Menu Close

PSIR 2B-1.1 Determinants of Foreign Policy – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Explain major features of India’s foreign policy in the 21st century. [2023/10m/150w/5a]

World was passing through the age of ideological, militarily and economical changes during the transition to the 21st century. In such circumstances it was a major challenge to India to make coordination with international situation.

However, in changing circumstances, India has maintained its commitment to strategic autonomy, emphasizing that it will make foreign policy decisions based on its national interests and not be aligned with any particular power bloc. This approach has allowed and continues to allow India to engage with multiple partners and safeguard its sovereignty.

India has actively diversified its diplomatic and strategic partnerships. It has deepened engagement with traditional partners like the United States and Russia while strengthening ties with emerging powers such as China, Japan, and European nations. It has also expanded its outreach to countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Indo-Pacific and south-east Asia with policy like Act-East.

India has also demonstrated a strong commitment to multilateralism and the United Nations. And sought to play a constructive role in addressing global challenges, such as climate change, peacekeeping, and sustainable development.

Emphasising the need for international cooperation to combat terrorism and enhance global security, India, has advocated for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations and has worked with partner countries to address common security challenges.

Overall, India’s foreign policy in the 21st century is characterized by a pragmatic approach that balances its national interests with a commitment to global peace, stability, and development. As India’s economy and global influence continue to grow, its foreign policy is likely to adapt and evolve to address emerging challenges and opportunities on the world stage. [270 words]

2] What are the external determinants of the Foreign Policy of a State? [2023/20m/250w/8a]

The foreign policy of a state is influenced by a range of external determinants, which shape a country’s interactions with the international community and its approach to global affairs. These external determinants play a crucial role in the formulation and implementation of foreign policy.

The geopolitical landscape, including the proximity of neighboring countries, regional power dynamics, and the presence of strategic rivals, has a significant impact on a state’s foreign policy choices. Additionally, the distribution of global power and the role of major powers influence a state’s alignment and strategic partnerships. The rise or decline of major powers can lead to shifts in alliances and cooperation.

International organizations, such as the United Nations, and regional organizations can shape a state’s foreign policy by providing frameworks for cooperation, conflict resolution, and the promotion of shared norms and values. Treaty commitments and international agreements also affect a state’s foreign policy choices.

Moreover, economic factors, such as trade relations, access to markets, and natural resource dependencies, influence a state’s foreign policy as economic interests often drive trade agreements, investment, and economic diplomacy.

Security concerns, including threats from neighboring states, transnational terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, influence a state’s security policies, military alliances, and defense strategies.

In the times of ‘risk society’, environmental issues, such as climate change, resource scarcity, and ecological challenges, can have global repercussions. States may adjust their foreign policy to address these challenges through international cooperation and environmental agreements.

External determinants of foreign policy are interrelated and can change over time in response to shifting global dynamics. States often engage in strategic analysis and diplomacy to navigate these determinants and advance their national interests in a complex and interconnected world. [284 words]

3] Peaceful co-existence remains the cornerstone of India’s foreign policy. Comment. [2022/10m/150w/5a]

At the outset, India’s foreign policy was established on the foundation of peaceful co-existence, given the circumstance of its birth and its civilizational location.

Historically, Indian foreign policy has been guided by the principles of non-alignment and the principles of Panchsheel, which include mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression, non-interference, equality, and peaceful settlement of disputes, reflect India’s commitment to peaceful coexistence and respect for the sovereignty of other nations.

Even today, India has actively pursued regional peace and cooperation. It has been involved in initiatives such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) to promote dialogue, cooperation, and peaceful resolution of disputes among regional nations. India has also engaged in peace processes, such as its efforts in facilitating dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

India’s nuclear policy has been rooted in maintaining a credible minimum deterrent, emphasizing a no-first-use posture, and advocating for global nuclear disarmament. These policies reflect India’s commitment to peaceful coexistence and its willingness to engage in arms control and disarmament efforts to foster a more peaceful and secure world.

India has actively participated in multilateral organizations and peacekeeping missions under the United Nations. It has been one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations, showcasing its commitment to maintaining international peace and security.

However, time and again it deems important for Indian leaders to reiterate that India’s pursuit of peaceful coexistence does not imply a passive approach or absence of assertiveness when its interests are at stake. [259 words]

4] Discuss the role of public diplomacy in the enhancement of India’s global standing. [2022/10m/150w/5e]

Public diplomacy focuses on shaping and projecting a positive image of a country to the global audience. Due to India’s cultural richness and soft power, public diplomacy plays a crucial role in enhancing India’s global standing and promoting its interests on the international stage.

Public diplomacy plays a vital role in building people-to-people connections between India and other countries. Through educational and cultural exchange programs, scholarships, and tourism initiatives, India fosters direct interactions and cultural understanding.

