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 [B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) - 2nd YEAR]







Foreign Policy meaning and determinants………………………………………

Objectives of India’s Foreign Policy………………………………………….…

Basic Principals……………………………………………………………...…..


The vigilant foreign approach of India and Modi’s foreign policy………….…..




There appears to be a power transformation in Asia, brought on by the rapid emergence of China and the relative decline in US influence. India has been finding a way of dealing with this new situation. Since the 1990s, India itself has risen to prominence, particularly its nuclear weapons tests in 1998 onwards. India has been viewed as the next country to join China in finding a major power role since the beginning of the twenty-first century. Even though India has previously tended to hide its ambitions for power, it announced its intention to be a leading power in 2015. This article elucidates this transition through the local, regional and global policy orientation of India and its main partnerships with Russia and Japan. The metamorphosis of India has great consequences for Asia's transition of influence.

Keywords: Nuclear Weapon, Ambitions for power, global policy




“The rapid rise of China after the Cold War, particularly since the 2000s, has posed a challenge to the influence of the United States (US). Although it is still possible to recognise the US as the sole superpower, its relative decline is sharp. Asian players have been facing and adjusting to new circumstances, such as Japan, the ASEAN countries, and Australia and India, which could be described as a transition of power in Asia. While the US and China can be seen as the two major powers of the present and the future, India is obviously trying to catch up with those two countries as a major force among the Asian players, while maybe lagging a lap or two behind them.”

“Hence the main objective of this article is to provide an examination of how India is attempting to build its overall foreign policy in the current international situation and beyond. To state the conclusion at the beginning, India is trying to respond to the evolving situation by aiming to become a major force itself in the future. From its independence in 1947 until the 2000s, India was a reluctant participant in the international theatre. However, India has metamorphosed itself into a dynamic player with the beginning of the 2010s and has moved from denying to affirming its position as a major force. This paper attempts to provide a detailed view of the foreign policy of India.”



Policy is regarded as a course of action and is important to a nation's growth. A nation's policies are further divided into both domestic and international policies. No country may live in an isolated state in the age of globalisation. Defence, economic development, environmental concerns, etc. establish the cooperation and co-existence of nation states. As a consequence, bilateral, trilateral and multilateral ties are formed between and with each other. Foreign policy is described as the overarching goals that govern one state's activities and relationships in its interactions with other states. Foreign policy formulation is influenced by domestic interests, by other states' policies or behaviour, or by proposals to advance particular geopolitical designs. India was associated with the world from ancient times onwards. It is obvious from the writings of academics and travellers. Nehru's idea of interacting with the world was evident throughout the national movement. India, as a newly independent country, has placed a lot of emphasis on interacting with the world. Article 51[1] of the Indian Constitution specifically provides that:


(a) International peace and stability shall be promoted;

(b) Fair and honourable ties shall be maintained;

(c) Promote conformity with international law and treaty obligations in the relations of organised peoples with each other and promote the resolution of international conflicts by arbitration 'are its foreign policy priorities.



Even at the time of Nehru, who was influenced by the ideals of world peace, tolerance and mutual respect among nations, national interest was the guiding principle of India's foreign policy. In operational terms, the notion of national interest takes the form of specific foreign policy goals. Pursuant to Appadorai and M. S. Rajan, the three basic goals of India's foreign policy are:


  1. The preservation of India’s territorial integrity and independence of foreign policy

Territorial sovereignty and the defence of domestic borders from international borders A nation's main interest is aggression. After a long time, India had achieved hard-earned freedom from foreign rule. It was therefore, normal for the independence of foreign policy should be given due importance. Efforts by India, in this light, the support of the ideals of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and, ultimately, the implementation of the policy of non-alignment should be strengthened by Afro-Asian solidarity.


  1. Promoting international peace and security

India has rightly recognised, as a 'newly independent and developing country, that international peace and growth are correlated. India’s emphasis on disarmament and the strategy of staying away from military alliances is aimed at fostering world peace.


  1. Economic Development of India

The country's rapid growth was India's basic necessity at the time of independence. Strengthening democracy and freedom in the country was also needed in order to obtain financial capital and technology from both blocs and to focus its attention on the country. Growth, India chose to step away from the politics of the power block, which was the dominant characteristic of the foreign politics of the Cold War. India's practise of foreign policy also discloses its two other goals:


(1) Elimination of colonialism and prejudice against race.

(2) Security of the rights of individuals abroad of Indian descent. An official statement of Ministry of External Affairs states that “India's foreign policy aims to safeguard her enlightened self-interest.” Its main objective is to foster and sustain a peaceful and prosperous external climate in which the domestic tasks of sustainable economic growth and the alleviation of poverty will advance rapidly. India, therefore, seeks a peaceful periphery and works in her extended neighbourhood for good neighbourly relations. India's foreign policy also accepts that problems such as climate change, energy and food security are fundamental to the transformation of India. Since these problems are international in nature, they require global solutions.



