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Foreign Policy Of India


To prepare for POST INDEPENDENCE HISTORY OF INDIA for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about the Foreign Policy Of India. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Economy syllabus (GS-II.). Foreign Policy Of India terms are important from Economy perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams.

In this article you will learn about – Introduction to India’s Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy under Nehru, Relations with Pakistan, Relations with China, India-Srilanka Crisis (1987), Nuclear Policy of India

  • At the world level, situation around the world in general was very grim. The world had just witnessed the devastating World War II, attempt of creating new international body for peace, emergence of new nations with the collapse of colonialism, twin challenges face by new countries; welfare and democracy for all.
  • In Indian context, the partition, the legacy of British India left behind many difficult challenges. India’s efforts to pursue an independent foreign policy were highlight of post 1947 politics.
  • Nehru used foreign policy as an instrument to defend and strengthen India’s independence and to safeguard her national interests, to develop the self-reliance, self-confidence and pride of the masses while serving the cause of world peace and anti-colonialism.
  • India decided to conduct its foreign relations with an aim to respect the sovereignty of all other nations and to achieve security through the maintenance of peace.
  • This aim finds an echo in the Directive principles of state Policy, in the Article 51 of constitution: “Promotion of international peace and security.

The state shall Endeavour to:

  • Promote international peace and security
  • Maintain just and honourable relations between nations.
  • Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised people with one another.
  • Encourage settlement or international disputes by arbitration.


Panchsheel: Nehru outlined the five principles of peaceful coexistence or Panchsheel for conducting relations among countries. These were mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence



Basic Parameters of Nehru’s Foreign Policy

  • Independent Foreign Policy
  • Non-Alignmnet Movement
  • Support to Colonial & Ex-colonial Countries
  • Peaceful Co-existence with neighbours & other countries
  • To protect Indian Economic Interest
  • Security of India


Overview of Nehru’s Foreign Policy-

International Role-

Korean War (1950-53)-

  • After the end of the Second World War, Korea was divided between a Communist North Korea (controlled by Socialist camp led by USSR) and South Korea (dominated by Western powers led by USA).
  • When North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, India supported US in the UN Security Council and condemned North Korea as
  • But, India’s main concern was to prevent entry of outside powers into the conflict.
  • The Korean war tested India’s faith in non-alignment and commitment to peace.
  • India continued to press UN to recognize and give a seat to Communist China in Security Council.
  • India faced Chinese and Soviet hostility because declared North Korea as the initial aggressor.
  • India also faced American hostility for refusing to go with Western intervention in the war, and for refusing to declare China as the aggressor.


  • India tried to prevent internationalization of Indo-Chinese conflict.
  • India got guarantee from China for neutralization of Laos and Cambodia.
  • India also got assurances from Great Britain and France to China that they would not allow US to have bases in Laos and Cambodia.
  • India was appointed Chairman of International Control Commission and its work included supervision of imports of foreign armaments into Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.


Suez Canal-

  • There was an Anglo-American withdrawal of the promised financial aid for building the Aswan Dam on river Nile.
  • Then, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal.
  • The users of Suez Canal (Britain and France particularly) demanded international control over it.
  • India was a user as well and it recognized that Suez Canal was an integral part of Egypt.
  • India condemned the attack by France and Britain on Egypt.
  • Finally, the withdrawal took place under UN supervision and Indian troops participated in large numbers in the peace-keeping force.



  • The Soviet Union’s intrusion in Hungary in 1956 to crush a rebellion aimed at taking Hungary out of the Soviet bloc. It was severely condemned by the UN and it demanded withdrawal.
  • India abstained from joining in the formal condemnation and received a lot of criticism from the West.
  • Nehru criticized the Soviet action and did not send an ambassador to Budapest for two years to show unhappiness. Soviets reciprocated by abstaining when Kashmir came up in the UN Security Council.
  • Later, they reverted to their usual practice of vetoing resolutions that were against Indian interests.
  • India withstood considerable pressure from both sides and did not flip in either direction.



