Leading towards the path of Dharma for endeavoring humanity and inculcating the
principles of righteousness, self- control, truthfulness and therefore, lighting
the paths to guide our conduct.
India's Foreign Policy: A Historical outlook
Free India's Foreign Policy reflected many concerns within India and outside
India also. The British Government had left behind so many international
disputes as well as India internally had its own issues, related to the task of
poverty alleviation, the devastated economy, the problems related to partition
and the task to develop itself as a prosperous and a powerful nation. India has
kept two things in mind while dealing with its foreign relations, first was
to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all the nations and
secondly to maintain peace and order with every nation.
India has never
intervened in other country's internal affairs and always believed that violent
retaliation, confrontation and aggressive measures only complicate the matter.
So, India always focused more on peace and development and never tried to
exacerbate any situation. India had always followed the principle of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
which means that the world is one family and we must live together
in peace and harmony and work for our mutual benefits.
India's foreign policy reflected the noble ideals that inspired India's struggle
for freedom. When India attained Independence, there was cold war going on
between USA and USSR (presently Russia). There were developments like the
establishment of UN, the creation of nuclear weapons, the emergence of communist
China and the beginning of decolonization. So, it was a big challenge for India
to pursue its national interests coinciding with the international ones.
of the Indian Constitution also provides that the State shall
endeavor to promote international peace and security, maintain tranquility
between nations, respect the international laws and oblige with the treaties and
encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.
Recently, our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi referred to Atmanirbhar Bharat
as to make India self- reliant or self sustaining, pursuing policies that
promote efficiency, equity and resilience. The law and IT Minister, Ravi Shankar
Prasad, said that being self reliant doesn't mean being isolated from the world,
the aim is to make India a bigger and important part of the Global economy. Some
of the key slogans related to this are, Vocal for Local, Local for Global,
and Make for World
India's Policy Of Non-Alignment
From 1946 to 1964, the first Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru
played a crucial role in formulating and implementing India's foreign policy. He
was always in favor of preserving the hard- earned sovereignty, protecting the
territorial integrity and promoting economic development. For the accomplishment
of these objectives Pt. Nehru adopted the strategy of non- alignment. Dr. B.R.
Ambedkar, Bharatiya Jan Sangh, Swatantra party and many political parties who
were opposed to communism believed that India should favor US because it was
But Pt. Nehru was of the view that we must avoid any
entanglement in power politics and must not join either of them. According to
him, it was the ideal foreign policy approach as it gave a platform for newly
independent developing nations to join together and preserve, protect and
respect their autonomy.
He wanted to retain the peaceful co- existence and
co-operation among the nations so as to prosper world peace. George Liska said
that Non- alignment stands for distinguishing between right and wrong and
supporting the right. It was indeed a policy of harmony and tranquility which
was based on the idea that war is not inevitable and can be avoided.
On 29th April, 1954 the Panchsheel Treaty (Panch- Five, Sheel- Virtues) was
signed between India and China which was the Five Principles of Peaceful
Coexistence, aiming to build a stronger relationship between the two countries.
At that point of time, former PM Jawaharlal Nehru promoted the slogan of Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai
The Sino- Indian War
The Line of Actual Control (LAC) (4,056 km)
It is a loose demarcation line which separates the Indian and the Chinese
It was formed after the 1962 war. It has been divided
into three sectors:
- Eastern Sector: which includes Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim
- Middle Sector: which includes Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh
- Western Sector: In Ladakh
China claimed two areas within the Indian
- Aksai Chin
Arunachal Pradesh area
(North Eastern Frontier
This dispute exacerbated in the late 1950s when China built a strategic road in
the Aksai China area, linking its autonomous region of Xinjiang with Tibet. In
1959 India granted asylum to Dalai Lama, which further increased the tensions
between the two countries. Tibetans used to oppose the idea of China claiming
Tibet as its part. The most prominent reason for the Sino Indian war was that
China perceived India as a threat to its rule in Tibet, inflicted from the
asylum of Dalai Lama in India.
China's assertiveness alarmed India to launch its
Forward Policy in 1961, creating outpost behind the Chinese troops so as to
force them to return to China. Deployments were made at several posts but India
never expected that China would indulge in full- fledged war, only prima facie
thing was that China would engage in small skirmishes.
When the world was
baffling with the two superpowers, China invaded in October 1962 on both the
disputed regions, capturing some key areas in Arunachal Pradesh. People's
Liberated Army of China invaded Ladakh and NEFA in a synchronized manner. It
became difficult for India to endeavor such daunting situation. China managed to
advance to the entry point of Assam plains and declared a unilateral ceasefire
and withdrew its troops to the earlier position. It was a farrago of India's
military preparedness and incautiousness in such a volatile situation.
