Indian geopolitics: Following India’s independence, two distinct social groups emerged. Those with political and economic power had access to discussions and publications on foreign policy, while the less privileged were confined to the mundane tasks of daily life.
The Modi government has focused on bridging the divide between different social classes in India. They have made it a priority to engage the youth in national and geopolitical topics, understanding the significance of foreign policy. In order to do so they appointed Sushma Swaraj, a prominent Indian politician. She served as the Minister of External Affairs of India from 2014 to 2019.
Sushma Swaraj was known to have played a crucial role in shaping Indian foreign policy during her tenure as the Minister of External Affairs. Her efforts to strengthen India’s relations with other countries and her focus on resolving disputes and increasing engagement in the region have left a lasting impact on India’s global standing.
In 2019, the Government of India appointed S. Jai Shankar as the new External Affairs Minister, succeeding Sushma Swaraj. Since then, he has been actively promoting India’s interests in the international arena. As a result of these influences and the way he put his words and thoughts in front of the West, Indian citizens began to take a more discerning look at the geopolitical realities and the nation’s best interests.
Role of Digitalisation
Another factor that has contributed to the growing prevalence of geopolitics among the Indian masses is the increasing role of social media and digital communication in the country.
With the rapid expansion of internet access and the proliferation of smartphones, more and more Indians are able to stay informed about global events and engage in online discussions about geopolitical issues. This has led to a greater awareness and understanding of the complex geopolitical dynamics that shape the world and has helped make geopolitics more accessible and relevant to the Indian public.
It is important to recognize that as India marks its 75th year of Independence, a survey has been conducted by Observer Research Foundation (ORF). It has been done to gain insight into how the nation’s youth, comprising 60% of the population, perceive India’s foreign policy and global ambitions and to cover the gap between policymakers and the public.
The ORF Foreign Policy Survey 2022 included 5,000 Indians between the ages of 18 and 35 from 19 cities and was conducted in 10 languages. The survey showed that the majority of respondents (77%) rated India’s foreign policy as either good or very good.
The survey results highlighted the fact that the majority of young people in India are well-informed and are actively engaged with news and current affairs. The data collected also suggested that the mobile phone is their primary source of news, with 68% of respondents receiving their news through their mobile device first. This demonstrates the importance of mobile technology in information gathering for the youth of the country.
The survey findings further highlighted that the respondents were aware of significant occurrences such as the Pokhran nuclear tests, the India-China war and the Galwan Valley clashes and their significance in forming India’s foreign policy.
Additionally, the majority of respondents perceived border conflicts with China as India’s most pressing foreign policy challenge (84%), even more so than conflicts with Pakistan (82%). Significantly, China was also seen as a threat to India’s borders, making it the least desirable partner for the future (24%).
Most respondents expressed optimism for Russia. Additionally, 43 per cent of respondents considered Russia as India’s most reliable even though it had invaded Ukraine. Although the US was seen as the second-most trusted partner since Independence, 85 per cent of them believe that the US will be India’s leading partner in the next decade. India is projected to have a strong partnership with the United States and Australia in the upcoming decade, with Russia following closely in third place.
The youth of the country are demonstrating their enthusiasm and dedication through their increasing interest in current affairs, thanks to the widespread availability of affordable internet and smartphones.
Other lesser-known factors
Geopolitics has become increasingly prevalent among the Indian masses in recent years due to a variety of factors. One major reason is the growing economic and political influence of India on the global stage. As India’s economy has grown, so has its influence in international affairs.
Additionally, to assert its place in the world as a major power, the country has faced various challenges from its neighbours and the world. This has pushed the people to be more aware and conscious about the international affairs.
Furthermore, as a country located at the crossroads of South Asia, India has long been a key player in the region’s political and economic affairs. This has led to a natural interest in the geopolitical dynamics of the region among the Indian people, as well as a sense of responsibility for the security and stability of the region.
In recent years, India’s relationship with Pakistan has also been a major driver of interest in geopolitics among the Indian people. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has encouraged the public to become more aware of the issues India is facing and take action to make positive changes.
He has used his monthly radio program, “Maan Ki Baat” and his election campaigns to discuss various topics and challenge people to take up initiatives and make a difference in their communities. His messages have been well-received, inspiring many citizens to become more actively engaged in their nation’s development. PM Modi’s overwhelming victory in the second Lok Sabha elections saw his voting percentage rise from 47% to an impressive 62%, as a result of his efforts.
The rise of China as a global power has also been a major driver of interest in geopolitics among the Indians. As China’s economic and military power has grown, so has its influence in the region and the world. This has led to increased concern and scrutiny of China’s actions and intentions among the Indian people.
Overall, the growing economic and political influence of India on the global stage, the increasing role of social media and digital communication, India’s geography and history, the ongoing conflict with Pakistan, the rise of China as a global power and the role of media have all contributed to the growing prevalence of geopolitics among the Indian masses. As India continues to assert its place in the world as a major power, it is likely that people’s interest in geopolitical issues and their understanding of them will continue to grow among the people of India.
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