Determinants and Compulsions of India’s Foreign Policy:
According to J.N. Dixit “Foreign policy of a country is a statement of what it stands for and the role that it takes upon itself and projects to the world at large”. It is seldom static. Rather it remains in a state of constant flux. Nevertheless, there are crucial ingredients that remain significant for longer times.
Factors Affecting India’s Foreign Policy
Rightly remarked by Napoleon Bonaparte “Any country’s foreign policy is determined by its geography.” Indias location between middle-east, south-east Asia and far-east obliged her to engage in the events of the region. A natural frontier in the form of Himalayas in the north and Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal on the three sides has considerably influenced its foreign policy. Historical Traditions
India’s commitment to peace from time immemorial has significantly influenced the foreign policy. Her experience of colonialism in the modern period promoted India to take a firm stand on any form of imperialism. There has been constant emphasis on the aspect of world peace and spirit of brotherhood among nations because of the fact that Indians still pin faith in the dictum “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”.
Impact of Ideology:
Gandhi’s idea of peace and non-violence is crucially important. Nehru concretised the ideas of Gandhi into pragmatic form and channelled them into foreign policy. It was only because of rich intellectual heritage of Indian leadership that India chose to have an independent stance on her relations with other nations. Non-alignment, mixed economy etc. are outcome of ideological base provided by Indian leaders.
The stagnant economy at the time of independence profoundly affected India’s foreign policy. The problems of poverty, health, scarcity that was outcome of British imperialism convinced the country of futility of alignments. Instead it chose to welcome assistance from all the countries.
After independence India inherited a weak defence system. Her military was organized on British pattern, geared to serve the interest of an alien country. It was plagued by maladministration, lack of equipments and up to date technical knowhow. Lack of capital to modernize the army led India to pursue her economic interests at the cost of security issues. However, with the passage of time, India took cognizance of these lacunae in her security. Today Indian army is one of the ablest and strongest armies in the world.
The politics of cold war and the polarization of the world into two camps remained a dominant feature of international politics, when India became independent. Under such circumstances, India opted to remain outside the blocs and pursue a policy of non alignment. In fact, this stand was soon emulated by a large number of newly emerging independent countries from Asia and Africa. Though India remained outside bloc politics, it welcomed aid and assistance from both the blocs and helped in slackening tension between them.
Main Principles and Objectives of India’s Foreign Policy
They are in the form of guidelines to the policy makers through which India carries out its foreign relations. In essence, they are the means through which national interest is sought to be protected and promoted.
(i) Non-Aligusienc Ii is India’s gift to the world and has been one of the main principles which have remained integral part of India’s foreign policy even after the end of cold war. The vitality of non-alignment can be realized from the fact that it has not only helped in securing friendship and cooperation, promoting world peace, etc.; but ensured independence on foreign policy issues. India and NAM countries played a vital role in cold war politics by acting as a third force to reduce the tension.
(ii) Opposition to Colonialism and Imperialism:
Being subjected to colonial subjugation for about 200 years, India firmly stands in opposition to any form of colonialism and imperialism. It is with this line of thinking that India played a major role in liberating the newly independent countries of Asia and Africa from colonial shackles.
(iii) Supporting U.N. in Achieving World Peace:
India is one of the founding members of the UN (1945). She has played a major role in its instrumentality to achieve world peace. She has always advocated that resolution of international disputes be done under the purview of U.N.
(iv) Fairness of Means:
Inspired by the ideas of Gandhi, India has always emphasized that their means should be used in the resolution in international disputes. She has advocated of peaceful and non-violent methods are opposes war, aggression and power policies. Panchsheel is an outgrowth of this line of thinking.
(v) Friendship with AH Countries:
Without being committed to military alliances, India has opted for cultivating friendly relations with other countries. For this purpose she has concluded treaties and bilateral agreements in the fields of politics, economy, culture of science and technology.
Objectives of India’s foreign policy are in the nature of goals that it seeks to promote. They are not state but are influenced by time and space.
This protection and preservation of territorial integrity has been one of the foremost objectives of India’s foreign policy. Priority assigned to this aspect was made clear as early as Bandung Conference (1947) said, “India and other countries had been used as a pawn by other nations in their international games; now that they went emerging into independence, it was a good reminder to those nations that the newly independent nations proposed to standing their own feet and must be free to decide the own policies and play their part in the maintenance of peace”. The country does not want interference in the internal affairs of other country.