Every sovereign country has it's independent foreign policy. Similarly, India too has complex patterns and dynamics of foreign policy. Inter-dependency is a key feature of world politics.  Foreign policy refers to the sum total of principles, interests and objectives which a country promotes while interacting with other countries. It is never a fixed concept. The thrust of foreign policy keeps on changing according to the changing international conditions. India's foreign policy is also influenced by several factors including it's history, culture, geography and economy.

What is Foreign policy?

  • According to George Modelski, 'Foreign policy is the system of activities evolved by communities for changing the behaviour of other states and for adjusting their own activities to the international environment.'
  • According to Cecil V.Crabb, 'Reduced to it's most fundamental ingredients, foreign policy consists of two elements: national objective to be achieved, and the means to achieve them.'

Basic Objectives and Principles of Foreign Policy:

The objectives sought to be achieved by India's foreign policy are Panchsheel, non-alignment, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, anti-racism, strengthening the UN and peaceful settlement of disputes. India strives the best to achieve these objectives. These very objectives become the principles of India's foreign policy thereby shaping the structure and pattern in the realm of external affairs. 

Determinants of Foreign Policy of India:

  1. Geography: The foreign policy of any country is always influenced by it's geography. Lord Curzon, the Governor-General of India also predicted that the geographical position of India will push the country at the forefront of international affairs. Jawaharlal Nehru also recognized the pivotal position of India in the world. It is a sort of Asian bridge. The northern India is protected by the Himalayas which have shielded India from foreign invasions. The long coastline of India ( 7516.6 km ) also extends strategic routes protruding from India to the East and the West. The advent of the European companies into India was also through maritime routes. India is regularly demanding that the Indian Ocean should be declared as a zone of peace as it is very much essential for the security of India. The vast coastline of India also necessitates the need of a strong navy with friendly relations with the other naval powers in the Indian Ocean at the same time. Dr. Eayers holds, 'Pacts may be broken, treaties unilaterally denounced but geography holds it's victims fast.'

  2. History and Political Culture: As J.Nehru said, 'a country's foreign policy ultimately emerges from its own tradition, usages and objectives and more particularly from it's recent past.' Palmer and Perkins hold that the roots of Indian foreign policy are to be found in her civilization, the heritage of British policies, the independence movement and the influence of Gandhian philosophy. Indeed, it is true. India adopts a non-violent and a peaceable approach in solving the disputes. India has also supported the freedom movement of the other colonies around the world. Hence, it can be said that the foreign policy of India is a by-product of it's history and tradition.

  3. Economic Development: The financial status and position of a country also influence the domain of foreign affairs. An economically sound nation can go on interacting with other nations without much stress on obligations. While for developing countries like India, the case is different. India needs economic aid and assistance to gear up it's growth. India has taken the help of foreign states for steel-plants such as Rourkela with German collaboration and Bokaro with the Soviet assistance. International Monetary Fund (dominated by USA) also funds India for much of it's developmental projects. Since 1990, India follows Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization ( LPG model ) where India is compelled to reduce the rules and regulations and make situations conducive for an open and free-market economy.

  4. National Interest: The foreign policy of any country is primarily the fulfillment of it's national interest. Morgenthau also explained in his 'Political Realism', that a nation always proceeds in international politics with a view to grab the interest of the state to her own advantage. Here, the change is only desirable. It shouldn't be made at the expense of other nations as that would give birth to 'power-politics' then.

  5. International Milieu: It is one of the external determinants of foreign policy. International milieu means international environment. Since India is also a member of the global family, hence, the dynamics of global politics also affect the shapening of India's foreign policy. Example, In the Cold War scenario, Nehru ji decided not to associate with any of the power blocs and paved the way for non-alignment. The present Ukrainian crisis is also posing a tough decision challenge for India's foreign policy.

Apart from all these factors, factors such as the availability of resources such as water, oil, or vegetation play an important role in events of war or an insurgency. The industrial development of a country also determines the scope of relations. Membership of any international organization such as the UN also puts certain obligations on the State. The ideology which a country wants to make space in the room of international affairs also helps in defining the pattern of foreign policy. The foreign policy of a nation is made and implemented by it's leaders. All these factors are interrelated and interdependent. They must be analysed together for understanding the nature of the foreign policy.

Formulation of Foreign Policy:

  1. Parliament: It is the supreme law-making body of the country and it is vested with the authority to make laws for all aspects of foreign policy as enunciated in the Article 246 of the Constitution of India. The Parliament has the right to intervene and formulate all the aspects of India's relations with international affairs. This includes diplomatic, trade agreements with matters discussing the areas of war and peace. Parliament has constituted a Standing Committee on External Affairs to look into the specific aspects of foreign policy.

  2. Political Parties: All the political parties point out their foreign policy goals in their election manifesto. The foreign policy of a country cannot have a smooth sailing if domestic politics is sharply polarized in antagonistic camps or ideological blocs. An internally divided state cannot be a reflection of a strength or power. Hence, both the ruling parties and the opposition parties should leave behind power-politics and politics of corruption to focus on more important issues. Our former Prime Minister ( Mr. Manmohan Singh ) once said,'the things that we do and the things which we do not do will have a profound consequence on our ability to emerge as a truly global power.' The party-politics in India is defeating the very purpose of democracy in India and the electoral system is soon converting India from an electoral democracy to an electoral autocracy as remarked by a Sweden-based institute.

  3. Public Opinion: George Modelski explains that the public opinion of the political community in the country is conveyed to the policymakers as 'Inputs'. These actions do not have an independent significance as they fall short of the action-reaction mechanism. The policymakers work to materialise the political aspirations of the community into actions while dealing with the foreign states which are called 'Outputs.' Hence, it is said that the foreign policy of a nation is better considered in terms of individuals than states. Hence, the policymakers give due respect to the public opinion of the country. For example, Brexit can be seen as the impact of public opinion influencing the foreign policy of a country. Britain ended her trade and commercial relations with the European Union because her population wanted that change. The public opinion in most of the time is found to be standing oblivious in the context of international affairs. They don't even get serious unless something grave calls at the door. That shouldn't be the approach. Subjects like International Affairs, World Politics and Global Relations should be made a part of the child's academic curriculum.

