India’s Foreign Policy Class 12 Notes | India’s External Relation | Ch-9 | Pol Science |

India’s Foreign Policy

International Context
1. The backdrop to India’s Foreign Policy was the Second World War, which caused a lot of destruction in terms of human life and property.
2. The world was trying to recover from the losses incurred during the war.
3. After the failure of League of Nations, the World leaders were attempting to establish another such kind of International body.
4. Second World War hastened the process of ‘decolonization’ of Subject territories and many new countries were entering the international politics.
5. The war weakened the European powers, since they had to suffer heavy losses in the war years.
6. The World was getting divided into two camps, the United States or Western Alliance and the Soviet Union. All the countries of the world aligned to one of these camps in order to sustain and maintain themselves.
7. New neighbours were emerging around India, namely Sri Lanka, China, Pakistan.
8. Cold war was accompanied by Arms race and Militarization.

Internal Conflict

1. Constant conflict with the newly created neighbor Pakistan was now a new headache for India.
2. Historical and Cultural Tradition – India’s traditional wisdom has emphasized on Pacifism, Non-violence and Co-existence in the field of foreign relations.
3. The British exploited us economically and left India with poverty all around. Hence the main task for the Indian Government was to recover the country from economic ruins that it was into and alleviate poverty from the country.
4. India was now a developing country, which lacked resources to advocate their issues in International system. So we decided to pursue modest goals in comparison to the more developed and advanced nations.
5. Ideals which inspired our National Leaders – all our leaders who fought for the country’s Independence were liberal democrats. They opposed Imperialism and Policy of racial discrimination. They believed that National Interest and Internationalism should go side by side.

It was in these International and Internal Contexts, that the nation was born and hence India’s Foreign Policy had to have these as basis. Both these contexts influenced the of India’s Foreign Policy .

Nehru’s Role in Formulation and Implementation of India’s Foreign Policy

1. The First Prime Minister of India was also the First Foreign Minister of India.
2. From 1946 to 1964, he was the one who played pioneer role in formulating and implementing India’s Foreign Policy .
3. Objectives of Nehru’s Foreign Policy were as follows–• India’s hard-earned Sovereignty was to be preserved
• Protection of India’s Territorial Integrity.
• Promotion of Rapid Economic Development.
4. Not all the parties and leaders in the country supported him on this issue. Dr. B.R Ambedkar supported Capitalism and hence was of the opinion that India should join the US Bloc. Swantatra Party and Bharatiya Jana Sangh also opposed Communism and hence wanted India to support the Western Alliance.
5. But Nehru was determined in his policy of NAM. He said ,”We do not intend to be plaything of others.”

Features of India’s Foreign Policy

1. Non –Alignment

• The word Non-aligned meant distancing oneself from the rivalry between the two camps.
• India’s Foreign Policy pursued the policy of Non-alignment. It seemingly helped in reducing the cold war tensions for keeping Peace in the World.
• India carefully distanced itself from the two military alliances , NATO of Western Camp & Warsaw Pact of Eastern Camp, and the two power blocs.
• India took its own independent stands on the international issues.
• In 1950 India strongly condemned North Korea aggression against South Korea.
• On the action of Britain and France in Egypt over the issue of Suez Canal in 1956, India condemned them and took a stand for Egypt.
• But when in the same year, Soviet Union invaded Hungary for withdrawing out of Warsaw Pact and installed a pro-Russian Government. India was not loud in condemnation and hence invited a lot of criticism.

2. Afro-Asian Unity
• India expressed its solidarity with the South –East Asian and African countries struggling for their Independence.
• Jawaharlal Nehru always emphasized the necessity of an International Order based on ‘mutual cooperation and complete equality between them’.
• Nehru and other Indian leaders were staunchly opposed to Apartheid and white Supremacy in African Countries.
• He had always been a passionate champion of Asian Unity. India convened the Asian Relations Conference in New Delhi in March 1947 some five months ahead of independence.
• The Conference was attended by representatives of Independent nations as well as the world leaders of freedom movements from many countries of Asia.
• An International Conference was convened in 1949, to support Indonesian’s struggle for independence from the Dutch.
• President Sukarno of Indonesia convened a conference of 29 Asian and African nations at Bandung. It marked the birth of Asia and Africa.
• The first Summit of Non-Aligned nations was held at Belgrade in 1961 which was attended by 25 non-aligned nations.

India’s Relations with China

• After World War II India and China emerged as great friends on the map of the international world.
• The Chinese had shown their sympathy with India’s freedom struggles and the Indian leaders welcomed the Chinese Revolution in 1949.
• Outside the Soviet Bloc, India was the first country to give recognition to the Chinese government.
• Nehru wanted to establish and maintain good relations with China whereas Sardar Vallabhbahi Patel was aware and worried about potential harm that China could cause to us. But Nehru believed that it will not happen and regarded China a friendly nation.
The Chinese border was not guarded by the army but para-military forces.

Panchsheel : Five Principles of Co-existence

• Panchsheel means ‘Five Principles of Moral Conduct’ laid down by Lord Buddha.
• It was an international Morality agreement signed between India and China on Tibet on 29 April 1954. Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his Chinese Counterpart Zhou Enlai were the signatory of the agreement.

