Indias External Relations Class 12 Political Science Notes And Questions

Notes Class 12

Please refer to India’s External Relations Class 12 Political Science notes and questions with solutions below. These revision notes and important examination questions have been prepared based on the latest Science books for Class  12. You can go through the questions and solutions below which will help you to get better marks in your examinations . We have provided the latest Class 12 Political Science Notes and Questions for all chapters in your NCERT Class 12 Political Science Book.

Class 12 Political Science India’s External Relations Notes and Questions

International Context

  • As a nation born in the backdrop of the world war, India decided to conduct its foreign relation with an aim to respect the sovereignty of all other nations and achieve security through the maintenance of peace.
  • Just as both internal and external factors guide the behavior of an individual or a family, both domestic and international environment influence the foreign policy of a nation.
  • In the period immediately after the II World war many developing nations choose to support the foreign policy preferences of the powerful countries who were giving them aid or credits.
  • This resulted in the division of the countries of the world into two clear camps – US, USSR.

The Policy of Non-Alignment

  • Foreign policy of a nation reflects the interplay of domestic and external factors, therefore the noble ideals that inspired India’s struggle for freedom influenced the making of its foreign policy.
  • The first PM Jawaharlal Nehru played a crucial role in setting the national agenda.
  • The three major objectives of foreign policy were:
    1. To preserve the hard-earned sovereignty.
    2. To protect territorial integrity.
    3. Promote rapid economic development.
  • Nehru wishes to achieve this objective through the strategy of non-alignment by reducing Cold War tensions and by contributing human resources to the UN peacekeeping operations.
  • India wanted to keep away from the military alliances led by the US and Soviet Union against each other.
  • India advocated nonalignment as the ideal foreign policy approach which was a difficult balancing act and sometimes the balance did not appear perfect.

Afro-Asian Unity

  • Nehru envisaged a major role for India in world affairs and especially in Asian affairs.
  • His area was marked by the establishment of contacts between India and other newly independent states in Asia and Africa.
  • Under his leadership India convened the Asian relations conference in March 1947, five months ahead of attaining independence.
  • India was a staunch supporter of the decolonization process and firmly opposed racism especially apartheid in South Africa.
  • The Afro-Asian conference was held in the Indonesian city of Bandung in 1955 commonly known as the Bandung Conference.
  • This conference later led to the establishment of the NAM. The first summit of the NAM was held in Belgrade in September 1961.

Peace and conflict with China

  • India’s relationship with China after Independence started on a friendly note.
  • After the Chinese revolution in 1949, India was one of the first countries to recognize the Communist government.
  • Nehru felt strongly for this neighbor that was coming out of the shadow of Western domination and helped the new government and international forum.
  • A joint enunciation of Panchsheel, the five principles of peaceful coexistence by the Indian PM Nehru and Chinese Premier Zhou EnLai on 29 April 1954 was a step in the direction of stronger relationship between two countries.
  • The five principles of Panchsheel were:
    1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
    2. Non-aggression against each other
    3. Non-interference in each other’s internal affairs
    4. Equality and mutual benefits
    5. Peaceful coexistence

Tibet issue

  • The plateau of the Central Asian region called Tibet is one of the major issues that historically caused tension between India and China.
  • From time to time in history, China had claimed administrative control over Tibet.
  • 1950, China took control over Tibet which led to widespread protests.
  • The Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama accompanied the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai during the official Chinese visit to India in 1956. Informed Nehru about the worsening situation in Tibet.
  • In 1958, there was armed uprising in Tibet against China’s occupation. This was suppressed by the Chinese forces. Sensing that the situation had become worse in 1959, the Dalai Lama crossed over into the Indian border and sought asylum which was granted.
  • The Chinese government strongly protested against this. Over the last half century, a large number of Tibetans have also sought refuge in India and many other countries of the world.
  • China has created the Tibet autonomous region, which is an integral part of China. Tibetan suppose the Chinese claim that Tibet is a part of Chinese territory and also the policy of bringing into the bit more and more Chinese settlers.