  • A major achievement of Indian foreign policy was to maintain the integrity and independence of Congo.
  • Congo had just gained independence from Belgium on 1960. Its copper-rich province of Katanga announced its independence from Congo immediately, backed by Belgium.
  • Nehru demanded that UN play a more decisive part, get rid of foreign troops, stop the civil war, convene the parliament and form a new government, and that India was ready to commit troops.
  • The Security Council adopted a resolution on 1961 and Indian armed forces successfully brought the civil war to a close and restored the government’s authority over
  • It was one of the finest moments for India’s policy of non-alignment. It helped strengthening the role of multilateral bodies like the UN.



  • India needed technology, machines, and aid for its development effort, food for its people, and moral support for its nation-building and democratic efforts from US.
  • US stand on Kashmir disturbed the hope of friendship.
  • The UN Security Council (dominated by the US and its allies) evaded decision on Indian charge of Pakistani aggression even after UN Commission reported the presence of Pakistani troops in Kashmir.
  • US did not appreciate India’s recognition of Communist China in 1950.
  • Nehru expressed his unhappiness at Cold War being brought to the Indian subcontinent by the inclusion of Pakistan in CENTO, SEATO.
  • Though, economic ties grew as US was the source of technology and machines.


Soviet Union

  • Communist ambivalence towards Indian freedom struggle was transferred to Nehru’s government.
  • Soviet Union sent food shipments to tide over the drought in India, at a time when US was not helping India.
  • From 1955, USSR gave full support to Indian position on Kashmir, and from 1956 used its veto in the UN Security Council to stall resolutions unfavourable to India on Kashmir.
  • Both countries took a common stand against colonialism.
  • In the UN, the USSR supported India on the integration of Goa in opposition to the US.
  • The path of economic development based on planning and role of public sector in industrialization brought India closer to USSR.
  • In 1962, an agreement permitted India to manufacture MiG aircraft.
  • During Chinese attack on India in the year 1962, USSR maintained complete neutrality.
  • Also, India was an important entry point to Afro-Asian world of newly independent nations who did not want to become US allies and preferred USSR instead. This helped the USSR in the Cold War as well.



Reasons for formation:

  • After the end of WW II, the world was divided into two hostile blocs, one led by the S.A. and the western powers and another was by the Soviet Union.
  • Nehru had thought that the poor countries of Asia and Africa would gain nothing and lose everything if they join such military blocs which will serve their own self interests.
  • The leaders of NAM were firm in their view to expand the “area of peace” instead of hostility. Hence India and other countries like Egypt, Indonesia did not approve joining of Baghdad Pact, the Manila Treaty, SEATO and CENTO, which were military blocs.
  • Non-Alignment came to symbolize the struggle of India and other newly independent nations to retain and strengthen their independence from colonialism and imperialism.
  • To pursue the dream of a peaceful world, India advocated non alignment policy by reducing the cold war tensions and contributing human resources to the UN peace keeping operations.
  • Due to acceptance of non-alignment policy, many nations of the world got their voice heard in the nascent organization, UN.
  • The one country, one vote system enables the non-aligned bloc to check domination by the Western bloc. Thus, Non alignment advanced the process of democratization of international relations.



  • Indian National Movement was a part of the worldwide struggle against colonialism and imperialism. India’s struggle influenced the liberation movements of many Asian and African countries.
  • There was communication between the nations who were united in their common struggle against colonialism and imperialism.
  • Due to vast size, location and power potential, Nehru envisaged a major role for India in world affairs, particularly in Asian Affairs.
  • Throughout the 1940s and 50s, Nehru had been an ardent advocate of Asian unity. Hence, under his leadership, India convened the Asian Relations Conference in March 1947 in New Delhi.
  • Later India supported the Indonesian struggle for freedom from the Dutch colonial regime by convening an international conference in 1949.
  • India was an ardent supporter of the decolonization process, firmly opposed racism, particularly the apartheid in South Africa. The Afro Asian Bandung Conference 1955, marked the Zenith of India’s engagement with the newly independent Asian and African Nationals. The Bandung Conference later led to the establishment of the NAM.


