India’s Foreign Policy: Non-Alignment And Panchsheel

India’s Foreign Policy: Non-Alignment And Panchsheel

The fundamental principles of Indian foreign policy are well-defined and they are almost the same today, described by Pandit Nehru in 1946 as the head of India’s interim government. There was continuity in these, because despite some revolutionary events, the main demands of the environment, namely the protection of world peace and security or the end of colonialism and racial discrimination, the need to strengthen the bonds of mutual non-cooperation and friendship from power politics, cold war The need to remain separate and strengthen the United Nations is still considered as valid today as it was in 1946.

Although the objectives and principles adopted in the early years of Indian foreign policy have become quite clear, there have also been changes in the situation and subtle reinterpretations. These principles were first created and envisaged by Pandit Nehru.

The basics of India’s foreign policy have been incorporated into Article 51 of our constitution according to which the state will promote international peace and security, the state will strive to maintain justice and respectful relations between nations, the state will take care of international laws and treaties.

And the state will promote the way of dealing with international decisions by five decisions. Overall, the following are the key ideals of India’s foreign policy:

  • Indian foreign policy is independent in itself, India is not a part of any of the two major powers. But it is not correct to believe that India’s foreign policy is “neutral”. In fact, India has never been “neutral” on international issues, but has been clearly expressing its views from various international forums on the basis of its merits and demerits.
  • India has never been in favor of a bilateral or multilateral military treaty. India has always opposed the role of military power in solving the world’s problems.
  • India tried to maintain friendship with all countries. It is noteworthy that India befriended the countries of the American bloc (capitalist system) and the Soviet bloc (communist system) without any discrimination.

India never implemented the policy of fighting one country against another. The structure of government in India is democratic. But in terms of foreign policy, India was neither more attached to Western democratic countries nor far away from communist countries for this reason.

  • India remained a colony of Britain for a long time, following the anti-colonial policy since independence. With the emergence of India as an independent power on the world map, the process of independence of colonies began in the countries of Asia-Africa-Latin America. Sri Lanka became independent of Burma and Indonesia after India’s independence. After this, India played an important role in the independence of African countries by speaking against colonialism from various international forums.
  • India raised the anti-racist slogan as part of its foreign policy. It is notable that Gandhiji fought against racism in South Africa in the early 19th century.
  • India has been a supporter of the idea that it is impossible to establish world peace without stopping the arms race and military treaties. India considers disarmament the key to world peace. Apart from this, the huge amount spent on weapons will be saved by disarmament and this amount can be used for the development of poor countries.

The Salient Features of India’s Foreign Policy

Indian foreign policy began to develop after the establishment of the Interim Government in September 1946. Pt. Nehru stated clearly that independent India would pursue an independent policy in the international arena and would not join any faction.

India will also insist on increasing colonialism and tribal cooperation in any part of the world. If we do a critical analysis of the foreign policy of independent India, the following characteristics appear to us:

Foreign policy of peace

Foreign policy of peace has always been a supporter of world peace. From the very beginning, India has realized that war and conflict is going to block the economic and political development of budding India. In August 1954, Panikkar said

– India is deeply concerned that there should be no war jeopardizing its progress and the progress of mankind in general. ” India’s economic plans were severely affected by the 1956 Suez Canal crisis.

Policy of friendship and peaceful coexistence

India’s foreign policy emphasizes friendship and co-existence. If co-existence is not accepted, then the whole world will be destroyed by molecular weapons. That is why India entered into friendship treaties and trade agreements with more and more countries.

Panchsheel theory

Advocacy of the five principles of ‘Panchsheel’ is also a sign of India’s peaceability. The principles of ‘Panchsheel’ gave a new direction to India’s foreign policy from 1954 onwards. Panchsheel means five principles of conduct.

Just as in Buddhism, these fasts are for one person, similarly modern Panchsheel’s principles have determined the relationship of nations with the other. These principles are as follows:

  • A sense of mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and supreme power
  • Non-aggression
  • Non-interference in each other’s internal affairs
  • Equality and mutual benefit, and
  • peaceful coexistence

These principles of Panchsheel were first promulgated in an agreement between India and China on 29 April 1954 regarding Tibet. On June 28, 1954, Chinese Prime Minister Chow-en-lai and Prime Minister of India Nehru reiterated their faith in Panchsheel.

After this, almost all countries of Asia accepted the principles of ‘Panchsheel’. These principles of Panchsheel were again elaborated at the Bandug Conference in April 1955. After the Bandung Conference, most of the nations of the world recognized the Panchsheel principle and expressed their faith in it.

