India’s burgeoning defence relations with the US are poised for a decisive transformation, with the two countries renewing their defence framework agreement and identifying four “pathfinder projects” for co-production and …Read More
Diplomacy is the art of the possible. If successful and effective diplomacy is about reigniting the spark in old relationships, winning new friends, breaking new grounds, and shaping the outcomes in the international arena to promote the country’s enlightened national interests and development, then the seven-month old Narendra Modi government scores high as it builds on the successes of 2014 and looks ahead to 2015 with “new vision and new vigour.” Breakthrough Diplomacy, as India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj writes in a prologue to the eponymous e-book published by India’s Ministry of External Affairs, is about melding ‘Diplomacy for Development’ as the overarching themes in India’s global engagements.
“2014 has truly been a Year of Breakthrough Diplomacy. India’s star is today shining ever brighter on the global firmament,” writes Swaraj.
Talking of breakthrough diplomacy, it’s time to unscramble the jargon and introduce some balance in diplomatic discourse and the unfolding possibilities in the coming months. For one thing, breakthroughs don’t happen every day or every year in diplomacy; the India-US nuclear deal was a breakthrough, but getting Obama to be the chief guest at the 2015 Republic Day celebrations is a diplomatic triumph, but not a breakthrough. To claim routine diplomatic successes as breakthroughs, therefore, would be misleading, and lowering the bar. For another thing, diplomatic breakthroughs presuppose a perceptible and substantive rise in a country’s comprehensive national power, economic and military strength as well as soft power.