Five Principles were
1. Respect for each other’s territorial integrity and Sovereignty.
2. Non –aggression against each other.
3. Non- interference in the internal matters of each other.
4. Equality and working for each other’s benefit.
5. Peaceful Co-existence.

The Tibetan Issue

1. Tibet is a plateau lying north of the Great Himalayan ranges. India has both geographical and mythological ties with Tibet.
2. At the Shimla Convention, the British agreed that China would maintain a ‘general Control’ over Tibet.
3. By 1914 the Manchu Empire of China collapsed and Tibet formally declared its Independence. This gave rise to continuing controversy about the legal status of Tibet.
4. The Communist leaders of China had their eyes set on Tibet from the very beginning.
5. Chinese Army invaded Tibet in September 1949 and in 1950 it took full control over the territory.
6. With the Panchsheel agreement, India decided not to intervene into the matter but hoped that Tibet would enjoy the status of an ‘Autonomous Region’.
7. The Chinese strengthened firmly their hold on Tibet. In 1956 there was an uprising in some regions of Tibet but the Chinese Army soon suppressed the revolt.
8. When Zhou Enlai and Dalai Lama visited India in 1956, Dalai Lama informed Jawaharlal Nehru of the then contemporary situation in Tibet.
9. The Suppression culminated in Tibetan National Uprising, an armed anti-China revolt in 1958 and thousands of Tibetans died in that. It was a horribly helpless situation.
10. In 1959 the Dalai Lama, along with thousands of Tibetans, sought refuge in India. There was no question of denying asylum to Dalai Lama or the Tibetan refugees on the part of India.
11. Our Government got them settled in a hill station called Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.
12. The leaders of Jana Sangha and the Socialist Party disapproved of Nehru’s action to have conceded China’s control over Tibet.
13. The Tibet Issue is still not resolved. China still claims Tibet as its territory but people of Tibet do not accept this claim of China.

The Chinese Invasion 1962

Tibet acted as a Buffer against Chinese incursions into India. After consolidating their hold on Tibet the Chinese started constructing roads right up to the Indian borders.
• They also started laying claim to some of the Indian Territories- the Aksai Chin region of Ladakh and the then NEFA ( North-East Frontier Agency ) regions .
• The Chinese maps showed all these regions as within the Chinese borders, India made strong protests against this claim.
• In its reply China informed that she would not accept the McMohan Line devised by the British imperialists.
• On 20 October, 1962, China launched a massive attack on Indian territories of NEFA and Ladakh.
• The first attack was for a week and during this China captured certain areas of Arunachal Pradesh, the second attack was in the next month.’
• Indians were not prepared for such a massive attack, with the result that quite a good chunk of our land went under the occupation of China.
• On November 21, 1962 China announced a unilateral ceasefire. The war stopped but it damaged the mutual relations to such an extent that they have not become normal so far.

Consequences of the War

The image of India abroad
1. The war distorted the image of India in the International arena.
2. The fact that India could not handle the Chinese Aggression by itself and had to seek military assistance to get over the crisis added insult to its image.
3. This was the phase of national humiliation for the country.
4. It demonstrated to the world that between India and China, the latter was a stronger power and showed that India was vulnerable of invasions.

Consequences of war in the Country

1. Resignation of top Defence leaders – V. K Menon who was the Defence Minister during the war had to leave the ministry following criticisms for the invasion. Many top army commanders resigned too.
2. Denting of Nehru and Congress’ image – After the invasion, Nehru was badly criticized for not assessing the danger beforehand and playing soft and naïve with China and the lack of preparation in terms of military. Country’s first No-Confidence Motion was moved against his government. Congress had to face defeat in by-elections as well. This was the point when people were changing their taste from Congress to some other party.
3. The Opposition – In the early 1960’s the rupture between China and Soviet Union had sharpened the inner conflict in the Communist Party of India. The conflict came into open with the Chinese invasion of 1962. The pro-Chinese Wing of the party was labelled as ‘anti-national’ because they have had strong ties with China. The pro-Chinese leaders left the Communist Party of India causing a split in the party in July 1964. They formed the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). After the Chinese invasion leaders of CPI-M were arrested for supporting China.
4. Need for attention towards North-East Region– It was after the Chinese Invasion that the government of India realized that North-East region needs due attention from the government. It is underdeveloped, is in isolation from rest of the country. And hence this region could pose some serious threats to the National Integration. With this during reorganization of states, many new states emerged in this region.

Relations of India and Russia

Indo-Russian friendship is a time-tested friendship.

Economic Relations
1. Russia gave financial and technical help to India in setting up steel plants at Bhilai, Ranchi and Bukaro.
2. When India faced a foreign exchange crisis, Russia accepted Indian currency for bilateral trade.
3. In 1974, Russia supplied diesel, kerosene and fertilizers to us in large quantities.
4. The Antibiotic Plant at Haridwar was set up by cooperation of Russia in technical field.