  4. Ministry of External Affairs: It is a nodal agency that is responsible for conducting the foreign affairs of India. It is accountable for foreign policy making, it's execution and regular conduct of international relations. It's administrative structure has two divisions: territorial and functional. Each division is responsible for policy coordination in its area. There are further 15 sub-divisions also. The affairs regarding ambassadorship in other countries also falls under it's domain. There are Planning and Research Divisions also which are responsible for conducting researches, briefs and background papers for policymakers. The Economic Division has the responsibility of managing and conducting foreign economic relations. The Public Diplomacy Division was established in 2006 to initiate programmers for enlisting popular domestic and international support to foreign policy measures. It works in close association with researchers, think-tanks, civil society, media and industry. It also supports the Back-channel diplomacy. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations ( ICCR ) and Indian Council of World Affairs ( ICWA ) are also run by the Ministry of External Affairs.

After having discussed the principles, determinants and the structure of formulation of foreign policy, we shall proceed discussing the development of foreign policy in India.

Tracing Foreign Policy from Ancient India to Modern India (Till the Nehruvian era after independence):

To begin with ancient India, Mahabharata and Ramayana reveal us much about the foreign policy and relations in the ancient India. In Ramayana itself, we get to know about the state called Sri Lanka with which Lord Rama had to wage a war with. At the conclusion of war, he established diplomatic and peaceful relations with the state's ruler. King Ashoka is regarded to be most advanced king of India who had his reach throughout the world. The ancient India has also suffered Greek invasions. Evidences like Mansehra edicts or Kharoshthi script give description about strong contacts of India with Persia. Antiochus II of Syria is said to have visited India frequently in those times. The famous Megasthenes lived as a representative of Selecus Nikator in the court of Chandragupta Maurya and wrote a book called 'Indica'. Kautilya the famous gave the first scientific theory on foreign relations better known as the Mandala Concept of Kautilya. He gave principles to maintain the foreign policy of India. The Cholas are said to have established trade relations with the Chinese. The Gupta Empire had extended herself to the South East Asia as well. Hence, the aforementioned can be used to conclude that the ancient India didn't expand much in the domain of foreign affairs. The rulers were more plattered with domestic politics unless something serious knocked the doors of external matters.

The Medieval Age (1206- 1707AD) in India is first influenced by the politics within the Delhi Sultanate. The Slave Dynasty didn't do much to advance relations of India in foreign affairs. Ala-ud-din Khilji of the Khilji dynasty had plans of expanding his kingdom into a world empire. The Tughluqs were not blessed with exceptional leaders except Muhammad Bin Tughluq who is better termed to be a fool by the scholars. The Sayyid dynasty doesn't deserves any mention as it failed in the domestic politics itself. The Lodis particularly Ibrahim Lodi had to face an invader from Central Asia in the First Battle of Panipat(1526 AD ). Unfortunately, he lost both the battle of power and of his life. Babur the descendant of Timur and Cenghiz Khan established the Mughal dynasty. He and his son, Humayun didn't do anything in the face of foreign politics. It is said that the Portuguese and the English had arrived for the first time in India during the reign of Akbar. Jahangir later gives the English companies the right to trade in India. Shah Jahan who is the most famous for his magnificent construction of Taj Mahal is also famous at the same time for his Central Asian policy ( Balkh and Badakhshan ). Aurangzeb the bigoted ruler had no interest in foreign domain. The Later Mughals too didn't advance to the cause of external affairs.

With the results of the  Battle of Plassey (1757) and the Battle of Buxar (1765), India became a colony of the British. Now the external affairs were concentrated in the hands of a foreign power. The Britishers attempted to annex Nepal during the rule of Lord Hastings, Burma during the rule of Lord Amherst. The Britishers fought wars with Afghanistan thrice during their rule in India. The first during the time of Lord Ellenborough and the last during the Viceroyalty of Lord Chelmsford. During the tenure of Lord Curzon, Mc Mahon Line was demarcated as the boundary between India and China. Still, although the British attempted to induct into the foreign affairs of India but that was poisoned with the spirit of imperialism and colonialism. Indians had no stand in it. Hence, it is regarded that India had no foreign policy in the era of British colonialism. The independence of India in 1947 and Jawaharlal Nehru becoming the first Prime Minister of India launched to gear up the foreign affairs of India. It should be noted that India got it's independence at the closure of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War, where there existed a ideological conflict between the two super-powers ( USA and USSR ). Nehru ji decided not to associate with any of the power-blocs and also kept himself aloof from the opposing ideologies of communism and capitalism. He insisted that the alignment to a particular bloc will cease aid and assistance from the other. Hence, it would be better if India would choose the policy of Non-alignment. Hence, Nehru ji along with Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia and Nasser of Egypt headed towards the formation of Non-aligned movement. We will now discuss about 'Non-alignment' as an aspect of independent India's foreign policy.

The Policy of Non-alignment

The post-1945 period witnessed drastic changes in the international arena. The politics that was very much Eurocentric was now shifted into the hands of US and USSR. Both the powers tried to counter-check each other. Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan of the West was retaliated with the Molotov Plan of the East. Bipolarity was inducted in the global politics leading to sharp distrust and a proxy war between the two superpowers. The Western nations formed an alliance on collective defensive mechanism called North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO ) in 1949. Counter to which, the Eastern European nations joined in the Warsaw Pact of 1955. Both these countries tried to impose a pressure on the Asiatic and the African societies to join them. Some developing countries disregarded the call of super power-blocs and nurtured the dream of a world free from bloc politics and the tension around it. They felt that rendering allegiance to any of the superpowers would infringe and limit their own course of action. Prominent among these was India which also rejected the idea of being a part to this bloc-politics. Jawaharlal Nehru opposed to militarism advocated the peaceful and the non-violent methods for cooperation among states. He was joined by Indonesian President Sukarno, Yugoslavia President Tito and Egyptian President Nasser in forming a group that would be devoid of all sorts of military alignments. It was the efforts of these very states that a new chapter called Non-alignment Movement was written in the pages of history. Non-alignment believes in the policy of peaceful coexistence (to live and let live).

