India foreign relations | The New ASIA OBSERVER
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History[ edit ] Even before independence, the Government of India maintained semi-autonomous diplomatic relations. It had colonies such as the Aden Settlementwho sent and received full missions,  and was a founder member of both the League of Nations  and the United Nations.
During the Cold WarIndia adopted a foreign policy of not aligning itself with any major power bloc. However, India developed close ties with the Soviet Union and received extensive military support from it.
The end of the Cold War significantly affected India's foreign policy, as it did for much of the world. The country now seeks to strengthen its diplomatic and economic ties with the United States,   the European Union trading bloc Japan,  Israel,  Mexico,  and Brazil. States that host an Indian diplomatic mission India Nations that host an Indian diplomatic mission India's foreign policy has always regarded the concept of neighbourhood as one of widening concentric circles, around a central axis of historical and cultural commonalities.
As many as 22 million people of Indian origin live and work abroad and constitute an important link with the mother country. An important role of India's foreign policy has been to ensure their welfare and wellbeing within the framework of the laws of the country where they live. Nehru served concurrently as Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs; he made all major foreign policy decisions himself after consulting with his advisers and then entrusted the conduct of international affairs to senior members of the Indian Foreign Service.
His successors continued to exercise considerable control over India's international dealings, although they generally appointed separate ministers of external affairs. By the s, the Office of the Prime Minister had become the de facto coordinator and supraministry of the Indian government.
The enhanced role of the office strengthened the prime minister's control over foreign policy making at the expense of the Ministry of External Affairs. Advisers in the office provided channels of information and policy recommendations in addition to those offered by the Ministry of External Affairs.
A subordinate part of the office—the Research and Analysis Wing RAW —functioned in ways that significantly expanded the information available to the prime minister and his advisers. The RAW gathered intelligence, provided intelligence analysis to the Office of the Prime Minister, and conducted covert operations abroad.
The prime minister's control and reliance on personal advisers in the Office of the Prime Minister was particularly strong under the tenures of Indira Gandhi —77 and —84 and her son, Rajiv —89who succeeded her, and weaker during the periods of coalition governments. Observers find it difficult to determine whether the locus of decision-making authority on any particular issue lies with the Ministry of External Affairs, the Council of Ministers, the Office of the Prime Minister, or the prime minister himself.
Subrahmanyam in to head a special government task force to study 'Global Strategic Developments' over the next decade. Ministry of External Affairs[ edit ] The Ministry of External Affairs is the Indian government's agency responsible for the foreign relations of India.
Sushma Swaraj is current Minister of External Affairs. Look East Policy[ edit ] Main article: During the cold war, India's relations with its South East Asian neighbours was not very strong. After the end of the cold war, the government of India particularly realised the importance of redressing this imbalance in India's foreign policy. Consequently, the Narsimha Rao government in the early nineties of the last century unveiled the look east policy.
Initially it focused on renewing political and economic contacts with the countries of East and South-East Asia.
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After the start of liberalisation, it was a very strategic policy decision taken by the government in the foreign policy. To quote Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "it was also a strategic shift in India's vision of the world and India's place in the evolving global economy". SinghChandra Shekharand P.
Narasimha Rao starting in June Although observers find it difficult to determine whether the locus of decision-making authority on any particular issue lies with the Ministry of External Affairs, the Council of Ministers, the Office of the Prime Minister, or the prime minister himself, nevertheless in the s India's prime ministers retain their dominance in the conduct of foreign relations.
Ministry of External Affairs The Ministry of External Affairs is the governmental body most concerned with foreign affairs, with responsibility for some aspects of foreign policy making, actual implementation of policy, and daily conduct of international relations.
The ministry's duties include providing timely information and analysis to the prime minister and minister of external affairs, recommending specific measures when necessary, planning policy for the future, and maintaining communications with foreign missions in New Delhi.
