India has established formal diplomatic relations with most of the countries of the world. India is the second most populous country of the world, the most populous democracy and one of the fastest growing economies. Over the past several years, India has emerged as a regional power, taking slow strides towards being a potential superpower. Hence, the country’s growing international influence has given it a prominent voice in various global affairs.
The Indian foreign policy has greatly evolved after it achieved independence. The country’s moral authority and prestige were eponymous in all along the 1950s. This facilitated in acquiring development assistance from both East and the West. The prestige that the country acquired emanated from its non-aligned stand.
In the 1960s and the 1970s, the Indian foreign policy was much directed to get assistance from the Soviet Union. This, however, became a major eyesore of the West and India was somewhat alienated from the global community because of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. During the Council on Foreign Relations late 1980s, New Delhi improved its foreign relations with Washington and other developed nations out of the Soviet Bloc. Much of the core foreign relations issues were directed at forging closer ties with the South Asian neighbours, especially Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.
In the 1990s India had to reanalyze its foreign policy following the end of Cold War and the collapse of the USSR. Previous policies were proved inadequate and India was distraught with several international and domestic problems. Following the disintegration of the USSR, the Indian foreign policy witnessed a paradigm shift. New Delhi bolstered its respective relations with Canada, Germany, France and Japan, in a bid to strengthen its position among the international community. India formally established its relations with Israel that grew in the later years.
Entering the new millennium, New Delhi has been urging reforms in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the UN. India’s contention for a permanent UN Security Council seat is being backed by various countries like the UK, Germany, Japan, France, Australia, Russian, UAE, Brazil and others. Washington, in 2004, signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with New Delhi even though the latter wasn’t a member of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Washington argued that New Delhi’s strong record in nuclear non-proliferation made India an exception. This, however, has not been able to persuade members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to ink identical deals with India. US President Barack Obama, during a visit in November 2010, announced that his country would support India’s candidature for the permanent UN Security Council membership as also its entry to the NSG, Australia Group, Wassenaar Agreement, and the Missile Technology Control Regime.