• After victory of Narendra Modi, the Ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh automatically becomes part of the topic “Post-Independence: Foreign policies of various Prime Ministers.” for General Studies paper 2 in UPSC civil service exam.
  • There are many possible (and better) ways to write of “write a note on foreign policy of Manmohan Singh.” Here, I’ve merely summarized the EPW March editorial titled “Course Correction”, published on 29th March 2014, along with a few additional points on Maldives, Pakistan etc.
  • Overall, the foreign policy of PM Singh was guided by three principles: Strategic autonomy, Economic cooperation and Stability in the neighbourhood; but achieved mixed result due to opposition from Chauvinistic elements within country.

Anyways, let’s start:

Foreign Police of Manmohan Singh, the Ex-Prime minister of India
  • Signed Defence framework (2005) and Nuclear deal (2008)
  • Tried to have bilateral relations on equal footing, did not become rubber stamp of US international policy. For example:
  1. Did not favour military intervention in Libya and Syria.
  2. Did not favour sanctions against Russia over Ukrain-Crimea crisis.
  • Tried to improve relation with China directly and via BRICS and BASIC.
  • Tried to resolve border-issue & reduce trade deficit.
  • But was Held back by Chauvinistic Media and Opposition.
  • No major breakthrough in improving bilateral ties.
  • Restrained any military step on the wake up Mumbai attack and violation of cease fire on the border.
  • demanded probe in Mumbai attack from Pakistan and MFN status to India
  • Voted against Iran at IAEA resolutions, to keep USA in good humour (2005-06.)
  • But later, tried to revive relationship through Chabahar port.
  • Strategic partnership agreement (’07)
  • Development of Parliament house, Salma dam, Delaram-zaranj Highway ends near Chabhar and civil hospital in Kandhar.
  • Building infrastructure, improving Economic, security and human-resource ties.
  • pledged to assist Afghanistan post-NATO withdrawal.
  • Initially helped in peace-deal between Nepali Maoists and other parties.
  • Later adopted the policy of non-interference.
  • Made progress to resolve border issues, water sharing and anti-terrorism.
  • But was held back by domestic politics.
  • Signed BIPA: Bilateral Investment Promotion Agreement BIPA (2008)
  • Opened border trade at 3 locations.
  • Offered to develop Sittwe port as oil-gas transhipment terminal.
  • Kaladan project to connecting Mizoram to Sittwe port to Kolkata/Haldia.
  • Supported Mohd. Nasheed, the first elected President of Maldives.
  • When he was removed in 2012, India quickly to recognised new government under President Waheed. But at the same time, also gave political asylum to Nasheed.
  • Some bitterness, when Waheed cancelled contract of GMR (Indian co.) to modernize Male’s airport.
  • India-Shri Lanka-Maldives tri-partite agreement on maritime cooperation in 2013
  • Did not support either Lankan Army or LTTE.
  • But after the end of war, supported the rehabilitation of Tamils in North Sri Lanka.
  • Japan’s assistance in Delhi Metro, DMIC
  • Currency swap agreement to counter exchange rate volatility and negative effects of Fed Tapering.
  • Engaged in 2+2 dialogue with Tokyo.
South Asia
  • S.Korea: CEPA (’10)
  • ASEAN: FTA in trade, investment and services; RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership).
  • Projects for trans-border connectivity with Myanmar, Thailand and BIMSTEC countries.
  • Extradition treaty with Thailand, Oil exploration treaty in Vietnam

^this is ~ 400 words. When you want to cut it down to 200 words, do following

  1. Must cover all neighbours; but reduce points on individual countries especially Maldives and Afghanistan.
  2. Embed Japan within Asian countries, eliminate a few points.
  3. Can ignore specific mention of extradition treaty, oil treaty etc. (Because we’d have signed thousands such treaties with hundreds of countries during Mohan-regime.)

Foreign Policy of Manmohan Singh

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