India Recalibrates its Indian Ocean Strategy

The new Indian government, probably for the first time, seems to be recalibrating its stance towards adopting a structured policy towards the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), which hitherto carried no more significance than an anagrammatic similarity between the region and the country. The pre-election promise of the Sagar Mala Project in BJP manifesto, the push to demilitarise the Indian Ocean (IO) through the Galle Dialogue in 2014, Prime Minister’s heightened focus on its littoral neighbours, and most recently Prime Minister Modi’s visit to three island countries (Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka), which did not figure prominently in India’s regional geopolitical calculus, corroborate India’s intended policy seriousness towards the IOR.

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Indian government projects pro-poor agenda, inclusive growth

In a defining policy statement — ahead of its maiden full-spectrum budget — the Indian government sought to buttress its pro-poor credentials by stressing a host of policy initiatives aimed at uplifting the have-nots. The government also conjured up a vibrant picture of the Indian economy, which, it said, is the world’s fastest growing economy at 7.4 per cent growth rate.

President Pranab Mukherjee addressed joint session of both houses of Parliament to begin the budget session of the parliament on February 23. In his address, Mr Mukherjee said that the government was determined to work for the welfare of the poorest of poor, the most vulnerable and disadvantaged sections of society.

Alluding to a host of pioneering initiatives taken by the BJP-led NDA government to stimulate national resurgence and economic rejuvenation, the president said: “A strong beginning has been made. A promising future awaits us.”

“The fundamental tenet of my Government is Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas– All Together, Development of All. Within a span of nine months, my government has articulated and embarked on a comprehensive strategy for unleashing the full potential of our country and its precious resource of 125 crore people,” Mr Mukherjee said.

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