The BJP Government in 2019 reconstituted the state of Jammu and Kashmir and made
two Union Territories .i.e. Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. In the above map, the
red color shows the area which is controlled by China, known as Aksai Chin.
India lost this part to China in 1962 war. On the west or south western side,
Karakoram Range is there. On the north and on the north and north eastern side,
there's Kunlun Mountains.
Aksai Chin is administered by China but claimed by
India as its part in Ladakh. Karakoram Range which separates Ladakh from Aksai
Chin extends up to Afghanistan and Kazakhstan in the North Western direction.
Galwan valley provides direct access to Aksai Chin from Ladakh, so it's very
In September, 1962 China illegally occupied some area of Galwan valley along the
Karakoram Range. By the end of the war, the Chinese forces reached further
inside and have since then claimed that Galwan Valley is a part of China. The
G219 built by China in 1957 connecting the region of Xinjiang with Tibet was
built without India's consent. China doesn't wanted India to have control over
the dominating heights of the Karakoram Range so they curbed the movement of
Indian troops from Ladakh.
Ultimately, the slogan of Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai turned out to be a chimera.
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had faith in China from the starting itself and had always
tried to build peaceful relations not only with China but with other nations
too. The actions of China have build lack of trust between the two nations and
even today, we are in the middle of an unprecedented situation. Pt. Nehru had
never expected that a country which he defended in international forum would
ultimately attack India.
He miscalculated on China and Nehru's Asianism
non- alignment is also somewhat responsible for India and China's debacle. This
point should also be considered that if he had chosen to be an ally of US, he
could have taken on China better.
India becoming a Nuclear power
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had full faith in the science and technology for
transforming India. He opposed nuclear weapons and wanted to generate atomic
energy for peaceful purposes only. The five nuclear weapon powers, the US, USSR
(now Russia), UK, France, and China (also the 5 permanent members of the UN
Security Council) tried to impose the Nuclear Non- proliferation Treaty (NPT) of
1968. India refused to sign it as it was apparent that NPT was discriminatory,
as it was selectively applicable to the non- nuclear powers, legitimizing the
monopoly of the five nuclear weapon powers. In 1974, India conducted its first
nuclear test, and thereby describing it as a peaceful nuclear explosion
was aptly titled as Smiling Buddha
signifying that it was done not to threaten
or to violate the world peace but to ensure its own safety and power in the
comity of nations. Pokran-1 was significantly a landmark moment in India's
journey of becoming a nuclear power. There was coordination between two
institutions namely, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and the Defence
Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
It was an astonishing start by
India, showcasing its remarkable spirit and intent, to develop itself as a
nuclear power and to motivate other newly independent nations to take
inspiration from India. India, with such untiring efforts and contribution,
became the first non- permanent member of UN Security Council to conduct such a
test under the leadership of the then PM Smt. Indira Gandhi and in 1998 the
country became a full- fledged nuclear power.
Present face- off between India and China
India China relations continue to crumble; particularly this 2020 year has been
particularly violent. The clash in Galwan valley was the fatal confrontation
between the two countries where both sides suffered fatalities. Now, with the
tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) refusing to end, despite of the
marathon military and diplomatic- level talks, the question that arises in
everyone's mind is quite obvious and frightful at the same time: Is 2020 another
Are we leading towards a dawn of hope or to a dark of ruin? India's
External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, stated that this is, surely the most
along the India China border after 1962
There are some similarities also between the 1962 war and the present situation.
For example in August 1959, after the first border clash between Indian and the
Chinese troops, China said that India had crossed the McMohan Line and then
opened fire and the Chinese border guards had fired back. Next day, there were
protest against this statement and India clarified that it was the Chinese
troops that had moved into the Indian Territory and opened fired. The current
scenario is also somewhat same as both the sides are accusing each other of
opening fire; both are blaming each other for the current standoff.
But, in 1962 there was this Tibet- factor looming over our ties. But, unlike in
1962, when India was not politically and militarily prepared for the war with
China, the today's conflict is between the two nuclear powers.
Both the countries have reached to a 'five- point consensus' in Moscow,
providing a ray of hope to solve the dispute. The LAC had always been a point of
conflict between the two countries, but both sides have agreed on not to allow
the differences to become disputes
Abiding by all the existing agreements and
building measures to maintain peace, both sides have agreed to strengthen the
relation. The current situation between the two countries is not benefitting to
any of them, so they have agreed on the point of disengaging the troops and
easing the tension. It has been decided that both will continue the meetings for
coordination, working on measures to build confidence to maintain peace.
