Indian Foreign Policy : Youth’s Perspective : Daily Current Affairs

Date: 16/11/2022

Relevance: GS-2: India Foreign Policy; India and its Neighborhood- Relations.

Key Phrases: Observer Research Foundation, 75th year of Independence, Foreign policy, India’s young people, Pokhran nuclear tests, India-China war, Border conflicts, Invasion of Ukraine, Reliable partner, Multipolar, Indo-Pacific, Strategic importance, New world order, Political engagements, Infrastructure and Connectivity projects, Non-traditional and Transnational threats, Multilateral reforms.


  • Recently, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) conducted The ORF Foreign Policy Survey 2022 which sampled 5,000 Indians between 18 and 35 from 19 cities and in 10 languages.

Key Highlights:

  • Respondents demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of India’s foreign policy and the evolving world order.
  • Young people have a decisive impact on national conversations on foreign policy approaches and influencing what issues get on the agenda.
  • So bridging the gap between the policymakers and the public is a necessary step for the country’s foreign policy.

Outcomes of the Survey:

  • Key Turning Points in Foreign Policy
    • The Pokhran nuclear tests, the India-China war, and the Galwan Valley clashes were perceived as key turning points in India’s foreign policy.
  • Biggest Inter-state Foreign Policy Challenge
    • Border conflicts with China were seen as India’s biggest inter-state foreign policy challenge – even surpassing conflicts with Pakistan.
    • Terrorism and border conflicts with Pakistan remained important challenges for India’s foreign policy.
    • The majority of respondents also indicated that India’s foreign policy of not engaging with Pakistan benefited regional peace and stability.
  • India-USA Relationship
    • The USA was seen as the second-most trusted partner since its Independence,
    • 85% of respondents thought the USA will be India’s leading partner in the next 10 years;
    • 83% of respondents also agreed that the USA support will be crucial to India’s rise.
  • Russia-India Relationship
    • Many respondents indicated optimism for Russia, despite its invasion of Ukraine; 43% saw Russia as India’s most reliable partner since Independence.
    • But many showed their awareness of broader geopolitical changes.
      • For instance, an overwhelming majority agreed that India’s economic ties with Russia are limited and expressed concerns about strengthening Russia-China ties, and India and Russia drifting away from one another.
    • When it came to India’s leading partner in the next 10 years, Russia was ranked third, behind the US and Australia.
  • Indian interests as the driver of foreign policy
    • Indian interests remained the driver for such a perception.
      • For instance, Indian youth preferred non-alignment and neutrality if US-China tensions increase.
      • But responses changed when Indian interests were at stake: 73% said that India should align with the US to countervail China.
  • Importance of Regional Power
    • In a multipolar, more uncertain world order, regional powers are growing in importance.
    • Quad found limited enthusiasm among respondents but some members such as Australia and Japan enjoyed a significant positive perception.
    • Japan was seen as the most important Indo-Pacific partner in the future, followed by Australia.
  • Strategic Importance to India’s neighbourhood
    • Despite India’s rising stakes in the new world order, young people attached strategic importance to India’s neighbourhood.
    • Respondents believed India defined its neighbourhood efficiently and followed an adequate foreign policy across all the sectors – security, trade, and culture.
  • Non-traditional and transnational threats
    • Non-traditional and transnational threats were seen as significant threats.
    • The pandemic was considered a bigger challenge to India’s foreign policy than border conflicts with China and Pakistan.

Panchsheel Principles

  • The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are principles first mentioned in the Sino-Indian Agreement, 1954 and publicly formulated by Zhou Enlai.
  • These principles would later become the basis of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • The Panchsheel Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Premier Zhou Enlai.
  • These principles, also known as Panchsheel, are listed as
    • Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty,
    • Mutual non-aggression,
    • Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs,
    • Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, and
    • Peaceful co-existence.

Way Forward:

  • Investing in the South Asia and Indian Ocean Region
    • There is a need to increase political engagements and infrastructure and connectivity projects across the region. So India needs to continue investing in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
  • Multilateralism
    • Multilateralism should be India’s preferred mode of engagement with other countries.
    • There is a strong urge for multilateral reforms – 91% of respondents supported India’s bid for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.


  • The foreign policy of a country is often driven by popular perception.
  • It is, therefore, important to understand how young people perceive foreign policy goals as they are important stakeholders, an even more critical process in a young nation such as India.

Source: ORF-Online

Mains Question:

Q. What are the major perceptions of Youth related to India’s Foreign Policy? Describe the challenges to India and also suggest measures to counter the threats. (150 Words).