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India’s Domestic and Foreign Policy Responses to Covid-19

Authors: Pradeep Taneja and Azad Singh Bali

Affiliation: University of Melbourne, Australia, and Australian National University

Organization/Publisher: The Round Table/Routledge

Date/Place: February 18, 2021/Australia

Type of Literature: Research Article

Number of Pages: 17


Keywords: India, Covid-19, Foreign Policy, Domestic Policy


India has been worst hit by the ongoing Pandemic with almost 10 million cases, accounting for about 13% of the global total. This paper, divided into two parts, documents India’s domestic and foreign policy response to Covid-19. The first part discusses the domestic response including lockdown, the migrant worker crisis, economic interventions and health policy. In the second part, the foreign policy initiatives taken by the government to deal with the challenging international environment are examined. While the lockdown was imposed by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he barely calculated the logistics of how to manage the lockdown across 28 states and 8 Union territories. The government argued that this unwarned and mismanaged lockdown response was influenced by barbell strategy, which was meant to manage the uncertainty and then let the government design policy. A large portion of India’s population does not have access to basic health care and the pandemic has added to it. In its foreign policy response, India counted on SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the G20. Through SAARC, India was able to raise a lot of funds and received international praise for such an initiative as well. In the virtual summit of NAM, Narendra Modi did not miss an opportunity to portray India as responsible and Pakistan as the irresponsible one busy in promoting terrorism. The Indian government is using all available diplomatic platforms to project itself a as a positive influencer and a responsible partner in solving the global issues. 

By: Ruby Clayton, CIGA Research Associate



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