Nature of Leadership and Regime
The personal qualities of leaders guiding the destiny of a nation at a given time tend to shape that country’s foreign policy in a particular direction.
In the case of India , the personality of the incumbent Prime Ministers has come to be identified in certain measure with a particular flavor given to the country’s foreign policy. The country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who steered India’s policy for than one and a half decades, was widely regarded as internationalist in outlook, with a preference for enlightened, rather than narrow or self-centred, approach to problems. He was indeed regarded as among the tallest of visionaries in his times. Understandably, therefore India’s foreign policy during his tenure was committed to the collective good of the comity of nations in relation to concerns like world peace and disarmament.
Panchsheel was a typical representation of the Nehruvian outlook to approaching problems with other countries. Quite contrasting is the case of the influence of his daughter, Indira Gandhi. By nature she came out as a strong and decisive personality. Her proclivity to be pragmatic and sensitivity to the imperatives of vital national interests left an imprint on reorienting the foreign policy along the lines of realism, than idealism. This is how India’s policy with reference to the liberation of Bangladesh, non-accession to Neil-Proliferation Treaty, and strengthening of ties with the former Soviet Union may be viewed. Again, the reputed qualities as a moderate of Atal Bihari Vajpayee are said to have influenced the poliq of engagement with Pakistan and the United States