We must notice that non-alignment as a movement saw it's birth when the world was stuck in bipolar politics with the heat of Cold War in complete vigour. Although the word non-alignment is subject to multiple connotations, yet it is said to be have been  given a scientific sense by George Liska. Schwarzeneberger, a German scholar has identified non-alignment to be synonymous with isolationism, non-commitment, neutrality, neutralization, unilateralism and non-involvement. Non-alignment is not a policy of passivism rather a policy of 'positive neutrality.' It is a foreign policy perspective as according to Felix Gross, 'Not to have a foreign policy is also foreign policy.' Non-alignment is a positive concept as it strives for values and goals. It should be understood in the backdrop of the aspirations of the Indian people to follow non-violent and peaceful measures. Non-alignment is a moral doctrine which emphasizes that states wanted to influence the global dynamics through the moral and the soft means.

The origin of NAM is traced since the conference of the Afro-Asian nations held in New Delhi in 1947. Jawaharlal Nehru used this word for the first time in 1954 while he was delivering a speech in Sri Lanka. Nehru was discussing about the Panchsheel principles that would form the bedrock of the Sino-Indian relations. The Bandung Conference also emphasized the need of detachment from the colonial rule. It is said that this very conference formed the basis of the movement. After Bandung, it took six years to arrange for the first non-aligned summit in Belgrade in 1961. Around 25 countries participated in this summit and it was specifically the Declaration made at Belgrade which evoked a global response for the movement. The purpose of the Non-aligned movement was enumerated in the Havana Declaration of 1979.

The membership to this movement worked on an open-door structure. Any nation which wished to keep itself aloof from power-politics that dominated the era of Cold War and wished to traverse an independent course of action free from all sorts of military alliance could be a part of the movement. After the UNO, it is the largest organization of nation-states in the world, containing 50% of the world population.

Critics put it forward that non-alignment has not helped India in ensuring it's national interest. Some critics even go on saying that India has been able to defend her territorial integrity only because of the agreement that it signed with USSR in 1971. Alignment with USSR practically  ended the scope of non-alignment. The post-Cold War period has imposed  obligations on almost every single country to give up their status of non-alignment. 

According to C Rajamohan, non-alignment was not India's realism rather India's pragmatism. He says that India had no choice except to go for non-alignment for the following, Proximity to the Communist Bloc, Adoption of liberal constitutional democracy in India and Nehruvian model of 'Mixed Economy'. Hence, the decision of India in such a scenario shall always be acclaimed as a wise and a decision of rationale.

Nevertheless, India has always been criticized by the West for being inclined to the Eastern bloc. Furthermore, the Western nations see non-alignment as an instrument adopted by the Third World countries to pursue their selfish interests.

Relevance of NAM in the Contemporary World and most importantly for India:

NAM has theoretically lost it's relevance as it's rise was witnessed at a time when there was bipolarity in the global politics but now that the world order has changed to multipolarity, the significance of NAM seems to be marginalized. NAM has shifted it's attention to socio-economic, ecological, health and anti-terrorism and other issues during the post-Cold War period. NAM has the potential to issue changes in things such as climate change, decolonisation and economic reforms. NAM stands out as a platform that it is actually advocating the entry of India into the United Nations Security Council. It works to promote disarmament and peace-keeping in the world. It acts as a forum for settlement of bilateral disputes and fulfillment of economic interests of the respective states. NAM has to now deal with the New Cold War where China is playing an active role with the simultaneous task of strengthening the multipolar world. Nonetheless, the relevance of NAM needs to be re-couped.

India and it's Neighborhood - Relations

In order to play a vital role in the emerging multi-polar world politics, India has been developing enduring linkages between its domestic priorities and its foreign policy objectives. India aims to improve interactions with her immediate neighbours and her foreign policy in context of her neighbours is better known as, 'Neighborhood First Policy'of India. Connectivity with the members of SAARC nations, resource support by India to its neighbours and use of regional institutions to emerge as a regional leader in South Asia are key facets of this policy. Let's now glimpse over the status-quo and way ahead in context of India's relations with her neighbours.

India and China:

Diplomatic relations were established between India and China on April 1st, 1950. In 1988, both the nations worked to improve their bilateral ties. In 1993, the leaders of the nations signed an agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control ( LAC ) on the Indo-China border area. Since then, trade and economic relations have got boosted. Bilateral trade has increased considerably. Unfortunately, the relations between the two nations are soured due to the recent tensions between them. The signing of US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Indo-Pacific region has also heightened the bitterness between nations. China retaliated this by obstructing India's petition for being a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. China is now playing Gun-boat diplomacy in the Indian waters. The conflict in the Doklam region has further accentuated the issue. The difference in the values of the country is obstructing the development of healthy relationship between the two. Nonetheless, there will always come up prospects for normalization of India's relations with China.

India and Pakistan:

Since independence in 1947, relations between the two countries have been tragic with talks around economic cooperation running parallel to a constant threat of war. The nations have fought in 1947-48, 1971 and 1999. Nonetheless, they are working to promote friendly relations between them. Cross LoC travel and trade across J&K initiated in 2005 and 2008 are an important step in this direction. To build confidence within the business community of both nations, agreements such as Customs Cooperation Agreement, Mutual Recognition Agreement and Redressal of Trade Grievances Agreement were signed in 2012. The meetings of the state in the summits of SAARC is also appreciated. Relations with Pakistan are soured since it's resumption of cease-fire violations which initiated the need of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue. Pakistan is misusing the terms of Indus Water Treaty of 1960 to it's own advantage which is very much evident by it's opposition to hydroelectric projects such as Kishanganga and Ratle. Their relations could not come out of the vicious cycle of competition, conflict and war. Their relations marched from conflict to peace and peace to conflict but have been far away from friendship and cooperation. The period of detente between the two has been very limited. According to the political analyst, Scott, there are three factors that remain a stumbling block in India-Pakistan relationship that is, difference in world views, dispute over Kashmir and the problem of nuclear confrontation. The political system of Pakistan largely shows authoritarian tendency rather than a democratic one. Cross border terrorism also remains a persistent issue in Indo-Pakistan relationship. Pakistan's policy of considering the Kashmir issue as its central issue hasn't changed yet. The partnership of both the countries has affected their role in SAARC.

Nature of relations between both the countries in future will depend on the role of following factors:

  • Establishment of democracy with the removal of military rule in Pakistan can boost the stability of relations between the two.
  • Mediation of a third party can also affect the relations of two.
  • Role of economic factors can bring the change in relations.
  • Recognition and due respect should be given by both the countries for all the agreements that have been concluded between them.