India has embraced and followed those values to achieve these goals, while keeping in mind the basic objectives of India's foreign policy. Under the Directive Principles of Strategy in the Constitution of India, some of these principles are set out in Article 51. These values are the promotion of international peace and security; friendly ties with other countries; respect for international law and institutions such as the United Nations; and, ultimately, the peaceful resolution of international conflicts. India's foreign policy ideals and its goals are closely interlinked with one another. These ideals have stood the test of time and are rooted in the case of international law and India's foreign policy. Several such principles are discussed below.


  1. Panchsheel

Indian leaders have acknowledged the connection between humanity's peace and progress and survival. They realised, in view of the devastation caused by two world wars, that a permanent world peace was needed for the advancement of a country. Social and economic growth is likely to be relegated to the background without global peace. Thus in his policy planning, Nehru, the father of India's foreign policy, put the greatest emphasis on world peace. India wanted him to have peaceful and friendly relations with all nations particularly the big powers and the neighbouring nations. He promoted adherence to five guiding principles, known as Panchsheel, while signing a peace agreement with China. On 28 April 1954, Panchsheel was signed and it has since been a guiding principle of India's bilateral relations with countries as well. The following five foreign policy concepts are included in Panchsheel:


  1. Mutual respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of one another.
  2. Non-aggression against each other.
  3. Non-interference with the internal affairs of one another.
  4. Equality and reciprocal advantage.
  5. Peaceful co-existence

These Panchsheel concepts were later integrated into the Bandung declaration, signed in Indonesia at the 1955 Afro-Asian Meeting. They are the fundamental principles of non-alignment and still direct the conduct of India's foreign policy.


  1. Policy of non- alignment

The most significant aspect of India's foreign policy is non-alignment. Its central element is to preserve independence in foreign affairs by not joining any US-Soviet Union military alliance that arose after the Second World War as a significant part of Cold War politics. Non-alignment in foreign relations or isolationism should not be confused with indifference or non-involvement. It was a good idea and a complex one. According to the merits of each situation, it postulates taking an independent stance on foreign issues but at the same time not committing itself to come under the control of any military bloc. Therefore a crucial prerequisite for foreign policy freedom was to stay away from military alliances and super-power bocks. In the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, India's policy of non-alignment had many supporters as it gave them the ability to maintain their freedom from foreign policy in the midst of cold war pressures and tension. In popularising and consolidating the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), India played a lead role. The Asian Relations Conference in New Delhi in 1947 was convened by India, under the leadership of Nehru, to forge the concept of Asian solidarity. India held another Asian Affairs Conference in 1949 on the issue of Indonesia's independence, as India stood firm against colonial rule in other countries. In Bandung (Indonesia), in 1955, a larger conference, known as the Bandung Conference of 29 Asian and African countries, was convened to establish the Afro-Asian unit. Ten basic principles of international relations were laid down by the conference, which Five Panchsheel values were included. The leaders vowed to work together with developing countries for colonial liberation, stability, and cultural, economic and political cooperation. The Bandung Conference was the forerunner of the NAM, which held its first Belgrade Summit in 1961. The Non-Aligned Movement since then, he didn't look back. Fifteen summits have been held so far, the last of which was held in Sharm El Sheikh in 2009. It offers all its members an opportunity to participate in the global decision-making process, irrespective of their size and growth. India hosted the Seventh NAM Summit in 1983 in New Delhi. India took up the cause of growth, disarmament and the issue of Palestine in this Summit.


Since NAM was a product of the politics of the Cold War and the bipolar world, several scholars questioned the validity of NAM after the end of the Soviet Union's cold war and disintegration. Once again, globalisation has led to a shift in the preferences of even its leading voters, such as India, who have opted to follow the values of the neo-liberal market economy in order to integrate with the new global order. This new situation created the impression as if NAM is sidelined and it is diminishing in importance. Nonetheless, if we go deep in the because of the following reasons, the fundamental features of NAM also seem to be equally important in the evolving context.


  1. As the world faces a greater risk from a unipolar world dominated by the United States after the NAM could serve as a check against the disintegration of the Soviet Union, dominance of every nation or bloc and hegemony.
  2. The developed world (North) and the developing world (South) have divergent opinions on many political and economic problems. A forum may be established by the NAM for Third world nations to engage developing countries in a productive dialogue.
  3. The NAM will prove to be a good mechanism for South-South forging Cooperation, which is necessary for their mutual self-reliance in a global order guided by the current market.
  4. NAM will provide developed countries with an effective forum to discuss intentionally resolving numerous global challenges, problems and changes, including reform of the United Nations and other international financial organisations, such as World Finance, World Bank and the IMF, in order to make them more successful and democratic.


