00e0000 Foreign Policy and ConsensuS By- Yasmin Gill
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why foreign policy needs consensus? In past few years, we have enhanced the role of states in India's engagement with world Created a "states division" in the Ministry of External Affairs to facilitate the international interactions of the state governments on a range of issues-from promoting trade and tourism to at tracting foreign investments It has also hosted visiting dignitaries in state capitals. But the problem of finding common ground with state chief mi nisters on developing effective neighbourhood policies has not disappeared We have seen some states wresting unprecedented control over foreign policy towards the neighbours.
This was seen in Teesta sharing It brought into stark relief Delhi's inability to deliver on initiated agreements and exposed the profound domestic weakness of the central government.
That Delhi was being run by a coalition government was one p art of the problem In Tamil Nadu, the imperative of keeping the Dravidian parties happy made it hard for Delhi to pursue a sensible policy toward s Sri Lanka Will that remain true if Delhi returns to the era of coalition gov ernments in 2019? Can the next government pursue productive engagement with Colombo if its survival depends on support from the Dravidian parties? Can a weak coalition in Delhi balance the explosive poli tical dynamic in Assam on the citizenship issue with the need to strengthen the partnership with Dhaka? Can the next governme nt consult the chief ministers of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarak hand to improve strained ties with Nepal?
Why foreign policy needs consensus If Delhi had Kolkata's support in engaging Dhaka, the transform ation of the eastern Subcontinent could have been sweeping Affiliation to rival parties has not always been a barrier for colla boration between the states and the Centre For e.g.A responsible approach on the issue of Sikh pilgrimage to Pakistan.
Why foreign policy needs consensus Prospects for a sensible neighbourhood policy can't rest solely on having single-party governments at the Centre and "responsible" CMs in the border states India needs a measure of political consensus on regional polici es If the political classes choose to turn every problem in the nei ghbourhood into a domestic contestation, Delhi's adversaries wil l continue to gain ground in India's neighbourhood The current intense politicisation of ties with Pakistan might se em like an exception. But similar dangers lurk on all of India's fr ontiers.
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