Natural frontiers in the form of Himalayas in the north and Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal on the three sides have considerably influenced its foreign policy.
2. Historical Traditions:
India’s commitment to peace from time immemorial has significantly influenced the foreign policy. Her experience of colonialism in the modern period promoted India to take a firm stand on any form of imperialism.
There has been constant emphasis on the aspect of world peace and spirit of brotherhood among nations because of the fact that Indians still pin faith in the dictum “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”
3. Impact of Ideology:
Gandhi’s ideas of peace and non-violence are crucially important. Nehru concretized the ideas of Gandhi into pragmatic form and channeled them into foreign policy. It was only because of rich intellectual heritage of Indian leadership that India chose to have an independent stance on her relations with other nations. Non-alignment, mixed economy etc. are outcome of ideological base provided by Indian leaders.
4. Economic Condition:
The stagnant economy at the time of independence profoundly affected India’s foreign policy. The problems of poverty, health, scarcity that was outcome of British imperialism convinced the country of futility of alignments. Instead, it chose to welcome assistance from all the countries.
5. Security, Defence:
After independence India inherited a weak defence system. Her military was organized on British pattern, geared to serve the interest of an alien country. It was plagued by maladministration, lack of equipments and up to date technical knowhow.
Lack of capital to modernize the army led India to pursue her economic interests at the cost of security issues. However, with the passage of time, India took cognizance of these lacunae in her security. Today Indian army is one of the ablest and strongest armies in the world.
6. Cold War:
The politics of cold war and the polarization of the world into two camps remained a dominant feature of international politics when India became independent.
Under such circumstances, India opted to remain outside the blocs and pursue a policy of non-alignment. In fact, this stand was soon emulated by a large number of newly emerging independent countries from Asia and Africa.
Though India remained outside bloc politics, it welcomed aid and assistance from both the blocs and helped in slackening tension between them.
Influence by above cited factors, India’s foreign policy stance outlined following principles and objectives.