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India - Politics & International Relations overview

Country profile

  • Global Firepower’s Military Strength Ranking 2021 measures the relative military power of countries, ranking India as 4th in the world, with the same ranking amongst Asia-Pacific powers and as having the 2nd most powerful military in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • Brand Directory’s Global Soft Power Index 2021 ranks India 36th in the world. India’s foreign assistance to other developing countries, India’s role in humanitarian and disaster relief operations, and the attraction of India as a higher education hub for developing countries in Asia and Africa, are the emerging new soft power resources.
  • Lowy Institute’s Global Diplomacy Index 2019 analyses countries’ diplomatic networks and reach and ranks India 12th in the world, commensurate with its rising global stature.
  • One of the foundations of Indian Foreign Policy is the idea of “Strategic Autonomy” and “Multi-Alignment”, whereby India does not enter into express alliances but upholds a rules-based order suited to a multipolar world.

Policies and initiatives

Governance structure

India is a vibrant Republic, with a multiparty parliamentary democracy. It has a Quasi-federal structure, where the Union, States, and Local Bodies have their independent roles and responsibilities guaranteed by the Constitution. India’s Election Commission is also a Constitutional Body charged with wide-ranging powers to ensure free and fair elections. All three of the aforementioned tiers of Government are elected. At the Union level, India has a bicameral Parliament comprised of a lower house which is directly elected (Lok Sabha - the People’s House), and a permanent upper house which is indirectly elected (Rajya Sabha- the States’ House). The Finance Commission, another Constitutional Body, decides upon the division of taxes in the divisible pool between the three tiers of Government; successive Commissions have decentralised finances steadily, with the share of funds going to the States increasing. India’s nodal agency for its international relations is the Ministry of External Affairs, which houses India’s diplomatic corps. There also exist government-funded Specialised Councils - the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, and the Indian Council of World Affairs. The Indian Council of Social Science Research is the country’s premier body for funding and promoting research in the field of Social Sciences. In addition, there are a number of independent think tanks in the country that undertake research in international relations.

Professor Robin Jeffrey, LaTrobe University, Australian National University and National University of Singapore. Professor Jeffrey has been a key advocate for the study of India in Australian universities for several decades.

Australia - Politics & International Relations overview

Country profile

  • Global Firepower’s Military Strength Ranking 2021 ranks Australia 19th in the world and 9th in the Asia Pacific. Australia is an important middle power in the region and is a key partner of the West as well as with India militarily.
  • Brand Directory’s Global Soft Power Index 2021 ranks Australia 10th in the world. Australia’s massive education and sports industries, combined with a developed country status, make it punch above its weight in terms of cultural and economic influence.
  • Lowy Institute’s Global Diplomacy Index 2019 ranks Australia 27th in the world, reflecting its widespread diplomatic network and reach. It remains the preeminent diplomatic force in its geographical neighborhood, with a strong sphere of influence in the Pacific islands.

Policies and initiatives

Governance structure

The Commonwealth of Australia is a multiparty parliamentary democracy under a Constitutional Monarchy. Australia is a federation, where the Commonwealth and the States have a division of powers, with Local Governments seeing devolution from the States. The Australian Parliament is bicameral, with a Lower House (House of Representatives) and an Upper House (Senate). The Australian Electoral Commission is the Statutory Authority overseeing the free and fair conduct of referendums and Federal Elections, while State Electoral Commissions oversee elections in State and Local Governments. The Commonwealth Grants Commission is responsible for advising the Government on GST distributions between the Commonwealth and States, upholding fiscal transfers which are federal and ensuring they meet the demands of all stakeholders involved. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the principal agency responsible for Australian diplomacy, while also serving as an in-house think-tank. It coordinates amongst other Departments, while also handling foreign trade, economic, and sanctions-related affairs. The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Australia New Zealand School of Government promote research in the field and actively participate in policy issues. 

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Bilateral frameworks for cooperation between India and Australia

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Cooperation and collaborations

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