I ndia’s international relations varied over the years after independence. During cold war era, India remained nonaligned. However, it was unable to prevent Cold War politics from becoming intertwined with interstate relations in South Asia. In the 1980s, India improved relations with the United States, other developed countries and China while continuing close ties with the Soviet Union. Its relations with its South Asian neighbours, especially Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal remained topsy-turvy.
In the 1990s, India’s economic problems have forced New Delhi to reassess its foreign policy and adjust its foreign relations. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, India improved its relations with the US, Canada, France, Japan and German. In 1992, India established formal diplomatic relations with Israel. In the mid-1990s, India attracted the world attention towards the Pakistan-backed terrorism in Kashmir. In 1998, it tested nuclear weapons for the second time leading to several US, Japanese and European sanctions.
India’s candidature for a permanent place at the UN Security Council is currently backed by several countries including US, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan etc. In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi came and the foreign policy of India began focussing on improving relations with neighbouring countries and the major global powers. To pursue this, he has made official visits to Bhutan, Nepal and Japan within the first 100 days of his government, followed by the United States, Myanmar, Australia, and Fiji.
For India to stand out as a global superpower, it needs to regain the influence it had over its neighbouring countries. If India cannot even exert an influence over its neighbours, how can we expect it to have a substantial say on the international India’s Foreign Policy Priorities issues. Having South-Asia under its influence is also crucial to counter the growing influence of China in the region – with India and China in border disputes, India can ill-afford to concede more power to the already influential China. India will also gain in a powerful international-reorganization, if it comes out as the dominant force of the South-Asia – which is well within its potential – and achieving so is crucial for the growth and development of the country.
Let us look at the ongoing issues with the key countries and what needs to be looked at. We will also point out some of the specific issues with regard to SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries.