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Dimensions Of Trade Policy & Diplomacy – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

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Dimensions of Trade Policy & Diplomacy

Session Report
Prasangana Paul

IMPRI Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies along with Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi conducted an Online International Autumn School Program, a One-Month Immersive Online Certificate Training Course on Diplomacy and Foreign Policy in November 2023.

This Course, spread over a month, introduced the participants to the complex world of global affairs, understanding principles and practices of diplomacy, international negotiation, defence and foreign policy formulation. It initiated a dialogue on the fundamentals and core values of diplomacy and foreign policy and economic aspects of Foreign Policy and gave insight to the participants on complex international relations.

On the 6th Day our speaker, Professor Amita Batra, Professor of Economics, Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS), School of International Studies (SIS), JNU; Former Chairperson, CSAS, SIS, JNU, opened the discussion by talking about the dimension of economics, trade policy and diplomacy in Foreign Policy.

Overview of the Lecture

Professor Amita Batra briefly talked about the economic aspect of Foreign Policy which is less talked about and mentioned the changing nature of national interest.

Economic Diplomacy Across Levels

In Professor Batra’s enlightening lecture, she delves into the transformative shift in foreign policy over the last two and a half decades, marked by an overt expression of economic instruments. The world, she contends, has experienced heightened stability through economic relationships and instruments, serving as pillars for both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. Notably, she emphasizes the evolving nature of national interest in a globalized world, where economic considerations now take precedence. The post-World War II era witnessed a paradigm shift in the definition of national interest, with the movement of capital, goods, and people rendering geographical borders increasingly irrelevant. Professor Batra underscores the revolutionary impact of technology, particularly computerization, in facilitating unprecedented ease of global flow and mobility. The surge in the flow of people, capital, and commodities over the past few decades underscores the changing dynamics of international relations.

Crucially, Professor Batra highlights the growing importance of national output as a key indicator of economic strength, a departure from traditional metrics like military might and territorial expanse. She adeptly introduces the Bretton Wood System, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization as pivotal players shaping the global economic landscape. However, she notes a contemporary trend where countries engage in individual interactions within the crucible of trade. Economic diplomacy, as she elucidates, operates on multiple levels—multilateral, bilateral, and regional—manifesting through preferential trading agreements and contributing to a substantial increase in global trade. The concept of trade creation, intricately explained by Professor Batra, provides insights into the changing dynamics of international commerce, as illustrated by the transformation from NAFTA to USMCA.

One of the lecture’s key points revolves around the intertwining of economic instruments with political objectives, leading to the reinforcement of strategic goals within foreign policy frameworks. Professor Batra skillfully elaborates on the idea that economic diplomacy serves as a powerful tool for nations to pursue and achieve political and strategic objectives. By examining the interplay of economic instruments at the global stage, she underscores how nations leverage trade agreements and economic partnerships to advance not only economic prosperity but also to assert influence and power in the geopolitical arena. The lecture leaves the audience with a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of economic and political realms, shaping the contours of contemporary foreign policy.

In conclusion, Professor Batra’s session provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution of foreign policy with a focus on economic instruments. Her adept analysis covers the changing nature of national interest, the impact of technology on global mobility, the significance of international economic institutions, and the strategic deployment of economic diplomacy. The session leaves attendees with a nuanced understanding of how economic considerations have become integral to the pursuit of political and strategic objectives in the modern geopolitical landscape.

Conclusion

Professor Amita Batra concluded her lecture by taking questions on the economic aspects of foreign policy, trade and diplomacy. She very well put forward the emergence of a new era and the rise in trade instruments formulating economic relations among countries.

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