FU­TURE IM­PER­FECT

The gov­ern­ment gets high marks for its for­eign and se­cu­rity pol­icy han­dling. There is un­cer­tainty, but peo­ple seem op­ti­mistic about the chal­lenges ahead

India Today - - FORIEN POLICY - By San­deep Un­nithan

58 FEEL THE NDA GOV­ERN­MENT DID THE RIGHT THING IN CON­DUCT­ING SUR­GI­CAL

STRIKES AGAINST PAK­ISTAN AS A RE­SPONSE TO THE URI AT­TACK PER CENT

AWEEK, AS BRI­TISH prime min­is­ter Harold Wil­son once ob­served, is a long time in pol­i­tics. Six months—since the last Mood of the Na­tion sur­vey in Au­gust 2016—seem like an eter­nity now. Con­sider how the global po­lit­i­cal cli­mate has changed since then. Brexit, Bri­tain’s exit from the Euro­pean Union, is now a re­al­ity; Rus­sia has es­tab­lished it­self in Syria and Don­ald Trump is the 45th pres­i­dent of the United States.

Closer home, Pak­istani ter­ror­ists killed 19 sol­diers at an army base in Uri, Kash­mir, on Septem­ber 18, trig­ger­ing re­tal­ia­tory cross-border sur­gi­cal strikes by In­dia. This also led to the coun­try ratch­et­ing up pres­sure on Pak­istan, a re­sult of which was an In­dia-led boy­cott of the SAARC sum­mit which was to be held in Islamabad last Novem­ber. But while In­di­aPak­istan re­la­tions are fairly pre­dictable in their un­pre­dictabil­ity, a similar sit­u­a­tion seems to be un­fold­ing glob­ally.

“The world we en­ter in 2017 is marked by un­even­ness, pos­si­bil­i­ties, un­cer­tain­ties, known and un­known un­knowns,” for­eign sec­re­tary S. Jais­hankar told the au­di­ence at the Raisina Di­a­logue on Jan­uary 18. In such times of un­cer­tainty, MOTN is a use­ful barom­e­ter of what peo­ple feel. Forty three per cent of re­spon­dents, for in­stance, feel Indo-US ties will im­prove un­der the Trump pres­i­dency. This re­sponse, of course, pre­dated his ‘buy Amer­i­can, hire Amer­i­can’ in­au­gu­ra­tion speech, a state­ment which has omi­nous por­tents for the $150 bil­lion In­dian IT sec­tor.

There are signs that the Indo-US strate­gic part­ner­ship, built on joint ex­er­cises, in­tel­li­gence ex­change and sales of mil­i­tary equip­ment will con­tinue un­af­fected by the new pres­i­dent’s ‘Amer­ica first’ eco­nomic fo­cus. Last year, In­dia

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