India’s External Relations: NBSE Class 12 Political Science notes

India’s External Relations nbse class 12
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Get summary, textual answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF to NBSE Class 12 (Arts) Political Science Chapter 8 India’s External Relations. However, the educational materials should only be used for reference and students are encouraged to make necessary changes.


The chapter “India’s External Relations” primarily discusses India’s foreign policy and its approach towards disarmament. It begins by highlighting Smt. Gandhi’s firm and realistic handling of foreign policy, which won her acclaim even from her critics. The chapter then delves into the economic difficulties India faced due to the influx of Bangladeshi refugees, which strained resources and slowed down development under the Fourth Five-Year Plan (1969-74).

It defines disarmament as a plan or system for the limitation, reduction, or abolition of the world’s armed forces. It emphasizes that disarmament is necessary because the arms race represents a waste of resources. It outlines India’s approach to disarmament, highlighting that India is a peace-loving nation. It mentions several instances where India made efforts towards arms control, such as the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, proposing a standstill agreement to stop atomic tests at the 1948 UN Session, and India signing the Chemical Weapons Ban Treaty in January 1993.

The chapter discusses the Tashkent Declaration, an agreement between India and Pakistan signed in January 1966, which aimed to improve mutual relations based on principles such as non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, restoration of normal diplomatic relations, and peaceful resolution of disputes.

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Textual questions and answers

A. Long answer questions

1. Jawaharlal Nehru was the Chief Architect of India’s foreign policy. Describe the main principles of India’s foreign policy.

Answer: The main principles of India’s foreign policy are:

Non-Alignment: Soon after the Second World War (1939-1945) there began an era of intense hostility between the two Power Blocs – the Soviet Bloc headed by Russia and the Western Bloc, headed by the United States. Nehru’s policy aimed at keeping away from the dangers of the Cold War. It meant that Non aligned nations should judge each international issue on its own merits. They should refuse to behave in the way that Russia or America expected them to do. 

Anti-Colonialism and Anti-Imperialism: India’s anti-imperialistic attitude owes to her own bitter experience as a dependency of Great Britain. India expressed solidarity with national liberation movements of Asia, Africa and Latin America. We used the UN Platform as well as the NAM (Non-aligned Movement) Forum to help the people of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and other nations fighting for their Independence. 

Anti-Racialism: India missed no opportunity to condemn the policy of Apartheid (racial discrimination) being followed in South Africa. Nehru also took up the cause of Africans in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and that of Blacks in USA.

Promotion of World Peace: India’s Constitution says, “the State shall endeavour to promote International Peace and Security.” The Founding-Fathers of the Constitution knew that respect for International Law and settlement of international disputes by Arbitration alone could be the foundation of peace and security in the world.

Panchsheel and Peaceful Co-existence: The Agreement between India and China on Tibet emphasised these five principles (i) Respect for each other’s territorial integrity, (ii) Non-aggression against each other, (iii) Non interference in each other’s internal matters, (iv) Equality and working for each other’s benefit; and (v) Peaceful Co-existence. Peaceful Co-existence in the context of Panchsheel means that all nations should exist side by side. No nation has a right to impose its policies on other nations.

Faith in the United Nations: India always upheld the UN’s basic principles and objectives. We sent our forces to Congo, Lebanon, Cyprus and other nations on the appeal of the United Nations. At the same time, we made a strong plea for a reform of the UN Security Council to make it more representative and more democratic in its functioning.

Respect for Human Rights: On 10 December 1948 the UN General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Fundamental 130 Rights guaranteed by Indian Constitution have a close similarity with the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Disarmament: Enforcement of Human rights had been a major objective of the Non-aligned Movement. Nehru pleaded for Disarmament as the only means of preserving peace in the world. He was against the creation of Military Blocs in Asia and Africa. 

2. Describe the Sino-Indian War of 1962.

Answer: China’s militarist policies in Tibet threatened the peace of India. Tibet acted as a buffer against Chinese incursions into India. After consolidating their hold on Tibet, the Chinese constructed roads right up to the Indian borders. They also started laying claim to some of the Indian territories – the Aksai-Chin region in Ladakh and the then NEFA (North-East Frontier Agency) regions (now constituting the State of Arunachal Pradesh). The Chinese maps showed all these regions as within the Chinese borders. India made strong protests. In its reply, China informed that she would not accept the McMahon Line devised by the British imperialists as being the border between India and China. In fact, the Chinese had decided to attack India.

