Does India influence Nepal's foreign policy

Foreign policy

India is striving for greater international prestige globally. This also includes possession of nuclear weapons. Compared to the neighboring countries in South Asia, the country shows itself to be a major regional power.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, is greeted by India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, center, during her visit to the Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India. (& copy AP)


Foreign and security policy in India has always been an area of ‚Äč‚Äčcomparatively little interest to the general public; here the head of government and his advisors were usually able to act relatively independently. If one wants to describe the constants of this policy, the first thing that catches the eye is the striving for regional great power status that has been observed since independence. However, India is also striving to increase its global political importance, for example through a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, like the one held by its rival China. India is also hoping to gain world political weight by keeping the nuclear option open and - connected to this - by keeping "foreign" powers out of its own security area, which has been defined very broadly since the 1980s and includes a large part of the Indian Ocean. These basic positions are shared by almost all social groups.

Attitude in the East-West Conflict

After independence, India initially pursued a decidedly idealistic foreign policy, which propagated a peaceful world with mutual tolerance as the goal and - with its leading role in the movement of the non-aligned - sought a third way beyond the confrontation of the superpowers. Non-alignment should also give India independence in terms of foreign policy and at the same time open up the possibility of aligning itself solely with its own interests in individual cases. But the Indian version of the non-alignment was soon to get a comparatively pro-Soviet list, aided by the state economic orientation of the Indian development strategy and the American armament of Pakistan.

India's small neighbors were integrated into the security system adopted by the British. There was agreement with the leadership of the People's Republic of China on the anti-colonialist orientation. This was underpinned by the conclusion of a friendship treaty on non-interference and peaceful conflict resolution. At first, disproportionate armaments efforts of their own seemed almost unnecessary. That was to change significantly in 1962 with the Indo-Chinese border war, which was soon followed by rapprochement between Pakistan and the People's Republic of China. These two states came to a bilateral settlement of the border question in 1963. The McMahon Line, which Great Britain declared to be part of the Indian-Chinese border in colonial times, was still not recognized by China. Rejected requests for the delivery of modern military equipment by the USA soon led India even more strongly to the side of the Soviet Union, with whom trade exchanges also intensified.

In the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965, the PR China held back, the USA imposed an arms embargo on the adversaries, and the Soviet Union mediated relatively impartially in the peace negotiations in Tashkent; Indian fears of being encircled turned out to be unfounded. However, they intensified again when East Pakistan began to split off from the West in 1971 and up to ten million people fled to northeast India. The news of the American-Chinese rapprochement burst into this tense situation. The Indian government felt compelled to conclude a treaty on peace, friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union, which in the event of an attack provided for immediate consultations - albeit no automatic assistance - and which only met the criterion of "non-alignment" if interpreted generously. After the military victory over the West Pakistani army fighting in the east in December 1971, which was followed by the independence of East Pakistan as the new state of Bangladesh, the Indian government tried again to achieve greater foreign policy neutrality. That was to change again in 1979 with the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. India abstained from voting in the United Nations when it was condemned, because the Indian government found an anti-Pakistani Afghanistan very convenient and, moreover, a US-Pakistani rapprochement soon began. But this period brought a considerable loss of prestige to Indian foreign policy. It was reinforced by the great power allures displayed towards the smaller neighbors, the visible expression of which was the "Indira Doctrine" (1983). It said that the neighbors were only allowed to seek help from India in resolving internal conflicts, not the powers that be from outside the area.