  1. Policy of Resisting Colonialism, Imperialism, Racism

India was a victim of colonialism and racism and as such, in some way, resisted these evils. India sees colonialism and imperialism as the danger to international peace and stability In 1946, India was the first to present the issue of apartheid to the UN. To this end, India raised its voice in support of Indonesia's independence and arranged an Asian Relations Conference. In 1964, 14 African countries were freed from the yoke of colonialism due to the persistent efforts of India through NAM and other international forums. In South Africa, India has made sincere attempts to end the scourge of apartheid. In 1986, at the initiative of India, NAM set up the Africa Fund (Action to Resist Imperialism, Colonialism and Apartheid) to assist the frontline states that were victims of South African violence to support the cause of the war against apartheid. India has contributed generously to this fund. In South Africa in 1990, the end of racialism was a great achievement for Indian politics.


  1. Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes

The unflinching confidence in the diplomatic solution and peaceful resolution of international conflicts is one of the key elements of India's foreign policy. This idea has been integrated into the Constitution of India, the Directive Principles of State Policy and the Charter of the United Nations. India has played a leading role in the Korean dispute resolution and has sponsored negotiated settlement of the Palestinian issue, the Kashmir issue, border issues with neighbouring countries, and other such conflicts and problems. India is currently in favour of resolving the peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem, the issue of the Middle East democratic upsurge, and so on. In order to address international issues, India is always against foreign military interference. The core of India's strategy continues to be this principle.


  1. Support to UN, International Law and a Just and Equal World Order

India, as recognized by the UN, has immense respect for international law and/or the ideals of sovereign equality of nations and non-interference in other nations' internal affairs. The cause of disarmament sought by the UN was sponsored by India. India proposed a rather ambitious nuclear disarmament policy in 1988 before the UN. Although the other members of the UN have not endorsed this plan, India remains committed to the cause of universal disarmament, even today. India played a crucial role in sustaining world peace by assisting in the process of decolonization and by engaging effectively in UN peacekeeping operations. The reform of the Security Council and other UN agencies has been suggested and sponsored by India in order to make the composition of the Security Council more practical and democratic. One of the candidates for permanent membership of the Security Council is India.




These critical observations could be geared towards the foreign policy of India in the two decades of the 1990s and 2000s. They might be right evaluations for India in the 1990s, but India presents a completely changed picture from the 2000s onwards. Upon entering the 2000s, India's propensity to become a global power slowly emerged. It could be said that 1998 was the latent starting point for this intention, but that India's nuclear achievements turned out to be a pipedream before the word BRICs came into common use in 2001. In his publication Creating Better Global Economic BRICs, the BRICs were introduced to the public by the then Chair of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Jim O'Neill. The BRICs have been denoted by the Brazil, Russia, India and China parties, all expressing their promising prospects for emerging economies. India is living up to those predictions. It showed a solid economic growth rate of 8-10 percent between the financial years 2003 and 2010. “India has been given great self-confidence by such incredible economic success. In its 2004, General Election manifesto the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the then ruling party, proposed its slogan of 'Shining India.' C. Raja Mohan, India's leading strategic thinker, has said:' India is now on the verge of becoming a great power after frustrating itself for decades.' The momentum of India's emergence continued into the 2010s. The China Daily noted the great power aspirations of India when the Agni, a medium-range missile, was launched by India in December 2011.[2] A special issue, titled India as a Great Power, was published by The Economist in 2013.”[3]


“Consequently, in the 2000s and 2010s, India appeared to be emerging on the global stage. The Government of India (GOI) itself, however, has never officially proclaimed the country to be a major force and has instead adhered to its conventional external cooperation policy or alliance with like-minded nations. The GOM Report on National Security was the first document released by GOI, which indicates that India has no fair option but to opt for closer ties with the US. The second paper, sent to Prime Minister Singh by the task force led by K, was The Challenge: India and the New American Global Strategy, 2006. Subrahmanyam, who in independent India was presumed to be the greatest strategic thinker. Although this paper remains secret, Sanjaya Baru revealed the essence of it as the time has come for India to advance its interests by increasing integration with the global economy, making the best use of the economic opportunities offered by developed economies, especially the US.' It carries almost the same tone as the 2001 report. Of course, and particularly for foreigners, these documents include outstanding materials and data to explain India's current foreign policy. Apart from these two, numerous claims have been put forward since the 2000s to describe the foreign policy of India as a diversified, multilateral policy. They remain, however, incomplete, failing to provide an overall image of foreign policy, in particular of its key foreign policy priorities. Perhaps during the transitional era, India may have had trouble taking effective measures because the emergence of India as a major force is a recent phenomenon.



