Free India’s first Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, Late Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, in his speeches again and again emphasized the principles that govern her foreign policy. He pointed out that India does not believe in the use of force to settle international disputes. He condemns war and his efforts shall ever be directed towards the maintenance of world peace. Imperialism and colonialism are unjust and constitute a threat to world peace. So India is anti-colonial and anti-imperialistic in her foreign policy.
The world was divided into two power blocs-the Russian blocs and the American bloc. India followed a policy of non-alignment with either of the two power blocs. She believes in neutrality. But neutrality does not mean that she would not take part in international affairs, but rather that she would judge every issue on merits and express her views on the basis of truth without any fear or favour. She participates actively in international affairs and is an active member U.N.O. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, there is now only one super-power left in the field. That is why some people are of the view that non-alignment has lost its relevance in world affairs. There must be a review of India’s foreign policy.
For achieving world peace-the basic objective of her foreign policy-India has laid down the five principles known as the Panch Sheela. They are co-existence, non-aggression, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, respect for each other’s sovereignty, equality and mutual benefit. The Panch Sheela principles have already been accepted by a large number of countries as principles that would guide their conduct in international affairs.
Since independence India has consistently and firmly followed the basic principles of her foreign policy. She remained peaceful and non-violent in matters that closely concerned her. She refused to use force to solve the problem of Kashmir. She has always thrown her weight in favour of world peace and whenever and whenever any international quarrels have taken place, she has tried that they be settled peacefully. She has never hesitated to say what she considered to be right and proper, even though she ran the risk of displeasing her best friends. She has always been the friend of subject peoples and has always raised her voice in their support.
India’s sincerity and impartiality have been gradually recognized by all. Her moral influence is high. Her device is respected by all. All are her friends. When China attacked her, the western bloc promised her all out help. Even Russia, who called China “comrade”, showed its willingness to help India. Thus China found herself isolated in world-affairs. This shows the wisdom and success of India’s policy. All recognize the wisdom of her policy. Save humanity from disaster. Her foreign policy has been perfectly successful so far.
With the death of Shri Nehru some doubts were expressed about the continuance of his policies. It was said that the continuance of his policies. It was pointed out that India had no friend in the world. But this was not the case. That is why the late Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, firmly started that he would follow the same old policy of neutrality and non-alignment. The wisdom of his policy was demonstrated during the 1965 war with Pakistan. Pakistan, despite her military alliances, could get no military aid or political support from either America or Russia.
The Late Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, also followed in the footsteps of her illustrious father. The Indo-Soviet treaty of Friendship and peace, 1971,’made many countries think that India was non-aligned no more. But this is not a fact. As Late Mrs. Gandhi again and again stressed, India is ready to enter into such a treaty with any other country of the world. This clearly shows that India is non-aligned. She is neither Pro-Russia nor Pro-USA, but Pro-India. The Late Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao also argued forcefully for the NAM’s continuing validity.
‘Non-alignment’ raised the prestige and moral influence of the country, and enabled her to gain the maximum amount of friendship and goodwill. However, as we have noted above, some re-thinking is essential in the changed circumstances of the world. A tilt towards the USA may be more useful. Now that the Soviet Union has disintegrated, India must look out for new friends such as China and Iran.