Though at present, both have complex differences, and activities of regional and international politics influence them up to a great extent.

India and Myanmar:

India's second largest border both on land and maritime routes is shared with Myanmar. Four northern eastern states such as Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh share borders with Myanmar. Myanmar is India's gateway to South East Asia and ASEAN nations. For the fulfillment of the 'Act East Policy' of India, Myanmar plays a key role. In 2014, the Indian Prime Minister revealed that details of the foreign policy in context of the East in the capital of Myanmar. Further, this policy helps in improving relations with Myanmar. The India-Myanmar Joint Consultative Commission meeting held in 2015 established an umbrella mechanism to facilitate interaction and strengthen the entire expanse of their relationships. With political and economic transformations occurring in Myanmar, India has been guaging the implication of it's foreign policy on Myanmar. They signed their first trade agreement in 1970. The trade between the countries has doubled with time. Myanmar exports 25% and imports 15% of it's total trade through the border from India. Kaladan Multi-Modal Transport ( KMTT ) projects in Myanmar which offer connectivity to Mizoram is also remembered as the first major step undertaken by the government of India in Myanmar. With improvement in connectivity between the countries and the solution of tribal issues between the countries can go way long in developing good relations between them.

India and Bhutan:

Diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan were established in 1968 with the appointment of a resident representative of India in Thimphu. A landlocked state, Bhutan is highly dependent on India for access to sea, trade and development aid. Around 79% of imports in Bhutan are from India alone. The current government is trying to expand relations with Bhutan under the scheme 'Bharat to Bhutan'( B2B ) relations. India is Bhutan's largest trading partner. In order to promote commercial relations between the two, their respective leaders have signed the Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Royal Government of Bhutan. The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement initiated as a part of the eastern strategy of India is there to further the connectivity links.

India and Bangladesh:

India was the first state to acknowledge Bangladesh as a separate state and instituted diplomatic relations with it in 1971. The Government has announced fresh credits to the state with the final ratification and settlement of Land Boundary Agreement. India has also extended plans of supplying electricity to the state. The Bangladeshi government has allowed the access to Chittagong port. India also has plans to establish rail and road connectivity between the states. Many agreements were signed between the nations in areas of defense, nuclear energy and cyber security. However, the leaders of both the nations have failed to reach a consensus with Teesta River Water Sharing Agreement. India has been benefitting from 54 rivers which flow into the Bay of Bengal through Bangladesh. There's only one treaty as of now on the sharing of water from River Ganges. Otherwise, the ties between the nations are peaceful. Recently, there have been a lot of high-level exchanges between the two countries. There are more than 50 bilateral instititutional mechanisms between India and Bangladesh in areas of security, trade, commerce, power, energy, transport, connectivity, science and technology. The Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC), High Commission of India, is a Cultural Centre of Indian Council for Cultural Relations of India in Bangladesh. Although there are many common issues between the countries but those can be sorted out with the much required attention.

India and Sri Lanka:

The relations between the two are built upon a foundation of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic interaction. Sri Lanka is India's largest trade partner in South Asia. The Free Trade Agreement between nations has come out in favor of balancing bilateral trade. Both have failed to reach a conclusion on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement ( CEPA ). India has credited a lot to this country owing to her financial challenges. The relations of India are getting distanced with Sri Lanka as the latter is inclining in favor of China. Still, cooperation is witnessed between the two in areas such as coal-based power project and over-sea or under-sea transmission line projects connecting India to Sri Lanka. Neil Devotta points out that 'no South Asian country's ethnic politics have adversely affected India as has Sri Lanka's ethnic imbroglio between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils.' Both countries share a broad understanding on major issues of international interest. In recent years, there has been a significant progress in implementation of developmental assistance projects for Internally Displaced Persons ( IDPs ) and disadvantaged sections of the population in Sri Lanka has further cemented the bonds of frienship bewteen the two countries. The need for national reconciliation through a political settlement of the ethnic issue has been reiterated by India at the highest level. India's consistent position is in favour of a negotiated peace settlement, which is acceptable to all communities within the framework of a united Sri Lanka which is consistent with democracy, pluralism and respect for human rights. The drifting of the Sri Lanka under Beijing's influence has negatively  affected the relations between the two.

India and Afghanistan:

The two nations have deep ties with each other due to historical and cultural links. Indo-Afghan relations have been strengthened by the Strategic Partnership Agreement ( SPA) signed between the countries in 2011. SPA provides assistance to re-build indigenous Afghan capacity in different areas and encouraging investment in Afghanistan's natural resource. India has also provided an easy access to Afghanistan to it's economy, broad-based and inclusive process of peace and reconciliation and advocating the need for a sustained and long term commitment to Afghanistan by the international community. India has given financial assistance to Afghanistan as well. The bilateral trade has also increased between nations since 2011. The Government of India is also promoting developmental projects in Afghanistan.

India and Nepal:

Diplomatic relations were established between India and Nepal on June 13th, 1947. Both the countries encourage democracy, pluralism, stability and socio-economic progress of both nations. India has announced  soft credits for infrastructure, irrigation and energy projects. India is a very big investor in Nepal. The India-Nepal Treaty of 1950 forms the bedrock of the relations that exist between the two countries. The Indian and the Nepalese army have long standing cooperation. An Indian Cultural Centre was set up in Kathmandu in August 2007 to showcase the best of Indian culture across Nepali cities.  Deliberations are going on to discuss the major issues such as the sharing of water and it's benefits in the Pancheshwar Project Report( DPR ). Energy from the project will be equally divided between the states. Recently, due to the earthquake of 2015 and the major loss that happened in Nepal, India had extended a helping hand to mitigate the dangers of the hazard. Though India assured financial and technical assistance for the infrastructure development of Nepal, India failed to substantiate her words with action. There is an urgent need to rebuild bonds between the two countries.

India and Maldives:

India's policy with Maldives has been based on support for stability, political pluralism and development. Diplomatic relations were established with Maldives in 1972. India and Maldives have regularly supported each other in multilateral forums such as United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Non-aligned movement and SAARC. The cooperation between the nations has further improved under 'Neighborhood First' policy. India has provided loans and credit to Maldives to solve her commerce related problems. Still, the tourism which is the key sector of the economy of Maldives find it's customers in huge numbers from India alone. Hardly, there have been toughness in the relations of the two otherwise the relations have been fine generally.

