Paradiplomacy: Can India learn from Macau and China?

Owing to the growing engagements that India has with countries around the world, a discussion on the importance of paradiplomacy forms not just a quintessential part of the country’s foreign policy analysis but also makes space for a subsequent and crucial shift in India’s strategies in conducting international relations. As opposed to conventional diplomatic relations, which fall under the exclusive domain of sovereign nation states exercised by central governments, paradiplomacy, a ‘neologism’ makes space for ‘external relations’ of sub-national or federal units which might indulge themselves in international activism in order to promote their own interests. While, broadly, the aims of subnational diplomatic interactions have been to outsource business on account of good governance and to attract investments at a regional level, the advantages of paradiplomacy are many when one speaks of the Indian turf.

Though not Prime Minister Modi’s brainchild in terms of its inception, the concept of ‘constituent diplomacy’ certainly appeals and gains importance in the context of India, which has a highly centralised foreign policy. Never less than incisive in his choice of actions, PM Modi articulated and espoused a greater role for states in boosting India’s economic growth even before assuming office at the Centre. Having competently tested and executed his vision of such decentralisation in Gujarat even within the constraints of the Indian foreign policy scene, Modi indicated a paradigm shift in India’s foreign policy making by appreciating the consequential role that States can and will play in the conduct of diplomacy.

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