Foreign policy can be defined as a country’s policy that is conceived, designed and
formulated to safeguard and promote her national interests in her external affairs, in
the conduct of relationships with other countries, both bilaterally and multilaterally.
It seeks to secure the best interests of the people, territory and economy of the country.
It is a direct reflection of country’s traditional values and overall national policies, her
aspirations and self-perception.
Nations have also been interdependent. Interdependence has been an incontrovertible
fact of international relations. An objective and goal-oriented foreign policy has the
potential to achieve improved relations with other nations and accelerate growth.
The main tools of foreign policy are treaties and executive agreements, appointing
ambassadors, foreign aid, international trade and armed forces.
Main Objectives of Our Foreign Policy:
• National security
• National prosperity
• Increasing the number of friendly nations
• Achieving world peace and enable every nation to peacefully co-exist
• Economic development
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (Panchsheel) between India (Prime
Minister Jawaharlal Nehru) and China (Premier Chou-En-Lai) was signed on 28 April
1954, which stated that the two governments entered into an agreement based on the
following principles:
These principles were incorporated in the Bandung Declaration signed in the AfroAsian Conference held in 1955 in Indonesia.

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Basic Determinants of a Foreign Policy
• Geographical position and size of territory
• Nation’s history, traditions and philosophical basis
• Natural resources
• The compulsion of economic development
• Political stability and structure of government
• The necessity of peace, disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
• Military strength
• International milieu
Foreign Policy in 1950s and 1960s
The period from Independence through 1950s and 1960s constituted the most
idealistic phase of India’s foreign policy under the guidance of India’s first Prime
Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
The new nations that got independence after the long period of colonial struggle found
themselves in a very difficult situation with respect to economic development. So it was
necessary to align with either of the blocs – United States of America (USA) or Union
Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR).
Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, was opposed to the rivalry of the two superpowers
(America and Russia) who were trying to extend their influence over the newly
emerged nations of Asia and Africa.
So, he chose the path of Non-Alignment (i.e., not aligning with any bloc) in the face of
the bipolar order of the Cold War and tried to form a third bloc of nations in
international affairs.
The aim of India’s foreign policy of that time was ‘world co-operation, world peace, end
of colonial imperialism, racial equality and non-alignment’.
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
The term ‘Non-Alignment’ was coined by V. Krishna Menon in his speech at the United
Nations in 1953. Non-alignment has been regarded as the most important feature of
India’s foreign policy.

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It aimed to maintain national independence in foreign affairs by not joining any
military alliance. It was the largest political grouping of countries in a multilateral
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was formed with a membership of 120 countries
and 17 states as observers and 10 international organisations. Non-aligned countries
have been successful in establishing a foundation of economic co-operation among
underdeveloped countries. Another noteworthy fact is that it has transformed from a
political movement to an economical movement.
Founding Fathers – Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Tito of Yugoslavia, Nasser of Egypt,
Sukarno of Indonesia, and Kwame Nkumarah of Ghana were the founding fathers of
India’s Foreign Policy during Cold War Era
The Non-alignment roots did not prevent India from entering into an alignment with
the Soviet Union by the Indo-Soviet treaty of 1971 (20-year pact of ‘peace, friendship
and co-operation’). Then India embarked on a substantial programme of military
In 1974, India also conducted its first nuclear test at Pokhran under Subterranean
Nuclear Explosions Project, in response to China’s nuclear test in 1964 at Lop Nor.
Changing global conditions determine the foreign policy details, yet India’s foreign
policy was based on certain well-defined principles.
These principles are not mere idealistic but pragmatist too. India got her political
freedom in the aftermath of a disastrous Second World War, and India had to be
redeemed from acute poverty illiteracy, and chaotic socio-economic conditions.
Hence our new nation could not afford to military entanglements and military
alliances. Independent India had to defend its democratic system, and at the same time
evolve and enforce means to salvage the nation from backwardness.
Avoidance of military blocs was then not an option but a necessity. Now Alliance did
mean neutrality, but the freedom of nations to decide on issues independently. Non-

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alliance did not mean demilitarisation of nations. It was meant to ensure de-escalation
of conflicts and tension.
To a large extent, it enabled India to concentrate on socioeconomic development. India
withstood two wars with Pakistan during this period. The disastrous Sino-Indian
conflict would not make Non-alliance un-pragmatic and it revealed inadequacy in
military build-up.
Even wither discarding the ‘Non-Alliance’ India could enormously strengthen her
defence system and could become a nuclear power. Flaws or faults in details of foreign
policy executions have been addressed time and again but India’s basic policy of nonAlliance is still in force. The NAM is meant for mutual assistance among nations for
peace and progress.
The foreign policy stance of India was
• Supporting the cause of decolonisation
• Staunch opponent of the apartheid regime in South Africa
• Accepted the importance of defence preparedness
New Developments: in the 1990s and the 20th Century:
During the 1990’s along with the fall of the Soviet Union, a new global economic order
(Liberalisation, Privatisation, and Globalisation) emerged with the support of the
western powers. Unipolar (USA centric) world along with the emerging new economic
order compelled the nations including India to revise their foreign and economic
India entered into pacts with global economic forum (GATT) and entered into bilateral,
trilateral, multilateral agreements. Its nuclear experiments resulted in intimidatory
reactions from the western world.
This shifts in India’s policy manifested in various ways such as
• Better relations with China – the Look East Policy (1992)
• The second nuclear test at Pokhran (1998) in Rajasthan
• Defence procurement relationship with Israel
• Energy diplomacy with Arab countries and Iran

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• Agreeing to US nuclear missile defence program and
• India’s vote against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency
India in the Resurgent 21st Century
The structure of the international system has changed. The foremost task of India’s
foreign policy is to enable the domestic transformation of India. By this, we mean
making possible the transformation of India’s economy and society while promoting
our values of pluralism.
From a foreign policy perspective, economic prosperity is now seen as the key to India’s
attainment of a Great Power status. At present, our foreign policy acts as a means to
generate inward investment, business and technology for domestic growth and
This will be facilitated by enhancing regional co-operation and stability in South Asia.
India has adjusted to meet the needs of intensified economic engagement with the
world, which is designed to meet the needs of an increased inflow of capital,
technology, ideas and innovation for our development and our re-emergence as one of
the world’s leading economies.
The consistent high economic growth in this period has not only helped empower a
large number of our citizens but has also led to increased engagement of India with the
outside world.
India engages with current global subjects and articulates its international policies in
order to gain a prominent place and makes its presence felt in on a global scale. It has
joined new global groups like the Group of 20 (G-20), India, Brazil, South Africa
(IBSA), and Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS), which gives more scope
for India to play a larger role in global affairs.
India’s global security concerns are reflected in its military modernisation, maritime
security and nuclear policies. India has emerged as a major voice in global decisionmaking and management, and as a bridge and balancing power in the emerging global
strategic architecture.

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The response of our policymakers at economic, political and strategic level have
enabled India to emerge as a potential great power though it faces enormous
developmental challenges.
These challenges include sustaining the country’s economic growth rate, ensuring
energy and security. Non-military issues like climate change, energy security,
competition for scarce resources, food and water security, pandemics and migration.
Though numerous and formidable, these challenges are not beyond the reach of India’s
policy establishment.
Basic Concepts of India’s Foreign Policy
• Preservation of national interest
• Achievement of world peace
• Disarmament
• Fostering cordial relationship with other countries
• Solving conflicts by peaceful means
• Independence of thought and action as per the principle of NAM
• Equality in conducting international relations
• Anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, antiracism.
Policy of Disarmament
Our tradition and national ethos is to practice disarmament. As a peace-loving nation,
India champions the cause of qualitative and quantitative disarmament right from the
Since independence, global nonproliferation has been a dominant theme of India’s
nuclear policy. So, India supported UN disarmament programme. Indian nuclear
programme in 1974 and 1998 is only done for strategic purposes.
The two themes of India’s nuclear doctrine are
• No first use
• Credible minimum deterrence

