India’s Foreign Policy | Chapter 9 Notes

India’s Foreign Policy

India's Foreign Policy

Foreign Policies are a set of the plan of action for diplomatic dealings with International nations, bodies and regional grouping. 

As per the principles laid down in Article 51, 

Objectives Of India’s Foreign Policy

  • To promote international peace and security.
  • To maintain just and honorable relations between nations.
  • The preservation of India’s territorial integrity and independence of foreign policy
  • Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized people with one another. 
  • Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration

Basic Principles Governing India’s Foreign Policy

  • Panchsheel
  • The policy of Non-Alignment
  • The policy of Anti- Colonialism and Anti Racism
  • Peaceful settlement of International Disputes
  • Foreign Economic Aid – Support to UN, International Law and a Just and Equal World Order


The founder of India’s foreign policy, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave utmost importance to world peace. He understood the relation between peace and development and survival of mankind. 

Indian Policy makers realized the value of global peace, social and economic development. Without that India was likely to be pushed to the background. 

India wanted a peaceful and friendly relations with all countries, especially the big powers and the neighboring nations. 

India signed a peace agreement with China. There were five main principles called Panchsheel which were signed on 28 April, 1954.

Since then Panchsheel has become a guiding principle of India bilateral relations with countries 

Five principles of foreign policy which are known as Panchsheel are as follows:

  • Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  • Non-aggression against each other.
  • Non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
  • Equality and mutual benefit.
  • Peaceful co-existence.

These principles of Panchsheel were later incorporated in the Bandung Declaration, signed in the Afro-Asian Conference held in 1955 in Indonesia. 

They are the core principles of Non-alignment and still guide the conduct of India’s foreign policy.

These concepts of Panchsheel were later incorporated in the Bandung Declaration, which was signed in the Afro-Asian Conference held in 1955 in Indonesia. 

They are the main principles of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) and still guide the conduct of India’s foreign policy.

Also Read: India’s Foreign Policy MCQs

Policy of Non-Alignment

The most important feature of India’s foreign policy is Non-alignment. Its key element is to maintain independence in foreign affairs by not joining any military alliance formed by the USA and Soviet Union

Non-alignment does not mean neutrality or non-involvement in international affairs. It was a positive and dynamic concept. 

Further, Non-Alignment obtains popularity in developing countries. Thus, keeping away from the military alliances and superpower blocks.

India was the key player in popularizing and consolidating the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). 

India’s policy of non-alignment was supported by many developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. 

As it provided them an opportunity for protecting their foreign policy independence 

A larger Conference, which was known as Bandung Conference held in (Indonesia) in 1955, where 29 countries of Asia and Africa participated to forge the Afro-Asian unit. 

The conference placed ten fundamental principles of international relations, including five principles of Panchsheel. 

NAM provides all its members an opportunity to participate in the global decision-making process. 

The basic features of NAM appears to be equally significant also in the changing context due to the following factors:

  • The NAM can act as a check against undue dominance and hegemony of any country or block.
  • The NAM provide a forum for 
    third world countries to engage the developed nations in a productive 
  • The NAM can prove to be a powerful mechanism which is essential for countries collective self reliance in the present market driven global order.
  • NAM provides an important forum for developing countries to discuss various global issues and reforms including the reform of UN and other international financial institutions like World Bank and IMF in order to make them more democratic and effective

The policy of Resisting Colonialism, Imperialism, Racism

The foundations of India’s foreign policy were started during the independence struggle. Our leaders fought the evils of colonialism and racism. 

India has been a victim of colonialism and imperialism since the beginning. It considers these as a threat to international peace and security. 

India always believes in the equality of all human beings, so its policy is to oppose all forms of racial discrimination. 

India was the first country to bring the issue of Apartheid in the UN in 1946. It raised a firm voice for the independence of Indonesia and organized the Asian Relations Conference for this purpose.

Due to India’s consistent efforts to fight against racism and colonialism through NAM and other international forums, 14 African countries were also liberated from the yoke of colonialism in 1964.

India firmly opposed the apartheid policy in South Africa. It cut off all diplomatic relations with South Africa in 1949 and put comprehensive sanctions (later) against the white minority racist Regime of South Africa.

At India’s initiative, NAM set up the Africa Fund in 1986 to help the frontline states for resisting Imperialism, Colonialism, and Apartheid, which were victims of aggression of South Africa 

India made an open-handed contribution to this fund. The end of racialism in South Africa was a great success for Indian foreign policy.

Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes

India is always against the policy of foreign military intervention for resolving international problems, instead, it believes in a political solution and peaceful settlement of international disputes. 

This principle of peaceful settlement continues to be the cornerstone of India’s policy. 

This has been included in the Constitution of India, under the Directive Principles of State Policy as well as in the Charter of the UN. 

India has played a leading role in the resolution of Korean conflict. It also supported negotiated settlement of the Palestine issue, Kashmir problem, border problems with neighboring countries.

India is also in favour of the peaceful settlement of Iranian nuclear issue, the problem of democratic rise in the Middle East and so on.

Also Read: India’s Foreign Policy MCQs

Support to UN, International Law and a Just and Equal World Order

India has a deep respect for international law, the principles of sovereign equality of nations, and non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations.

India has supported the cause of disarmament pursued by the UN. In 1988.

But this proposal was not accepted by the other members of the UN, still India stands committed to the cause of universal disarmament even today. 

India has played a key role in preserving world peace by helping in the decolonization process, and through active participation in UN peacekeeping activities. 

In order to make the composition of the Security Council more democratic, India has proposed and supported the reform of Security Council

India’s Changing Relations With Other Nations 

US , Russia,  China,  Israel 

United States 

Prominent leaders of India’s freedom movement had good and friendly relations with the United States, which continued after independence from the United Kingdom in 1947

Indian foreign policy has adapted to the unipolar world and developed closer ties with the United States.

Under the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush (2001–2009) and Barack Obama (2009–2017), the United States has demonstrated accommodation to India’s main national interests and acknowledged outstanding concerns.

It increases bilateral trade & investment, co-operation on global security matters, inclusion of India in decision-making on matters of global governance (United Nations Security Council)

In 2016, India and the United States has signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement and India was declared a Major Defense Partner of the United States.


The Indo-Russian strategic partnership has been built on the basis of five major components: politics, defence, civil nuclear energy, anti-terrorism co-operation and space.

However, in recent years a sixth economic component has been developed, with both countries setting a target of reaching $30 billion in bilateral trade by 2025.

In order to achieve this goal, both countries are looking to develop a free trade agreement.

Both India and Russia are members of many international bodies where they collaborate closely on matters of shared national interest.

India is the second largest market for the Russian defence industry.

Russians consider as one of their top five “friends”, with the others being Belarus, China, Kazakhstan and Syria.


Despite persisting feelings remaining from the 1962 Sino-Indian War, the 1967 Nathu La and Cho La incidents, and continuing boundary disputes over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, Sino-Indian relations have improved gradually since 1988. 

Both countries have sought to minimize tensions along the frontier, expand trade and cultural ties, and normalise relations.

A series of high-level visits between the two nations have helped improve relations. In December 1996, PRC President Jiang Zemin signed with the Indian Prime Minister a series of confidence-building measures for the disputed borders. 

Sino-Indian relations had a brief setback in May 1998 when the Indian Defence minister justified the country’s nuclear tests by citing potential threats from the PRC. 

However, in June 1999, the then-External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh visited Beijing and stated that India did not consider China a threat. 

In 2003, India officially recognised Tibet as a part of China, and China recognised Sikkim as a part of India in 2004.

Since 2004, the economic rise of both China and India has also helped closer relations between the two. 

There was a tense situation due to both the soldiers’ stand-off in Doklam, Bhutan; but that was too resolved out early.

In mid-January, 2021, both the countries had finally agreed upon the rise of their forces from their positions, which were there after a border conflict.

Both the countries also agreed after a meeting, that India would move back to Finger-3, while China retained its position back to Finger-8, and also declared the area from Finger-3 to Finger-8 to be “No man’s land”.


Indian-Israeli relations have a wide array of economic, technological, and strategic partnerships. 

In 2006, both countries’ agricultural ministries signed a Memorandum of Understanding, leading to the Indo-Israeli Agricultural Project which focused on increasing India’s agricultural productivity and water use efficiency. 