On 20 October, 1962 China launched a massive attack on Indian territories of NEFA (North-East Frontier Agency) and Ladakh. Indians were not prepared for such a massive attack. The result was that by 25 October the Chinese were inside Indian territories beyond 16 miles of the McMahon Line. By November 16 they had crossed Bomdila (now in Arunachal Pradesh). Although the UK and the USA rushed to help us, quite a good chunk of land had already gone under Chinese Occupation. On 21 November, 1962 China announced a unilateral ceasefire. The War stopped but it damaged the mutual relations to such an extent that they have not become normal so far.

The consequences of the war were:

  • The Chinese invasion undermined Nehru’s image. It demonstrated to the world that between India and China, the latter was a stronger power. V.K. Krishna Menon, Minister of Defence, had to depart from the Defence Ministry.
  • The growing differences between China and the Soviet Union (Russia) had already sharpened the inner conflict in the Communist Party of India. The conflict came into the open with the Chinese Invasion of 1962. The pro-Chinese Wing of the Party was labelled as “anti-national”. The pro-Chinese lobby was far more powerful in the Party than the pro-Russian faction. The pro-Chinese leaders left the Communist Party of India. In July 1964 they formed the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
  • Taking advantage of Sino-Indian bitterness, Pakistan stuck up a close friendship with China.
  • There began sincere attempts on the part of Government of India to calm down political unrest in the North-Eastern region. In response to popular aspirations of the Naga people, Nagaland became a State of the Indian Union in 1963.

3. India and Pakistan signed the Tashkent Declaration in January 1966. Mention any six provisions of this Declaration.

Answer: Six provisions of this Declaration were:

  • The principle of Non-interference in the internal affairs of each other.
  • Restoration of normal diplomatic relations i.e., the High Commissioners of both India and Pakistan were to resume their duties.
  • Withdrawal of all armed personnel to the positions they held prior to 5 August 1965.
  • To follow the UN Principles of not using force and settling their disputes by peaceful means.
  • No propaganda campaign against each other.
  • Restoration of economic and trade relations as well as Cultural Exchanges between the two Countries

4. How did the Bangladesh crisis lead to a War between India and Pakistan in 1971? How was the Pak Army General forced to surrender unconditionally to India?

Answer: The people of East Bengal (now called Bangladesh) felt angry because they enjoyed neither political power nor had control over their economic resources. They were also demanding that Bengali should have the status of a State language in their Province. In 1970-71 elections were held throughout Pakistan in which the Awami League, under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, won a landslide victory in East Pakistan. Instead of honouring the popular verdict Field Marshal Yahya Khan, the President of Pakistan, arrested Mujibur Rehman and other leaders. Pak troops let loose a reign of terror on the unarmed people who had given a call for total Independence. The influx of millions of refugees from Bangladesh had placed a great burden on India’s resources. Pakistan felt secured because she had secretly received an assurance of support both from America and China.

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Mukti Bahini (Peoples Liberation Army) launched a severe offensive against the Pak military regime. India’s Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi demanded withdrawal of all Pakistani troops from East Pakistan. On 3rd December 1971 Pakistan launched a massive air attack on India. The Indian troops struck back on both the Eastern and Western fronts. Our troops, actively aided by the Mukti Bahini, sped towards Dhaka. The War continued only for about two weeks. On 17 December the Pak Army General surrendered unconditionally to India and the Bangladesh liberation forces.

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7. Why did India take a stand against Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)?

Answer: India did not sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 because it was biased in favour of nuclear powers. The existing nuclear powers were free to manufacture nuclear weapons, but the non-nuclear countries were strictly forbidden to do so (Page 9).

India, Pakistan and North Korea did not sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) because it was also a discriminatory treaty. It divided the world into “Nuclear Haves” and “Nuclear Have-nots.” In other words, the non-nuclear States would always remain dependent on nuclear States for their safety in the event of an invasion on their territory.

8. “National Security was the main consideration when Indian Government decided to undertake three nuclear tests at Pokharan in 1998.” Do you agree with this view? What is India’s Nuclear Doctrine?

