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SARID Staff, October 21, 2006

Hot on the heels of the UNCTAD report on global foreign direct investment, which showed gains over the past year for all South Asian countries, comes a new document, though this time from one if the countries themselves.

The Hindustan Times of October 19, 2006 announced that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India has compiled a ranking of nations based on their political, strategic, commercial and, interestingly, cultural, significance to India in the next decade. The importance of each nation is assessed on a 1 – 100 scale. The 114 listed countries comprise India’s diplomatic representation abroad.

The ‘Relevance for India’ (RX) index puts the United States and the United Kingdom at the top of the list, with scores of 92 and 86 points respectively. France, Japan and Russia, appear to be equally significant from New Delhi’s perspective, as all these nations received 79 points.

Most baffling is New Delhi’s sixth place ranking for China at 77 points. Surely, China’s geographical closeness, as well as its economic and political rivalry with India, should place it ahead of Japan?

Although the South Asian countries Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were ranked alphabetically at 7, 8, 9, 10, they all received equal points and therefore are presumed to be classed at equal levels of importance.

There appear to be disagreement among some Indian authorities on the categorization of Bhutan Belgium, Australia, Afghanistan and Thailand, who all tied at 67 points. From the MEA’s vantage point, the country of least significance to India is Papua New Guinea, which took 114th position in the RX index.

According to the Hindustan Times, the list is the starting point for the MEA’s bold plans to fortify India’s mounting global presence, as well as strengthen its bid for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The strategy involves expanding the number and improving the quality of Indian missions abroad. India’s diplomatic representation abroad is less than that of China, which at 163 countries, equals that of the United States. With 166, France has the highest number of missions abroad.


Government of India Ministry of External Affairs:

Hindustan Times:



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