The Chinese Invasion, 1962

  • Two developments strained our relationship with China:
    1. China annexed Tibet – in 1950 and thus removed a historical buffer between the two countries which strained the relations and China alleged that the government of India was allowing anti-China activities to take place from within India.
    2. Boundary dispute – the border between British India and China had never been marked clearly. For reasons of security, Britain maintained a forward claim in the Himalayas, but administrative borders were further south. The main British claim was the McMohan Line, which had been drawn up during the Shimla conference of 1914. Owing point to various disagreements with the British, the Republic of China refused to ratify and recognize any agreement reached at the conference.
  • Main dispute was about the western and the eastern end of the long border.
  • China claimed to areas within the Indian territory Aksai-Chin area in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir and the NEFA (North Eastern Frontier Agency).
  • China launched a swift and massive invasion in October 1962 on both the disputed regions. The first attack lasted one week and Chinese forces captured some key areas in Arunachal Pradesh.

Effect of the war on India

  • The China war dented India’s image at home and abroad, India had to approach the Americans and the British for military assistance to tide over the crisis.
  • Nehru on stature suffered as he was severely criticized for his naïve assessment of the Chinese intention and the lack of military preparedness.
  • For the first time a no-confidence motion against his government was moved and debated in the Lok Sabha.
  • The Sino-Indian conflict affected the opposition as well and led to growing a rift between China and the Soviet Union which was reflected in differences in Communist party of India.
  • The pro-USSR faction remained within CPI and moved towards closer ties with the Congress.
  • The other faction was for some time close to China and was against any ties with the Congress.
  • The party split in 1964 and the leaders of the latter faction formed the Communist party of India (Marxist) CPI-M.

India’s Nuclear Policy

  • Nehru’s period was of voluntary nuclear abstinence. Nehru had always put his faith in science and technology for rapidly building a modern India.
  • A significant component of his industrialisation plans was the nuclear program initiated in the late 1940s under the guidance of Homi J. Bhabha.
  • India wanted to generate and atomic energy for peaceful purposes. Nehru was against nuclear weapons so he pleaded with superpowers for comprehensive nuclear-test-ban however the nuclear arsenal kept rising.
  • Nehru was not only deeply committed to the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons but also opposed to the manufacture and possession by any state including India.
  • He was opposed to nuclear weapons on moral, political and strategic grounds calling their possession a “crime against humanity”. He integrated this opposition into India’s foreign policy giving it an activist edge.
  • He was the first world leader to call for an end to all nuclear testing following US bomb test in the Pacific in 1954.
  • However, India’s civilian nuclear energy programme under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) also had a dual use capacity major figures such as Homi J. Bhabha were not aware of this Bhabha himself was not as categorically opposed to a possible future bomb as was Nehru.
  • India’s nuclear policy has always been peace-oriented, whose clear impression is reflected in the policy of No First Use. But in view of contemporary regional security challenges, the present government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that the policy of no first use can be reviewed and changed in consonance with India’s regional and national security. In addition, India is committed to ensuring its membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and opposing partisan and unjust nuclear treaties like CTBT and NPT.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is the treaty banning all nuclear explosions on earth. The treaty was negotiated at the conference on disarmament in Geneva and adopted by the United Nations General assembly. It opened for signature on 24 September 1966. Since then, the treaty has reached near universality. 182 countries have signed the Treaty – Best country to do so was Trinidad and Tobago on 8 October 2009. 151 countries have ratified the treaty – most recently, Marshall Islands on 28 October 2009.


Relations between India and the US have transformed from being Estranged democracies (during the cold war) to Strategic partners (in the Post-cold war era).

Recently, the US President, Donald Trump visited India.

While only three of the nine US Presidents during 1947-2000 visited India, every President in the last two decades has visited India at least once.

Many reasons could be ascribed to the higher frequency of visits —

a shift in global geopolitics in the post-Cold War era,
India’s economic ascent,
the rise of an assertive China and
India’s place on the global high table.

Indo-U.S. Relations during Cold War

In 1954, the United States made Pakistan a Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) treaty-ally.