Establishment of NAM-

  • Founded- 1961, Belgrade, Yugoslavia (Now Serbia)
  • HQCentral Jakarta, Indonesia
  • The Non-Aligned Movement(NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide.
  • It has 120 membersas on April 2018 comprising 53 countries from Africa, 39 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 2 from Europe (Belarus, Azerbaijan). There are 17 countries and 10 international organizations that are Observers at NAM.
  • The basic concept for the group originated in 1955 during discussions that took place at the Asia-Africa Bandung Conferenceheld in Indonesia.
  • The first NAM Summit Conferencetook place in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in September 1961.
  • The Non-Aligned Movement was founded and held its first conference (the Belgrade Conference) in 1961 under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia.


First NAM Summit

  • The purpose of the organization was enumerated in Havana Declaration of 1979 to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign subjugation.
  • During the cold war era the NAM played a vital role in stabilizing the world order and preserving peace and security.
  • Non alignment of NAM doesn’t mean the neutrality of state on global issues, it was always a peaceful intervention in world politics

Principles of NAM:

  • Respect for the principles enshrined in the charter of the United Nations and international law
  • Respect for sovereignty, sovereign equality and territorial integrity of all States.
  • Peaceful settlement of all international conflicts in accordance with the charter of the United Nations.
  • Respect for the political, economic, social and cultural diversity of countries and peoples
  • Defence and promotion of shared interests, justice and cooperation, regardless of the differences existing in the political, economic and social systems of the States, on the basis of mutual respect and the equality of rights.
  • Respect for the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence, in accordance with the charter of the United Nations
  • Promotion and defence of multilateralism and multilateral organisations as the appropriate frameworks to resolve, through dialogue and cooperation, the problems affecting humankind
  • Non-interference in the internal affairs of States


Objectives of NAM

  • “create an independent path in world politics that would not result in member States becoming pawns in the struggles between the major powers
  • The right of independent judgment, the struggle against imperialism and neo-colonialism, and the use of moderation in relations with all big powers as the three basic elements that have influenced its approach
  • Facilitating a restructuring of the international economic order.

NAM in Cold war Era-

  • Against Apartheid:The evil of apartheid was massively prevalent in African countries like South Africa, its was on the agenda of NAM right from first conference. During 2nd NAM conference at Cairo the government of South Africa was warned against the discriminatory practices of apartheid.
  • Disarmament:The Non-aligned Movement repeatedly comes out for maintenance of peace, ‘the cessation of arms race and the peaceful coexistence of all States. In the General Assembly, India submitted a draft resolution declaring that the use of nuclear weapons would be against the charter of the United Nations and crime against humanity and should therefore be prohibited.
  • UNSC reforms:Right from its inception NAM was in the favour of UNSC reforms, it was against the domination of US and USSR. It wanted the representation of third world countries to make UNSC more democratic. Members echoed with same demand at 17th NAM conference at
  • Failed to resolve regional tensions:In the era of cold war the tension in South Asia escalated due to regional conflict between India- China and India-Pakistan. NAM failed to avoid tensions in the region, that further led to the nuclearization of the region.


Relevance of NAM-

  • World peace –NAM has played an active role in preserving world peace. It still stands by its founding principles, idea and purpose i.e. to establish the peaceful and prosperous world. It prohibited invasion of any country, promoted disarmament and a sovereign world order.
  • Territorial integrity and sovereignty –NAM stands with this principle and proved its repeated relevance with the idea of preserving the independence of every nation.
  • Third World nations –Third world countries fighting against socio-economic problems since they have been exploited for a long time by other developed nations, NAM acted as a protector for these small countries against the western hegemony.
  • Support of UN –NAM’s total strength compromises of 118 developing countries and most of them being a member of UN General Assembly. It represents two third members of general assembly, hence NAM members act as important vote blocking group in UN.
  • Equitable world order –NAM promotes equitable world order. It can act as a bridge between the political and ideological differences existing in the international environment.
  • Interest of developing countries –If disputes arise between developed and developing nation at any point of a concerned topic for example WTO, then NAM act as a platform which negotiates and conclude disputes peacefully securing the favourable decisions for each member nation.
  • Cultural diversity and human rights –In the environment of gross human right violation, it can provide a platform to raise such issues and resolve the same through its principles.
  • Sustainable development – NAM supported the concept of sustainable development and can lead the world toward sustainability. It can be used as larger platform to make consensus on global burning issues like climate change, migration and global terrorism.
  • Economic growth – The countries of NAM has inherent assets, such as a favourable demography, demand and favourable location. The cooperation can lead them to higher and sustainable economic growth. It Can be an alternative to regional groupings like TPP and RCEP.



