February 1, 2023 11:20 am


Step by Step In Foreign Policy– The Shaping Of A New India

India achieved its independence at a time when the world was already struggling through the aftermath of the world wars.

2min Read
India's Foreign Policy

As a unique morning dawns upon the nation, it becomes utmost important for- ‘We, the people of India’- to place ourselves at a juncture for both taking pride and learning from the past and also working for India at 100. Of course, it is significant to look back at the times when India stood on its terms at the world forum.

India achieved its independence at a time when the world was already struggling through the aftermath of the world wars. A divided world awaited India. The shaping of the blocs as a result of the cold war posed challenges for the country. India has, however, put forth its own interests and yet abided by its civilizational policy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Let’s take a look at how India has stood tall when it came to its foreign policy.

The Non-Alignment

The non-alignment movement came into being as a result of the cold-war. India was among many countries to distance itself from the military blocs of the Soviet Union and the US. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru came up with the proposition of the non-aligned movement and carved a way for a whole lot of countries that joined the non-aligned movement in the later half of the previous century.
This decision of non-alignment was meant to break away from the colonial claws and the division that existed in the world. This also facilitated the establishment of the very thought of the New International Economic Order.

The Liberation of Bangladesh

The Pakistani airstrikes on the Indian air bases on 3rd December, 1971 marked the beginning of the Indo-Pakistan war of 1970. As a result of the air strikes, India captured around 15,010 kilometers of Pakistan territory. It was in this war that India’s sharp diplomacy was witnessed by the world. The US supported Pakistan.

There was a resolution brought by the US in the UNSC that called for a cease-fire and withdrawal of armed forces from both sides. The resolution was vetoed by the Soviets. This not only led to an establishment of a new relation between the then USSR and India but also explained to the world that India stands strong on its terms.

The then PM Indira Gandhi on 6th December, 1970 announced in parliament that India had recognized the Bangladesh government.

On 13th december,1970, the Pakistan army surrendered. Bhutan was the first country, after India, to recognize the newly formed country.

Smiling Buddha

India’s first successful nuclear test took place in 1974. This was called Operation Smiling Buddha. The nuclear test shook the world and attracted a series of reactions. India became the only country after the five permanent members of the United Nations to successfully test a nuclear bomb. The ministry of foreign affairs came up with the statement that this test was a “peaceful nuclear explosion”.

It was as a result of this test that the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was formed in a bid to keep a check on the International nuclear expansion. However, India stood on its terms and still continues to state that the explosion was for peaceful reasons. This also laid the foundation for India’s next nuclear test at Pokhran that took place in 1998.

Bharat’s Shakti

In the year 1998, India test fired five nuclear bombs at Pokhran, Rajasthan and became a full-fledged nuclear state. There were sanctions imposed by Japan, the US and other countries and despite this posing a threat to India’s economic pursuits, India took steps for placing itself in a position it well-deserved.

While China made statements that “it was too concerned about the nuclear tests conducted by India,” Pakistan came up with an indication that “Pakistan is prepared to match India.”

The Kargil War

In May, 1999, a war broke out between India and Pakistan as a result of the infiltration of Pakistani troops and terrorists into the Indian territory in Jammu and Kashmir. In response to this infiltration, the Indian army launched ‘Operation Vijay’.

The war took place on mountainous terrain. The Indian Air-force along with the Indian army, backed by a strong diplomatic support forced Pakistan to withdraw its forces from the Indian territory. India recaptured the Tiger Hill.

Scrapping of Article 370

In August, 2019, PM Modi led NDA government scrapped Article 370 and revoked the special status given to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was expected that the western countries would likely criticize the move but majority of International reactions stood in line with India’s stand.

The scrapping of Article 370 came along with the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the union territory of Ladakh.

Changing face of Foreign Ministry

Under the ministership of late Sushma Swaraj, the ministry of external affairs was widely acclaimed for providing relief to the Indians abroad. She established twitter as a helpline for Indians in distress. Her approach was too popular among the masses and kept the ministry running 24×7 in order to respond to the needs of fellow Indians abroad.

There were times when people got stranded in foreign land due to various circumstances and it was here that the ministry of external affairs played a key role and provided help to the stranded.

Vande Bharat!

Owing to the covid pandemic that gripped the world, the Indian government initiated the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate the stranded Indians and provide channels for them to return. The mission helped the passengers to travel between India and other parts of the world.

As on October 31st, 2022, over 2,17,000 flights have been operated and around 1.83 crore passengers have been provided help by the country.

India led one of the largest civilian evacuation processes in human history and gave the world a message that India doesn’t leave its citizens.

Gangetic Zeal

The Russia-Ukraine war invited a series of steps to safeguard India and the Indian interest. To repatriate the stranded Indians in Ukraine, the Indian government initiated Operation Ganga. Around 22500 passengers have been rescued in 90 evacuation flights.

The Indian government not just bore the fare but also coordinated with the private airlines for evacuation from Ukraine’s adjacent countries.

The Indian government sent its ministers at the forefront for diplomatic coordination required for the schedule of the flights and rescue of its citizens. The ministers were sent as special envoys to various countries to strengthen the evacuation efforts. India also sent the relief supplies to Ukraine as humanitarian aid.

Sarve Santu Niramaya

When the world was struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic and countries were facing a threat of supply chain disruptions, India sent out aids. During the first wave, shortage of medicines was faced by the entire world and India led the help by sending medicines to many countries. The then Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan had stated that India had provided medicines to over 133 countries despite its own needs.

During the second wave, when India was in need, the countries across the world came forward to help India. India was also providing vaccines to countries. So far, India’s total vaccine supplies stand at over 235 million. India had also provided Hydroxychloroquine tablets to the US as well.

With supply chain issues continuing to impede the global progress, India took a bold decision of banning the export of wheat with a view to support the neighboring and other vulnerable countries while also managing the food security in the country. All these actions reflect on the age-old mantra of India for the well-being of the world: Sarve Santu Niramaya.

Considering the progress that India has been making in the sphere of its foreign policy, it is evident that India has traveled a long way in the journey of becoming a superpower. India has been a witness to the surgical strikes conducted against the terror launch pads and the air strikes against the terror camps.

India is speaking up for the place it has always deserved in the larger realms of the world. Recent statements by Indian Minister of External affairs, S Jaishankar further clear all doubts regarding the Indian stance that the world can witness in future.

The recent I2U2 meeting of India, Israel, the United States and the UAE highlighted how India is stressing on its ties with the west asian countries as well. When the Ukraine-Russia war began, the Indian flag acted as a shield for the students and other people that were stranded in Ukraine.

Today, when the world is witnessing a stream of challenges and constant threats of war and sanctions, India’s role can be well understood by the fact that the Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador proposed a five year global truce with no wars.

The proposal also mentioned the constitution of a commission that would include Pope Francis, UN Secretary General, António Guterres and Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The proposal is an echo of India’s stature at the global front. This vindicates the thought that India is standing on terms that are favorable to Indian interests and asserting the power of a new India.

Raj Bijalwan
Raj Bijalwan

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

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