After having discussed the foreign policy of India with her immediate neighbours, we shall proceed elucidating the bilateral relations of India with the world countries at large. In this section, we will deal with the bilateral relations of India with major powers such as US, Russia and Japan, Central Asian countries, West Asian countries, African countries, Australia and New Zealand, European Union, Latin American countries and Pacific countries.

a) India and USA:

The foreign policy of India in the 20th century was pro-Soviet while in the 20th century, it seems to be pro-US. Indo-American trade started way back in the 18th century when Yankee Clipper ships brought ice from Boston and reached Calcutta, and returned to America carrying spice and textiles from India. Limited diplomatic relations were established between the two during the Presidentship of George in USA. The freedom fighters in India received constant friendly help from the people of US. The reluctance of India in signing the US sponsored NPT and the bond of frienship with India and Russia has bittered the relations between the two. The pro-Pak stand of US to corner India has also caused the gap between India and US. President Kennedy supported India during the Sino-Indian war of 1962. The time when India faced acute grain shortages as a result of which Indira Gandhi had to take the help of US to maintain the supply made the then, government of India realize the importance of self-reliance in a country thus giving the call for  'green revolution'.

Diplomats have assessed the following factors for convergence of the interests of India and US which are as follows, firstly the  end of Cold war provided both the countries an opportunity to review their relationship in context of changing global realities, secondly the LPG model in India developed an open and free market model in the country, lastly it is the influence of Indian diaspora too. Recently,  Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement ( COMCASA ) was signed between the two. In the contemporary world, the intersection of democratic values in both the countries can bring them close together.

b) India and Russia:

The Indo-Russian relations share a long history. The Prime Minister of our country, Jawaharlal Nehru was very much interested in the Soviet model of planning. Consequently, through a resolution of 1950, the Planning Commission for economic development of the country was established. The Indo-Russian bond of friendship in 1971 signed by Indira Gandhi helped to neutralise the Nixon-Kissinger sponsored conspiracy to attack India. It served as a warning for both Washington and Beijing not to think of military action against India in the unfolding crisis of Bangladesh. Militarily, India is the second largest market for Russian defence industry. They have a lot of joint military programmes such as Brahmos, fifth generation aircraft, Sukhoi 30 etc. India and Russia have tried to balance the global power system. Aryabhatta the first Indian satellite was launched with the support of Soviet Union. Chandrayaan II is a joint lunar exploration proposed by ISRO and Russian federal space. India too has concerns with the growing ties of Russia and China. Yet both the countries are connected to each other in political and strategic domains.

c) India and Japan relations:

Both have been collaborating with each other through the civilizational contacts that exist between them. During a lecture in Tokyo in 1916, Rabindranath Tagore told a Japanese audience, 'the welcome....which flowed towards me, with such outburst of sincerity, was owing to the fact that Japan felt the nearness of India.' India and Japan must build strong relationship involving global and strategic partnership will have great significance for Asia and the world as a whole.

'A strong India is the best interest of Japan and strong Japan is the best interest of India.'- Shinzo Abe.

d) India and Central Asian Countries:

The Central Asia is considered to be the extended part of India's neighborhood. The connections of India with Central Asia can be traced since the beginning of Indus Valley Civilization. Central Asia is highly important as it acts as an access point between Europe and Asia. The region is well endowed with resources like crude oil, natural gas and gold, etc. The location of Central Asia is close to the conflict prone area of West Asia, hence, there are many security challenges here. Terrorism and religious extremism continue to pose as serious challenges for Central Asia. India and Connect Central Asia policy was formulated in 2012 to counter the growing Chinese influence in the region. This policy includes cooperation between the two states in almost all sectors. Kazakhstan is one of the first countries with which India launched civil nuclear cooperation. The TAPI project, a trans-country natural gas pipeline from Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan is important to connect Central Asia with energy-starved South Asia. 'Khanjar' and 'Kazind' are annual joint military exercises between India and Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan respectively. India recently joined Shanghai Cooperation Agreement (SCO) as a result of which India will get an opportunity to expand her role in Central Asia. Development Cooperation between India and Central Asia has focussed on Lines of Credit that financed development and manufacturing projects. Grants have been given to Tajikistan under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC). The economic development of Central Asia, especially in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, leads to development of sectors like IT, pharmaceuticals and tourism. Kazakhstan is India's second largest partner in Central Asia. The 'people to people' contact has been a defining feature of India's Connect Central Asia policy. In order to build connectivity, the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) has been developed which is a multi-mode network of ship, rail and road route for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Russia, Central Asia and Europe. With proper attention, the India-Central Asia relations can be reached to it's fullest potential.

e) India and West Asian countries:

India's policy towards West Asia seems to follow no definite approach despite the civilizational links, economic relations (dependence on crude oil supply) and presence of thousands of Indian emigrants in the region. India prefers to have relations bilaterally rather than on a regional basis. India's West Asia policy has seen a focus of change from actors who constituted the core of it's West Asia policy during much of Cold War to others, a change more of players than playbook. 70% of India's imported energy needs come from West Asia and this dependence will only increase as the Indian economy continues to grow at 8% or more. 11 million of Indians are working in West Asia. India is the largest recipient of foreign remittances from West Asia. Considering the geographical proximity of West Asia, close cooperation with West Asia is important to prevent the spread of terrorism. West Asia is gateway to land-locked and energy-rich Central Asian region. India has been deepening defence cooperation with countries like United Arab Emirates, Oman. West Asia is an integral part of India's Indo-Pacific maritime domain. A lot of challenges like political stability, terrorism and rivalry within the states is causing a setback in development of healthy relationships between India and West Asia. India is in the good position of being trusted by all major factions in the Middle East. India needs to continue the balancing act in West Asia that allows it to have good relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Israel alike, the three poles of power at loggerheads with each other in the region. At the same time, maintaining distance from regional fractures and conflicts would allow India to pursue its economic and geo-strategic aims in the region.

f) India and African countries:

