India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was a leading light of the non-aligned movement (NAM). Nehru along with some other countries like Yugoslavia, Egypt, and Indonesia made a formidable group of state which maintained equidistance from the two superpowers of that time, USA and USSR. Nehru’s model of diplomacy formed the basis of India’s foreign policy and every political party of the country were in sync with the stand that India adopted after getting Independence.
But a rethink of India’s foreign policy was necessitated with the fall of erstwhile USSR in the 90s as the world became unipolar. Since then, Indo-US friendship has really taken off. Earlier, there existed a love-hate relationship between the two major democracies of the world. While US stood firmly behind Pakistan, India was slightly tilted towards USSR. When USSR was not in existence, the equation changed. It was the US who was more interested to make amends for its past and tried to befriend India. Many international relations experts saw it as a ploy by US to counter China, another Asian superpower. Former US presidents including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all made trips to India and forcefully advocated for close ties between the two countries. The utterances of the US presidents proved beyond doubt that the US was no longer an all-weather ally of Pakistan any more. Rather the country stood firm with India in its fight against terrorism.
All these development show that India’s Nehru’s stand of maintaining equidistance from superpowers has started paying dividends. AfterIndia got Independence, many thought that in-order to survive, the country would have to stand behind a superpower. But with the help of the able leadership of Nehru and other Prime Ministers, India today, is a country that is most sought after by the superpowers. It should not be forgotten that after taking over the reins of US for the second time, Barack Obama hosted the then Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh as his first state guest. Recently, US President Donald Trump virtually gatecrashed an event organised to felicitate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. HowdiModi was perhaps the first event where the most powerful man on earth shared such a stage with the head of another country.
All these are good signs for India. But our present policymakers should keep in mind that the bedrock of our foreign policy should not be altered or diluted at any cost. India’s influence in the worldis increasing. It has been made possible by sticking to a particular stand and not indulging in give and take policy. History shows the fall on many such countries that were not principled enough to stick to their stands. For example, our neighbour Pakistan has made many such mistakes. As a result, the country today is below its potential. India is given a place of importance at every international meet and in-order to continue as a thriving country we must hold steady and not give into pressure from foreign forces. We must remember lessons from the past.