'No foreign policy shift': Why Rajnath's view is irrelevant

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Bangalore, July 25: BJP president Rajnath Singh proved in the US that his party has little difference with the Congress when it comes to issues like governance and statecraft. Economically or in issues of foreign policy, the two national parties have almost nothing to show as alternatives and all battles eventually end up with the secular-communal debate.

Singh said during his ongoing tour of the USA that there will be no fundamental shift in India's foreign policy if the BJP is voted to power. In the recent past, it was the same BJP which had been targetting the UPA government for allegedly failing to protecting national interests against hostile neighbours and even far-off country like Italy or fighting terror designs.


Singh said whenever another party comes to power, it might have its own perspectives and decide accordingly but the fundamental principles would remain the same.

This is a completely vague statement. What is meant by same fundamentals but different perspectives?

Singh said a BJP-led government would focus on cordial relations with its neighbours. Then what is the difference that the BJP is speaking about on foreign policy issues?

Its rival Congress also wants good relations with the neighbours, irrespective of the fact that Pakistan and China remain perennial headaches. And if Singh is stressing India's greater role in Afghanistan once the Americans pull out of that war-ravaged country, it is again nothing extraordinary that he is saying. If a UPA III government comes to power, it will also talk about pursuing an effective Afghanistan policy once the Americans withdraw.

Yet, Singh tries to make an impact by speaking against foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, saying such effort will lead to unemployment. One wonders to what extent will the BJP abide by its words if it comes to power for then, FDI will be counted as a significant step towards the revival of the economy and opposition will don the mantle of nationalism and target the government.

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We have seen how the NDA government in the past have worked in foreign policy and economic issues despite the saffron camp's strong nationalist slogans and there will be no difference in the future either. Pragmatism while in governance is bound to prevail over the opposition's adventurism.

The BJP is desperate to show that it has a difference with the Congress. But it has failed since the only aspect which had kept the two apart, Hindutva, has lost its strong appeal. The BJP's only hope now is to bank on a few chief ministers including Narendra Modi to present its case before the electorate to decide if it could be a better alternative. Other than that, Singh's visions on foreign policy and economy don't demand any significance.

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