India and Pakistan

  • India’s relations with her neighbours were of central concern to her. India signed with Nepal, Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1950, which gave Nepal unhindered access for commercial transit through India and secured its total sovereignty and making both the countries responsible for each other’s security.
  • With Burma [now Myanmar] there was problem of India settlers which was solved peacefully.
  • Even though there was some tension with Sri Lanka regarding Tamil settlers’ issue, but it didn’t become obstacle in the relations.
  • However, India had bitter relations with both China and Pakistan. (Note- India’s foreign policy with neighbours have been discussed separately in IR notes)



  • Communal riots and transfers of population during partition led to strained relations. Pakistani invasion of Kashmir in October 1947 further disturbed the relationship.
  • Maharaja of Kashmir had signed the Instrument of Accession, and Kashmir became a part of India
  • India had put a complaint with the UN against Pakistani aggression.
  • UN resolution of August 1948 laid down two preconditions for holding a plebiscite.
    • First, Pakistan should withdraw its forces from Jammu and Kashmir.
    • Second, that authority of Srinagar administration should be restored over whole state.
  • In 1951, the UN passed a resolution providing for a referendum under UN supervision after Pakistan had withdrawn its troops from the part of Kashmir under its control.
  • The resolution has remained infructuous since Pakistan has refused to withdraw its forces from what is known as Azad Kashmir. Since then Kashmir has been the main obstacle in the path of friendly relations between India and Pakistan.
  • The Kashmir issue to be used to trouble India, especially as Pakistan became more and more integrated into the US-led Western alliance via membership of CENTO, SEATO, Baghdad Pact and military pact with the US.
  • The Kashmir conflict didn’t prevent cooperation between the government of India and Pakistan. Both the government worked together to restore the abducted women to their original families, a long-term dispute of river water sharing was resolved – with world Bank’s mediation and India-Pakistan Indus Water Treaty was signed by Nehru and General Ayyub Khan in 1960.
  • However, all these early efforts were temporary and short term. After 1960, India had fought 3 full scale war with Pakistan where India emerged victorious.
  • After 1980’s Pakistan started supporting state sponsored Terrorism in India which still exist as a main security challenge before India.
  • Since, Independence though India always tried to maintain friendly and cordial relations with Pakistan but Pakistan always made an attempt to destabilize India- economically, politically and from Defense and security point of view.


Indo-Pak Wars

Indo-Pak War (1965) –

  • Pak still desired for the accession of Kashmir, even after its debacle by Indian troops in 1947.
  • Pakistan launched armed attacks in the Rann of Kutch area of Gujarat, later it launched bigger offensive in J&K in August and September in 1965.
  • Pakistan thought that this time the local population would support the cause of Pakistan, but this thought again failed to convince the local people and Pak couldn’t get the local support.
  • Meanwhile, in order to ease the pressure from Kashmir front, the then PM Shastri ordered Indian troops to launch counter offensive on the Punjab border.
  • This war again won by India, and the hostilities came to an end with UN intervention. Due to the mediation of Soviet Union, Both the countries signed the Tashkent Agreement [Shastri from India & General Ayub Khan from Pak] in January 1966.
  • Provisions of Tashkent Declaration – Some of the important provisions of the declaration are as follows:
  • Pakistan to give up on international arbitration of the Kashmir dispute o India to withdraw from key posts like Haji Pir Pass and other strategic gains in Kashmir
  • Withdrawal of forces by both the sides to the positions held before the war.
  • The orderly transfer of prisoners of war
  • The resumption of diplomatic relations
  • Although India won the war, this war added India the economic difficulties.
  • During this war, here was scarcity of food grains in the country. Hence, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shahstri gave the popular slogan- Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan which means our Jawan (Soldiers) would defend the boundaries and our Kisan (Jawans) would make India self-sufficient in Foodgrains


