COVID-19 Ballgame Poll
Public opinion polls generally reflect the attitude of a certain section of the population on critical issues impacting the overall health of a nation. For example, the European Commission and the European Parliament regularly conduct and monitor the state of public opinion by means of the Eurobarometer. It becomes even more important when it mainly concerns the young people of a nation and how they perceive the choices of their government. Added to this is the current context of epidemics and a sharp rise in sustainability issues. In this case, the ORF Foreign Policy Survey 2021 hits the nail on the head by taking a definitive demographic angle and focusing on the bulk of the Indian population i.e. those under 35. Although this is a timely survey conducted in the midst of a pandemic, it is limited in its choice of sample group, which is limited only to urban youth from both metropolitan and non-metropolitan cities in India. . But the survey sees this as its bright spot, as its report claims. This is what sets it apart from existing surveys conducted to date. In fact, according to the survey, urban youth are the most important stakeholders in the future of the country. The survey attempts to highlight the views of urban youth aged 18-35, thus examining the resulting impression on the nation’s foreign policy and its external representation. As a one-of-a-kind approach, it tackles several aspects to its credit, including multilateralism and globalization, and also examines how these views are formed, especially in light of the ongoing pandemic.
The current epidemic context and the sharp rise in sustainability issues. In this case, the ORF Foreign Policy Survey 2021 hits the nail on the head by taking a definitive demographic angle and focusing on the bulk of the Indian population.
Divided mainly into four compact pieces, the first part of the Survey seeks to understand the awareness of Indian youth on New Delhi’s relations with its neighboring countries and how bilateral relations behave on the interaction meter. Although it appears that 72 percent of India’s youth have a favorable view of its overall foreign policy, it is hard to ignore that nearly 89 percent of them also prioritized the need to strengthen the urgently saving. The Survey also naturally portrays respondents’ fears regarding major political challenges, particularly in the current context of the pandemic and further compounded by growing political instability in the neighborhood (i.e. Afghanistan) in the form of the fight against terrorism.
The Survey also naturally portrays respondents’ fears regarding major political challenges, particularly in the current context of the pandemic and further compounded by growing political instability in the neighborhood (i.e. Afghanistan) in the form of the fight against terrorism.
It also takes into account India’s relations with the P5 countries (China, Russia, US, UK and France) as well as three other countries (Australia, Japan and EU) given the changes and shocks geopolitics due to COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, common Indian youth are not placing their bet on their Chinese counterparts for support. The confidence factor, however, is more prone in Washington and also in Canberra, given New Delhi’s growing imprint on the Indo-Pacific scene. One of the highlights of the Survey comes in the form of the fourth section devoted to young people’s views on multilateralism and globalization. Faced with the mixed response of the United Nations (UN) to the current health crisis, the survey reveals a house divided when it comes to India to design solutions, that is to say at the global level or local, for COVID-19. It would not be wrong to state that while urban youth are deeply concerned about the rampage caused by the pandemic on a global scale, they are also dissatisfied with the government’s national responses to the crisis. Hence, the house is divided with 46% wanting New Delhi to think about global solutions while 34% are concerned about solutions at the national level.
He discusses several aspects to his credit, including multilateralism and globalization, and also investigates how these opinions are formed, especially in light of the ongoing pandemic.
However, one area where the Survey appears to be lacking is that of India’s development cooperation. In the current context, international development cooperation constitutes an essential element of the foreign policy of any nation. Used as an effective tool to represent oneself positively in its external relations, development cooperation is difficult to neglect. It is no longer an arena limited to developed economies. Countries like China and India or the new emerging economies are gradually taking center stage in the global aid architecture. Take, for example, India’s recent initiative Maitri vaccine, through which COVID-19 vaccines were distributed by New Delhi to its neighborhood and beyond. This is something the ORF’s foreign policy investigation should have noted as one of the critical themes of multilateralism and globalization. Although praised around the world, several experts have expressed inhibitions about the government’s poor performance when it comes to vaccinating its own population. It would be useful to examine the levels of awareness among young people regarding India’s crucial bilateral and multilateral projects supported by the Development Partnership Administration (DPA) in collaboration with Exim Bank. This would certainly pave the way for serious discussions on the issue, especially in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Given the deepening of several global crises, the discourse of sustainability is naturally quite close to the discourse of development cooperation. An assessment of the views of Indian youth on New Delhi’s development partnership initiatives potentially holds the key to setting goals and prioritizing areas in its foreign policy discourse and strategic thinking in the years to come.
This article is based on the findings of the ORF 2021 Foreign Policy Survey: Young India and the World