India’s foreign secretary suggests that more change is afoot than some acknowledge.
Eight years ago, the late K. Subrahmanyam, one of India’s leading strategic thinkers, began one of his many book chapters with a quote from George W. Bush on the U.S.-India nuclear deal at a press briefing in March 2006. “What this agreement says is things change, times change, that leadership can make a difference,” Bush said at the time.
Even if most of us accept Bush’s general premise, few – perhaps even Subrahmanyam himself – could have foreseen the burst of activity and pace of change in Indian foreign policy that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ushered since his election last year.
Modi has now visited over 20 countries in an official capacity, unprecedented for any Indian prime minister in so short a time. Apart from the miles he has clocked, the inroads he has made thus far have also been impressive – from revitalizing India’s ties with smaller states in its immediate neighborhood to engaging the world’s major powers (See: “What’s Next for US-India Defense Ties with Obama’s Trip?”). A land boundary agreement with Bangladesh, an energized U.S.-India relationship, and rescue and post-disaster operations in Yemen and Nepal respectively are just some of the initiatives that have that we have seen thus far.