In 1961, India became a founding member of the non-aligned movement to avoid involvement in the Cold War powerplay.

India cultivated strategic and military relations with the Soviet Union to counter Pakistan-United States relations.

India’s 20 years treaty of friendship with USSR (1971) portrayed a definite tilt towards USSR.

Disintegration of Soviet Union in 1991, emergence of unipolar world and new economic policy of India gave a new turn to Indo-US relations.

Relation in the Post-Cold War Era

  • Indo-U.S. bilateral relations have developed into a global strategic partnership with the signing of comprehensive global strategic partnership agreement during the visit of President Donald Trump in February 2020. The frequency of high-level visits and exchanges have gone up significantly in the recent past.
  • The two countries have instituted structured dialogue covering East Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, Africa and the Indian Ocean region.
  • From a modest $ 5.6 billion in 1991, the bilateral trade has increased more than $ 105 billion in 2018.
  • U.S. is the fifth largest source of FDI in India in 2019-20.
  • Many agreements have been signed for cooperation in energy, education, space, science and technology.
  • The 3.5 million plus from Indian American community is an important ethnic group in U.S. accounting for about 1% of the total population in the country.
  • This community comprises of a large number of professional, business entrepreneurs and educationalist with increasing influence in the country.

Indo U.S. Relations – Major Irritants

  • CAATS (Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanction-Act) to counter Russia, Iran and North Korea. Any trade with these countries would invite sanctions from U.S.
  • Trade deficit. US calls India ‘king of tariff’.
  • Visa restrictions – H1B and H4 visas.
  • Silence on state-sponsored terrorism of Pakistan into India.
  • Afghan policy.



  • Though India led the non-aligned movement, very close ties emerged between India and USSR right since independence.
  • Soviet Union exercised veto in UNSC to block anti-India initiatives on Kashmir issue in 1957 and in 1962. During the 1971 Indo Pak war Soviet Union cast three Peters in UNSC to block attempted to stop India from its ongoing military campaign,
  • USSR remained neutral during the 1962 Sino-India war and brokered a peace between India and Pakistan during 1965 war.
  • The 1971 Indo Soviet Treaty of Peace and friendship proved to be a great help in the 1971 war against Pakistan.


USSR provided technical assistance to India for establishing core industries. It gave aid and technical assistance for steel plants like Bhilai, Bokaro and Visakhapatnam and machinery plant like BHEL. In the energy sector it held in the setting up of ONGC.
Soviet Union excepted Indian currency for trade when India was short of foreign exchange.

Military and Space Technology:

  • ISRO’s first satellite Aryabhata was launched by Soviet Union. Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian in space in 1984, when he flew aboard the Soviet spacecraft Sayuz T-11.
  • 1991, about 70% of Indian armies armaments, 80% of its Air Force systems, and 85% of its naval platforms were of Soviet origin.

21st Century Indio-Russia Relations

In 1991 to watershed moments happened – economic liberalization was introduced in India and the Soviet Union was dissolved. When Vladmir Putin became Russia’s president in 2000, the bilateral ties were put on a solid foundation again after about a decade of post-Soviet confusion and stagnation.


  • Free trade agreement exists between India and Russia. Russia is investing a lot in India’s ‘Make in India’ project and in building smart cities.
  • In terms of investment two countries had set a target of US $30 by 2025. The goal was reached by 2017 and the new target is set of US $50 billion 2025.


  • Russia India defence relationship has begun to move beyond the buyer-seller model to a more cooperative relationship with the joint research, design and production.
  • India is the second biggest market for Russian defence industry. In 2007, 68% of India’s military hardware import came from Russia. Joint military program of India and Russia include Brahmos Cruise Missile programme, Sukhoi SU 30 MKI programme, KA – 226T twin Engine utility helicopters, Naval Frigates, S-400 surface to air missile defence system deal.

Science and Energy:

  • Both the countries have embarked on an Integrated Long-Term Programme of cooperation (I LTP) on science and technology.
  • Russia will assist in the construction of 12 nuclear power plants in India. India’s investment in Russia is oil and gas industry is likely to reach $15 billion 2020.