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It has decided not to use nuclear power for ‘offensive purposes’ and would never use
against any non-nuclear state. Indo- US civilian nuclear deal marks a significant
progress in India’s foreign policy.
SAARC – South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
SAARC is an economic and geopolitical organisation of eight countries that are
primarily located in South Asia.
The SAARC policies aim to promote welfare economics, collective self-reliance among
the countries of South Asia and to accelerate socio-cultural development in the region.
SAARC Disaster Management Centre was set up at New Delhi.
The Centre is a sleek body of professionals working on various dimensions of disaster
risk reduction and management in South Asia. SAARC satellite is a proposed
communication– cum-meteorology satellite by Indian Space Research Organisation
(ISRO) for the SAARC region.
The member countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives,
Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Indian Diaspora:
• Diaspora refers to the movement of the population from its original homeland
meaning a country’s native people move out to some other homeland or country.
A group of people with the same culture or belonging to the same country might
vacate their original homeland and relocate in some other country or homeland
due to several reasons such as economy, livelihood, political situations and other
social conditions.
• Sometimes people are even chosen to leave their homelands and settle
elsewhere. Such movement or relocation of the population can be either
voluntary or forced due to traumatic events, wars, colonialization, slavery or
from natural disasters.

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• Feeling of persecution, loss and yearning to go back home is common amongst
the people of the forced diaspora. Voluntary diaspora consists of a community of
people who have left their homelands in order to search for better economic
opportunities, for example, the gigantic emigration of people from depressed
regions of Europe to the United States during the late 1800s.
• Unlike the forced diaspora, people from voluntary diaspora take immense pride
in their shared experience and are convinced of the strength in numbers both
socially and politically.
• Presently, the needs and demands of a large diaspora influence government
policy ranging from foreign affairs, economic development to immigration.
Diasporas play a major role in the economic development of their homeland.
• They also act as senders of remittances, they promote trade and FDI, create and
nurture entrepreneurship and help in exchange of new knowledge and skills.
• The Indian diaspora is a common term used to represent the people who have
migrated from territories and states that come under the jurisdiction of the
Republic of India.
• This diaspora is presently estimated to be over 30 million, encompassing NRIs
(Non-Resident Indians) and PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin) spread all over the
The Indian Diaspora is categorised as:
• NRI – Indian citizens living abroad for an indefinite period of time for
whatsoever purpose.
• PIO – Overseas Indians who have claimed the citizenship of another country and
have settled there.
• SPIO – Stateless Person of Indian Origin, those citizens who do not have
documents to substantiate their origination as Indian.
The Indian government recognises the significance of Indian Diaspora, as it has
brought economic, financial and global recognition. These citizens have been away
from India but are striving to make India shine on the global arena.

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In the period after India became free, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru pursued a
policy of “active dissociation” from the Indian diaspora. He was concerned about the
impact of connecting with and advocating for, this diaspora on the sovereignty of host
countries. Nehru’s policy left a bitter taste for generations among Indian-origin
societies abroad.
Indian community globally was considered as ‘one’ only on national days or other
important occasions. It was under the regime of Rajiv Gandhi that there was a boost in
the diaspora policy. He offered support at Fiji Indian crisis in 1986.
Besides, having realized Indian diaspora as a strategic asset, he took administrative
measures to establish the Indian Overseas department in 1984.
The policy of reaching out to the Indian diaspora began during the leadership of Atal
Bihari Vajpayee. During his tenure as the Prime Minister, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
was first launched in 2003. It is to be celebrated on 9th of January which marks the day
when Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa.
The government planned to celebrate it annually by holding events including
conferring awards on the prominent members of the Indian diaspora. The initiatives
undertaken by the Indian government during last two decades has bolstered the role
and significance of Indian diasporic community in the development of the country, in
addition to attracting global investment, aids and technology. India’s diaspora has sent
$79 billion back home, retaining its position as the world’s top recipient of remittances.
Tamil Diaspora:
The Tamil Diaspora refers to the people who emigrated from their native lands in
Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Sri Lanka. They are spread over fifty countries across the
world in South East Asia, Oceania, the Americas and the Caribbean, Europe, Middle
East and Africa. Throughout ancient history, the Tamils have been seafarers with a
strong interest in exploring beyond their lands. The Tamils hence have a long history of
overseas migration.
The early settlement patterns could be traced to sugarcane plantations in Mauritius,
Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Guyana, rubber estates and railways in
Malaysia, coffee and tea plantations in Sri lanka. In addition to being taken as labour,

