India’s Foreign Policy 2020 – Biswasdip TIGELA

A Foreign Affairs advisor briefing note to the new Head of Government of India.


As a responsible country in the World, India’s foreign policy is important to rulemaking not only the rule-following. There is boarder’s connection with seven countries; therefore, India has to have a clear, transparent and fair foreign policy. India’s policy will take effect not only surrounding countries, but it will also affect over the globe. India has owned Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam motto, which means the World is one Family, and all members of the family have to live together with harmony and peace in mutual benefit have to work together in trust. (Molhotra, 2019 India is willing to become a permanent member of the Security Council in the United Nations, and there are some countries already pledged to approve. Global terrorism is the imminent threat of India and in the World. So, India is working on it with a new concept and idea for different level, and various area such as Comity of Nations Against International Terrorism (CNAIT) (Molhotra, 2019 India’s foreign policy’s priority is to first India and common benefit for all. 

Foreign Policy Priorities 

India government has major four objectives; 1. to secure India from the direct and indirect or traditional or non-traditional threat. 2. Willing to make Indian voice to heart everyone across the globe. Especially, climate change, terrorism, disarmament, reform global governance institutions. 3. To build an external atmosphere which will help to support to develop India and that advantages should go across the country. 4. To take care to Non-Resident Indian at diaspora.

While we are talking about the Indian foreign policy, principles of peaceful coexistence which call Panchsheel is paramount. (CCGK, 2014, Which are: 1. Mutual respect in territorial integrity with sovereignty. 2. No interference to other’s internal affairs. 3. Equality for mutual benefit. 4. Non-aggregation and 5. Coexistence in peaceful. It was an exclusive agreement between China and India on 28 April 1954 in Peking. It is the agreement with China, but it is also a fundamental policy of India’s for neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Siri Lanka. This Panchasheel principle leads Sabka Saath, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Vikas. It is typical Indian’s mottos like as altogether, all’s progress, and all’s trust.

To continue its growth of India needs considerable outside sources for on-going projects. Projects are; digital India, smart cities, clean India, skills of India, make in India. So, on foreign investment, financial assistance from World Bank, Asian bank, BRICS bank and IMF, foreign partners and transforming of technology. Since last few years, India has tremendous diplomacy achievement in politics and economy. To execute the policy, India has an outside source of Non-resident Indian all over the World around 20 million, and our government’s interest is to engage with them and take maximum benefit from their expertise. 

India’s position is always in the people democracy. But neighbour countries may rule own by own either monarchy, military dictatorship, communism or whatever it is best to the left on the choice of the own people of the country. Neighbour country Bhutan has a monarchy, China and Laos have Communism, Pakistan had military dictatorship whatever, but, India never believe in the supply of ideology, does not endorse the idea of regime change, especially by forcefully intervention. Even, India does not accept to imposing sanction and military force against one country by another state, however at the UN approved mission, Indian involving for a peace-keeping force for a long time.

Key Relationship

India has many relationships with a various level in different purpose. To build a sense of peace and stability India government unveil the “Neighbourhood First Policy in 2014”. This policy’s main aim is to build trust, relation and establish a friendship with mutual benefit with neighbour countries. 

India is committing for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). However, due to problem with Pakistan, it is now upon hold, and wait and see position (Pillalamarri, 2014, but in the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectorial Technical and Economic Cooperation) India is active and expanded relationship with Myanmar and Thailand. India has outreach role for BRICS (Brazil Russia India China and South Africa) it is a cooperative organisation for economy, politics and military. BRICS is essential to check and balance for the World. 

Relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is primarily for trade and investment. It is also essential because there are Asian Tigers countries for the economy and India policy existed since Look East Policy (LEP) in the 1990s. And, PM Modi government rebranding as “Act East Policy” (AEP) in 2014 (Molhotra, 2019, after the rebranding AEP policy government getting dynamic action-oriented approach from ASEAN and that help to enhance the Indian economy.

With the USA and Russia, the relationship is more important. Because the USA accept India as the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Origination) allies and not the only defence and market, the USA has the interest to put India to counterweight to China.

Russia is the primary source of our defence system, and during the Russian economy recession due to USA sanctions, we bought a massive defence system in 2014, that was the renewal of India and Russia relationship. Consequently, defence, energy, space and trade investment are on-going. Neighbour country with Pakistan and China has a border problem for a long time.

Future Action

“India has emerged as a major global economic player..” (Aston University 2020, However, there are many challenges. To establish the regional balance is problematic, because of the giant Chinese Belt and Road Initiative Project (Molhotra, 2019 Likewise, the China-Pakistan Economy Corridor (CPEC) project, China is keeping blocking for Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) for India as well. And, On the other hand, India’s involvement to Anti-China alliance for counter into Indo-pacific region as well. 

India feel oppressed from the world bank and International Monetary Fund; therefore; alternative of that India has to work for BRICS. India adopted a non-aligned foreign policy since long-time, however, dealing with Pakistan problem is forcing out of non-alliance policy. (Gopalakrishnan, 2029, When the USA cancels the GSP tariffs 5.6bn privilege to export from India, then India retaliated as imposing higher duty tax for the USA import items. It is a significant concern for India, and it should be addressed in priority (ET Bureau 2019,

Concluding Remarks

In summary, India has many challenges and opportunities to play a vital role over the globe; however, foreign policies are the underpinning. Policies are to be fair, transparent and encourage to cooperative in mutual aspect. India traditional threat from Pakistan and China border crises remains the same. Eventually, India will do whatever it thinks about best to nation’s greatest advantage.


Ayres, A. (2020) A Field Guide to U.S.-India Trade Tensions  (Accessed: 13 February 2020)

Aston University (2020) Global economic players: opportunities and challenges in India. Available at: (Accessed: 16 February 2020)

CCGK (2014) The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Available at: (Accessed: 17 February 2020)

ET Bureau (2019) US stops duty benefits for $5.6 billion of Indian exports. Available at: (Accessed: 17 February 2020) 

Gopalakrishnan, M., Jha, M. (2019) How PM Modi changed the face of Indian foreign policy  (Accessed: 16 February 2020)

Ministry of External Affairs (2020) Indian Treaties Database, Available at:  (Accessed: 16 February 2020)

Malhotra, A. (2019) India’s Foreign Policy: 2014-19: Landmarks, achievements and challenges ahead  (Accessed: 16 February 2020)

Pillalamarri, A. (2014) For SAARC to Work, India and Pakistan Must Resolve Differences. Available at: (Accessed: 14 February 2020)

PBD (2019) Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) (Accessed: 11 February 2020)

Singh, H, Sahgal, A. (2020) Indian Foreign Policy: Assessing the Agenda in 2020 (Accessed: 16 February 2020)

  • 17 February 2020