Compare India’s foreign policy under UPA and NDA –II regimes

India’s foreign policy under the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) and NDA-II (National Democratic Alliance) regimes has displayed distinct approaches and priorities, reflecting the political ideologies and international contexts during their respective tenures.

Here is a comparative analysis of India’s foreign policy under these two governments:

UPA Regime (2004-2014):

1. Non-Aligned and Multilateral Diplomacy: The UPA government, led by the Indian National Congress, adhered to India’s historical stance of non-alignment and multilateral diplomacy. It focused on strengthening ties with both Western and non-Western nations, pursuing an inclusive approach to global politics. This approach aimed at balancing relations with major powers like the United States, Russia, and China while remaining engaged with regional groupings like the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

2. Emphasis on Soft Power: During the UPA regime, India projected its soft power extensively, with a particular focus on cultural diplomacy. Initiatives like the India-Africa Forum Summit and expanding cultural exchanges aimed to enhance India’s influence globally.

3. Neighborhood First Policy: The UPA government stressed the importance of its immediate neighbors in South Asia. It made efforts to improve relations with Pakistan through the Composite Dialogue and engaged in regional development projects to enhance connectivity and cooperation within the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

4. Nuclear Deal with the U.S.: A significant achievement during the UPA era was the India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Agreement. This landmark deal marked a shift in India’s foreign policy by aligning more closely with the United States, allowing India access to civilian nuclear technology and international recognition as a responsible nuclear power.

NDA-II Regime (2014-present):

1. Assertive and Proactive Approach: The NDA-II government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has adopted a more assertive and proactive foreign policy. It seeks to elevate India’s status as a major global player and promote a more prominent role on the world stage.

2. Neighborhood First and Act East Policy: While continuing the Neighborhood First policy, the NDA-II government has added the “Act East” policy, focusing on strengthening ties with Southeast Asian nations. Initiatives like the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) demonstrate this regional outreach.

3. Balancing Act: The NDA-II government has skillfully balanced relations with major powers, maintaining close ties with the United States, Russia, and other influential nations. It has pursued a pragmatic approach, cooperating with the U.S. on issues like defense and counterterrorism while maintaining traditional ties with Russia and other partners.

4. Economic Diplomacy: Economic diplomacy has been a cornerstone of NDA-II’s foreign policy. The “Make in India” initiative, efforts to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), and participation in international trade agreements like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) reflect a focus on economic growth and global economic integration.

5. Security and Defense: The NDA-II government has also placed a strong emphasis on national security and defense, modernizing the armed forces and engaging in defense cooperation agreements with various countries, including the United States and France.

In summary, India’s foreign policy under the UPA and NDA-II regimes demonstrates different approaches and priorities. The UPA era was characterized by a non-aligned, multilateral approach with an emphasis on soft power and diplomatic engagement with both Western and non-Western nations. In contrast, the NDA-II government has pursued a more assertive and proactive foreign policy, focusing on strengthening regional ties, balancing relations with major powers, and emphasizing economic diplomacy and national security. These differences arise from the evolving global context and the distinct political ideologies of the two governments.

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