What are the major features of India’s foreign policy? Explain.

India’s foreign policy was characterized by several major features that shaped its approach towards the international community. It’s important to note that foreign policy can evolve over time based on changing geopolitical dynamics and leadership changes. Nevertheless, here are the key features of India’s foreign policy as of 2021:

1. Non-Alignment and Strategic Autonomy: India’s foreign policy has historically been based on the principle of non-alignment, which means that it avoids forming military alliances with major powers or blocs. Instead, India pursues strategic autonomy, maintaining the flexibility to engage with various countries and groups based on its national interests.

2. Multi-Alignment: While adhering to non-alignment, India practices multi-alignment, which involves forging strategic partnerships and engaging with various countries and regional organizations. This approach allows India to diversify its international relations and leverage its position in global affairs.

3. Focus on Regional Diplomacy: India places significant emphasis on fostering strong ties and cooperation within its immediate neighborhood, South Asia, and its extended neighborhood in the Indian Ocean region. The “Neighborhood First” policy aims to enhance economic integration, connectivity, and stability in the region.

4. Economic Diplomacy: India seeks to boost its economic engagements with other nations through bilateral trade agreements, foreign investments, and economic cooperation. The “Act East Policy” (previously “Look East Policy”) is an example of India’s efforts to strengthen economic ties with Southeast Asian countries and East Asian economies.

5. Counterterrorism and Security Cooperation: India actively participates in international efforts to combat terrorism and promotes bilateral and multilateral security cooperation with other countries. This is particularly significant due to India’s concerns about cross-border terrorism emanating from some of its neighbors.

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6. Climate Change and Sustainability: As a responsible global player, India has been engaging in international climate change negotiations and aims to address environmental challenges through sustainable development policies. India’s commitment to renewable energy and efforts to reduce carbon emissions are crucial aspects of its foreign policy.

7. Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy: India leverages its rich cultural heritage, tradition, and soft power to foster cultural exchange and build goodwill with other nations. Activities like cultural festivals, yoga diplomacy, and Bollywood film promotion abroad are examples of India’s cultural diplomacy initiatives.

8. Global Governance and United Nations: India actively participates in global governance and supports United Nations initiatives aimed at addressing global issues such as poverty, peacekeeping, and sustainable development.

9. Strategic Partnerships: India has established strategic partnerships with several countries, including the United States, Russia, Japan, and countries in the European Union. These partnerships aim to enhance cooperation in areas such as defense, trade, technology, and regional stability.

10. Indian Diaspora Engagement: India values its large diaspora population and seeks to engage with them as an important asset in its foreign policy. The diaspora plays a significant role in promoting India’s interests and culture in other countries.

It’s essential to keep in mind that foreign policy is dynamic, and India’s approach may have evolved since my last update. It’s always a good idea to refer to more recent sources for the latest information on India’s foreign policy.

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