Answer: Yes, I agree with this view. It was Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Government whose one of the first acts was to conduct three underground nuclear tests at Pokharan in May 1998. India then proudly claimed that she had become a ‘Nuclear Weapons State’. Immediately afterwards Pakistan also conducted nuclear tests. It proved that India knew about Pakistan’s nuclear capability. The Vajpayee Government ensured countrymen that country’s security would be its prime concern.

India’s Nuclear Doctrine was made public on 17 August 1999. It stated that country’s security required effective nuclear deterrence. Nuclear Deterrence means that “the nuclear weapons have a deterrent effect. Such weapons prevent enemies from attacking by making them afraid to do so.” Under the Nuclear Doctrine India stated that we would not be the first to use the atomic weapons. We shall use them only in self-defence.

B. Short answer questions

9. Mention the four main consequences of Sino-Indian War of 1962.

Answer: The four main consequences of the Sino-Indian War of 1962 are:

  • The invasion undermined Nehru’s image.
  • The invasion also sharpened the inner conflict in the Communist Party of India. In July 1964, the Party got split.
  • Pakistan stuck up a close friendship with China.
  • There began sincere attempts on the part of the Government of India to calm down unrest in the North-Eastern Region. Nagaland became a State of the Indian Union in 1963.

10. What were the four main consequences of Indo-Pak War of 1971?

Answer: The four main consequences of the Indo-Pak War of 1971, as mentioned in the document, are:

  • India had recognised the new State of Bangladesh on 6 December, 1971.
  • Smt. Gandhi’s handling of foreign policy was firm and realistic. This was Smt. Gandhi’s finest hour and won her an acclamation even from her bitterest critics.
  • India was now faced with some new economic difficulties. The Bangladeshi refugees were a big drain on our resources.
  • Lack of resources slowed down the tempo of development under the Fourth Five-Year Plan.

11. What does ‘Nuclear Deterrence’ mean?

Answer: ‘Nuclear Deterrence’ means that the nuclear weapons have a deterrent effect. Such weapons prevent enemies from attacking by making them afraid to do so.

C. Very short answer questions

12. What is the full form of CTBT?

Answer: The full form of CTBT is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

13. Who signed the Shimla Agreement on India’s behalf?

Answer: The Shimla Agreement was signed on India’s behalf by Smt. Indira Gandhi.

D. Multiple Choice Questions: Tick (✔) the correct answer

14. Who among the following came to be known as the Chief Architect of India’s foreign policy?

Answer: (c) Jawaharlal Nehru

15. Who among the following was Tibet’s Spiritual and Temporal Head at the time of anti-Chinese Revolt in Tibet in the year 1958?

Answer: (b) Dalai Lama

16. Who among the following signed the Shimla Agreement in July 1972 on Pakistan’s behalf?

Answer: (d) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

17. In which year was the Indo-US Nuclear Deal Signed?

Answer: (a) 2008

Value-based question

What is the difference between being a ‘Nationalist’ and an ‘Aggressor’?

Answer: Being a ‘Nationalist’ and an ‘Aggressor’ are two different concepts that pertain to one’s political ideology and behavior, respectively.

A ‘Nationalist’ is a person who strongly identifies with their own nation and vigorously supports its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations. Nationalists often strive for the promotion of their nation’s culture, traditions, and values. They may seek to preserve the nation’s culture and sovereignty, often through policies that prioritize the nation over international considerations. Nationalism can manifest in many ways, and it is not inherently aggressive or violent.

An ‘Aggressor’, on the other hand, is a person or country that initiates hostilities or provocations. This term is often used in the context of international relations to describe a state that initiates war or conflict. Aggressors often use force or coercion to achieve their objectives, which can include territorial expansion, economic gain, or the imposition of a particular ideology or system of governance. Aggression is generally viewed negatively in international law and diplomacy.

The key difference between the two lies in their approach and actions. A nationalist focuses on promoting and protecting the interests of their nation, which can be done through peaceful means. An aggressor, however, initiates conflict or hostility, often through force or coercion. It’s important to note that while a nationalist can become an aggressor if their actions lead to the initiation of hostilities, not all nationalists are aggressors, and not all aggressors are motivated by nationalism.

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