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India losing friends and looking vulnerable

The Ukraine-Russia war and Hamas-Israel conflict have both significantly altered India’s strategic and security calculations.

The upheavals have in many ways contradicted the predictions and assessments of many Indian strategists, plunging India into a precarious situation calling for a serious reevaluation of its foreign policy priorities.

One immediate repercussion of the conflicts is the heightened vulnerability India faces along its northern border and the Indian Ocean regions, including from potential Chinese kinetic actions in the strategic areas where India acts and operates mainly in isolation from partners and allies.

There is a noticeable and worrying absence of publicly available consolidated documents outlining the foreign policy strategies and implementations of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

To be sure, certain insights into India’s foreign policy priorities and trajectory can be gleaned from the various interviews, speeches and writings of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

As India approaches the 2024 Lok Sabha election, Jaishankar’s recently released book “Why Bharat Matters” serves as a valuable resource for understanding some of Modi’s foreign policy shifts since 2014.

The book encapsulates Modi’s changed foreign policy stance and aims to broaden popular support for his government by emphasizing India’s supposedly enhanced power, posture, intent, and strength during his decade-long tenure.

It also underscores the importance of sustaining India’s rising global standing, a not-so-subtle call for continued popular support for Modi and his BJP at the upcoming general election.

One notable aspect of Jaishankar’s book is India’s decision to forge, for the first