Political Science Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 8 - Question 6
90 Days Political Science Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 04-Jan-2019
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04-Jan-2019 - Question 2
What determinant factors play an important role in making India’s foreign policy?Illustrate with examples. (2016) - 150 words
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Those factors that influence and determine the foreign policy of a country are its determinants. Some of these factors are static or of unchanging nature whereas others are in a state of flux and their dynamics are continually adjusted to the changing circumstances.
The relations that nations establish among themselves are backed by their respective national interests and powers. In fact, such relations involve struggle for power among them. The net effect is that international relations constitute a power structure in which the more powerful nations—the super powers and the major powers—play a more vigorous and leading role than the relatively less powerful nations.
The power vacuum caused by the weakened power of the formerly powerful European states, because of their involvement in two World Wars compelled the U.S.A. to come out of its isolationism and assume a new global role in international relations.
The emergence of the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. as the two super powers with cold war in between them, made it imperative for the newly independent states like India, to adopt a policy of keeping away from the cold war and yet attempt to have friendly co-operation with both the super powers.
2. International Organizations
The role and importance of international institutions as instruments of states’ foreign policies, and the political, military, functional, economic and humanitarian roles played principally by the United Nations in international relations cannot be overestimated. These international organizations to varying degrees serve as modifiers of state behaviour and as independent actors in their own right. They have profound impact on the determination of the foreign policy of a state. No state can decide and conduct its policy arbitrarily to the detriment of other states. UN and other multilateral forums come to the rescue of the aggressed state. Usually sanctions are imposed which in some cases become very effective provided the international community imposes them sincerely.
3. Reaction of other states
Likewise the system of states is fast transforming into a society of states state where each and every individual states has regard for the rights of other states. Being sensible to the sensibilities of other states, no state can adopt a unilateral policy. It has to take into account, and accommodate, if possible, the interests of the other stake-holders as well. India and the US have to take stock of Pakistani interests in Afghanistan. They are also cognizant of the fact that no plan for Afghanistan can work until and unless Pakistan is taken aboard in this regard.
4. World Public Opinion
The state, while formulating its foreign policy has to take into account the world public opinion. World public opinion is more effective when it is supported by the domestic public opinion of the given state. Power is not about military hardware or nukes and ammunitions; its equally important component is a state’s prestige known as ‘soft power’ . It is well known that the US administration was made to effect changes in its Vietnam policy largely due to hostile world public opinion.
The real strength behind the objectives of Disarmament, Arms Control and Nuclear Disarmament, Anti- colonialism, Anti-apartheid policiesof various nations, has been the World Public Opinion.
5. Alliances and Treaties (Bilateral and Multilateral):
The extensive and intensive system of alliances that emerged in the Post-1945 period had a big impact on the foreign policies of all the nations. During 1945-90 both the United States and the USSR, recognized and used alliances as the means for consolidating their respective positions.
Their foreign policies, as well as the foreign policies of their allies were always governed by the goal to secure new partners in their respective alliances and to maintain and consolidate the alliance partnerships. Even now, after the demise of Warsaw Pact, the U.S.A. continues to consider NATO as the mainstay of its foreign policy in Europe.
1.Historical and Cultural Influence
The cultural and historical traditions of a country also deeply influence the foreign policy. Generally people possessing a unified common culture and historical experience can pursue an effective foreign policy because of the support of all sections of society who share the same values and memories. Equally important are the processes through which the contents of Shared norms and practices of society, as distinguished from the degree of unity that supports them shape the plans that are made and the activities that are undertaken with respect to the external world.
India’s apprehensions of China and Pakistan are the product of their historical traditions. India and China have to some extent shelved their historical mistrust in order to pave ground for their mutual trade. It is believed by the Complex Interdependence theorists that in the present age of interdependence, it is highly improbable that the two countries would go to war.
2. Size and Geography
The size of a state's territory as well as it’s population greatly influences its foreign policy. Generally the leaders and people of countries with small territory and population do not expect their country to carry great weight in international affairs. On the other hand the leaders and people of large countries are ready to assume special responsibilities. Size has been a factor in the foreign policies of the U.S.A., Russia, China, India, Brazil, France and others.
However, sometimes even small states which have rich resources also leave a deep impact on world politics. For example, Britain, a small country, played leading role in world politics in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. In our own times the oil-rich countriesof the Middle East, though small in size are playing a significant role in international politics.
On the other hand large states like Canada and Australia have not been able to pursue effective foreign policy. Commonwealth of Independent states (CIS) which came into existence after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, though quite large in size, is not able to play an effective role in contemporary international relations.
The geography of a country, including its fertility, climate, location in relation to their land masses, and water-ways etc. also influence the country's foreign policy. It is a major factor in determining self-sufficiency of a country.
The role played by English Channel in the development of Britain as a major naval power and consequently as an imperial power is well known. The influence of the Atlantic Ocean on the US Foreign Policy has been always there. Indian Foreign Policy now definitely bears the influence of the geographical location of India as the largest littoral state of the Indian Ocean.
Generally land-locked countries, nations in the tropics and those bordering a superpower are less self-sufficient in comparison to the countries which have access to warm-water ports or are located in the temperate zones and far removed from superpowers. For example in the nineteenth century USA adopted isolationist policy chiefly on account of its geographical location. Though the importance of geographic factors is acknowledged almost at all hands, its importance has considerably declined due to technological and scientific developments.
The human force constitutes another determinant of foreign policy. The strength of a nation depends upon the quality and quantity of its human factor. The enormous population of China enabled it to pursue a forceful foreign policy. On the other hand the falling birth rate in France compelled her to toe a weak foreign policy during the inter-war period. Qualitatively, the population should be healthy, educated and prosperous. It should also possess technical know-how. It is however, to be noted that the population of a country has to be evaluated in relation to its other attributes. If the resources of a country are not sufficient to meet the requirements of the large population, the latter may pose a serious challenge to the very existence of the state. 4. Natural Resources
The natural resources of a country also profoundly influence the determination of a foreign policy. The natural resources apart from minerals, gas and water resources also include the food grain. During the present century, food has tended to be an important factor in the determination of a country’s foreign policy. It is said that during the Second World War the foreign and military policy of Germany was to a large extent, determined by her limited food reserves.
5. Economic and Industrial Development
The stage of economic development which a country has attained also has its impact on its foreign policy. Generally the industrially advanced countries feel more deeply involved in relations with other countries because they have to import different kinds of raw materials and commodities from other countries.. Again, an industrial country is expected to have a higher gross national product (GNP) and can devote greater funds for external purpose, economic aid programme, military ventures and extensive diplomatic commitments.
6. Military Power
Besides all the preceding factors, the military strength of a country also determines the effectiveness of its foreign policy. A state possessing sufficient military strength has greater initiative and bargaining power in the international arena. The case of Israel can be quoted as an example. She continues her precarious existence despite the combined opposition of the Allied nations; she has power to maintain an assertive foreign policy. Unlike geographical and natural resources, the military capacity is not a static factor. It keeps on changing. The states try to impress about their military superiority in a number of ways, such as nuclear tests, mobilization of army, periodical display of military forces, devices and techniques.
Military strength of a country is closely linked to its resourcefulness and the development of its industry. A developed civil industry can be made to manufacture military hardware during the time of wars and crises
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