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Foreign Policy requires the few of point of Dixit Principle.

If you Google something like the Dixit principle, you will not really find it. So it is not really a principle or a doctrine that we have been following openly. Jyotindra Nath Dixit who was a former Foreign Secretary of the government of India between December 1991 and till Jan 1994 and during his tenure when he was a foreign secretary of India, the government of India took a lot of proactive steps globally to improve India's relationship with many foreign powers, including China, Israel and US and all these relations are now giving rich dividends to India.

Many experts are arguing that same policy that Mr. Dixit followed at that point of time, should be followed even today that is India must change its global policy stance, keeping in mind what is happening globally. For example, if right now we are not voting in favour of or against Russia, that should be keeping in mind the global scenario at present rather than coming under any kind of pressure from the western nations or the other nations across the world. To vote for or against Russia we should only look into our own national interest.

When Mr. Dixit was India's foreign secretary, India was in a very crucial phase, that was a time that the USSR had just fallen, that means India's largest and strongest friend had just been desegregated and India now had to open up new embassies and build individual relationships with all those smaller nations that were earlier a part of the USSR. That was also a phase when India established its full diplomatic relationship with Israel in 1992. A relationship that has grown extremely powerfully in the past couple of decades. With Israel now cooperating with India on a number of issues including defence and other technologies. Similarly, at the same time in Jan 1992, PV Narsimha, Rao had a bilateral meeting with the US president that is George W. Bush, which laid the foundation of India-US nuclear deal that was signed a couple of decades later, when Dr. Manmohan Singh was a Prime Minister. But the foundation of that deal was made with this 1992 meeting that again was arranged during the tenure of Mr. Dixit.

In 1992, Indian government came up with a Look East policy that ensure that India relooked at the South Asian region, specifically the ASEAN nation, which has now resulted in the ASEAN grouping becoming one of the largest trading partners with India. All these achievements of India's foreign policy came when Mr. Dixit was India's foreign secretary. Thus, he was a master of his craft. The other examples of achievement during Mr. Dixit's tenure is India's relationship with China. In 1993, the two sides initiated the first of many Confidence Building Measures, there was an agreement sign for maintenance of peace and tranquillity, not just that we were able to manage Taiwan and China together at the same time, Taiwan, in fact, opened up its first office in Mumbai and then shifted it to Delhi a few years later, all these decisions were taken by the government of India with the advice of Mr. Dixit.

As per Mr. Dixit one important thing is that while making any important decision where you may appear in different forms to the others but you have to first secure your own interest. In simple words, national interest is over everything else. It might impact your image at the international level for short or long term but whatever is in your national interest will always be the correct decision in going forward and in this context, we must see how India is responding in the UN about the resolutions that are being introduced against Russia. India usually has been abstaining from all those resolutions because when a country votes for or against in such a resolution, it is seen as a bland support or opposition of the country that is involved is either entirely white or entirely black. On the other hand abstaining from voting as India is doing is in a grey zone which gives you opportunity and a time to India to maintain relationship from both the sides because India right now has too much to lose by taking one side that is either the Western nations or Russia because we want to maintain good relationship with both the sides.

In the ongoing case with India abstaining from voting, Indian diplomats have the opportunity of explaining their stand to both the sides, to Russia also and to the west also. As per few experts this is a correct decision going forward if you see it from the eyes of Mr. Dixit's decisions. Now, whenever we talk about India's foreign policy in Indian diplomacy one of the aspects that we used to overlook is the budget that we have given for our diplomacy. India often has been criticised around the world for not having enough diplomats as compared to the other countries that are of our size. In fact, the number of Indian diplomats going around the world are very small in proportion to other countries, let's say China, or US or even Russia. In fact, the budget also that is given to an external ministry that looks into the expenses of the diplomats is not very high. For instance, there was a 5% decline in the expenditure allocated to the external ministry for the financial year 2022-23.

Decline in this budget means many things. Number one, we can't have a lot of diplomats. Secondly, this kind of diplomacy means that India needs to give financial help to smaller countries in the neighbour. For example, every year we give some financial aid to nations such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, etc, then there is Afghanistan. But when we have a lower budget for the external ministry means all those programmes that government of India has been running to assess those nations have to be curtailed. In fact, in December 2021, there was a report tabled in a parliamentary Standing Committeev which observed that the budget given to the Ministry of External Affairs is just 0.5% of the government of India's budget, that is extremely low when you compare it with other countries around the world.

India allocated ₹8133 crore for loans and grants to foreign governments for 2022-23. Considering that India has high aspirations, and we want to make the best of our relationship with the foreign powers and with the neighbours, this sum is extremely meagre. In fact, there was a drop in allocation of India's aid to foreign nations about a 12% decline from 2021 as compared to 2022. That also has got to do with India's extra expenditure due to the COVID-19 pandemic but that has impacted India's relationship with the smaller nations. For example, there has been a significant downward revision when it comes to our aid to Bhutan. Initially, we allocated about 3000 crore rupees of aid to Bhutan and now, it has been revised to only ₹1755 crore rupees which would have an impact on our relationship with Bhutan in some way or the other and it's not just about the budget it is also about the manpower that we have, the number of diplomats that we have employed specifically to put India's point across an international level.

India has almost the same number of diplomats around the world as compared to New Zealand. Do you know how much is the population of New Zealand, by a rough estimate the population of New Zealand is about 50 lakh, consider this at Delhi's population is well over two crore right now. Countries such as Japan, UK, Australia, which have a much lesser population as compared to India, but the number of people employed in their foreign services are much more and that is why they have been able to make such a strong impact when it comes to international diplomacy and international lobbying as well. This is also one area where we have to work very hard.


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