2011 was the year of transformation, everywhere — the extraordinary Arab Spring, anti-corruption protests around the world, the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, NATO military drawdown from Afghanistan and Iraq, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the sovereign debt crisis in Europe…the list is long. All this unaddressed by lackluster leadership in India and abroad.
The events that captured India the most were the stunning spread of the Arab uprisings, to our West, and the accelerating geopolitical aggression of China, to our East. Also significant was the unraveling of two optimistic economies — the United States and India, both victims of internal political dysfunction.
The new world order is upon us, forcing nations to reorient their policies. Many have been pro-active — like Germany, Brazil, Australia and Canada. And India? Bedeviled by slowing growth and lack of reform, a collapsing industrial sector, departing foreign and domestic investment and increasing inequality, we have missed the opportunity to shape the global re-ordering. India looks like it belongs in the crumbling Eurozone instead of the vibrant emerging markets of Asia.
Evidence of the decline of the India story: in 2010, the presidents of all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council visited us; last year, no one came. The arrogance of 9 per cent GDP growth has been replaced by the gloom of less than 7 per cent growth.
Certainly, India has also seen some foreign policy. We present our top foreign policy ‘cheers’ and ‘jeers’. Read on!