Principles of Indian Foreign Policy




Principles of Indian Foreign Policy:

These are some fundamental ideas that act as guidelines to foreign policy-makers in India. They are listed below:

  • Sovereign Equality of states.
  • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.
  • Non-intervention in the internal affairs of any other state.
  • Respect for International Law
  • Active participation in International and Regional Organisations
  • Belief in peaceful co-existence and peaceful resolution of international disputes

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech of 7 September 1946, given on the All India Radio spelt out the core features of India’s foreign policy. He stated: ‘We propose, as far as possible, to keep away from the power politics of groups, aligned against one another, which have led in the past to world wars and which may again lead to disasters on an even wider scale’. He also hoped to have friendly relations with England and greeted the United States and the Soviet Union. He hoped that past friendship with China would continue in the future. About India’s position in Asia, he said: ‘We are of Asia and the peoples of Asia are nearer and closer to us than others. India is so situated that she is the pivot of Western, Southern, and South East Asia’.

It was Premier Zhou En-Lai who put forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence for the first time while opening the bilateral talks between China and India on the relations between the two countries over the Tibet region of China. Later when the formal negotiations started, Chang Han Fu, leader of the Chinese delegation, reiterated these Principles as guidelines for the solution of outstanding problems between the two countries. The leader of the Indian delegation welcomed the Five Principles saying that though India had not formulated these principles as the Chinese side had done, she had been following them as the basis of her foreign policy since she attained Independence. He suggested, at the concluding session of the talks, that the Principles should be incorporated in the preamble of the agreement on Trade and Intercourse between India and the Tibet region. It was thus that "Panchsheel" appeared in a document on international relations for the first time on April 29, 1954.

Prime Minister Nehru of India welcomed Panchsheel with open arms, pointing out in Parliament that it was an ancient phrase in India that the Lord Budha had used in the moral context. He added that the phrase was adopted by the Indonesian Government and that when he heard it in Indonesia it struck him as a happy phrase, which he thought was of great importance to the world today. In China the idea of the Five Principles can be traced back to ancient times. The great Chinese philosopher, Confucius, spoke of harmony in the midst of differences and outlined certain ethical principles of human conduct. Thus it might be said that the Five Principles arose from the civilisational matrix of Asia and, in its modern form (as stated in the 1954 Agreement between China and India), was a new and creative contribution to the theory and practice of international relations from the ancient continent of Asia. The ancient idea of Panchsheel was reborn in Beijing in the modern form.

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