has not affected business between the two nations. China’s investment in India has gone up, according to experts.
India is focussing on other neighbouring countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in an apparent bid to counter China’s clout in these small nations. According to a report, India has decided to focus on around 20 visible projects for Bangladesh, which will utilise the $4.5 billion in LOC assistance. This is part of India’s strategy of SAARC outreach. The SAARC satellite launched by India was also a key part of country’s space diplomacy for the regional cooperation.
It goes to credit of Modi’s line of diplomacy that a new ‘Link West’ policy is being pursued by India apart from the ‘Act East’ policy. PM Modi is also going to visit Israel which assumes diplomatic significance after his engagement with UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran.