India has continued with its strong and assertive foreign policy under the Modi government. It has emerged as a growing economic power enjoys widespread global popularity and by virtue of its clout coupled with strong national leadership, it has been pursuing a vocal and influential foreign policy. This time around India’s strength came into focus during the recent elections for United Nations Security Council (UNSC) non-permanent seat.
There was intense competition between Indonesia and Maldives for the non-permanent seat. India and Maldives have been undergoing a hostile face even as the recent political turmoil in the island country along with suspicious Chinese influence have marred relations between the two. Maldives seemed to have been acting in a manner detrimental to India’s interest even though the two countries share a long history of friendly relations and were considered all weather allies. During the UN Security Council vote, Malé continued to claim that it has India’s support. However, as per credible reports it appears that Maldives has been left embarrassed, India has not only voted against Maldives at the elections but also campaigned effectively in order to ensure that Maldives faces a harsh defeat.
As per diplomatic sources, India worked to ensure that Maldives fares poorly during the UNSC elections. As a result Indonesia trumped Male’s bid to the non-permanent seat. In a landslide victory, Indonesia secured 144 votes, while merely 44 countries voted in favour of Maldives. As per latest reports, India has hit Maldives where it hurts the most and eroded even Maldives’ core base of small island countries. A number of these island countries vote according to India’s stance and a signal of support by Indian diplomats towards Indonesia was sufficient to turn the tide against Maldives. Maldives which was at one time claiming to have support from 60 nations in writing and 30 nations verbally has been shaken by India even as its support base has been reduced to less than half.
Maldives had been taking India’s support for granted even after working actively against India’s interests in the region. In a series of ill-thought decisions, Maldives itself made a blunder by distancing India from itself. This year in April, Maldives had irked India by asking the Indian government to take back one of the two helicopters that New Delhi had gifted to the tiny island nation. Yameen government in Maldives which has been showing a tilt towards China committed another faux pas when it stopped issuing business visas and work permits to Indian expatriates. Even after making all this unfriendly gestures, Maldives was in the impression that during the UNSC voting, India would support Male’s bid. However, Maldives was in for a rude shock as India not only snubbed the tiny archipelago but also worked actively to ensure that Maldives has to brace a humbling defeat.
These UNSC elections stand as a tribute to India’s strong and assertive foreign policy. One can’t help but laud how India showed the tiny island nation its place. Maldives was constantly irking India by working against India’s interests and now it has been made to pay heavily for its mistakes. This shows how India is emerging as a country with a powerful foreign policy at the international stage.