Indo-Pak war (1971)-

  • The internal crisis of Pakistan after the verdict of their general elections turned violent.
  • The ruling party of Zulfikar Bhutto emerged as winner in West Pakistan while in their Eastern Part Sheikh Mujib-Ur Rahman’s Awani League won the seats with great margins.
  • However, strong and powerful western establishment ignored the democratic verdict and didn’t accept the League’s demand for federation.
  • Instead of responding to their demands and verdict positively, Pak army arrested Rahman and unleashed brutal terror activities and suppressed their voices ruthlessly.
  • To end this menace permanently, people of Eastern Pak started liberation struggle of Bangladesh from Pakistan.
  • Due to the huge influence of refugees from Eastern Pak, India deliberated much and later extended its support to people’s cause materially and morally, which was frowned by Western Pak as Indian conspiracy to break of Pakistan.
  • The support to Western Pak came from the USA & China to quash the people’s movement.
  • To ensure its safety from the attacks of American and Chinese backed Pak, India signed 20-year Treaty of Peace and Friendship with the Soviet Union.

Even after much diplomatic deliberations it could not achieve concrete results, and full-scale war broke out in December 1971 on both the western and Eastern front.

  • India’s external intelligence agency R&AW played a decisive role in this war. It formed and organised Mukti Bahini (It includes local population of Bangladesh suffered from Pakistan Atrocities and ex-soldiers of Pakistan army belonged to Bangladesh).
  • With the support of local population in the form of “Mukti Bahini” Indian army made rapid progress and compelled the Pakistani troops to surrender in 10 days only.
  • This victory is commemorated as ‘Vijay Diwas’. Throughout the crisis Indira Gandhi acted with immense courage and caution. It was Indira’s and India’s finest time.
  • With emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country, India declared a unilateral ceasefire.
  • Later Shimla Agreement of 1972 (July 03) between Indira Gandhi & Zulfikar Bhutto brought back the peace between two nations.
  • It was to establish durable peace, friendship and co-operation between two nations. Under this agreement both countries undertook to solemnly resolve the conflict and confrontation which both the nations have experienced in the past. This agreement contains a set of guiding principles which were mutually agreed by both the nations:



  • Respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty
  • Non-interference in each other’s internal affairs’
  • Political independence
  • Sovereign & equality
  • Peaceful resolution through bilateral approaches
  • To build the foundations of a cooperative relationship with special focus on people to people contacts.
  • To uphold the inviolability of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a key to durable peace.

Kargil war (1999)-

  • After the debacle of 1971 war, Pak army never tried to fight with Indian army directly and started the proxy war by sending the terrorists trained by their secret agencies to create havoc and panic in J& K and India.
  • In 1999, so called Mujahideens along with Pakistan Army (non-uniform) occupied several points on the Indian side of LOC in the Mashkoh, Dras, Kaksar, Batalik.
  • Suspecting Pak’s hand behind such activities, Indian forces immediately started reaching to such proxy war which is known as “Kargil conflict”.
  • This conflict gets worldwide attention because of the nuclear capabilities attained by these countries in 1998, which could be used by either side, however this wasn’t used in the war, and without it Indian troops regained their points with the help of their courage, bravery and conventional war tactics
  • India emerged as a victorious in this war.
  • There was huge controversy surrounding this Kargil conflict, that, the then PM of Pak was kept in the dark of such move. Later, the then Pak army Chief General Parvez Musharraf took over as its President.



  • India had followed a policy of friendship towards China from the very start.
  • India was the first to recognize People’s Republic of China on 1950.
  • Nehru had great hopes that the two countries with common experience of suffering at hands of colonial powers and common problems of poverty and underdevelopment would join hands. Nehru pressed for representation of Communist China in the UN Security Council.
  • In 1954, India and China signed a treaty in which India recognized China’s rights over Tibet and both countries agreed to be governed in their mutual relations by the principles of Panchsheel.
  • In 1959, there was a revolt in Tibet and Dalai Lama fled Tibet. He was given asylum in India but not allowed to set up a government-in-exile and dissuaded from carrying on political activities. The Chinese were unhappy.