India and Russia historically enjoyed ties in the cultural sphere: long-term scholarly and student exchanges, culture festivals and out exhibits, observance of Year of Russia and India and vice versa.


  • Nearly 45 years after Independence, due to political reasons, India’s foreign policy in the Middle East region, now called West Asian region,
  • and India’s relations with the West Asian countries were mainly concentrated with the Islamic countries.
  • During this period India’s attitude towards Israel, the only non-Islamic nation in the region, remained neglected notwithstanding the two nations gaining independence from the British colonial rule in 1947 and 1948 respectively.
  • The historical and cultural ties between India and Israel have gone back from times immemorial, diplomatic relations formally developed between the two after the opening of Israeli Embassy in India in 1992.
  • But even after the establishment of formal diplomatic relations, the relations between the two countries started gaining firmness only after the formation of the BJP led NDA government in 1996 and 1998 onwards.
  • Relations between the two democratic nations further intensified with the visits of the two heads of government: Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in 2017 and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India in 2019.
  • The two nations have started cooperation in various fields like cultural exchange, security and defence, counter terrorism, space research, water and energy and agriculture development.


Political Cooperation:

  • Since the up-gradation of relations in 1992, defence and agriculture have become the two main pillars of the bilateral engagement. The political ties have become especially cordial under the Modi Government. In 2017, Prime Minister Modi became the first-ever Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel.
  • During this visit, the diplomatic relationship was upgraded to a strategic level and seven agreements were signed in the areas of R&D, innovation, water, agriculture and space.
  • In 2018, the Israeli Prime Minister visited India, during which Government to Government (G2G) agreement on cybersecurity, oil and gas cooperation, film cooperation and air transport were signed, along with five other semi-government agreements.
  • An increase in the high-level exchanges in recent times has expanded cooperation in areas like trade, agriculture, science and technology and security.

Economic Cooperation:

  • Major exports from India to Israel include precious stones and metals, chemical products, textiles and textile articles etc.
  • Major imports from Israel include chemicals and mineral products, base metals and machinery and transport equipment. Potash is a major item of Israel’s exports to India.


  • Cooperation in the field of agriculture is being prioritised by India. Several India-Israel Centre of excellence for Cooperation in agriculture have been set up in states like Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan etc.
  • India has significantly benefited from Israeli’s expertise and technologies in horticulture, mechanisation, protected cultivation, orchard and canopy management, nursery management, micro-irrigation and post-harvest management, particularly in Haryana and Maharashtra.
  • Currently, Israeli drip-irrigation technologies and products are widely used in India.
  • Furthermore, India is gaining Israel’s expertise in managing and improving dairy farming and high milk yield.

Military and Strategic Cooperation:

  • India’s arms trade with Israel had reached almost $600 million in 2016, making Israel the second-largest source of defence equipment for India, after Russia.
  • The common aspiration to fight the menace of terrorism led to the enhancement of defence cooperation.
  • Four working groups in areas of border management, internal security and public safety, police modernisation and capacity building for combating crime, crime prevention and cybercrime were established.

What is India’s stand on Israel-Palestine Issue?
India, for a very long time, had called for the 2-state solution that supports the establishment of a sovereign independent state of Palestine. However, India’s stand on Israel-Palestine conflict has not hindered the growing diplomatic relationship with India and Israel. Yet, the recent close ties with Israel have diluted India’s stance on the issue.
Prime Minister Modi’s noteworthy visit to Israel in 2017 did not lead to diplomatic tension with Arab nations, making it a successful turning point.
For Israel, India is an enormous market for its technologies and expertise.


Modi and Netanyahu both share an affinity for neoliberalism and religious conservatism and judging from the political climate in both countries, they are expected to continue being in power for the near future. The shared sociopolitical climates in both the countries is perfectly encapsulated in anthropologist Arjun Appadurai’s words, “Open markets – closed cultures”.

Indias External Relations Class 12 Political Science Notes And Questions