Foreign Policy of India

Principles of Indian Foreign Policy

  • Promotion of World Peace
    • Article 51 of the Constitution (Directive Principles of State Policy) directs the Indian State to promote international peace and security
  • Anti-Colonialism
    • present neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism is also opposed by India
  • Anti-Racialism
  • Non-Alignment
    • India has no military alliances with countries of either bloc or indeed with any nation
    • India has an independent approach to foreign policy
    • India attempts to maintain friendly relations with all countries
  • Panchsheel
    • embodied in the Preamble of the Indo-China Treaty on Tibet, signed in 1954 by Jawaharlal Nehru and ChouEn-Lai, the Chinese Premier. Five principles were
      • mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty
      • non-aggression
      • non-interference in each other’s internal affairs
      • equality and mutual benefit
      • peaceful co-existence
    • Afro-Asian Bias
      • India played an active role in the Afro-Asian Conference at Bandung (Indonesia) in 1955. India also played an important role in the formation of Group of 77 (1964), Group of 15 (1990), Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (1995), BIST Economic Cooperation (1997), and SAARC (1985).

        Foreign Policy of India
        Credit: Brookings Institution
      • India earned the name of ‘Big Brother’ from many of the neighbouring countries.
    • Links with Commonwealth
      • It has been playing an important role at the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meet).
      • India hosted the 24th Commonwealth Summit at New Delhi in 1983
    • Support to the UNO
      • India has been elected by acclamation to three bodies of the UN Economic and Social Council.
      • India was elected by acclamation to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2022.
      • India was elected by acclamation to the Executive Board of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) for a three-year term beginning on January 1, 2022.
      • India was elected to the Executive Board of the World Food Programme, along with France, Ghana, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Sweden by acclamation for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2022.
      • India will sit in the 15-nation United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2021-22 term as a non-permanent member – the eighth time that the country has had a seat on the powerful horseshoe table.
    • Disarmament
      • not signing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968 and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) of 1996, India has kept its nuclear options open
      • India opposes NPT and CTBT due to their discriminatory and hegemonistic nature

Objectives of Indian Foreign Policy

  • protect India’s core national interests and concerns in a rapidly changing international environment
  • preserve the autonomy of the decision-making process and to play a pioneering role in the establishment of a
    stable, prosperous and secure global order
  • strengthen the international campaign against terrorism
  • build an international environment which is supportive of India’s rapid economic growth
  • work closely with P-5 countries and to build strategic ties with the major powers such as the USA, the EU, Japan,
    Russia, and China
  • intensify and strengthen ties with neighbours through mutually beneficial cooperation
  • work for the realisation of SAARC as an economically integrated region at peace
  • ensure that cross-border terrorism is brought to an end
  • further the gains from India’s ‘Act East’ Policy (erstwhile ‘Look East’ Policy) and aspire for substantive progress in
    several areas of common interest to India and ASEAN
  • strengthen our ties with the countries of the Gulf region that has become home to over 4 million Indians
  • leverage economic growth through support to the activities of regional organisations like BIMSTEC, IBSA, IOR-ARC
  • work closely with regional groupings like the EU and G-20
  • reform and restructure the UN Security Council and espouse multi-polarity in a world order
  • promote a more equitable equation between the developed and the developing world
  • work towards the goal of global nuclear disarmament
  • closely interact with the Indian diaspora on a continuing basis

Gujral Doctrine

  • a milestone in India’s foreign policy
  • propounded and initiated in 1996 by I.K. Gujral
  • five-point roadmap to guide the conduct of India’s foreign relations with its immediate neighbours
    • With the neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, India should not ask for reciprocity, but give to them what it can in good faith
    • No South Asian country should allow its territory to be used against the interest of another country of the region
    • No country should interfere in the internal affairs of another country
    • All South Asian countries should respect each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
    • All South Asian countries should settle all their disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations.

Nuclear Doctrine of India

  • credible minimum deterrent
  • posture of “No First Use”
  • Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage
  • Nuclear retaliatory attacks can only be authorised by the civilian political leadership
  • Non-use of nuclear weapons against nonnuclear weapon states
  • However, in the event of a major attack against India or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons,
    India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear
  • participation in the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty negotiations, and continued observance of the moratorium on nuclear tests
  • Continued commitment to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory
    nuclear disarmament

Nuclear Command Authority

  • Comprises a Political Council and an Executive Council.
  • The Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister.
  • It is the sole body which can authorize the use of nuclear weapons.
  • The Executive Council is chaired by the National Security Advisor

“Connect Central Asia” Policy

  • Aimed at strengthening and expanding of India’s relations with the Central Asian countries. These countries include
    Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
  • Military training, joint research, counter-terrorism coordination and close consultations on Afghanistan
  • Step up multilateral engagement to integrate its markets with the unifying Eurasian space through existing fora like the SCO, Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) and the Custom Union
  • India has already proposed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement
  • Long term partner in energy, and natural resources. Central Asia possesses large cultivable tracts of land
  • Tele-education and tele-medicine connectivity
  • International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

“Act East Policy”

  • In 2014 upgraded India’s “Look East Policy” and re-named it as the “Act East Policy”.
  • Features
    • Focusses on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region
    • Close ties with all countries in the Asia-Pacific region (ASEAN Countries)
    • India has also been actively engaged in regional fora such as BIMSTEC, East Asia Summit (EAS), Mekong
      Ganga Cooperation (MGC) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
    • Cooperation in our domestic agenda on infrastructure, manufacturing, trade, skills, urban renewal, smart cities, Make in India, cooperation in space, S&T and people-to-people exchanges and other initiatives
    • Providing enhanced connectivity to the States of North Eastern Region including Arunachal Pradesh with other countries in our neighbourhood

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