The State shall endeavour to—


(a) promote international peace and security;


(b) maintain just and honourable relations between nations;


(c) foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another; and


(d) encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration

Debate Summary

Article 40, Draft Constitution of India 1948

The State shall promote international peace and security by the prescription of open, just and honourable relations between nations, by the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual rule of conduct among governments and by the maintenance of justice and respect for treaty obligations in the dealings of organised people with one another.

Draft Article 40, the closing provision of the Directive Principles of State Policy, was taken up for debate on 25 November 1948. It directed the State to adopt certain principles in its dealings with the world at large.

An amendment was moved at the beginning of the debate that proposed to include a more succinct version of the Draft Article.

A large section of the Assembly emphasised the importance of world peace. Members felt that India should not just play a role in effectuating world peace; one claimed that India was best placed to do so: peace, non-aggression and spirituality were key aspects on India history and culture. Another member argued that making vague statements was enough; India should, through some formal mechanism, pledge that it will work towards world peace.

There was quite a bit of discussion around international law and its role in the world. Members viewed international law as playing a critical role in ensuring amicable relations between nations. A member went further: he hoped that, at some point in the future, a world government would emerge where nations gave up some part of their sovereignty.

Members viewed the Draft Article as an expression of India’s intention to pursue an independent foreign policy. It was argued that now, unlike before,  India would not be dragged into the quarrels of other countries and would not align with power blocs.

The Draft Article was adopted with an amendment.