Panchsheel Treaty-

  • The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known as the Panchsheel Treaty: Non-interference in others internal affairs and respect for each other’s territorial unity integrity and sovereignty (from Sanskrit, panch: five, sheel: virtues), are a set of principles to govern relations between states.
  • Their first formal codification in treaty form was in an agreement between China and Indiain 1954.
  • They were enunciated in the preamble to the “Agreement (with exchange of notes) on trade and intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India“, which was signed at Peking on 28 April 1958.


Five Principles of Panchsheel:

  • The agreement was signed between then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and China’s first Premier (Prime Minister) Chou En-Lai.



  • It has been alleged that Panchsheel treaty was a great diplomatic blunder conducted by India whose effects are still prevalent.
  • The renunciation of Indian rights over some part of Tibet opened the gates for China’s claim on the whole area of sovereign Tibet.
  • The same argument was used by china to occupy the whole of Tibet through aggressive tactics and ultimately showing its expansionist approach towards Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • By giving up Tibet, India lost a significant military advantage of having control over passes that prevented China’s movement into the subcontinent.
  • India also lost a buffer state that would have acted as a deterrent against Chinese border disputes that we are currently facing including


1962 Indo China war- Attack of China

  • In 1962, Chinese army launched a massive attack and overran Indian posts in the eastern sector in NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh).
  • In western sector, Chinese captured 13 posts in the Galwan Valley and the Chushul airstrip was threatened
  • It was thought that Chinese rush to the plains and occupy Assam and other areas.
  • Nehru asked for US and British help.
  • Chinese declared a unilateral withdrawal


Aftermath of war-

  • India took a long time to recover from the blow to its self-respect.
  • It was only after the victory over Pakistan in the Bangladesh war (in which China and US were supporting Pakistan) that restored the sense of self-worth.


Reasons for failure in the war-

  • Indian political and military leadership erred in not anticipating the precise nature of the attack.
  • The Indian army commander in NEFA fled after the Chinese attack without any effort at resistance leaving the door wide open for China to walk in.
  • India refused to settle the borders with China on treasonable terms offered by the Chinese and instead followed from 1959 a ‘forward policy’ which provoked the Chinese to attack in self-defence.
  • Even after the revolt in Tibet, and Dalai Lama’s arrival, and the border clashes, India could not anticipate the dangers. Nehru did not expect that Communist China could threaten the Indian state.
  • Nehru erred in not anticipating the precise nature of the attack, rather than in the foreign policy he pursued.
  • On the military front, the military leadership thought in terms of either border clashes or a full-scale war in the plains of Assam, but not about the possibility of a limited deep thrust and withdrawal. They believed that a total war with China was unthinkable.
  • The failure was also due to the lack of a proper system of higher defence command and management, and because there was no system of defence planning and the structure of civil military relations was flawed.
  • It was a failure of logistics, of intelligence and analysis of intelligence, of coordination of different wings such as the army with the Air Force.
  • Another mistake was the panic in appealing to US and UK for help, as next day the Chinese withdrew. The military leadership also thought in terms of either border clashes or a full-scale war in the plains of Assam, but not about the possibility of a limited deep thrust and withdrawal.
  • The war raised doubts on the correctness of Nehru’s foreign policy.
  • By humiliating India, China wanted to show that India’s policy of peace and nonalignment.



  • The resources for the economic development and third five-year plan were diverted for defence and India faced very difficult situation.
  • In August 1963, Nehru faced His first and the last confidence motion of his life.
  • It induces a sense of national humiliation and dented India’s image at home and abroad.
  • Nehru was severely criticised for his naive assessment of the Chinese intentions and the lack of military preparedness.
  • Relations between the nations remained cold till 1976. Normal relations resumed in 1976, and later the then Foreign minister B. Vajpayee was the first top level leader who visited China in 1979.




  • Since independence in 1948, Buddhist majority Srilanka adopted the policy of gradual exclusion of Tamil minority in the country.
  • Over a period of time, the conditions of Tamil minority aggravated further. They were deprived from almost all forms of rights- political, economic and social.
  • As a result, various groups emerged in Srilanka to fight for the cause of Tamil minority in the region in which LTTE played avital role.
  • LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) led by Prabhakaran was a violent armed struggle to liberate Jaffna Province (Where Tamil was in a majority) from Srilanka.
  • In 1980’s, Srilanka dragged into civil war and, Srilanka Army started killing number of innocent Tamil Civilians in Jaffna and thus migration was occurred from Srilanka to India.
  • This alarmed Indian Government and since this cause was directly related to India (Tamil nadu region), hence, India intervened in the conflict directly during Rajiv Gandhi Government.
  • An objective of intervention was to settle disputes between Srilanka and LTTE peacefully and to protect the human rights of Tamils in Srilanka.


