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Evolution Of India’s Foreign Policy - ‘Reactive’ to ‘Proactive'

India has made tremendous efforts and considerable progress in achieving thriving bilateral relations with leading world powers, and establishing itself as a Global Leader. Revitalizing ties, building new and strong foundations, and asserting itself as a catalyst in making a global impact, the burst of activity and pace of change in Indian foreign policy has been phenomenal. 


The Government aims to draft a foreign policy with a clear sense of priority for India in the International forum. It aims to form an integrated view of regions and a more vigorous effort directed toward pursuing multiple bilateral relationships with various world leaders and powers.


India in the past, has adopted a reactive approach to the use of hard power, which is visible in its nuclear policy of 'No First Use' and major foreign policy decisions and initiatives like 'Non-Alignment'  indicative of a considerably feeble role in the global arena. 


India, of today, aims at achieving new developments, furthering its national agenda, striving towards excellence, and asserting a more proactive role in international geopolitics than before. Holistic development, economic self-efficiency, bolstering security interests, and building better economic and strategic equations with the world are among the top priorities of the government.


Power plays a key role in the international sphere altering and shaping relations and foreign policy decisions across the globe. One of the most popular schools of thought The Neorealist school of thought perceives power as the foundation of politics. The neorealist view of politics can be comprehensively understood by the following quote from Hans J Morgenthau, one of the most prominent neorealist scholars.  

"The struggle for power is universal in time and space and is an undeniable fact of experience"

- Hans J Morgenthau 


Politics is a power struggle, and India aspires to play a keen role in shaping the international environment while managing conflict and ensuring its interests.


Under the current government, India has undertaken foreign policy as an instrument to further national interest and has approached its agenda with boldness and a clear objective. India has actively engaged itself in international politics taking the lead role in diplomatic, multilateral organizations like ASEAN, QUAD, G20, etc. 


India has been more assertive in international relations than it ever was in the past which is reflected in its strong stance on key international issues like the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War. This has changed India's image in front of the world for the better and has contributed to re-establishing itself as ‘Vishwa Guru’. 



The government has been focused on strengthening relations with its neighbors and regional partners before reaching out to other allies. The government policies have taken a tectonic shift from a ‘Look East’ policy to a more action-oriented ‘Act East’ policy, a mechanism to use historical ties as a catalyst for forging strong future partnerships.


These changes have been consistent with the change in leadership/governance in India. The NDA-led government advocates a strong India that can resist pressure from world powers and regional rivals. 


Today’s India will not succumb to those demands which are not in its interest.


India is now taking bold steps and has started playing a more proactive role in international forums and has freed itself from the fear of upsetting any of its allies or global powers.

India's new and revitalized foreign policy under the current leadership has prioritized realigning itself from ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive’, based on the tenets of re-prioritization, emphasis, sharper communication, strategic boldness, vigor, and activism.


Economic development, diplomacy, and reform of global governance have been at the core of India's foreign policy under the new government.


The vision of the government is to build a revitalized India, a global power that will lead the world in key sectors such as science, technology, innovation, etc.


India has prioritized several crucial issues of great significance, relevant to its national and geopolitical interest, and took the lead role and initiatives to raise demands for itself and the third world community in the international fora, for instance, the demands for WTO reforms, its demand to restructure and reform the UNSC, presenting its case for a permanent position in the security council and the demand to restructure the security council reflecting the current geopolitical realities, indicating its resolute to play a proactive role in the international sphere and aspires to steer the global agenda while aiming at the global collective good.


India’s presidency of G20 in 2023 will provide it the opportunities to weave geo-economic themes in alignment with our national and geopolitical interests, this will serve as an opportunity for India to emerge as a strong global power. Strategic autonomy, self-reliance, openness and inclusive economic growth and a proactive approach are the key guiding principles of India's revamped foreign policy.


In the last decade, India has witnessed a drastic shift in its stature as a key player in global matters. It is resolute to play a greater role and engage with other countries has enabled India to formulate a new normal in its diplomatic relations. All eyes are on India because of its rising importance in contemporary global political matters, and the stance of the Indian government has become a matter of global importance, signifying its increased prominence in the international arena.


Indian foreign policy has managed to widen its sphere of influence, enhance its role as a member of the international platform, and is emerging as a strong global power. India has transformed into an assertive power, not dependent on other states for its development. The policy of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ has provided India with a sense of self-sufficiency and has created a track toward development and becoming an independent strong nation. The government has attempted to reorient and reboot Indian foreign policy to ensure India's strategic engagement in the new global paradigm and nurture better bilateral relationships with its international partners and competitors fostering new and strong relationships with the world.


Indian Foreign Policy underwent a remarkable transition under my government becoming more purposeful and pragmatic with India emerging as a leading power adopting a more responsive and proactive role in global affairs. The government has adopted “The India Way” of conducting foreign affairs working towards becoming more of a Decider or Shaper rather than an Abstainer and aims to become a stabilizing power.


India is on its trajectory to become a Developed Nation with a strong economic power and will emerge as a Leader in the Global Arena.

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