Is India globalizing, “slowbalizing" or deglobalizing? Nobody quite knows. Our economic engagement with the rest of the world has been erratic in recent years, and the latest budget doesn’t clarify much. Further avenues for foreign direct investment are to be opened, processes eased and baits dangled to attract money from abroad for projects in India. But import tariffs are up as a shield for domestic industry, which may hurt our prospects of joining global supply chains.

It doesn’t help that India’s export competitiveness remains too low for outward shipments to recover from torpor, let alone stage an “Asian miracle"—the East Asian Model that this year’s Economic Survey dwelt upon at length as an example for the country to follow. Meanwhile, global currency markets hint of turning volatile should international trade disputes worsen, even as India plans to issue sovereign dollar bonds that could lend the rupee an upward policy bias.

Given the known and unknown risks that attend commercial and other ties across the world, scenario planning is a must for India. This would entail mapping out various improbable but high-impact futures and drawing up an alternate plan for each. What if the monetary policies of foreign authorities, for example, send currencies into a cheaper-than-thou contest? What if China, in frustration over its stand-off with the US, sharpens its chest of US treasury bonds into a weapon against the dollar? Extreme events are unlikely, of course, but not impossible. No matter how the future pans out, India cannot afford to be caught navel-gazing.