Letter From Lucknow: Indians Steer Their Own Course


(MENAFN- Asia Times) Last month, I spent a week with friends and former colleagues in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh and one of India's most beautiful cities. My purpose was to determine if the views of Lucknow's high society were substantially in sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's worldview and foreign-policy objectives. My conversations revealed a remarkable convergence of opinions.

Lucknowites, with rare exceptions, support India's long-established policy of strategic autonomy
and are not amused
when zealous“Indo-Atlanticists,”
in league with their
foreign connections,
try to rope India into the agendas of others.
These locals were adamant that
India
conduct
its foreign relations according to its own lights and not back off in its pursuit of multipolarity.

The Lucknowites I dealt with were highly vocal and effusively optimistic about India's future, notwithstanding
the
serious internal challenges
the country is
facing. This positive frame of mind contrasts with the pessimism of many in the Euro-Atlantic realm over what they consider to be the fecklessness of their leaders and the nihilism of their foreign and domestic policies.

My interlocutors grasp that the polices of the Western
powers are increasingly
ideologically driven, as, for example, when they insist that India's approach to energy imports comply with the West's strategic priorities, which are often intertwined with ideology.

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