Essay on Foreign Policy of India
When India became independent on August 15, 1947, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru became her first Prime Minister. For long seventeen years (1947-1964), he remained in power and during this long period he was the central figure of India’s foreign policy making. It was Nehruji who framed and guided the Foreign Policy of India.
To Pandit Nehru non-alignment was the corner stone of India’s foreign policy. He adopted this policy for various reasons, which may be divided into material and immaterial or spiritual reasons. The geographical and economic condition of India just after independence served as the material reasons for his favoring the policy of non-alignment. India’s next door neighbour on one side is People’s Republic of China and on the other is Pakistan, the arch enemy of India since her very emancipation from the British yoke. Nehru could easily realize that if India joins any of these two blocks, she would bring the rage of the other on her. It was indeed a crucial problem for the newly independent India and so he had chosen the path of non-alignment.
Moreover, in order to guard her saturated post-independent economic condition India seriously needed the co-operation of both the big powers, U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. and their satellites the developed countries of Europe. Her entry into one bloc would not only make the members of the other bloc hostile to her interest but also might jeopardize her very independence. For this economic consideration India was really interested to extend her trade relation with the other countries of the world irrespective of their ideological difference.
The spiritual cause was also there. Traditionally, India was always against imperialism as because she had the bitter experience of colonial rule. That was why India shook off all pressure from within and without and remained non-aligned. Moreover, from the core of his heart Nehru believed that both the ideologies—capitalism and communism have some good qualities and merits and as such it would be unjust to accept one and discard the other. Hence through his policy of non-alignment he wanted to bring solidarity among the people of India who had different religious faith, language, culture and life style. His adherence to the policy of non-alignment thus served the purpose of national integration.
Nehru was against all military alliances balance of power and mad rush for exhibiting military strength. Hence he declared that the policy of non-alignment came to signify a refusal to be mere political and economic appendages of the centers of military, political and economic power. We are in no camp, he said, “and in no military alliance. The only camp we should like to be in is the camp of peace which should include as many countries as possible.”
Hence he stood against the principles of imperialism colonialism non-colonialism and the apartheid policy. At that time, the apartheid policy followed by the South African government run by the white people had created great commotion throughout the world. Instead he had dreamt of creating Asian unity and it was for him that the first Asian States Conference held in India. In order to make cordial relationship with China he had propagated jointly with China the ideology of Panchashila’ which categorically declared that it would be the duty of the Asian states to extend mutual respect for the geographical unity and sovereignty of the other state not to interfere into the internal affairs of the other state, to respect equality of all, to extend mutual advantages and to promote peaceful co-existence.
It was mainly on his initiative the Asian countries met in the Bandung Conference. His policy of non-alignment soon received so much appreciation from the newly emancipated Afro-Asian and Latin-American countries that joined it unhesitatingly. Soon it took the shape of a movement—the nonaligned movement (NAM) which even be two powerful blocks of capitalism and communism of USA and USSR respectively had to respect. The movement was headed by Nehru, Tito and Naser and it aimed at democratizing the international relation and to establish equality based state order of high standard. He established cordial relationship with USSR (the then) and the West European democratic countries and joined the Common-wealth, though he showed less attention towards India’s relationship with the South-East Asian countries yet he was a staunch advocate of international peace and co-operation and pleaded for disarmament. However during the fag end of his premiership in 1962, China attacked India.
During the reign of his successors Lal Bahadur Sastri and Mrs. Indira Gandhi, India was twice attacked by Pakistan–once in 1965 and the other in 1971. Lal Bahadur Sastri followed Nehru’s foreign policy. Smt. Gandhi was more practical and gave stress on the preservation of National interest. She made India more self-reliant and dragged her into the atomic age. She helped Bangladesh to win her freedom in 1971 and at the same time improved India’s relation with China, Pakistan and the Arab countries.
After the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi the subsequent governments under the Premiership or Mr. Morarji Desai, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Mr. Narasimha Rao, Mr. A. B. Vajpayee, Mr. Devagauda, Mr. I.K. Gujral or Mr. Monmohan Singh kept the basic objectives of Indian Foreign policy unaltered. The cold war situation no more exists and Communist Russia is also broken. Yet, India’s Foreign policy still basically stands on the platform where Mr. Nehru left it. Only slight moderation have been made and they have made the policy sounder.
Present Policy: Mr. Narendra Modi, the present Prime Minister of India, is focusing on improving India’s relationship with it’s neighboring countries. The Minister of External affairs, Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, is also very active.
In 2014, Mr. Modi had visited Bhutan, Brazil, Nepal, Japan, USA, Myanmar, Australia, Fiji and Nepal. Several MOUs had been signed between India and the foreign countries.
In 2015, Mr. Modi visited Seychelles, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Singapore, France, Germany, Canada, China, Mongolia, and South Korea.
India has successfully launched ” Make in India” program. It focuses on facilitating investments in manufacturing sector. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap has been raised to facilitate investments. 100% FDI has been allowed in specified Rail Infrastructure projects.