India's relations with Africa share deep linkages. The presence of Indians in East Africa has been authored by Greek authors. From the accounts of Marco Polo, we get to know that concrete relations were established between India and Africa. Due to geographical proximity and easy navigation in Indian Ocean resulted in a well-established network between the two. Gandhiji began his political career in South Africa. After India got independent, it raised voice for the decolonisation of African states. Indian diaspora continues to live in African countries such as Kenya, Mauritius and Nigeria. Africa is one of the fastest growing states offering a huge potential market and is also a resourceful nation too. India engages with Africa almost at regional, bilateral and multilateral levels. Multilateral engagement was launched with the first India-Africa Forum Summit ( IAFS ) in 2008. India is investing in capacity building under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation ( ITEC ) programme. India's duty-free tariff preferential scheme for Least Developed Nation ( LDCs) launched in 2008 has benefitted 33 African states. India has also unveiled the development of Asian Africa Growth Corridor which will focus on projects developing cooperation, infrastructure and connectivity. In areas of trade, security, capacity building, maritime cooperation and food security can be witnessed. In order to keep the momentum of building political and economic ties with this increasingly important region, steps should be taken towards tailoring and funding joint projects for the sustainable development of Africa.

g) India and Australia:

Both of them share good relations as both are bounded by the ethos of democracy and pluralism. India established a Trade Office in Sydney in 1941. Robert Menzies became the first Australian Prime Minister to visit India. In 2009, strategic partnership was established between the countries. More than 2 lakh Indians visit Australia every year. Bilateral trade has improved between the countries. Both countries have established a Strategic Research Fund. Uranium import to India from Australia is satiating India's increasing energy requirements. There is a fast growing of Indian diaspora in Australia. India can diversify the sourcing of LNG supply with Australia. Negotiations for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement ( CECA ) between the two countries started way back in 2001. India is reluctant to open up doors for legal services from Australia. India can seek Australia's expertise in the food processing industry. Collaboration of India with Australia shall open up avenues for healthy relations.

h) India and New Zealand:

Bilateral relations were established between them in 1952. New Zealand has identified India as a priority country in its 'Opening Doors to India' policy notified in 2011 which was reiterated by New Zealand in 2015. India shares Free Trade Agreements ( FTAs) which ensures smooth economic relationship between the two. Both countries are part of the upcoming Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. They have cordial relations rooted in the linkages of Commonwealth, Parliamentary democracy and the English language. Nonetheless, the relations between the two are consistent enough.

i) India and European Union:

The ties between India and the EU date back to the early 1960s. The Cooperation and Partnership Agreement was signed between the two in 1994. India-EU Summit took place in 2000 for the first time. EU is the biggest foreign investor in India with 23% of total FDI inflows. Defence, Science and Technological cooperation has also been developed between them. Factors such as changing geopolitical developments, convergence of interests in the Indian Ocean, strategic rivalry between US and China etc will influence the relations of the countries. EU and India should work in third countries to consolidate democratic processes and develop the capacity of transitional regimes by improving electoral and parliamentary structures. EU should work with India to promote connectivity and infrastructure development. Lastly, EU and India should follow a concerted approach to different common priorities for sustainable growth, global decarbonisation of resources, a resource-efficient economy, smart urbanization and a sustainable environment focused on renewable energy.

j) India and Latin American countries:

The relations between the two have not strongly developed. Latin America comprises- The Caribbean region, Meso-America ( from Mexico to Panama ), and South America's continent. Jawaharlal Nehru met the Latin American delegations in 1972 in Brussels, where the International Congress of Oppressed People was held. India and Latin American countries have seen an exponential growth in joint business ventures. They have invested jointly in industrial and agricultural sectors. Trades between India and LAC countries such as Venezuela and Argentina have also been promising. Economic cooperation is likely to develop further between the states. Latin America is a source of immense possibilities and the continent is quite receptive to India's policies and partnerships.

h) Indo-Pacific:

The idea of the Indo-Pacific as a single strategic space is an outgrowth of China's growing influence in the Indian Ocean region. It signifies the interconnectedness of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the importance of the oceans to security and commerce. The region is  important for maintaining regional stability, long-term vision of national interest, adhering to the freedom of navigation and upholding international rules and norms. In order to establish herself in the maritime space around the Indian Ocean, India shall well connect with her major maritime neighbours in the Indo-Pacific region. This region shall prove of great strategic significance for India.

India and the Regional and Global Groupings:

  1. SAARC was established with the signing of the SAARC Charter on December 8, 1985 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were the founding members. Afghanistan joined the grouping in 2007 as the eighth member. SAARC stands for South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation. It's main objectives are to place regional cooperation on a firm foundation, accelerate the pace of social and economic development of the countries, and further the cause of peace, progress and stability in the region. It was set up as an organization to build a connected and integrated South Asia with the larger aim of promoting the development and progress of all countries in the region.

  2. India sees BRICS as a platform to build multilateral relations with Latin American, African and Asian countries. India's notable contribution to BRICS is proposal of the New Development Bank. BRICS is a group of the five emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that started in 2001. BRICS has been criticized for its failures for the lack of understanding of common policy and political actions. Although, it serves as an important grouping bringing together the major emerging economies from the world.

  3. BIMSTEC has a total of seven member countries - five from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand. BIMSTEC stands for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. It is a regional organization that has achieved a lot in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and security, including counter-terrorism, cybersecurity and coastal security cooperation.

  4. The Association of Southeast Asian nations ( ASEAN ) is a regional  organization which was established to promote political and social stability amid rising tensions among the Asia-Pacific's post-colonial states. The motto of ASEAN is 'One Vision, One Identity, One Community.' It was established in 1967 with the signing of a declaration at Bangkok. ASEAN plays a key role in solving the complexity in the region thereby ensuring security. It acts as a platform  where the member nations can resolve their economic disputes to security and strategic aspects. This acts as an important platform through which India can establish connectivity with the South East Asian nations.

  5. Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will allow India to be an integral part of the Eurasian security grouping. It ensures cooperation in critical areas- such as energy building, trade and transportation links. SCO is also a potential platform to advance India's connect with Central Asia. SCO provides India with a forum where it can constructively engage both China and Pakistan in a regional context and project India's security interests. SCO will also try to bring stability in Afghanistan. SCO must not limit its activities to a regional extent alone but shall also extend it to global, strategic and economic profiles.

  6. The Raisina Dialogue is India's premier conference on geopolitics and geo-economics committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community. The Dialogue is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral discussion, involving heads of state, cabinet ministers, and local government officials, who are joined by thought leaders from the private sector and media. The conference is hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

  7. The Heart of Asia Conference comprises 15 participating countries, 17 supporting countries, and 12 supporting regional and international organizations. India is a participating country. This conference focuses on the future of Afghanistan and stability in the region.