Panchsheel’s principles undoubtedly constitute the ideal role for international relations. The principles of Panchsheel are the principles of mutual beliefs. Pt. Nehru had said clearly that – if all countries recognize these principles, then many problems of the modern world will be solved.

The principles of Panchsheel are ideals that must be brought into real life. They give us moral strength and on the strength of morality, we can resist justice and attack. Critics say that ‘Panchsheel’ proved to be a highly unsuccessful theory in the backdrop of India-China relations.

By this, India supported China in hijacking Tibet’s autonomy by accepting China’s best power in Tibet. Criticizing this, Acharya Kripalani said that “this great doctrine is a product of sinful circumstances because it was propounded to gain our approval on the destruction of an ancient nation that was associated with us spiritually and culturally.”

Opposition to Imperialism and Colonialism: After slipping into slavery under British imperialism, there is a complete appreciation of the inhuman, conservative, and high-level exploitation of Indian imperialism, colonialism and racism. India’s freedom struggle was actually a fight against imperialism.

The existence of imperialism in any part of the world is unacceptable to India. For India, the struggle against imperialism is a question of life and death.

All the countries that were once victims of imperialism like Indonesia, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Angola, Namibia etc. have all fully supported India in the struggle to get rid of colonial rule.

Since 1947, India has been playing an important role for the unity of Asian, African and Latin American nations against the forces of imperialism and neo-colonialism (which are limiting the independence of new nations in various indirect and subtle ways).

India has always voiced against these evils at the Bandung Conference of the Asian Relations Conference, 1955, at the Conferences of Non-Aligned Nations, at the meetings of the United Nations Maharasabha and indeed at all international conferences.

The persistence of African-Asian unity, but also the unity of the entire Third World against imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism, are still the basic principles of Indian foreign policy.

Despite fierce opposition from the colonial and imperialist powers, India has been supporting the struggle against imperialism, colonialism and the neo-colonial powers. And is determined to do so. India has been a strong supporter of the development of South-South cooperation to play a powerful role in this regard.

Support for UN and world peace

India is one of the original members of the United Nations. India participated in the San Francisco Conference and signed the Charter of the United Nations. Since then, India has supported and actively participated in the activities of the United Nations and other international organizations.

Supporting the ideology of the United Nations and actively participating in its activities positively and constructively has been an important principle of Indian foreign policy. India has been an active member of the Mahrasabha and has been a temporary member of the Security Council several times.

Many international agencies have their regional offices located in India. India is actively involved in the programs of UNICFF, FAO, UNESCO and other such institutions. India has always been following the directions of the United Nations for the social and economic welfare of the people and makes every effort to implement every internationally sponsored years and programs. Therefore, supporting the functioning of the United Nations and actively participating in it is an important principle of Indian foreign policy.

Non-Aligned Policy: After the Second World War, world politics was divided into two poles. Communist Soviet Union and capitalist America were making every effort to include the world’s independent nations into their own factions and to adapt the governance systems of these countries to their ideologies.

In such a world scenario, India followed the Non-Aligned Policy with the aim of maintaining its separate identity and independent existence in world politics. The reasons for adopting Non-alignment are as follows:


  • India was unwilling to create unnecessary stressful situation in the world by joining a group.
  • India did not want to suffer from the ideological influence of any faction. On joining any faction, the attitude of the leadership of that particular group would dominate the governance and policies of India.
  • India’s geographical boundaries were linked to communist countries, so joining the faction of Western countries would have been short-sighted. On the other hand, joining the communist group would have deprived India of huge Western economic and technical assistance.
  • Independent India needed overall technical and economic support from both groups for economic development, which could be achieved only by remaining non-aligned.
  • The principle of non-alignment was in accordance with the mixed and common culture of India.
  • The principle of non-alignment, the most accepted formula for ending the differences between the foreign policy of India’s right and left parties, was accepted.
  • Non-alignment nurtured the values ​​and beliefs declared during the freedom struggle. It was closest to Gandhian ideology.

Thus, for the above reasons, India made the principle of non-alignment as the main criterion of its world political behavior.

India’s Non-Alignment of the Principal Target

Some beliefs had a clear impact on Indian leaders from the time of the independence movement. These beliefs were – the idealistic view of politics and power, the theoretical denial of Asianism, the Western democratic system and communism, and the recognition of the idealistic view of international relations.

In the light of the direct impact of these beliefs, the goals of India’s Non-Aligned Policy were set. These goals were as follows:

  • Maintaining and promoting international peace and security.
  • Promote the self-determination of the people of the colonies.
  • Establishment of a world community based on equality and opposition to apartheid.
  • Molecular disarmament and establishment of new economic system.
  • Support to countries in Africa and Asia.
  • Supporting the peaceful settlement of international disputes and conflicts.
  • Accomplish the above goals within the United Nations system itself.