“How will Japan-India and other elements of India's foreign policy proceed against such a backdrop? The current bilateral relations, clearly speaking, can be described as a relationship of convenience based on mutual need and profit. To maximise their respective national interests, the two nations will make the best use of their present close relations. However it should be noted that there are subtle variations in attitudes between the two countries towards China, while the two countries usually follow engagement and hedging policies in essence. Japan, in cooperation with the US and other like-minded countries, is trying to prevent China from occupying the dominant position in Asia, especially in the Western Pacific region, while India's basic orientation is to establish stable ties with China.”


“When the Modi government rose to power, Sandy Gordon of the Australia National University noted the government’s attempt to ‘play both ends against the middle’, especially since this approach has been a classic feature of Indian foreign policy. Under this scenario, India would seek the best deal it can from China, both economically and in terms of a possible border settlement, while attempting to maintain its hedge against a possible difficult rise of China with powers such as the US and Japan. Kanwal Sibal, the former Foreign Secretary of India, remarked in a similar vein: 'The economic stakes of Japan in China are enormous; our own political and economic stakes in China are high given the contiguity of China to us and our direct exposure to its influence. Neither Japan nor India are pursuing a conflict with China, but both are responsible for building lines of defence against the rise of China's destructive exercise of control.”


Prime Minister Modi appears to have been practising his foreign policy since coming to power in May 2014, as expected by two experts. The Parliamentary Address of President Mukherjee on 9 June 2014 can especially reveal the policy context of Modi: "We will pursue our international commitment based on enlightened national interest, combining the strength of our values with pragmatism." [4] “The Matrix presented here shows that in order to build a rich and powerful country, Modi has been practising his strategy of speeding economic growth and expanding defence capabilities. For Modi, a strong economy means not only the economy per se, but also the infrastructure of his diplomacy:' A strong economy is a cornerstone for successful foreign policy.'[5] From the viewpoint of geo-economics rather than geopolitics, he appears to be enforcing his foreign policy.”


Nevertheless, he is forced to confront the problem of foreign policy vs domestic politics. The question of a Trade Facilitation Deal with economic benefits that are said to be worth 1 trillion US dollars has emerged, for example. India decided to join it in Bali in December 2013 with a four-year grace period in relation to its agricultural procurement. Nevertheless, in July 2014, India backpedalled due to the concerns of farmers. This pattern can be seen in the case of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which was introduced in 2013 and was due to be completed by 2015 (extended to 2017).”


PM Modi’s make in India slogan must be seen in the light of the interests of India's customers and other interested parties. The complicated political dichotomy of localism vs globalism must be dealt with.



“There is obviously a common thread of anxiety about India's strong role in its current foreign policy regime. To date, the escalated conflicts between India and both Pakistan and China have led both journalists and analysts to conclude that India is actually ill-prepared for the economic and military implications of its existing strategy. A third-world soft power nation with multicultural dimensions to great/proving power before the world is like holding bundles of thronged hardwoods on hand and lap. Not only in the case of India, but most of the world's nations had to melt down, curved in the sphere of dimensions. India, in particular, has established its foreign policy based on its past culture and traditions. India's foreign policy is based upon the values and ideology of the Panchsheel Doctrine of Mahatma Gandhi. It is important to note that in all its domains, Indian foreign policy has properly protected national interests, emerging in the 21st century as a powerful IT-based country. India's influence is enhanced by the role of importance and affectivity in foreign policy. A new dimension of Indian foreign policy is the promotion of science, technology and culture. It will be very important to research how the values of Indian Foreign Policy have been affected by national interest. Foreign Policy shifts as per a nation's economic growth and trade. Indian Foreign Policy has thus undergone many changes from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to P.M. Mode. It maintains a system based on modern IT modes. India was the founder of the Non-Align Movement ideology, and this Non Align Movement became active during Narendra Modi's time. India is a vital phenomenon as a mega-power in the modern world. India will clearly perform well in the tune of Sab ka Saath and Sab ka Vikas in all emerging South Asian countries.”












[1]Constitution of India, Article 15

[2]Times of India (2011, December 18, paper edition).”

[3]The Economist (30 March 2013), available at http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21574458-india-poised-become-one-four-largest-military-powers-world-end (3 March 2017, date last accessed).”

[4] “The President of India is vested with all the executive authority but, in practice exercised by the Prime Minister with the help of the Council of Ministers (Article 53 of the Constitution of India).”

[5]Business Standard (19 October 2014), available at http://www.idsa.in/pressrelease/StudyofArthashastraImportantShivShankarMenon (3 March 2017, date last accessed).”


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