The end of the cold war was a watershed moment in modern Indian history. Discuss the post-cold war foreign policy of India until dawn of new millennium
From 1991 to 2000, India’s foreign policy was shaped by two factors. They were end of cold war and Economic reforms of India. From 1991 till 2000, India saw two ablest Prime ministers viz. Narsimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Both of them worked to transform the foreign policy of the country as per new realities of the post cold war world. The key aspects of India’s foreign policy were as follows:
Changing Relations with Super Powers
Narsimha Rao government is known for fostering good relations with west, particularly United States. Before 1991, India tried to keep away from Cold war politics to concentrate on its economic development with a socialist framework in policy making. In the post-Cold war environment, India realised the need to develop a pragmatic and wide-ranging international relationship to accelerate economic development. India reconsidered her relations with US and moved on to develop strategic partnership with it, which appeared unthinkable in cold war ideological conditions. Similarly, India also initiated a new engagement with the countries of East Asia under the Look East Policy launched from 1991. India has also shifted its stand on Israel and established full diplomatic relations with it.
In 1993, Prime Minister visited China and tried to bring a thaw in relations. With Nepal, India signed Mahakali Treaty towards generation of hydroelectricity. Relations with Sri Lanka and Bhutan were also strengthened.
Look East Policy
The Narsimha Rao government also launched India’s Look East Policy to focus attention towards South-East Asia. This policy has been highly successful and is now Act East Policy of current government.
Security Initiatives and Nucelar Power
India launched Ballistic Missile Technology Programme and Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in 1992. In May 1998, India conducted two nuclear tests which placed the country firmly among nuclear powers but invited tension and economic sanctions.
Relations with Pakistan
India also tried in its capacity to normalize relations with Pakistan. In 1999, PM Vajpayee took a Bus to Lahore and signed Lahore Declaration with Nawaz Sharif. But soon, Nawaz was deposed by Parvej Musharraf in a coup. Then In the same year, a limited war between the two countries was held in Kargil.
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