MBA Aspirants are expected to know the happenings around globe which might affect Indian foreign policy, thus impacting all of us. Today, you will read on: CHOGM miss by PM might impact India's foreign policy
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is held once in two years and attended by heads of all governments of Commonwealth countries. This year, the CHOGM would be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from November 15 to 17.
On November 10, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent a letter of regret to the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, explaining that he would not be able to attend the CHOGM. In the letter, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh mentioned that External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid would be representing him in the meeting instead.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided against travelling to Colombo for the CHOGM, given the intensity of protests by Tamil Nadu parties and opposition from several Congress ministers over Sri Lanka’s alleged human rights violations and the failure of the Sri Lankan government to give power to the Tamil minority in the country.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was keen to keep Prime Minister Manmohan Singh away from Colombo and it succeeded in its attempt to do so.
Although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has provided a reason for not attending the meeting, there are negative repercussions of this action. By not attending the meeting, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be creating ill will in Colombo. As of now, Sri Lanka is an ally of India.
However, this recent decision taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could drive Sri Lanka into the arms of China, India’s close competitor.
At the CHOGM, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had planned a discussion with the Rajapaksa regime, to influence the latter to do more for the Sri Lankan Tamils and provide greater rights for Sri Lankan Tamils in Tamil-dominated areas.
However, in the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, it is unclear as to how the discussion will proceed. It is a known fact that to maintain good bilateral or multilateral relations, it is important to have constant communication and engagement with all parties. In light of the recent developments, experts predict that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s absence will make it harder to reach the aforementioned goals and this will have a negative impact on India’s foreign relations.
We ought to learn from history and not repeat the same mistakes. However, looking at the government’s decisions, it is evident that it has not learnt from historical developments. India’s ineffectual foreign policy approach in Bangladesh has proven to be a failure.
Although India was presented with a good opportunity to enhance bilateral ties with Bangladesh, Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamta Banerjee’s petulance ruined the cordial relations between the two countries. On the other hand, India’s constant engagement with Myanmar has enhanced the ties between both the countries and is celebrated today as commendable foreign policy foresight of the Indian government.
Bilateral and multilateral ties between nations are intricate and delicate in nature – a small mistake or slight negligence can damage relations and camaraderie between governments. As such, it is important to think things through before making a decision.
This is not the first time that India is sending its minister for external affairs to the CHOGM – in 1995 and 2002, India’s minister for external affairs had attended the CHOGM in place of the prime minister.
Such frequent absences by the prime minister may not only ruin relations between India and its neighboring countries but also the rest of world because frequent absences could be misinterpreted as India’s lack of interest and indifference towards global issues.