  8. The Group of Twenty, or G20, is the premier forum for international cooperation on the most important aspects of the international economic and financial agenda. It brings together the world's major advanced and emerging economies. It works to address major issues related to global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation and sustainable development. India also has a leading stand in the grouping and works to advance the national and the global interest together.

  9. D10 stands for 10 biggest democracies of the world. India is included in this list. It is aimed at channeling investments into existing telecommunication companies. It also aims to develop the world order in such a way that is not dependent on China. The group is being seen as an alternative arrangement against the authoritarian states. D10 is attractive to both foreign policy 'restrainers' as well as 'competitors' alike, as actively reducing these two strategic vulnerabilities and heated public concerns.

India's Major Foreign Policy Doctrines

Nuclear Doctrine of India:

The basic principle of India's Nuclear Doctrine is 'No First Use'. According to this policy, nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on the Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere. Nuclear weapons will not be used against non-nuclear states. It means India believes in the theory of 'Tit for tat'. The right to take nuclear action against the enemy will only be taken by the elected representatives of the people. In other words, the bureaucracy is not authorized to take the decision of the nuclear attack on the enemy. If there's any chemical or biological attack on India, then India will keep the option of nuclear attack open in its response. India needs to build a Credible Minimum Detterent much essential for her security, that is sufficient and survivable nuclear forces to inflict unacceptable damage to the enemy. If a country invades India by a nuclear missile, it's retaliation will be this much terrible and massive that the enemy experiences an unacceptable damage so much so that it is not able to recover easily. India will continue to support the global initiative to create a nuclear-free world and promote ideas for discrimination free nuclear disarmament.

Gujral Doctrine:

It is a set of five principles to guide the conduct of foreign relations with India's immediate neighbours.

These principles are:

  • With neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, India does not ask for reciprocity but gives and accommodates what it can in good faith and trust.
  • 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.
  • All South Asian countries must respect each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  • They should settle all their disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations.

'Neighbourhood first' must be anchored in the sustained engagement at all levels of the political and people-to-people level,  building upon the deep cultural affinities which are unique to India's relations with its neighbours.

Look East policy:

India's Look East policy is an effort to cultivate extensive economic and strategic relations with the nations of SouthEast Asia to bolster its standing as a regional power and a counterweight to the strategic influence of China. The main objective of the Look East policy is economic integration with East and South East Asia. India realised that its East Asian neighbours achieved rapid economic growth and that it was lagging behind.  Look East policy of India was launched in 1991 by the government of India led by the former Prime minister,  Narsimha Rao. The objective was to develop political,  economic and security cooperation with all the countries in SouthEast Asia.

Act East Policy:

India's Act East policy announced in November 2014 is the upgrade of the Look East policy. It is a diplomatic initiative to promote economic, strategic and cultural relations with the vast Asia-Pacific region at different levels.  The objective of the policy is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop a strategic relationship with countries in the Asia Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels,  thereby providing and enhancing the  connectivity with the states of northern eastern region. In order to build better connectivity with the northern eastern region, this policy acts on 3C's,  that is the development of culture, connectivity and commerce.

Phases of India's Foreign Policy:

The foreign policy of India can be understood by dividing it into six broad phases:

  • The first phase ( 1947 - 62 ) was the policy of non-alignment adopted by India at a time when the world was bipolar.
  • The second phase ( 1962 - 71 ): Decade of Realism and Recovery. It was seen that after the Sino-Indian war of 1962, India made pragmatic choices on political and security challenges. In this phase, India began to tilt towards USSR.
  • The third phase ( 1971-91 ): Greater Indian Regional Assertion. Here, it was seen that India did use hard means for the independence of Bangladesh. India had to face sanctions from the US for conduct of nuclear tests. The collapse of the USSR, India's closest ally compelled India to look again at her foreign policy decisions.
  • The fourth phase ( 1991 - 98 ): Safeguarding Strategic Autonomy. In this phase, India had to change her policy towards the US for world was now unipolar.
  • The fifth phase ( 1998 - 2013 ): India, a Balancing Power:- India is proving to be a serious deterrent for China's expansion.
  • The sixth phase ( 2013- until now ): Energetic Engagement: Here, India attempts to deal with the multipolar world. India is participating in a lot of regional and global groupings thus, trying to expand her influence as a global super power.

Modi Doctrine:

  • Priority to improve the relations with her immediate neighbours as peace and tranquility in South Asia is much essential for the development of the Asian century.
  • The concept of para diplomacy to be introduced in India where each state and city would have the liberty to forge special relations with countries or federal states or even cities of their interest.
  • Bilateral trade will dominate the relations with most countries except a few important global powers with which India shares a strategic partnership. 
  • One of the important goals of the Modi government is to put India back on the global stage and subsequently to establish international investor confidence in the Indian economy and polity. The Modi government has been very explicit about the Indian objectives with respect to economic and technology development.
  • The Modi government has put greater emphasis on global socio-politics in soft power while emphasis is also laid on the national power but with a more realistic assessment. The foreign policy of the Modi government is also referred as 'Modi doctrine.'

India and the United Nations:

India is regularly demanding a permanent candidature in UNSC thereby democratizing the organ of United Nations. India as a rising global power is rightfully claiming the part she deserves in global politics. India has always upheld the UN motto and objectives. In many of the UN peace-keeping operations, India has extended a helping hand to the institution. India as a rising power in South Asia is regularly being challenged by China which enjoys a permanent candidature in UNSC. The rights enshrined in the charter of this organization have again been upheld by India. Hence, India should also be given a significant stand in United Nations Organization.

India in the Changing World Order

There are various challenges in the new world order such as the rise of authoritarianism, expansion of China, ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, unrest in Kazakhstan, non-state militant groups called Taliban established in Afghanistan. India has a lot of border issues with both Pakistan and China. The world is it an infection point. In the wake of the New Cold War, states are getting forced to choose sides. India is officially the world's fifth largest economy, overtaking Britain. The post-pandemic role of India has much increased and hence India must work with agility. The Prime Minister of our country opposes the use of hard means in politics. It is also said that, 'Power corrupts and Absolute power corrupts completely.' According to him, India should never go for authoritarianism or power-politics as both will be detrimental for the future of the country. We must not forget that Great powers don't vanish overnight. Russia's war in Ukraine, Beijing's implicit support for Moscow, and the remarkable unification of the West have reintroduced the possibility of a bifurcated world. These dynamic changes have critically affected India's foreign policy decision-making.