Support provided by Indian Government to Tamil Groups-

  • President R. Jayawardene did not enjoy the same warm relationship with Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that he had enjoyed with her father, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • Thus, with the outbreak of Black July ethnic riots, the Indian government decided to support the insurgent groups operating in Northern Sri Lanka From mid-1983, on the instructions of Indira Gandhi, RAW began funding, arming and training several Tamil insurgent groups.


Operation Poolmalai-

  • India became more actively involved in the late 1980s, and on 5 June 1987, the IAF air dropped food parcels to Jaffna while it was under siege by Sri Lankan forces.
  • At a time when the Sri Lankan government stated they were close to defeating the LTTE, India dropped 25 tons of food and medicine by parachute into areas held by the LTTE in a direct move of support toward the rebels. Further Sri Lanka government accused, that not only food and medicine but weapons were also supplied to the LTTE.


India-Sri Lanka Peace Accord (29th July, 1987)-

  • The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accordwas an accord signed in Colombo on 29 July 1987, between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President R. Jayewardene.
  • Under this accord, the Sri Lankan Government made a number of concessions to Tamil demands, including a devolutionof power to the provinces, a merger—subject to later referendum—of the Northern and the Eastern provinces into the single province, and official status for the Tamil language (this was enacted as the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka).
  • India agreed to establish order in the North and East through a force dubbed the Indian Peace Keeping Force(IPKF), and to cease assisting Tamil insurgents. Militant groups including the LTTE, although initially reluctant, agreed to surrender their arms to the IPKF, which initially oversaw a cease-fire and a modest disarmament of the militant groups.
  • While most Tamil militant groups laid down their weapons and agreed to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict, the LTTE refused to disarm its fighters. Keen to ensure the success of the accord, the IPKF then tried to demobilize the LTTE by force and ended up in full scale war.


Operation Pawan

  • Operation Pawan was the codename assigned to the operations by the Indian Peace Keeping Forceto take control of Jaffna from the LTTE in late 1987 to enforce the disarmament of the LTTE as a part of the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord.
  • In brutal fighting that took about three weeks, the IPKF wrested control of the JaffnaPeninsula from LTTE rule, something that the Sri Lankan army had then tried and failed to achieve for several years. Supported by Indian Army tanks, helicopter gunships and heavy artillery, the IPKF routed the LTTE.


Jaffna University Helidrop-

  • The Jaffna University Helidrop was the first of the operations launched by the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF)aimed at disarming the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) by force and securing the town of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, in the opening stages of Operation Pawan during the active Indian mediation in the Sri Lankan Civil War.
  • Mounted on the midnight of 12 October 1987, the operation was planned as a fast heliborne assault involving Mi-8sof the 109 HU, the 10th Para Commandos and a contingent of the 13th Sikh LI.
  • The aim of the operation was to capture the LTTEleadership at Jaffna University building which served as the Tactical Headquarters of the LTTE, which was expected to shorten Operation Pawan, the battle for Jaffna.
  • However, the operation ended disastrously, failing to capture its objectives -owing to intelligence and planning failures.
  • The helidropped force suffered significant casualties, with nearly the entire Sikh LI detachment of twenty nine troops falling to the heavy fortifications of the university and fighting until death, along with six Paracommandos falling in battle.