Signification of Non-Alignment Movement

In the 1940s and 50s, the policy of separating from the factions adopted by the world’s independent nations after the Second World War has been given many names by scholars, such as disrespect, non-interference, neutrality, neutralism, positive neutrality, free and active policy, peaceful activism Co-existence etc.

The term Non-Aligned was used by Jawaharlal Nehru to express this policy in May 1950 itself. After that the use of this name became widely used in India and abroad.

It is astonishing fact that even in the First Conference of Non-Aligned Countries (Belgrade, 1 September 1961) the policy of these countries was not expressed by the word ‘Non-Aligned’.

In fact, the term ‘Non-Aligned’ is a work on some intellectual or academic principle. Some of the key definitions of Nonaligned are:

  • According to the Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought, “Refusal to favor either of the two conflicting main power groups in the event of a cold war.” Nonalignment was less separatist than neutrality and was associated with the notion of collective intervention to prevent bipolarity from turning into an open military struggle. “
  • According to Jawaharlal Nehru, “Non-Alignment” is the attempt by a country to keep itself apart from military groups. This means – as far as possible, not to look at the facts from a military point of view. Although sometimes it has to be done, but our approach should be independent and it should be helpful in establishing friendly relations with other countries. “
  • A. Appadorai has given the most appropriate definition of Non-Aligned, according to him, “Non-Aligned means – to maintain peace; To strive for peaceful means such as negotiation, investigation, arbitration, compromise and adjudication ‘, hesitating to condemn either party as an aggressor until the invasion is proven to be indisputable by international investigation of the facts; To have faith in the bonafides of both sides until something to the contrary is proved and to fully explore the possibility of dialogue and at least confine the war to a particular place – this is India’s vision. “

Non-alignment features

  • The main features of Nonaligned are-
  • Opposition to the Cold War;
  • Opposition to military and security alliances;
  • Indulgence in power politics;
  • Support of independent foreign policy;
  • Peaceful coexistence and non-interference;
  • A policy of activism rather than isolationism;
  • Not a diplomatic instrument or statutory position;
  • Non-alignment of non-aligned countries;
  • Policy of mutual cooperation for development;
  • Opposition to Neoliberalism.

1947-64 Jawaharlal Nehru During Non-Alignment Policy, 1947-64

India’s Non-Aligned Policy in the early years (1947–50) remained unclear. At this time, India was inclined towards the Western bloc. The influence of the Western education system, the decision to maintain the economy of the British market, the British oversight of the country’s armies and the need for technical and economic support, etc.

had increased India’s dependence on the Western countries. Due to this dependence, India gave recognition to West Germany but not East Germany. Even in the Korea War (1952–53), India declared North Korea aggressive, supporting Western countries.

After Stalin’s death in 1953, the Soviet attitude towards India had become very liberal, leading to an increase in India’s proximity to the Soviet Union. According to the 1954 Pakistan-US treaty, support was being created in the relations between India and the United States due to America providing arms to Pakistan on a large scale and supporting Portugal on the question of Goa.

The Indian Prime Minister also paid a goodwill visit to Russia. Trade and economic relations with Russia began to increase. Russia provided economic and technical support for Bhilai Steel Plant of India. In 1956, in the Suez Canal case, India supported Russia and condemned France and Britain to attack Egypt.

India also supported Russia in the case of Hungary in 1955. After 1957, issues like economic crisis, lack of foreign exchange and lack of food grains again tilted India’s outlook towards western countries. Nehru made a goodwill visit to America and India slowed down its tone of opposition to Western imperialism.

In 1962, India was invaded by China, which led to a rigorous examination of the Indian Non-Aligned Policy. India was assisted by both factions in the war. In 1963, an agreement was signed between India and the United States regarding the civilian use of atomic energy.

In November 1964, a security treaty was signed between India and Britain regarding the reconstruction of the Mazgaon port and the construction of the Leander Wad warships. In June 1964, the President of India, Radhakrishnan, visited the United States and discussed the preventive measures of Chinese offensive activities in the Central South Asian region of the two countries. India also reiterated its commitment to a peaceful resolution of regional disputes in negotiations with Moscow.

In addition, India played an active role in important international affairs such as the question of disarmament throughout the Nehru era, the struggle of the Formusa Strait (1955), the Geneva Conference (1954), the Bandug Conference (1955) and the Belgrade Conference on Indo-China. In 1959, the question of banning in-appraisals was placed on the Table of General Assembly by India.