India actually needs a foreign policy that demonstrates more flexibility to manage the contradictions that exist. It shall proceed to attain economic progress and security. Economic prosperity of the country can only help her in fulfilling the objectives to a greater extent. The state shall at all costs should not compromise with her national security. India should proceed in foreign affairs domain in such a way that it gains international respect and honor. India as it is favors world peace hence India always opposes wars. The foreign policy of India should be designed in a manner that it is backed by national interest and aims. India has a rich history which testifies that it has never invaded a single country of the world. The policy makers in the country shall focus in the formulation of interests and objectives, procurement of power from community, definition of goals and objectives and the allocation of the means of foreign policy. It's true that the foreign policy of India cannot exist in vacuum and it ould be managed by the State and for the State. Objectivity and precision is much required in the foreign affairs. According to S.Jaishankar, Foreign Minister of India, a good foreign policy is an action of the state that ensures national security. Foreign policy being the link to the outside, it should enable us to draw what we seek. Foreign policy is affected by the internal and external forces in the country. The activities of the non-state actors has also affected the international environment thereby impacting the foreign realm.

India follows an independent foreign policy and cannot be a pale imitation of others. S. Jaishankar remarked, 'We have to be confident about who we are. I think it's better to engage with the world on the basis of who we are rather than try and please the world by being a pale imitation of what they are.' India has a key role in promoting democracy in South Asia. India has been credited for spreading democracy around the world. India has always worked to develop prosperity in the region. A good foreign policy must work for we all. Jaishankar calls for realism in terms of a policy that is based on confident pragmatism. India shall try to find rational answers to problems. It must not avoid cognitive blind spots that arise due to cognitive biasness. Indian leaders and diplomats should be well equipped to face any emergency challenge that comes in their way. India shall build strong cultural and regional links, open its markets, schools and services to the neighbours and become a source of stability in the sub continent. Perhaps groupings like QUAD can be expanded to include Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam. The eastern and southern planks of Africa and the Indian Ocean island states need continued high policy attention and financial resources. A clear economic and trade agenda, involving and incentivising corporate India to follow the flag in these vital regions is certain to yield long-term dividends. A stable and effective balance of power has to be achieved across our eastern shores in South and South-East Asia to meet challenges posed by all types of social, economic and political issues.  A convergence towards achieving a common socio-economic agenda gives hope that no one in South Asia will be left behind in the journey towards eradicating poverty and enduring dignity to all. India must enhance cooperation with key South East Asian partners such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand. To counter China, India has colluded with like-minded countries which has tarnished India's image of non-alignment and deteriorated relations with traditional partners like Russia. India becoming a member of UNSC will be able to expose the Chinese aggression in the Ladakh region. India should go ahead with international collaboration with Russia and China through compromises or agreements. India needs to revitalize its engagement with its traditional partners in the South Asian region. India's foreign policy has assimilated this aspect that only in a peaceful environment there can be growth when the defence bill is reduced, only then the social and infrastructural bill will increase. For this to happen, India has to make a South Asia-oriented foreign policy.  South Asia comprises of nations coming around India, and India has been an accepted leader among them as well as on the path to become a global superpower. India has to be more sensitive to the needs and duties of its regional realm that is South Asia. There are strategic routes, mineral reserves and natural resources that the growing appetite of India needs.  India has trade and economic interest in this region. India need road links through Bangladesh for the look east policy,  Bhutan and Nepal for hydroelectricity and minerals,  Sri Lanka for developing fishing lines and above all Pakistan for terrorism control. In that case it is also true that all these nations of South Asia should ideally rely on India as their regional security guarantee.  Countering growing dragon power of China makes it an unavoidable for India to go for strategic consolidation in the South Asia.  To maintain internal security and stability,  India requires not only good relationships with them but also secure their internal stability. To counter international terrorism also makes it compulsory for India to maintain strategic cooperation with all the nations of this region.  To address institutional and infrastructural deficit,  South Asian countries need deeper  regional cooperation. A regional strategic approach to tackle common development challenges bring enormous benefits to South Asia.Multi-alignment is the very essence of India's foreign policy and the economic policy of India today. This presents an opprtunity for India to become a global mediator and help in developing a framework on global issues. India's foreign policy is based on the ethos of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' and Good Samaritan. India has taken lead in promoting various multilateral initiatives like International Solar Alliance, proposing methods for combating terrorism, Asia-Africa Growth Corridor. India is the pharmacy to the world (world's largest producer and exporter of cost-effective generic drugs). India must closely work with the Alliance for Multilateralism (and initiative launched by Germany and France) to shape both the alliance itself and the reform agenda at large. India must redouble its efforts along with partners such as USA to push for a multi-stakeholder model of internet governance. With the pandemic, the world has developed a strong distrust for China which has facilitated India to grab the opportunity to become the world's manufacturing hub and stable economic power. This will help India in assuming leadership roles and maintaining a stable global economic system. Despite, hardships India can, and must, take the lead in bringing the world together to come practice a new multilateralism that places the common interests of humanity above narrow national interests. In this context, India has to develop a joint response together. 'Collaborate to Create' approach should now become a defining feature of India's foreign policy. Actually, India is uniquely placed in global politics to take up the leadership role in the framing of a new multilateral world order.


Policies have multiple targets. Although, foreign policy works in a domain outside the country still it's target that is national interest is located very much within the country. It is actually a set of explicit objectives with regard to the world beyond the borders of a given social unit and a set of strategies and tactics designed to achieve these objectives. The foreign policy must include the following that is the principles adopted by the policymakers, objectives and goals of national interest, means used for achieving these objectives along with the guidelines for conducting relations with the other. All this cannot be well assessed without the analysis of the external and internal milieu. The foreign policy of India is shifting from an active to a pro-active and energetic turn. The foreign policy of India has always been acting as a precedent for others. Hence, India must maintain her stature in that sphere.

'The foreign policy is not about changing mindsets. Foreign policy is about finding the common meeting points.' - S. Jaishankar, Foreign Minister of India

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