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India's Foreign Policy

India has historically maintained cordial relations with the majority of the developing world's countries. It was a co-founder of the Non-Aligned Movement and has been a leader in developing country activism (NAM).

India has also strengthened ties with East Asia, most notably through membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

It is a member of regional organisations such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multidisciplinary Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).

What Is India's Foreign Policy? What does it aim at?

The foreign policy of a country shapes its relations with other countries. India has experimented with new foreign policy ventures in its quest to attain the status of global power since independence.

For a long period of time, there had been no significant shifts or changes in Indian foreign policy. Significant changes, however, have occurred as a result of the liberalisation and privatisation processes. India's foreign policy is guided by the rational self-interest of the country.

India's primary foreign policy objective is to foster and maintain a peaceful and stable external environment conducive to the country's domestic objectives of inclusive economic development and poverty alleviation.

India has a significant stake in a favourable external environment in both our region and globally, given the Gol's high priority for socio-economic development. As a result, India strives to maintain a peaceful periphery and works to improve relations with its extended neighbours.

India's foreign policy also recognises that critical issues for India's transformation, such as climate change, energy security, and food security, are global in scope and require global cooperation.

India's global role has shifted dramatically over the last six decades, from leading the anti-colonial movement to emerging as a global player with de facto nuclear status.

India's transformation into one of the world's most powerful economies, a responsible nuclear weapon state with demonstrated scientific and technological competence, and stable democracy is truly remarkable in our time.

Decolonization, the establishment of an Afro-Asian community of like-minded countries, the emphasis on principles of peaceful coexistence based on mutual respect, the pursuit of an Equitable System for socioeconomic development, initiatives toward global disarmament, and robust participation in UN peacekeeping activities can all be credited with shaping India's initial imprints on global affairs in the last five decades of the twentieth century.

Tenets Of India's Foreign Policy

India's founding fathers established the fundamental tenets of Indian foreign policy. It was constructed during the Civil Rights Movement when freedom fighters were concentrating their efforts on pressing issues of the day.

India's Foreign Policy principles that emerged at the time have stood the test of time: a belief in friendly relations with all countries of the world, peaceful resolution of conflicts, sovereign equality of all states, and intellectual and political independence as manifested by the principles of non-alignment and equity in international relations.

What are the fundamental principles of India's foreign policy?

The following are the fundamental tenets of Indian foreign policy:

  • Promotion of international peace and security.

  • Non-alignment.

  • Anti-colonial and anti-imperialist ideologies are diametrically opposed.

  • Anti-racialism.

  • United Nations Support for Peaceful Coexistence and Panchasheel

  • Multilateralism.

  • Disarmament and Nuclear Policy

Promotion of International Peace And Security

India is a firm believer in peaceful and cordial relations with its neighbours, as well as a policy of "no intervention" in any country's internal affairs.

On the other hand, Article 51 of the Indian Constitution establishes certain "Directive Principles of State Policy on International Peace and Security." "The state shall make every effort to promote international peace and security, to maintain just and honourable relations between nations, to foster adherence to international law and treaty obligations in organised people's dealings with one another, and to promote the resolution of international disputes through arbitration."

Panchasheel And Peaceful Co-Existence

India's foreign policy is guided by the 'Panchsheel' principles.

Panchsheel's fundamental tenets are as follows:

  • Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

  • Pact of non-aggression.

  • Non-interference in one another's private lives.

  • Two words come to mind when considering this subject: equality and mutual benefit.

  • Peaceful coexistence.

Assistance to United Nations

As a founding member of the United Nations, India has remained steadfastly committed to the UN's goals and principles while also making significant contributions to the UN's various activities, including peacekeeping operations.

India's support for UN-led peacekeeping missions is a central tenet of its foreign policy. India has dispatched troops to Africa and other parts of the world in support of the UN-led mission.

What are the outcomes of India's Foreign Policy?

While India's foreign policy has remained relatively stable since independence, there has been a shift in direction and inclination since the early 1990s. However, Panchsheel, pragmatism, and the pursuit of national interest guide India's foreign policy.

In an era of rapid and continuing change, foreign policy must be capable of responding optimally to new challenges and opportunities.

It must be a part of a larger effort to strengthen India's capabilities through economic development, social fabric and well-being, and the protection of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

As it strives to become a global player in the coming years, India must not be afraid to take on new responsibilities or positions. The foreign policy of a rising power cannot be compartmentalised; it must engage and expand.

Regardless, a shift in foreign policy is unavoidable. It must evolve to meet India's changing needs, and as a result, India's foreign policy must embrace the founding fathers' tenets while adapting to meet modern needs.


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