Indian Foreign Policy-A Model for Others

The foundation of India’s foreign policy was inherent to the country’s freedom struggle. The basic principle that emerged at that time have withstood the tests of time i.e. friendship to all and malice to none. Besides, the country’s foreign policy believed in resolving conflicts via peaceful means, sovereign equality to all states, independence of thoughts and action and equity with regard to conduct of international affairs.

A notable feature of the Indian foreign policy mechanism has had been its tough advocacy of total and general disarmament, with the highest priority attached to nuclear disarmament. New Delhi has taken various initiatives towards that end, within the UN and outside. While it has been consistent in opposing the nuke race, it has also consistently opposed discriminatory instruments like the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and has rightly refused to forsake its nuclear programmes until all countries embrace nuclear disarmament in a phased manner.

 

As an UN founder member, India is firmly committed to the principles and purposes of the UN and has made major contributions to several activities of the world body, including peace keeping operations. It was an active member of G-77 and later the G-15, and played a significant role in establishing a more equitable world. Other issues, like environmentally sustainable development, besides protection and promotion of human rights, have been a vital cornerstone of India’s foreign policy at several international forums.

Commensurate with national security issues, improvement of bilateral relations, undeniably, is a pertinent point of any foreign policy. India, by establishing a network of value-based bilateral relations, has much succeeded in this regard. In fact, India has always upheld its relation with its immediate neighbours, especially those under the aegis of SAARC. The Indian government, as a recent initiative to bolster ties with the neighbours, have identified five clear principles, to found a more stable South Asia. First, with neighbours like Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal and Bangladesh, India doesn’t seek reciprocity but extends all that it can with good trust and faith. Secondly, no South Asian country must allow using its territory against another country. Thirdly, none would interfere in the domestic matters of another. Fourthly, each South Asian country must respect the other’s territorial sovereignty and integrity, and finally, they must settle all disputes via peaceful bilateral negotiations.

An important attribute of any dynamic foreign policy is its ability to respond to changing world equations. Emergence of the several republics in Central Asia, following the break up of the USSR, was one such event and India attached economic and strategic importance to the region. New Delhi was quick to strengthen bilateral relations with all the new republics. The shift in the recent years by East and Central European countries to political pluralism has seen India trying to augment existing trade and commerce and institutional linkages.

New Delhi has steadfastly retained its policy of non-alignment to any power block and this has indirectly helped in moulding the foreign policy of several other countries, especially those who want to hold their head high worldwide and not succumb to any subservience.

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