By projecting India’s economic potential, highlighting investment-friendly policies, and organizing trade and business events, India seeks to build partnerships and encourage economic collaborations.

India’s rich cultural heritage, including its art, music, dance, yoga, and cuisine, has immense soft power potential. Public diplomacy efforts leverage these cultural assets to foster cultural exchange, dialogue, and mutual appreciation. Indian films, music, literature, and traditional practices like Ayurveda and yoga have gained global popularity, and their promotion abroad helps in enhancing India’s cultural influence and appeal.

India also actively engages with its diaspora through outreach programs, cultural events, and initiatives like the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

In conclusion, public diplomacy increasingly plays a critical role in enhancing India’s global standing by shaping a positive national image, building people-to-people connections, attracting investments, promoting soft power, facilitating diplomatic outreach, and engaging with the diaspora. [213 words]

5] Critically examine the major factors responsible for a turnaround in the trajectory of India’s foreign policy in the post-cold war period. [2022/15m/200w/6b]

The end of cold war was a crucial turn of events in global political history, and like most other nations, India also had to revise many components of its foreign policy.

Post cold war, realist considerations, including a focus on national security, protection of national interests, and recognition of power politics, gained prominence in India’s policy. India sought to strengthen its strategic partnerships, diversify its diplomatic engagements, and enhance its military capabilities to effectively pursue its national interests and ensure its security.

Most significantly, India’s traditional non-aligned stance, which aimed to maintain equidistance from major power blocs during the Cold War, required reassessment. With the emergence of a unipolar world led by the United States, India sought to recalibrate its foreign policy to effectively navigate this new global order.

In the early 1990s, India implemented economic liberalization measures, opening up its economy to global markets and embracing globalization. This shift towards a more market-oriented economic policy had implications for India’s foreign policy as well.

The nuclear tests of 1998 signalled India’s determination to assert its strategic autonomy and secure its national interests. This development had implications for India’s relations with major powers and its positioning on global non-proliferation regimes.

India recognized the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region and sought to leverage its economic potential and address security challenges through regional cooperation frameworks like ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, and the Bay of Bengal Initiative.

India’s large diaspora population, particularly in influential countries like the United States, played a significant role in shaping India’s foreign policy.

The post cold war factors prompted India to reassess its foreign policy priorities, expand its global engagements, and pursue a more proactive and assertive role in international affairs. The impact of the end of bipolarity, the victory of liberalism and more realist tendencies can be seen impacting India’s movement in global politics. [308 words]

6] Explain the philosophical foundations of India’s foreign policy. [2021/10m/150w/5b]

Originating out of the long historical and cultural traditions of the country, the principles of Indian foreign policy have guided the nation through the thick and thin of international relations.

Though slightly out of date in contemporary times, Non-alignment has remained the defining principle of India’s foreign policy since its inception in the post-Independence period. It was a creative response of the newly independent countries to the gripping scenario of the intense Cold War. The movement not only acted as a safety valve to escape the persuasions for joining either of the blocs but also ensured the autonomy in the policy-making of these nations.

The doctrine of panchsheel which denotes five principles of peaceful coexistence, was formulated to act as the bedrock of India’s interface with its neighbours.

Another profound principle of India’s foreign policy has been its consistent stand against colonialism, imperialism and apartheid practised and perpetrated by Western powers over peoples and societies in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In the later years of the working of India’s foreign policy, a quest for an equitable and egalitarian international order became its important principle.

It has been the firm belief of India that war and violence cannot provide a lasting solution to any problem in the world. Hence, India has always been arguing for peaceful settlement of international disputes in such a way that they do not lead to any violent struggle in the short or long run.

It has been the endeavour of India’s foreign policy from day one to work hard for comprehensive and universal disarmament in the world.

Though most of these principles and objectives have remained a sort of permanent fixture on the landscape of India’s interactions with the rest of the world, on occasions, newer principles and objectives have also found a place on the menu of Indian foreign policy, reflecting its adaptability and flexibility. [311 words]

7] Examine the increasing significance of maritime security in India’s foreign policy. [2019/20m/250w/7a]

The quintessential maritime character and geostrategic location of India are factors that had defined her growth as a nation and its approach towards the external world over the centuries.

The Indian Ocean is of great geostrategic importance for India. India’s placing gives it a chance to play an important role in the changing geopolitical scenario of the Indian Ocean Region. India has over 7,500 kilometres of coastline along the ocean. The country is highly dependent on it due to its massive population and high energy imports through the water channels.

The Indian Ocean is also pivotal for the development of fisheries and aquatic exports for India. Massive extraction of natural resources and increasing involvement in seabed mining has been a core interest of India. Both the security of its coastline and its islands are important in India’s maritime governance endeavours. Deepening economic and security cooperation with our maritime neighbour and strengthening their capacities, and collective action and cooperation to advance peace and security and respond to emergencies is also a crucial aspect of maritime security.

