IAS प्रिलिम्स ऑनलाइन कोर्स (Pendrive)
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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. In shedding “hesitations of history”, India’s foreign policy seems to be moving away from “non-alignment.” Comment. (250 words)

    03 Dec, 2018 GS Paper 2 International Relations

    Answer :

    Approach

    • Briefly describe policy of Non alignment and its context.
    • Talk about the historical stand India has taken over the years.
    • Mention what led to the recent shift in the policy.
    • Give examples showing change not country specific – having broad contours.
    • Conclude by giving India’s balanced approach.

    Introduction

    Non Alignment –its context

    • Policy of Non-alignment had its genesis in the backdrop of cold war, where U.S. and USSR signified 2 power blocs of the era.
    • India’s Non alignment was about not joining any of the bloc and taking a balanced approach.
    • Term coined by V.K. Menon in 1953 and was popularized by Jawaharlal Nehru.
    • It was to enable the domestic transformation of India from a poor and backward society and steer it away from any major global crisis.

    Body

    The term ‘hesitancy of history’ was used by ex-US president Barack Obama in 2015 when India moved towards US overlooking its traditional partner Russia.  

    • India has always had closer ties with USSR sharing a time tested friendship.
    • Principles of social justice, equality and human dignity were borrowed from socialist model of USSR. Early nationalist leaders related more to soviet ideology.
    • India also shared close diplomatic strategic and trade ties with USSR.
    • Treaty of friendship with USSR in 1971, country’s largest arm supplier.

    However scenario has significantly changed since the disintegration of USSR in 1991 and emergence of multiple power dynamics.

    • Economic needs of the fast developing India had to be supported by opening of its economy and getting more foreign assistance.
    • World that emerged post soviet era saw the rise of US as both an economic and strategic power. It was difficult to pursue India’s growth trajectory without engaging with US.
    • India signed a nuclear deal with US in 2008.
    • India today is a signatory to 3 of 4 US foundational agreements that it signs with its strategic defence partners that is LEMOA, COMACASA and GSOMIA.
    • US recently changed the name of its Pacific command to Indo-Pacific command.
    • Globalization, growing interdependence, and the emergence of transnational challenges have pushed India to engage with multiple global partners.
    • Emergence of economic powerhouse in form of China has also posed a new challenge in front of India.

    Departure of stance not only limited to US.

    • India today has vibrant relations with Israel which were earlier marred with Palestinian considerations.
    • India’s traditional stance has always been of recognition of Arab rights of Palestine and limited relations with Israel.
    • India is a member of QUAD which partners Japan, US, Australia and India. It looks to further Indian interest in pacific region creating a major power bloc in the region.
    • India is also member of major groupings such as BRICS, ASEAN and BIMSTEC etc. emphasizing Indian engagement in multiple global fronts.

    Conclusion

    • It would not be right to call it departure from india’s policy of Non alignment.
      • Indo-US trade dispute in WTO, India’s largest arms deal with Russia (S-400 ), Indian purchase of oil from Iran even when US has imposed CAATSA on both of these nations.

    • Indian considerations in foreign relations are driven by their own strategic autonomy.
    • Indian foreign policy is evolving to encompass the growing needs of its national security and prosperity.
    • However Non alignment being India’s own brainchild it is unlikely that it will not be a part of India’s near future foreign policy.

       

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