Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to US President Barack Obama to join the Republic Day celebrations in India next year as the chief guest has changed India's foreign policy dynamics. [US Obama's India visit next year great chance for bolstering ties, say experts]
The irony lies in the fact that is that it has roughly coincided with the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, the country's first prime minister and one of the prime brains behind the Non-Aligned Movement, the foundation stone of India's foreign policy.
Has India rendered Nehruvian legacy in foreign policy obsolete?
By inviting an American president to the R-Day celebrations, has India permanently overhauled its foreign policy orientation and rendered the Nehruvian legacy obsolete?
The answer is mostly affirmative. Narendra Modi has shown a remarkable thinking in rolling out the red carpet for the American President for an event which summarises India's nationhood within a few hours and is an expression of the country's national will. To make the head of state of the world's only superpower a part of such an occasion sends a clear message, both to the diplomatic and economic circles.
One wonders why the Congress couldn't think of inviting a US President on the Republic Day celebrations all these years? Did the Nehruvian legacy burden it to act? PM Modi certainly has no such problems.
India's invitation to Obama, twice during his tenure, will put New Delhi's foes and friends in a spot equally.
Beijing will find Modi a tough opponent
Take for example, China. Beijing has already been kept busy by Modi's engagement with countries like Japan, Australia, Myanmar and others in the Asia Pacific and now with Modi inviting Obama at a national celebration, the Chinese will find that Modi is not a man who can be intimidated by diplomatic cautions.
Beijing is already feeling perturbed by the USA's focus on the Asia-Pacific region and the growing closeness between Modi and Obama will undoubtedly raise more eyebrows within its diplomatic ranks.
Cornered Russia will be guessing: What's Next?
The development will also keep the Russians interested. Moscow has been the closest ally of India in international politics since the era of NAM but the Modi-Obama bonhomie will certainly make feelings uneasy in the Kermlin. Russia is currently feeling a lot of heat in the international community because of the Ukraine crisis and now with Obama's visit to India set to get all the focus, Putin could get a serious inferiority complex ahead of his visit to India. For Moscow, it could be all over as far as the ‘seniority' in its partnership with India is concerned.
Japan will also be wondering on how to help India more
Japan, another close ally of India, will also keep a close watch on Obama's visit to India in January. Tokyo is happy that the Indians have begun to confront the Chinese more than before but it will also be cautious about India's rankings in the eyes of the US and might grant New Delhi more weight.
Pakistan: The also-ran
Speaking about Pakistan, it has already felt uneasy and is busy convincing Obama to pay a visit to Islamabad too. Battered by problems both at home and abroad, Islamabad will find to its shock that it has fallen far behind New Delhi as far as the international prestige is concerned. Modi's initiatives might take the contest beyond its reach.
Other countries, including those in the Arab world and Europe will also follow how Obama's visit to India on January unfolds. But as far as India is concerned, its foreign policy has definitely shown an edge of maturity.