Unraveling The History To Understand China's Strategy
The Five Finger Strategy:
The historical strategy must be put into light to understand the actions of
China today. The Mao's Five Finger Strategy
could be taken into account as to
decode the real cause that has created the dispute between the two. People's
Republic of China (PRC) has always kept aside the moral principles and tried to
use its power to suppress other countries and gain control over them.
Finger Strategy involves these five regions as its fingers:
- Arunachal Pradesh,
- Nepal and
Considering Tibet as its palm. As an effort to
secure its periphery, China sought to believe that if they gained control over
these five territories then its territory would be safe.
The map denotes that how cleverly China has pointed out these 5 regions as the
five fingers and Tibet as its palm to secure its territory. The People's
Republic of China (PRC) was established by the Communist Party of China on
1st October, 1949. Subsequently, China occupied Tibet as to bring these five
regions under its control. Since then both India and China faced military
escalations along the Indo-Tibetan border. Being shifted to Sino- Indian border
it has created unprecedented geopolitical enigma in the Himalayas.
the heart of the relations of the two countries, is vital for the national
interest of both India and China. India has the right time now to craft a new
Tibet policy, as the South Asia is being destabilized. No glimmer of hope could
be seen between the two countries even after a series of meetings at various
levels. There's no visible change in the ground as of now, so fresh boundary
agreements must be made in order to solve this issue.
The immortal conversation
As India is confronting with a very strategically challenging situation, we must
have a deep insight into our culture and the teachings of Dharma by Lord Shri
Krishna in Mahabharata. India has being perceived as a nation with no real
culture of strategic thinking; not being coherent about the decisions relating
to national security.
To confront with all the dilemmas relating to justice,
moral principles, international politics, etc, the teachings from the immortal
conversation of Shri Krishna and Arjuna would help us to be more resilient while
facing such situations. Lord Shri Krishna (being the Absolute truth, the
ultimate strategic visionary, upholding Dharma) had always advised Arjuna to
follow the path of Dharma by upholding righteous interest and to work for the
welfare of humanity.
In terms of leading a nation state, we must protect the
national interest from internal and external adversarial circumstances. Dharma
in a broader sense means acting without any desire of material gains, without
attachment, fear and external pressure. The doctrine of strategic autonomy could
sustain the foreign policy. It focuses on reifying humanity, concerning the
As the verse taught by Lord Shri Krishna to Arjuna reflects:
Karman Yevadhikaras Te Ma Phales U Kadacana Ma Karma-Phala-Hetur Bhur Ma Te
Sango 'Stv Akarmani
We only have the right to act and we are not entitled to the result
of our actions. We only have power to direct our actions. So we should never
desire for the pleasant results as it creates bondage and bewilders the
intelligence. So, Shri Krishna advises Arjuna to ACT without ATTACHMENT to the
It is the right path for peace and harmony, because supremacy could be finished
at any moment and an individual may fall down again, so it becomes very crucial
to give importance to moral principles.
Ahimsa Parmo Dharma, Dharma Himsa Tathaiva Cha (Non- violence is the path of
righteousness but sometimes violence is also necessary for the service of
We must keep our moral principles alive while dealing with such situations and
keep ourselves aloof from any such great power competition which is just meant
to spread terror and to violate the world peace. Even, at times, violence is
also required to maintain stability and tranquility in the world.
larger righteous national interest should be our aim and to lead the world with
new paradigms. Lord Buddha said that Dharma is the foundation stone of good
governance so we must reflect upon ourselves and let the moral principles
prevail in the world.
The Father Of Atomic Bomb Quoted Srimad Bhagavad Gita
The Scientist, J. Robert Oppenheimer (Father of the atomic bomb), who led the
Manhattan project which led to the development of the first atomic weapons,
thought of a verse from Bhagavad Gita, while witnessing the first nuclear test
Divi Surya-Sahasraya Bhaved Yugapad Utthita Yadi Bhah Sadr Sis Sa Syad Bhasas
Tasya Mahaht Manah
(When Shri Krishna revealed his universal and divine
form to Arjuna, it was an unimaginable phenomenon as if thousands of sun rising
in the sky resembling the effulgence of The Supreme Personality of Godhead .i.e.
By supporting the development of nuclear weapons against fascism and opposing
the thermonuclear hydrogen bomb during the cold war, he carved out a clear
distinction between Dharma and Adharma. So, it becomes very crucial for us to
reflect into it in the most inclusive sense.
Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
(Let the whole world be prosperous and peaceful)
Yatho Dharma Thatho Jayaha
(Where there is Justice, there is victory).
Leading a fulfilling life aligned with dharma� To be able to perform our duty
and detach ourselves from the results is a better way of living a skilful and
Written by: Samiksha Ahlawat
- B.A.LL.B(Hons) Punjab University,