Published on Jan 11, 2024

Edited by Malancha Chakrabarty & Navdeep Suri

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely altered the global political and economic landscape. The old ways of interacting with the world are unlikely to work in the aftermath of the pandemic, and India must rethink its economic diplomacy programme for the next decade. So far, India’s economic diplomacy has largely been anchored in its neighbourhood and has been shaped by solidarity with existing associations and partnerships. Although international cooperation and solidarity will remain the guiding principles, India’s future economic diplomacy will have to be located in a new geopolitical dimension that goes far beyond the impulse of the Bandung era. India will need to craft new strategies for engagement in the global economy and forge new alliances.

While building its new economic diplomacy programme for the next decade, India must be mindful of critical challenges like climate change, food insecurity and the disruptions caused by new technology. With a large young population, a faltering economy and huge development challenges, India is at a critical point in its growth trajectory. To promote its development interests, India must overhaul its approach to economic diplomacy. It must move beyond government-to-government negotiations and agreements to include more plural and diverse stakeholders, such as representatives from the private sector, academia, philanthropic institutions and civil society, most of whom will be operating in distant locations. Economic diplomacy necessitates a collective beyond the government that will place brand India at the centre of all diplomatic relations.