Bilateral trade has also increased from $200 million in 1992 to $5.84 billion in 2018. 

The most significant facet of Indian-Israeli relations is strong security-defense cooperation. The foundations of this cooperation were laid long before 1992 during the Sino-Indian War of 1962

The then Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion expressed his “fullest sympathy and understanding” and supplied weapons to India on the request of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, 

India used Israeli weapons during the India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971. Since the early days of its establishment in 1968, the Research and Analysis Wing of India has also maintained close relations with Israel’s Mossad.

Israel has replaced Russia as India’s preferred weapons supplier during the Kargil War in 1999, it supplied the Indian Air Force sophisticated UAVs and surveillance systems. 

Israel also upgraded India’s old and aging, Soviet-era MiG-21 fighter jets and supplied Laser Guided Bombs and 160-mm mortar shells.

India is also the biggest buyer of Israeli weapons, buying 46 percent of Israel’s exports. 

India and Israel are part of the Joint Working Group on Counterterrorism and have signed agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, cooperation in homeland security, protection of classified material, and cybersecurity. 

Every year Indian Police Service trainees visit the Israel National Police Academy for training. 

The Indian Border Security Force uses Israeli-developed smart fencing systems, radar and surveillance technology in the volatile Kashmir valley.

In the midst of the covid pandemic, the Indian Ministry of Defense and its Israeli counterpart are also collaborating on developing a rapid testing system, an Israeli delegation collected 20,000 samples from Indian COVID-19 patients in early August 2020.

Also Read: India’s Foreign Policy MCQs

Frequently Asked MCQ Questions

1. The ____________ laid the foundation for Non-Alignment Movement established in 1961 with Nehru as the co-founder. 

  1. Bandung Conference
  2. Foreign Policy
  3. U.S. Aid
  4. Peace Treaty

2. Select the correct option for the leader and the country that helped to reach the Tashkent agreement between India and Pakistan. 

  1. India, Nehru
  2. USSR, Kosygin
  3. Egypt, Nasser
  4. Indonesia, Sukarno

3. ____________________ 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. 

  1. Narendra Modi
  2. Rajnath Singh
  3. Amit Shah
  4. None of the above

4. Which of the following was not part of the major objectives of Nehru’s foreign policy: 

  1. Preserve hard earned sovereignty
  2. Promote territorial integrity
  3. Promote economic development
  4. Establish capitalist system in India.

5. China claimed two areas within Indian territory-

  1. Ladakh and Aksai Chin 
  2. Aksai Chin and Kashmir
  3. NEFA and Aksai Chin
  4. NEFA and Arunachal Pradesh

6. Choose the most incorrect statement-

  1. The defence minister during Indo-China war, V.K. Menon had to leave the cabinet. 
  2. For the first time a motion of No Confidence was moved against the government. 
  3. The Soviet Union had to intervene to tide over the crisis. 
  4. The process of reorganisation of states in the Northeast began soon after the China War. 

7. The India- Pakistan Indus Waters Treaty was signed by ______________ and ________________ in 1960. 

  1. Lal Bahadur Shastri and General Ayub Khan
  2. J. Nehru and General Ayub Khan
  3. J. Nehru and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
  4. Lal Bahadur Shastri and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

8. Assertion: Beginning in 1970, Pakistan faced its biggest internal crisis. 

Reason: The Pakistani rulers were not willing to accept the verdict of the general election. 

  1. Both assertion and reason are true and the reason is the correct explanation of Assertion. 
  2. Both assertion and reason are true but the reason is not the correct explanation of Assertion.
  3. The Assertion is true but the reason is false
  4. The Assertion is false but the reason is true

9. Assertion: The US-China rapprochement that began in the late 1960s resulted in a realignment of forces in Asia. 

Reason: Henry Kissinger, the adviser to the US President John F Kennedy, made a secret visit to China via Pakistan in July 1970. 

  1. Both assertion and reason are true and the reason is the correct explanation of Assertion. 
  2. Both assertion and reason are true but the reason is not the correct explanation of Assertion.
  3. The Assertion is true but the reason is false
  4. The Assertion is false but the reason is true

10. Which of the following statements about the 1971 conflict are incorrect? 

I. Several points on the Indian side of the LOC in the Mashkoh, Dras, Kaksar and Batalik regions were occupied by forces claiming to be Mujahideens. 

