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The conduct of foreign affairs is an outcome of a two-way interaction between domestic compulsions and prevailing international climate. Take one example from India’s external relations in the 1960s to substantiate your answer.

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Solution

Foreign policy is the result of interplay of large number of factors that affect the formulation of policy in different ways under different circumstances. The basic determinants/factors of India’s foreign policy that, for example, compelled India to pursue the policy of NAM were as follows

a. Geographical and strategic factor: Geographical position is a factor that has played its role in the determination of India’s foreign policy. India is situated on the crossroads of Asia. It is the only country that shares borders with other South Asian countries that affects its foreign policy stands. We may give example of how India is surrounded by two leading communist powers, China’s international boundary touching it and the Soviet Union’s boundary being some 20 miles from it. Likewise, India also shares boundary with Pakistan—an ally of the US bloc. A military alliance with either bloc was ruled out by this factor as the impact of any war between the two blocs would have impacted India

b. Historical and political factors: Roots of India’s foreign policy is to be found in her civilization, the legacy of the colonial rule, the struggle for national freedom and Gandhian ideology. India firmly stands against Imperialism, Colonialism, and Racism. India could not join either of the blocs because of ideological and emotional reasons. India could not join the western bloc as some of its member countries (including USA) practiced racial discrimination.

c. Economic factor: India has been an underdeveloped country, lacking in industrial establishments, agricultural base, and had to follow a policy of non-alignment as it needed foreign assistance. Thus, it was politically desirable not to depend upon aid from one bloc only and profitable to be able to get it from more than one source.

d. Personality/ideological factor: Pt. Nehru’s personality had a significant influence on the formulation and implementation of India’s foreign policy. He wanted to project himself as a champion of world peace so he gave an ideal content to India’s foreign policy. He believed that India, by remaining non-aligned, would reduce tensions and promote peace.

e. National interest: India’s policy of non-alignment is the extension of nationalism. Its foreign policy also serves its interest.

f. International development: Development in any part of the world affects the foreign policy of a nation. The cold war between the superpowers and race for armaments made India settle for the policy of non-alignment. When Pakistan tilted towards the US and became a member of a military alliance, India adopted a soft approach towards the USSR. The Chinese attacked on our territory, and the attack in 1962 made India adopt a realistic view and redesign her policy.

Thus, foreign policy, far from being a matter of free choice, is conditioned by a number of factors. At the same time, in a given international environment, the foreign policy can be judiciously used for promoting security, national interest and national development.

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