, Volume 93, Number 1

Eswaran Sridharan
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been extraordinarily active in foreign affairs, logging as many as 48 foreign visits in its first two years for both bilateral and multilateral meetings, as well as a host of high-level visits to India by world leaders including by the heads of government of the US, China, UK, France and Japan. What have been the drivers of this extraordinary foreign policy dynamism and what does it portend for possible future directions in Indian foreign policy, not only of the current government but into the more distant future? This article consists of a reasoned speculation about possible future directions in Indian foreign policy, building on recent foreign policy developments and also engaging with the literature on power transitions and rising powers, and posing the larger geopolitical question of what kind of power India will be in the future. It argues that the direction of Indian foreign policy will be substantially dependent on US–China–Russia dynamics in the Asia–Pacific region and that the gradual shift towards the United States and its allies and partners will continue. It concludes that India will find it difficult, even with sustained high growth, to join the ranks of the Great Powers due to being constrained by geography and by the capabilities of its nuclear neighbours.

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