However, India also needs to increase its own maritime infrastructure for the homeland and develop its island assets to secure its trade. It needs to influence the maritime space beyond India’s water and its immediate neighbours. And lastly, India should also enter the Pacific Ocean, engaging in convergent interests.

As suggested by S. Jaishankar in his book, The India Way, “Pluralism and syncretism are deep historical traits of the ocean and they have been strengthened by liberalism”. India needs to take the best out of this strength to enhance its economy and security. [268 words]

8] Do you agree with the view that the Indian foreign policy is increasingly being shaped by the neoliberal outlook? Elaborate. [2018/10m/150w/5a]

An important aspect of the neoliberal view is that free market policies, which involve free trade, can alone promote economic growth, and a sound economy is the source of robust defence. Neoliberals believe that free trade leads to mutual gain even if the relative gains are asymmetric.

Since the beginning of economic reforms in 1991, India has turned towards neoliberalism domestically and foreign policy wise too. India now turned to creating a conducive atmosphere for its India’s economic growth, more than anything else. This position was affirmed since the time of Prime Minister Singh who gave three pillars for India’s strategic policy; strengthening India economically and technologically, developing adequate defence capability and developing partnerships in the strategic economic and technological spheres to enlarge our policy choices and developmental options. This position became stronger in 2014 with the election of the rightist government at the centre.

The present government has extensively focused on economy-centric multi-laterals like the G20 and BRICS grouping. Regional and Asian connectivity projects have been brought front and centre. To its west, India continues to pursue an ambitious International North-South Transportation Corridor linking India with Russia and Europe through Iran. To its east, it seeks greater connectivity with ASEAN countries through land and sea. And finally, India has continued to negotiate free- and preferential-trade agreements with a variety of partners under Modi’s watch, continuing a pattern that began in 1991.

The interlocking set of goals for India’s strategic, foreign, and economic policies have been termed India’s “neoliberal strategic paradigm.” The neo-liberal version of India’s foreign policy has great potential in making it a major economic power. [268 words]

9] India is often said to have a rich strategic culture. Discuss. [2018/10m/150w/5b]

India’s Strategic culture can be traced back to Manu who proposed the thoughts of Dandaniti in Manusmriti. The other most prominent strategic thinker of India is Kautilya whose Arthshastra is the greatest treatise on Political Economy and Foreign Policy.

The great epics of the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas also give details of the advancements in warfare and military strategy prevailing at that time. The Rigveda gives us interesting details of political life and military thoughts during the Vedic period.

Even during British rule, the Indian National Congress was comprised of great Indian leaders, who were actively involved in making strategic and foreign policy and attempted to influence the British policy makers to inculcate Indian opinion into the final form of strategy for India. Issues like the involvement of Indian soldiers in the World War, India’s policy during the Manchurian crisis in 1931 as well as Japan’s attack on China in 1937, India’s policy towards her neighbours etc. are some of the examples in this context on which resolutions were passed by the Congress during British rule.

The traditions of the Strategic culture of India began with Manu and Kautilya. It has been continued by Jawaharlal Nehru. Dr B.R.Ambedkar, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Aurobindo Ghosh, M.N.Roy, Dadabhai Naoroji, V.K Krishna Menon, Sardar Patel, Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Bajpayee who were not merely the political leaders but also the great political/strategic thinkers in a broad sense of politico-strategic thinking. [238 words]

10] India’s current foreign policy marks a significant qualitative shift from that of the previous regimes. Discuss. [2018/10m/150w/5d]

India has followed a basic ideology of peace while formulating its foreign policy. India has been known for being a country that has never initiated an attack on a foreign state. It was the founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and proposed the panchsheel treaty – the five principles of peaceful coexistence.

With the BJP gaining a majority in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, there has been a visible change in the country’s international outlook. The government intends to have a seat at the table of the major leading powers of the world.

Today India does not want to remain to be a rule accepter but a rule shaper in the global sphere. As former foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale asserted, “India has moved on from its non-aligned past. India is today an aligned state—but based on issues”. India is keen on exploring all the options available to it.

For instance, the Persian Gulf is one region that India had not interacted greatly with before owing to their support towards Pakistan. PM Modi reached out to UAE and Saudi Arabia and have developed important political and economic relations. The success of this can be measured by the fact that UAE has been very vocal against Pakistan’s sponsored terrorism.

Moreover, New Delhi’s relations with Japan have yielded great results in the country with India gaining a partner in its “ Free and open Indo-pacific” campaigns. Similarly, PM Modi seems to have developed deepening ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which have opened up the path for deals involving defence and technology.

Hence, it is apparent that India’s Foreign Policy has seen a major shift that suits its aspiration of being the Vishwaguru. [281 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

Claim you copy NOW!

Posted in PSIR Solved PYQs

Related Posts

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments