India's multilateral relations

17-07-2015

India, once a leader of the Non-aligned Movement, is now moving away from its non-alignment position. New Delhi now maintains relationships in different configurations with a variety of countries for different purposes (such as within the BRICS). India also increasingly engages in regional groupings. The South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is supposed to be the main tool for integration in the region, but bilateral tensions with Pakistan have jeopardised its development. New Delhi is therefore shifting towards a sub-regional grouping within SAARC and connectivity projects, such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC). These projects coincide with the new 'Act East' policy, which builds on the previous 'Look East' policy, and whose key focus is represented by relations with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). By 2016 India will also join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is focused on non-traditional security cooperation between China, Russia and other Central Asian countries. India has long lobbied for permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, and maintains a pragmatic approach when voting in the UN General Assembly. India is also a major contributor to UN peacekeeping missions. In November 2014, India achieved a remarkable diplomatic success, when it negotiated with the US the right to stockpile and subsidise staple foods for the poor – an agreement that unblocked the Trade Facilitation Agreement within the World Trade Organization.

India, once a leader of the Non-aligned Movement, is now moving away from its non-alignment position. New Delhi now maintains relationships in different configurations with a variety of countries for different purposes (such as within the BRICS). India also increasingly engages in regional groupings. The South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is supposed to be the main tool for integration in the region, but bilateral tensions with Pakistan have jeopardised its development. New Delhi is therefore shifting towards a sub-regional grouping within SAARC and connectivity projects, such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC). These projects coincide with the new 'Act East' policy, which builds on the previous 'Look East' policy, and whose key focus is represented by relations with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). By 2016 India will also join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is focused on non-traditional security cooperation between China, Russia and other Central Asian countries. India has long lobbied for permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, and maintains a pragmatic approach when voting in the UN General Assembly. India is also a major contributor to UN peacekeeping missions. In November 2014, India achieved a remarkable diplomatic success, when it negotiated with the US the right to stockpile and subsidise staple foods for the poor – an agreement that unblocked the Trade Facilitation Agreement within the World Trade Organization.