In the ministry administered diplomatic missions abroad, which were staffed largely by members of the Indian Foreign Service. The ministry is headed by the minister of external affairs, who holds cabinet rank and is assisted by a deputy minister and a foreign secretary, and secretaries of state from the Indian Foreign Service.
In the total cadre strength of the Indian Foreign Service numbered 3, of which some 1, held posts abroad and 1, served at the Ministry of External Affairs headquarters in New Delhi.
Members of the Indian Foreign Service are recruited through annual written and oral competitive examinations and come from a great variety of regional, economic, and social backgrounds. The Foreign Service Training Institute provides a wide range of courses for foreign service officers, including a basic professional course, a comprehensive course in diplomacy and international relations for foreign service recruits, a refresher course for commercial representatives, and foreign language training.
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The Ministry of External Affairs has thirteen territorial divisions, each covering a large area of the world, such as Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet states, or smaller areas on India's periphery, such as Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan.
The ministry also has functional divisions dealing with external publicity, protocol, consular affairs, Indians abroad, the United Nations UN and other international organizations, and international conferences. Two of the eighteen specialized divisions and units of the ministry are of special note. The Policy Planning and Research Division conducts research and prepares briefs and background papers for top policy makers and ministry officials. The briefs cover wide-ranging issues relating to India's foreign policy and role in the changing international environment, and background papers provide information on issues concerning international developments.
The Economic Division has the important task of handling foreign economic relations.
This division augments its activities to reflect changes in the government's economic policy and the international economic environment see Liberalization in the Early s, ch. In the division established the Economic Coordination Unit to assess the impact on India of the Persian Gulf crisis arising from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, changes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and formation of a single market in the European Economic Community after the European Unionas well as to promote foreign investment.
The ministry runs the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, which arranges exhibits, visits, and cultural exchanges with other countries and oversees the activities of foreign cultural centers in India.
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The Ministry of External Affairs had a budget of Rs8. The largest single expense was the maintenance of missions abroad: Foreign aid totaled Rs1. The single largest recipient--as in most previous years--was Bhutan Rs millionwhose government operations and development are heavily subsidized by India. Other Government Organizations Besides the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of External Affairs, there are other government agencies that have foreign policy-making roles.
In theory, the ministers of defence, commerce, and finance provide input to foreign policy decisions discussed in cabinet meetings, but their influence in practical terms is overshadowed by the predominant position of the prime minister and his advisers.
The armed forces are removed from policy making and have influence only through the minister of defence, to whom they are subordinate see Organization and Equipment of the Armed Forces, ch.
Only a limited role in foreign policy making is provided for India's bicameral Parliament see The Legislature, ch.
Negotiated treaties and international agreements become legally binding on the state but are not part of domestic law unless passed by an act of Parliament, which also has no say in the appointment of diplomats and other government representatives dealing with foreign affairs.
For the most part, because of the widespread domestic support for India's foreign policy, Parliament has endorsed government actions or sought information. The most important official link between Parliament and the executive in the mids is the Committee on External Affairs of the Lok Sabha House of the Peoplethe lower chamber of Parliament.
The committee meets regularly and draws its membership from many parties. Usually it has served either as a forum for government briefings or as a deliberative body. The Role of Political and Interest Groups Institutional connections between public opinion and foreign policy making are tenuous in the mids, as they have been since independence.
Although international issues receive considerable attention in the media and in academic circles, the views expressed by journalists and scholars in these publications have little impact on foreign policy making. Interest groups concerned with foreign relations exist inside and outside Parliament but are less organized or articulate than in most other democracies.
These organizations include such business groups as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce International; religious groups, especially among Muslims; and various friendship or cultural societies promoting closer ties with specific countries. Among the latter are informal groups known as the "Russian" and "American" lobbies. Opposition political parties often have more effectively articulated differing views regarding foreign policy, but even these views had little impact on policy making until the s.
After the mids, the communist parties were broadly supportive of Indian foreign policy.