Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
3) BIMSTEC is the “natural choices” for India to fulfil its foreign policy objectives in the neighbourhood towards the East. Critically analyze.(250 words)
Why this question
India’s neighbourhood is undergoing deep consternation on account of China’s increasingly assertive stand in South Asia, South China Sea, broader Indo Pacific and Bay of Bengal littorals. At a time when South Asian integration platform SAARC is in a state of limbo, India needs to focus on BIMSTEC as an organization which will yield geoeconomic, geostrategic and geopolitical benefits.
Key demand of the question
The question asks us to critically analyze whether BIMSTEC is like a natural partner for India in achieving her foreign policy objectives. Here natural means that both have complementarities of interest that will prove beneficial to both. In order to comprehensively do a critical analysis we need to bring out the foreign policy interests and rationale of engaging more with the East, the benefits that can accrue to india, the benefits that will accrue to other members of BIMSTEC by strengthening this grouping. Since we have to do a critical analysis, we also need to bring out how focussing on this grouping will not lead to any concrete benefits for either partners. Finally we need to provide our view based on arguments made above.
Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. You need to conclude with a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Highlight that regional cooperation in South Asia is abysmal. Illustrate how SAARC has failed to provide any concrete economic, infrastructural or political benefits. This should establish the need for reforging certain regional partnerships.
Body of the answer
- Briefly provide an overview of the geopolitical realities of Asia Pacific and how different stakeholders are involved, which makes it necessary for India to showcase her skill at fast diplomacy.
- Thereafter delve deeper into the benefits that India will get by deeper integration with its Eastern neighbours. Highlight the geoeconomic, geopolitical and geostrategic foreign policy objectives that India will be able to achieve.
- Highlight how the relationship has mutual complementarities – trade, mutual security concerns, interest in maintaining freedom of navigation etc
- Point out some of the weaknesses of this regional grouping which might cause issues in the future for this regional grouping.
Conclusion – provide your view on the assertion made in the question by summarising your arguments above. Mention how India should approach it’s relationship with BIMSTEC.