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Neighbours First: India’s foreign policy Doctrine

“A bad neighbour is a misfortune as much as a good one is a great blessing.”                                                                                                                    —Hesiod


India is a land of rich cultural heritage. It is a land which gives most importance to ethics, principles and moral values. Ancient Indians living with all its great civilizations were incredible. There was peaceful co-existence. It is said by our people’s President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam that, “When there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character; when there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home; when there is harmony in the home, there is order in the Nation; when there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.”

So, before the British rule in India, before colonization and imperialism, there was peace in the world. The main reason is that India was the super-power before that for 1,200 years. But, this history has vanished due to the Britishers. Therefore, we must rise to power, only then all the nations will have a good foreign policy. There is righteousness in the hearts of Indians.

“The British Government in India constitutes a struggle between modern civilization, which is the kingdom of satan, and the ancient civilization, which is the kingdom of God.”                                                   —Mahatma Gandhi

If it was ancient civilization, there would have been no need for these policies and doctrines. But, as time passed on, due to the exploitation and domination of the west, the world wars the need for foreign policy doctrines, UNO (United Nations Organization), EU (European Unions) etc. emerged.

The Foreign Policies

“You can do things I cannot; I can do things you cannot; together we can do great things.”

The above quote must be the motto of all nations. Every nation must work with integrity and succeed with integrity. The ultimate aim of all nations is a peaceful world. The neighbour relation should be in such a way that the victory of a nation should be rejoiced in the neighbour country. War, weapons, jealousy, greed all these among nations ultimately result in the loss of brotherhood, mankind, their own kind. Human beings are the only creations which kill their own kind.

“Mankind is a Single Nation.”

Good relations among nations should be given the first priority more than anything else. The aims and objectives of Indian foreign policy can be divided into three broad heads :

  1. The Central objective;
  2. The Intermediary objectives and
  3. The Distant objectives.

To name a few doctrines :

  • Modi Doctrine
  • Five Principles of Peaceful co-existence
  • Look East Policy (India)
  • India’s ‘connect Central Asia’ Policy
  • No First Use
  • Non-Aligned Movement

Modi Doctrine

“There is no path to peace, peace is the path.”

The doctrine outlines India’s commitment to the partnership with the US as being a “new symphony in play” in order to build an international maritime partnership in Asia, to play a leading role in the South Asian neighbourhood, strategically as well as for humanitarian purposes, and to take a strong position on terrorism or cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan. Union External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, speaking at the launch of the book, The Modi Doctrine : New Paradigms in India’s Foreign Policy, went on to define it thus : India first, neighbourhood first, engaging competing global powers, with a focus on Diaspora and on delivery. None of these goals are new, while the shift from non-alignment to a US partnership began during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, the special maritime partnerships with Japan, Australia, the US and Singapore as a response to China’s assertiveness in the South China sea, go back nearly a decade (2007). Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too put domestic development at top :

“The single most important objective of Indian Foreign Policy has to be to create a global environment conductive to the well-being of our great country.”

The Panchasheel and Look East Policy (India)

Tracing the Indian history, the five principles of peaceful co-existence, known in Nepal and India as the Panchasheel Treaty (from Pali, panch : five, sheel : virtues) are a series of principles which formed the bedrock of the relationship between India and the People’s Republic of China in 1954. The five principles as emphasized by the First Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru are as follows :

  1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  2. Mutual non-aggression.
  3. Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
  4. Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit.
  5. Peaceful co-existence.

In the present scenario of India and Pakistan, there is a strong need arising for Modi to sign this Panchasheel with Pakistan also.

“If these principles were recognised in the mutual relations of all countries, then indeed there would hardly be any conflict and certainly no war.”

India’s Look East Policy was an effort to cultivate economic and strategic relations with the nations of South East Asia in order to bolster its standing as a regional power and a counter-weight to the strategic influence of the People’s Republic of China. Initiated in 1991, it was developed and enacted during the government of Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao and rigorously pursued by the successive administrations of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.

“Stay Focussed, chase your policies and Goals, stay disciplined.”

India exactly did the above.

India’s Connect Central Asia Policy

“Love thy neighbour as thyself because you are your neighbour. It is illusion that makes you think that your neighbour is someone other than yourself.”

In order to get out of this illusion and connect with the Central Asia, India introduced India’s connect Central Asia policy in 2012.

Some of the outlined important elements are :

(1) India will continue to build on our strong political relations through the exchange of high level visits. Its leaders will continue to interact closely both in bilateral and multilateral fora.

(2) As a land for connectivity, India has reactivated the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

(3) India is working on setting up a Central Asian e-network with its hub in India, to deliver, tele-education and tele-medicine connectivity, linking all the five Central Asian States.

No First use

“In the end, it isn’t about changing the world, but rather, how many worlds you have changed.”

True to the above words, India tried to cause a change.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”      —M.K. Gandhi

No First Use (NFU) refers to a pledge or a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons. China declared its NFU policy in 1964, and has since maintained this policy. India articulated its policy of no first use of nuclear weapons in 2003 after its second nuclear tests, Pokharan-II in 1998. The doctrine also maintains that India “will not be the first to initiate a nuclear first strike, but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail.”

According to the National Research Development Corporation, “Promises are empty words if you are not keeping them.”

India kept up its promise, despite the escalations of tensions between India and Pakistan in 2001-02, India remained committed to its nuclear no-first use policy. India is in the process of developing a nuclear doctrine based on ‘credible minimum deterrence’.


From the above doctrines, we come to know that India has always given importance to ‘neighbourhood first’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving special importance to the foreign relations by his frequent visits to the foreign lands. If all the countries give importance to this, then the world would be a better place to live in. If Pakistan had given more importance to this relation, to ethics and moral principles, then Kulbushan Jadhav’s case would not have gone to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), The Hague.

“Everyone must strive to become a citizen of the world, boundaries were created by man, not the creator, there is no such thing as them Vs. us. There is only ‘we’.”

Continued from Page 95

Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS)

The Government provides interest subvention of 3% on short-term crop loans up to  3.00 lakh.  Presently, loan is available to farmers at an interest rate of 7% per annum, which gets reduced to 4% on prompt repayment.  Further, under Interest Subvention Scheme 2016-17, in order to provide relief to the farmers on occurrence of natural calamities, the interest subvention of 2% shall continue to be available to banks for the first year on the restructured amount. In order to discourage distress sale by farmers and to encourage them to store their produce in warehouses against nego-tiable warehouse receipts, the benefit of interest subvention will be available to small and marginal farmers having Kisan Credit Card for a further period of upto six months post harvest on the same rate as available to crop loan.

Agriculture is a State subject and the State Governments are primarily responsible for the growth and development of agriculture sector in their respective States. The Government supplements the efforts of States through appropriate policy measures and budgetary support.  Presently the approach of the Government of India has shifted from production centric to income centric platform in the agriculture sector and the above schemes are being implemented for making farming viable.

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