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Strategic Diplomacy: Unleashing The Positive Force Of Economic Strength On Global Relation

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Strategic Diplomacy: Unleashing the Positive Force of Economic Strength on Global Relation

Session Report
Rahul Soni

IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute‘s Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies, IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, conducted online training course on Diplomacy and Foreign Policy. Day 4 of the session covered the theme Effects of economy on foreign policy wherein Prof. Prabir De developed into strategic diplomacy.

Introduction

The session, led by Professor Prabir De, delved into the intricate relationship between a nation’s economy and its foreign policy especially in the context of strategic diplomacy. Emphasizing the criticality of economic strength for sustained cultural cooperation, Professor De highlighted the interdependence between economic robustness, regional cooperation, and political relations. The presentation provided a wealth of information and captivated the audience with its pictures, data and useful information. The discourse revolved around seminal works by scholars like Douglas H. Brooks and Professor Kimura, shedding light on the pivotal role of economic relations in fostering trade flows, regional integration, and the evolving dynamics of global economic alliances.

Strategic Diplomacy

Professor De underscored the groundbreaking findings of Douglas H. Brooks in 2008, stressing the correlation between connectivity infrastructure and regional cooperation. Connectivity, encompassing trade, investment, value chains, people-to-people relations, and tourism, emerged as a linchpin for enhancing regional integration.

Citing Professor Kimura’s seminal paper, the discussion elucidated how contemporary regional cooperation manifests as a fragmentation of production. The integrated nature of economies, operating as production blocks and interconnected through value chains, highlighted the impossibility for one country to champion production across all sectors.

The session transitioned to the nexus between foreign and economic policies, elucidating their pursuit to secure trade advantages and profitability for individual nations through economic agreements.

India’s Foreign Policy Dynamics

The discourse then pivoted towards India’s quest for global leadership and the indispensable role of a robust economy in achieving this aspiration. India’s foreign policy, characterized by a steadfast focus on its neighborhood and multilateralism, was dissected, drawing examples from historical initiatives like the Non-Aligned Movement and BRICS.

Six distinct phases of India’s foreign policy were analyzed to underscore the country’s evolution in international relations, highlighting its adaptation to a multipolar world where developing countries like India have garnered a more significant voice.

India’s Economic Engagements and Regional Cooperation

India’s “Neighborhood First” policy and its extensive Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with various blocs, including EAS, ASEAN, and SAARC, were discussed in detail. The pivotal role of FTAs in fortifying India’s economic engagements was underscored, albeit with a focus on how India’s Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) predominantly involved southern countries.

India’s proactive role in establishing global institutions, as evidenced by its membership in initiatives like the International Solar Alliance and Global Biofuel Alliance, showcased its commitment to global economic and environmental concerns.

The session navigated through India’s transformation from an aid receiver to an aid provider and highlighted the increased number of integrated check posts, indicative of improved border management strategies.

Economic Relations in Regional Groups

We engaged in a detailed exploration of economic relationships within regional groups, focusing on SAARC, BBIN, BIMSTEC, and ASEAN. Despite SAARC’s non-functionality since 2014, the SAARC nations have exhibited positive performance. Within BBIN, agreements on connectivity corridors, energy grids, and the Inland waterways have contributed significantly to successful regional integration.

BIMSTEC, comprising seven member countries, has emerged as a viable alternative to SAARC. Presently, BIMSTEC serves as a crucial platform fostering economic relations among its member nations. Notably, the India-ASEAN relationship is rooted in deep cultural and civilizational connections. The role of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) has been instrumental in driving ASEAN’s regional cooperation.

The in-depth discussion encompassed the economic significance of these cooperative endeavors, highlighted the pivotal role of Bangladesh, and underscored the initiation of new projects within these alliances.

Conclusion

The session, under Professor Prabir De’s guidance, served as a comprehensive exploration of the nexus between a nation’s economic strength and its foreign policy objectives. From India’s regional engagements to the global economic landscape, the discussion provided valuable insights into the interplay between economic dynamics and geopolitical relations, elucidating the imperative for countries to forge strategic economic alliances to bolster their global standing.

Overall, the session offered a nuanced understanding of how economic robustness serves as the bedrock for effective foreign policy maneuvers, reshaping international relations in an increasingly interconnected world.

Posted by Trisha Shivdasana Research Intern at IMPRI.

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IMPRI, a startup research think tank, is a platform for pro-active, independent, non-partisan and policy-based research. It contributes to debates and deliberations for action-based solutions to a host of strategic issues. IMPRI is committed to democracy, mobilization and community building.

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