Political Relations
1. India had referred the Kashmir issue to the UN Security Council and Russia supported India.
2. When the matter of military action in Goa was taken up in Security Council, Russia sided with India.
3. In 1965 during Indo-Pak war Russia took a stand which favoured us.
4. In 1971, an Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation was concluded between India and Russia.

Military Relations
1. The Indian military gets most of its hardware from Russia.
2. Russia gave Cryogenic rocket to India  to assist India’s space industry
3. The Soviet entered into various agreements allowing India to jointly produce military equipment.

Cultural and Educational Relations
1. Hindi films and Indian culture were popular in the Soviet Union.
2. In 1981, India and Russia signed an agreement for exchanges in cultural and educational fields
3. Many Indian scholars and artists had an opportunity to visit Russia.

Relations of India and USA

• An independent India decided not to join any of the power blocs .
• On the Kashmir question America and other Western powers took a stand that favoured Pakistan.
• On the other hand, an era of mutual trust and friendship continued between India and the Soviet Union.
• In 1990’s India recognized the strength of a liberal and competitive economy. The govt now provided up to 100% Foreign Direct Investment , this factor brought India and USA closer to each other.

Areas of Cooperation between India and USA
The following few facts would reveal economic and commercial ties, defence, cooperation and people to people contact between India and USA –
1. The USA has been India’s biggest trade partner. The US purchases amounted to more than 65 percent of India’s total export of Computer Software.
2. The US sees Asia as the Market of the Future. President Barack Obama described the US relationship with India as one of the ‘defining partnership’ of the 21st century.
3. More than 3 lakh Indians are working in ‘Silicon Valley’ and more than 30% of the technical staff of the Boeing Company is of Indian immigrants in the United states.
4. The two countries consult each other on a number of subjects including strategic cooperation, science and technology, health, education, energy and climate change.
5. The USA and India are both threatened by Terrorism. The 2 countries agreed work together for ending terrorist networks.
6. In 2006 the US President and the Prime Minister of India signed an agreement on Nuclear Energy. The Agreement came to be known as the Indo-US Nuclear Deal.
7. The US Secretary of State John Kerry visited India in July 2014. The two countries decided to step up cooperation in skill upgrade, infrastructure development and science and technology.
8. In 2014, PM Narendra Modi visited America in September 2014 and they decided on the following projects for improvement of capabilities-
• Manufacturing
Renewable Energy
• Defence production
• The construction of a new IIT
• Public Services in India

Relations of India and Israel

1. For nearly around 45 years of Independence, the India’s Foreign Policy towards Middle East Region was limited to the Islamic Countries.

2. India did not explore any kind of relation with Israel back in the days.
3. Though historical and cultural ties between India and Israel have gone back from times immemorial, diplomatic relations formally developed between the two after the opening of Israeli Embassy in 1992.
4. The relations between the two countries flourished when BJP led NDA government  came to power in 1996 and 1998 and 2014.
5. The relations expanded in with the further visits of Two Heads of Government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in 2017 and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India in 2018.
6. The two nations started cooperating in various fields like cultural exchange , security and defence, counterterrorism, space research, water and energy and agricultural development.

India’s Nuclear Policy

1. Within a few seconds of dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by US, thousands of people lost their lives and many more were grievously wounded.
2. With the advancement of technology the nuclear weapons became far more sophisticated. Later America lost its monopoly over Nuclear Weapon when Russia, Britain , France and China became the nuclear powers.
3. Nehru had a lot of faith in Science and wanted to build a modern India. But Nehru was against and hated nuclear weapons.
4. But in 1940’s a programme was initiated under the aegis of Homi Jahangir Bhabha for the generation of atomic energy only for peaceful purposes.
5. The Atomic Energy Commission was set up in 1948 to formulate the policies for all atomic energy programmes in the country.
6. On the other hand, Jawaharlal Nehru proposed at the UN Session a Standstill Agreement in respect of the atomic tests but nonetheless the arsenal of nuclear weapons went on increasing.

The attempts at Disarmament

Communist China had conducted nuclear tests in October 1964. Now the five Permanent Members of the UN security Council –America, Britain, Russia, France and China tried to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weaponry .
• The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed in 1968 by the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China as well as 87 non-nuclear states. India refused to be a signatory because it thought that NPT was discriminatory.
• NPT allowed, the nuclear powers to freely manufacture and possess nuclear weapons, but the non-nuclear countries were strictly forbidden to do so. The Treaty did not seek to abolish nuclear weapons altogether.

India’s Nuclear Tests

• On 8 May 1974, India conducted its first nuclear test, but the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi termed it as a peaceful nuclear explosion.
• The Vajpayee government conducted five nuclear tests in Pokhran in May 1998. Its immediate impact was that America imposed serious economic and military sanctions against India.
• India justified the nuclear tests by citing the possible threat to national security from China and Pakistan.
• India made public her Nuclear Doctrine which stated , the NO FIRST USE POLICY and NUCLEAR DETERRENCE.
But in the contemporary regional security challenges, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that the policy of no first use can be reviewed and changed in consonance with India’s regional and national security.
• India is committed to ensuring its membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and it still opposes the discriminatory treaties like NPT, CTBT.


  • India’s foreign Policy Class 12 Notes

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