The Indian general election is the world’s biggest exercise in democracy, with 900 million eligible voters. The election has been held in seven phases since 11 April, and results were declared on 23 May. Prime Minister and leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party Narendra Modi has been elected for a second term.
India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Modi has divided analysts. Some believe India’s foreign policy has undergone a remarkable transformation, others argue Modi has merely repackaged the policies of his predecessors. Under Modi, the quad alliance with Japan, Australia and the United States has been resuscitated, although he has pursued a ‘neighbourhood first’ focus in foreign policy. On the border with Pakistan, tensions have escalated to the level of nuclear threat. Bilateral relations with China are a balancing act.
Professor Harsh V Pant, Director of Studies and Head of the Strategic Studies Programme at New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation, gave an address on the future of India’s foreign policy in the wake of Prime Minister Modi’s re-election.
Professor Harsh V Pant is an influential and prolific foreign, defence and strategic policy writer and thinker. His latest book, Indian Foreign Policy: The Modi Era, was launched in April 2019 by India’s former Foreign Secretary, Dr S Jaishankar. Professor Pant visited as a guest of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of its Canberra Fellowships Program.