While India's diplomatic efforts are focused on furthering the national goal of eradicating poverty through economic development, they are gaining a clear direction with the "Five Pillars of Foreign Policy" enunciated by the Bharatiya Janata Party's National Executive (BJPNE), according to a top Indian diplomat here.
In the first exposition before an international audience of Indian foreign policy orientation since the BJPNE meeting earlier this month in Bengaluru, India's Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji said these concepts reflected the principles of United Nations Charter and the spirit behind the workings of the world body.
In a resolution adopted at its Bengaluru meeting, the BJPNE had declared that "Panchamrit", or new pillars of India's foreign policy, are "Samman - dignity and honour; Samvad - greater engagement and dialogue; Samriddhi - shared prosperity; Suraksha - regional and global security; and Sanskriti evam Sabhyata - cultural and civilisational linkages."
At a seminar organised Thursday by the International Institute of Strategic Studies on "The Multilateral Dimensions of India's Foreign Policy Since May 2014," when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected, Mukerji explained how these principles melded with ovearching goal of poverty eradication and how India deployed its diplomatic efforts.
Achieving substantially the Millenial Development Goals (MDG) of the UN and developing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) furthers the shared prosperity principle, which also requires engagement and dialogue, was among the points Mukerji made.
India would require about $640 billion over the next 15 years to develop the urban development infrastructure for 500 million people, who would need a decent living standard. India's multilateral foreign policy goals, he said, would be to work towards mobilising those resources.
Simultaneously, India is also sharing technology, especially in the information technology sphere, with other developing countries to help them fight poverty, he said. An example of this was the regional satellite India was offering the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). He also mentioned India's contributions to the efforts to contain Ebola and to various developmental funds and programmes.
Similarly, in negotiations for a climate change agreement at the upcoming Paris meeting, India has emphasised that the developed countries also had an obligation to transfer technology to help developing countries cut their greenhouse emissions.
Regional and global peace and security have a huge impact on India's development efforts, and the UN Security Council's failure in the UN Charter-mandated task of maintaining international security was a matter of grave concern for New Delhi, he said.
Citing Modi's call to bring the UN from the 20th century to the 21st, Mukerji said India joins other countries in wanting to make the Security Council more representative, effective and accountable.
Mukerji presented the case for New Delhi to become a permanent member of a reformed Security Council in order to help it carry out Charter-mandated duties. India has been a democracy even as it faced major developmental challenges and global economic and financial crises and this has been a model for other developing countries.
India has played a major role in the UN's efforts to maintain peace, despite obstacles from the way the Security Council made its decisions, without consulting the countries contributing to its peacekeeping operations, and how it stretched the mandates, he said. India is historically the largest contributor of troops to the UN, having sent 180,000 soldiers to 43 operations.
In the changed global scenario, the Security Council faced challenges from terrorism and vulnerabilities to infrastructure, space and cyberspace. India has experience in dealing with these and could help the Security Council deal with these issues, he said.
In the areas of cultural and civilisational engagement, Mukerji spoke of the creation of the International Yoga Day by the General Assembly last year in under 75 days from when Modi proposed it with the backing of 177 nations. This was a recognition of India's contribution to the well-being of humanity and it was a success of its multilateral UN diplomacy, he added.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at email@example.com)