As a result of its policies and efforts, India achieved substantial success in keeping the newly formed nations of Asia and Africa away from the power politics of the superpowers. In the year 1950, Nehru claimed that “Delhi has become the center of world friendship and peace in the last years”.


India’s policy of non-alignment was based entirely on Nehru’s vision and conscience. For this reason, there was a difficulty in making Non-Aligned as a coherent and understandable policy. It was a grave mistake by Nehru to accept non-alignment as both a means and a goal of foreign policy.

Nonalignment is the cornerstone of Indian foreign policy and cannot be abandoned under any circumstances, it was suicidal to believe. Adopting different approaches to non-alignment could be more rational, depending on the circumstances. Similarly, it was inconsistent to be concerned with the ethics of nonalignment. In fact NAM was morally inactive.

When required, its form could be changed and it could also be abandoned for the attainment of national interest. India’s refusal to accept foreign aid prior to the Chinese invasion and later accept it, was defied by India’s proclamation of non-alignment.

It was also unfortunate to insist on Nehru’s peaceful settlement of disputes and perpetual condemnation of the manufacture and testing of nuclear weapons. The policy of non-alignment was severely criticized after being defeated in the 1962 Indo-China war.

Critics believed that under the policy of non-alignment, national interests were strongly expected and the importance of preparations necessary for the defense of the country was ignored. If India had joined the Western bloc, then China could not muster the courage to attack India. At the time of the Indo-China War, India was not even helped by those Asian-African countries, whose efforts to protect the interests of India continued through the Non-Aligned Principle.

Accepting aid from Western countries was also seen as a violation of India’s exit policy and was termed as ‘path deviation’ or “hollowness of India’s theoretical slogans.” Thus India’s non-alignment confused both India’s enemies and friends. It also failed to protect India’s national interests.

Despite all these criticisms, success was achieved to a great extent in securing the essence and goals of Nonalignedism in the Nehru era. It was only by following the Non-Aligned Policy that India achieved the dominant status of Third World Leader, which was a very important thing for an economically weak and economically independent country.

Disarmament, coalition, establishment of a world system that accepts the economic needs of developing countries and Indian attitude towards capital and technical investment in these countries were widely accepted. In 1955, ‘Manchester Guardian’ also wrote that “when the etihara of time is written in a neutral sense, it is perhaps surprising to see how useful India has often played in preventing the final destruction, which is feared by all.” ”

Justifying the foreign aid in the Indo-China war, Nehru said that “there is no condition attached to any arms assistance that India has taken to counter China, and to seek unconditional aid” Can not be said to deviate from it. ”

It was due to India’s commitment to the Non-Aligned Policy that it received both US and Soviet Union assistance in the India-China war. The Indo-China border conflict would also have become a part of the Cold War if India had abandoned non-alignment and joined the US bloc.

That is why Nehru made it clear that India would not abandon the policy of non-alignment despite seeking foreign help to protect its national integrity. India expressed sympathy with China on subjects which were not related to border disputes. This policy of India was also appreciated by the countries of the Colombo Conference and the USA and other countries.

In India, both the Left and the Swatantra Party opposed India’s China policy, which was a sign of the success of the Non-Aligned Policy. Thus India’s Non-Aligned Policy went through various stages of success and failure in the Nehru era.

Non Aligned Movement First Summit

The Non-Aligned Movement was first given a clear shape in the 1955 conference of 29 African-Asian countries held in Bandung (Indonesia). The conference stressed the need for joint efforts of non-aligned countries to end colonialism by India’s Jawaharlal Nehru, Egypt’s Gamel Abdul Nasser and Yugoslavia’s Marshal Tito.

A preparatory conference of 21 countries was held in June 1961, in which the temporary contents of the first conference and some criteria related to the invitation of membership were set. In September 1961, the first conference of non-aligned countries was held in Belgrade (Yugoslavia). 25 African-Asian countries and one European country also participated in this conference.

Three Latin America countries participated as observers. A 27-point manifesto was accepted in this conference. The conference strongly condemned all kinds of colonial, imperialist, neo-colonialist and racist tendencies in all parts of the world. In this, the freedom struggles in Algeria, Angola, Congo, Tunisia etc. were strongly supported. The conference stressed the need for appropriate conditions for business development of developing countries. An appeal for complete disarmament was also issued by the conference.

In conclusion, the Non-Aligned countries called for the social, economic and cultural development of all underdeveloped and developing countries. Thus the Declaration of the First Conference popularized the concept of Non-Aligned among the newly independent nations, resulting in the Second Non-Aligned Convention (1964, The number of members in Cairo) increased to 47 (other than 11 observers).



India’s Foreign Policy | India’s Foreign Policy

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