End of India’s involvement-

  • Nationalist sentiment led many Sinhalese to oppose the continued Indian presence in Sri Lanka. These led to the Sri Lankan government’s call for India to quit the island, and they allegedly entered into a secret deal with the LTTE that culminated in a ceasefire. But the LTTE and IPKF continued to have frequent hostilities.
  • In April 1989, the Ranasinghe Premadasa government ordered the Sri Lanka Army to hand over arms consignments to the LTTE to fight the IPKF and its proxy Tamil National Army (TNA).
  • Although casualties among the IPKF mounted, and calls for the withdrawal of the IPKF from both sides of the Sri Lankan conflict grew, Rajiv Gandhi refused to remove the IPKF from Sri Lanka.
  • However, following his defeat in Indian parliamentary elections in December 1989, the new prime Minister P. Singh ordered the withdrawal of the IPKF, and their last ship left Sri Lanka on 24 March 1990.
  • The 32-month presence of the IPKF in Sri Lanka resulted in the deaths of 1200 Indian soldiers and over 5000 Sri Lankans. The cost for the Indian government was estimated at over ₹10.3 billion


Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi (1991)

  • A Support for the LTTE in India dropped considerably in 1991, after the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhiby a female suicide bomber named Thenmozhi Rajaratnam.
  • The Indian press has subsequently reported that Prabhakaran decided to eliminate Gandhi as he considered the ex-Prime Minister to be against the Tamil liberation struggle and feared that he might re-induct the IPKF, which Prabhakaran termed the “satanic force”, if he won the 1991 Indian general election.
  • Hereafter, India remained an outside observer of the conflict, after the assassination.




  • Nehru had always maintained his strong faith in Science and Technology for rapid building of modern India. A significant component of his industrialisation plans was the nuclear programme initiated in the late 1940s, under the guidance of Homi J. Bhabha.
  • India wanted to generate atomic energy for peaceful purposes. Nehru was always against the use of nuclear weapons, so he pleaded to all the superpowers for complete nuclear disarmament.


Nuclear Test of 1974 (Pokhran)-

  • In 1974, India under the leadership of Indira Gandhi conducted its first nuclear explosions. India termed it as peaceful explosion and argues that it was committed to the policy of using nuclear power only for peaceful purposes.
  • The code name given to operation was Smiling Buddha.
  • Earlier the five permanent members of UNSC U.S., U.S.S.R. France, U.K. China the five nuclear weapon acquired powers and tried to impose NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty] in 1968 on the rest of the world.
  • India considered such move as discriminatory and refused to adhere to it. India always maintained that treaties like NPT was selectively applicable to the non-nuclear powers and legitimized the monopoly of the Five Nuclear weapon holding powers.


Nuclear Test of 1998 –

  • The Pokhran-IItests were a series of five nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by India at the Indian Army‘s Pokhran Test Range in May 1998 under the leadership of Prime Minister A B Vajpayee.
  • The testswere initiated on 11 May 1998, under the assigned code name Operation Shakti, with the detonation of one fusion and two fission bombs.
  • Abdul Kalam and Dr. R Chidambaram had led the Operation Shakti in Pokhran Range.
  • Many names have been assigned to these tests; originally these were collectively called Operation Shakti–98, and the five nuclear bombs were designated Shakti-I through to Shakti-V. More recently, the operation as a whole has come to be known as Pokhran II.
  • It displayed India’s capacity to use nuclear & energy for military purposes.
  • After some time, Pak too conducted such test, and increases vulnerability of the region to nuclear exchange.
  • Unhappy with moves of both India and Pak, International community imposed harsh sanctions, which were later waived when India assured no first use of nuclear weapon and maintained its stand of peaceful use nuclear energy and reiterated its commitment to global verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament leading to a nuclear weapon free world


Previous Year Questions- 2013

  • Analyze the circumstances that led to Tashkent Agreement in 1966. Discuss the highlights of the agreement.
  • Critically examine the compulsions which prompted India to play a decisive role in the emergence of Bangladesh.
  • Write a critical note on the evolution and significance of the slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”.(2013)

Note- To answer this question, one need to study this chapter and last chapter – Green revolution




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 Career Development Program 2023 Result PDF     Download UPSC Mains 2023 Question Papers PDF  Free Initiative links -1) Download Prahaar 3.0 for Mains Current Affairs PDF both in English and Hindi 2) Daily Main Answer Writing  , 3) Daily Current Affairs , Editorial Analysis and quiz ,  4) PDF Downloads  UPSC 2022 Final Result🔥5 out of Top 10 from PW OnlyIAS Community. UPSC Prelims 2023 Trend Analysis cut-off and answer key