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there were voluntary emigrants who took up clerical, administrative and military
duties. It is these emigrants who gradually became dominant in trade and finance in
South East Asia, particularly in Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa.
The modern Tamil diaspora accounts for around 3.5 million people who voluntarily
migrated as skilled professionals to several countries across the world which includes
Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Singapore has a dedicated Tamil newspaper, Tamil TV channel and radio for the
promotion of the language. Many Tamil diasporas across the world participate in the
annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas festival.
Despite moving out of their homeland, they remain culturally engaged and contribute
to the spreading of Indian and Tamil culture across the world.
Government Initiative:
Government have taken several initiatives for engaging the Indian Diaspora around the
world. The major initiative is the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, which is one of the largest
diaspora engagements in the world.
Besides Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, this Ministry organizes various other engagement
programmes namely Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, Know India Programme, Study
India Programme, Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children, Tracing the Roots
and issues Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards for eligible applicants from the Indian
diaspora abroad irrespective of their region, caste or creed.
In addition, Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards are also given to distinguished
NRIs/PIOs for excellence in various fields. New programmes for the Indian Diaspora
abroad are formulated by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs from time to time
taking into account the various needs for engaging the Indian Diaspora.
Role of Diaspora in socio-economic development of India:
The principal focus with respect to the economic effects of Diaspora on the country of
origin has been on their substantial financial contributions through remittances –
private transfers from migrants to their families.

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According to the World Bank remittances can
(i) reduce recipient household poverty, with spill over to other households;
(ii) increase investment in education and health as well other productive
(iii) reduce child labour; and
(iv) increase entrepreneurship.
Beyond remittances, Diasporas contribute to the economic development of their
country of origin through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and transnational
entrepreneurship, including support for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses
in the country of origin.
They may be more likely to invest in economics that others would consider high-risk,
simply because they have better knowledge and relationship opportunities that other
investors lack.
Diaspora investments may be guided not only by profit motives but also by long run
considerations of establishing a base in the countries of their origin. They are likely to
be better informed on the capabilities and requirements of domestic labour and the
sort of training local labour requires.
Third, quite often the factors which influenced the Diaspora to migrate from their
homelands may influence the extent of their involvement and contribution to the
development of their countries of origin.
Diasporas’ Knowledge Transfer:
The constructive contributions of Diasporas to development in their country of origin
are transfer of acquired knowledge. These Diasporas are a great source of transfer of
technical knowledge and skills in the form of ‘brain gain’. Where knowledge exchange
is concerned, Diaspora members can act as important interlocutors between the
technology and country of origin. They can contribute these through not only
permanent repatriation but also through short- term return.

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Diaspora Philanthropy:
One of the most important ways that Diaspora contributes to their countries of origin is
through philanthropic engagement in many areas. Philanthropy has a pivotal role to
play in advancing global equity.
Diaspora Advocacy:
Diaspora organisations (and sometimes even individuals) are seen to be getting
increasingly vocal and influential in their countries of origin and of settlement. They
increasingly seek to influence government, media, corporate sector and other
prominent groups and are therefore speaking up on a range of issues affecting their
1. Discuss in detail about India’s Foreign Policy.
2. Write a note on Indian Diaspora.

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