The foreign policy of India is not a sudden growth. According to Pt. Jawahar Lai Nehru, the first Prime Minister of free India, “It is a policy which flows from our past, from recent history, from our national movements and from various ideas we have proclaimed.”
India being a great lover of peace, gives stress on world peace. Hence, achievement of world peace and international understanding is the main aim of our foreign policy. As colonial rule left us a poor and underdeveloped country, so progress and development were the main objectives. This meant that peace and security were extremely important for us. Hence, friendly relations with all the neighbouring countries were essential. We believe that international disputes should be settled through negotiations and peaceful means and not by force. Owing to this, we want to settle the Kashmir problem peacefully.
Non-alignment is the most important element of our foreign policy. When India became free, the world was divided into two major superpowers-USA and former USSR. Their mutual rivalry resulted in the formation of two hostile military blocs. India kept away from these blocs and adopted an independent approach of international affairs. She chose the policy of non- alignment which was supported by many newly independent nations.
India always opposes imperialism and racial idiosyncrasy. Imperialism not only violates the fundamental human rights but also causes international conflicts. Similarly racism is based on injustice and where there is no justice, we can’t hope for peace. India believes in the equality of all races without any discrimination of colour or class.
The Panchsheel principles, framed by our first Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lai Nehru, clearly define our foreign policy. We believe in respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other nations but are also prepared to defend our own. India has actively supported all the peace keeping efforts of the UN. She is never in favour of manufacturing arms because they always pose a dangerous threat to world peace. But the obduracy of nuclear powers of the won compelled India to go nuclear. In this context the year 1990 will always be notable for major decisions taken in regard to national security, through exercising of India’s nuclear option, after years of restraints. But her stand on the role of nuclear weapons is quite clear. She affirms her commitment to no first use of these weapons and not using them against non-nuclear weapon states.
India wants to maintain peace relations with all neighbouring countries in particular and the countries of the world in general. She has always helped the nations in time of need. Recently she gave a gift of 10,000 litres of edible oil and five tonnes of milk powder to Namibia to help fight a severe drought gripping the nation.
In nutshell we can say that the foreign policy of India is based on peaceful co-existence, which is very practical and realistic.