What are the major features of India’s foreign policy? Explain

India’s foreign policy is shaped by various factors and objectives, reflecting its strategic interests, historical context, and global positioning.

The major features of India’s foreign policy include:

  1. Non-Alignment: India’s foreign policy is guided by the principle of non-alignment, which originated during the Cold War era. Non-alignment means that India aims to maintain equidistance from major power blocs and avoids formal military alliances. This allows India to pursue an independent foreign policy, safeguard its national interests, and engage with various countries across the world.
  • Strategic Autonomy: India emphasizes its strategic autonomy in foreign policy decision-making. It seeks to protect and promote its national interests by maintaining flexibility and independence in aligning with global powers. India values its sovereignty and seeks to assert its role as a major regional power and a global player.
  • Regional Focus: India places a strong emphasis on its immediate neighborhood and seeks to foster stability, economic cooperation, and friendly relations with countries in the region. The “Neighborhood First” policy highlights India’s commitment to addressing regional challenges and promoting connectivity, trade, and people-to-people exchanges in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
  • Global Engagement: India has expanded its global engagement and seeks to strengthen ties with major powers, including the United States, European Union, Russia, Japan, and other countries. It actively participates in multilateral forums such as the United Nations, G20, BRICS, and the Commonwealth, aiming to shape global norms, promote international cooperation, and advocate for its interests on issues such as climate change, terrorism, and trade.
  • Economic Diplomacy: India’s foreign policy is closely linked to its economic interests. It actively pursues economic diplomacy by attracting foreign direct investment, promoting trade, and fostering economic partnerships with various countries. Initiatives like “Make in India,” “Digital India,” and “Skill India” are designed to enhance India’s economic competitiveness and create opportunities for collaboration with other nations.
  • Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy: India leverages its rich cultural heritage, yoga, Bollywood, traditional medicine (Ayurveda), and its vast diaspora to project its soft power globally. Cultural exchanges, educational collaborations, and people-to-people contacts are essential components of India’s foreign policy to enhance understanding, strengthen ties, and shape its global image.
  • Security and Counterterrorism: India prioritizes national security and actively cooperates with other countries in areas of counterterrorism, intelligence-sharing, maritime security, and defense cooperation. It seeks to address regional security challenges, combat transnational threats, and maintain a stable and peaceful environment in the region.
  • Development Cooperation: India’s foreign policy includes an element of development cooperation, particularly with other developing countries. It provides technical and economic assistance, capacity building, and shares its development experiences to contribute to the socio-economic progress of partner nations. This engagement aligns with India’s broader vision of South-South cooperation and fostering mutual prosperity.

It is important to note that India’s foreign policy is dynamic and responsive to evolving global dynamics and its own changing priorities. While these features provide an overview, specific policies and approaches may vary depending on the government in power and the prevailing geopolitical circumstances.

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