Ii. Pakistani Aircrafts attacked Punjab and Rajasthan. 

III. India retaliated with an attack involving the air force, navy and the army on both the Western and the Eastern front. 

IV. Later, the signing of the Shimla Agreement between Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on 3 July 1972 formalised the return of peace. 

  1. I, II, III
  2. I, III, IV,
  3. II, III, IV
  4. I, II, IV

11. CTBT stands for 

  1. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty 
  2. Comprehensive Tests Ban Treaties
  3. Complete Test Ban Treaties 
  4. Complete Test Bar Treaty

12. Choose the incorrect pair 

  1. NPT- 1968
  2. China’s Nuclear Test- 1964
  3. Arab Israeli War-1971
  4. First Nuclear explosion undertaken by India- 1974

13. _______________ is the only non Islamic nation in its region. 

  1. Egypt
  2. Indonesia
  3. Israel
  4. Lebanon 

14. Diplomatic relations formally developed between the two after the opening of Israeli embassy in India in _____________. 

  1. 1991
  2. 1992
  3. 1993
  4. 1994

15. Which of the following is not correct about India and Russia relations. 

  1. They share information on International terrorism. 
  2. Russia gave aid and assistance for steel plants like Bokaro and Bhilai
  3. The Indian military gets most of its hardware from Russia
  4. Russia is important to India and has repeatedly come to the assistance of India during its oil crises. 

16. Which of the following about India and US relations is incorrect? 

  1. The US absorbs 65 percent of India’s total exports in the software sector. 
  2. 300,000 Indians work in Silicon Valley. 
  3. 15 percent of all high-tech start-ups are by Indian- Americans. 
  4. US supports India on the issue of Kashmir in the UN. 

17. Read the given passage and answer the questions that follow: 

The first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru played a crucial role in setting the national agenda. He was his own foreign minister. Thus, both as foreign minister as well as the Prime Minister he exercised profound influence in the formulation and implementation of India’s foreign policy from 1946-64.

The major objectives of Nehru’s foreign policy were to preserve the hard-earned sovereignty, protect territorial integrity, and promote rapid economic development. Nehru wished to achieve these objectives through the strategy of non-alignment.

There were, of course, parties and groups in the country that believed that India should be friendlier with the block led by the US because the bloc claimed to be pro-democracy. Among those who thought on these lines were leaders like Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

Some political parties, which were opposed to communism, also wanted India to follow a pro US foreign policy. These included the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and later the Swatantra party. But Nehru possessed considerable leeway in formulating foreign policy. 

1. What led to the establishment of NAM? Choose the correct statement. 

  1. Freedom of Indonesia from Dutch colonial rule. 
  2. The Afro Asian Conference in 1955. 
  3. Conference in Belgrade. 
  4. Asian Relations Conference 1949.

2. Prime Minister Nehru signed an agreement with Chinese Premier ______________ on 29th April 1954. 

  1. Deng Xiaoping
  2. Zhou Enlai
  3. Mao Zedong
  4. Hu Jintai

3. Choose the most appropriate statement 

  1. India chose to remain nonaligned because security and economic dependence on the more powerful states occasionally influences their foreign policy. 
  2. When India got independence, the Cold War had not yet begun, so India chose to stay out of the two alliances. 
  3. The United Nations which was established in 1945, encouraged the newly independent countries to stay out of the Cold War. 
  4. India chose to stay non-aligned because India wanted to also to make nuclear weapons for India’s safety. 

4. Which of the following statements is incorrect? 

  1. In 1956 when USSR invaded Hungary, India led the world protest against neo colonial invasion. 
  2. India advocated the policy of non-alignment as the ideal foreign policy approach. 
  3. While India was trying to convince other developing countries about the policy of non- alignment, Pakistan joined the US led military alliances. 
  4. The US was not happy about India’s independent initiatives. 

India’s Foreign Policy Unit 9 CBSE, class 12 Political science notes. This cbse Political Science class 12 notes has a brief explanation of every topic that NCERT  syllabus has. You will also get ncert solutions, cbse class 12 Political Science sample paper, cbse Political Science class 12 previous year paper.

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