Humanitarian aid as an instrument of the foreign policy

By: Kohima Bhargava


Humanitarian aid improves worldwide human welfare as well as it’s activity is multifaceted and complex. Foreign diplomacy now demands far more tact in a more globalized world. Humanitarian aid is powerful tool for extending influence and diplomatic power. Keywords – Humanitarian aid, foreign policy, foreign aid, etc.


Foreign aid is defined as the international transfer of capital, goods, or services from one country to another for the benefit of the recipient country or its people. Aid might be financial, military, or humanitarian in nature, etc. As well as DAC i.e., development assistant committee defines foreign aid as,” Official agencies provide resource flows with the goal of promoting economic development”. Humanitarian aid improves worldwide human welfare, but it may also be a powerful tool for spreading influence and diplomatic power… Foreign policy success necessitates an emphasis on commerce, global finance, human rights, and humanitarian help. Humanitarian aid not only improves people’s lives around the world, but it can also be a powerful tool for extending influence and diplomatic power. As we all know that one of a country’s main goals is to ensure that its interests are protected on a global basis. Foreign policy involves economic, cultural, and military endeavors, with the latter implying militaristic might and might for a long time. Foreign diplomacy now demands far more tact in a more globalized world. Foreign aid investments improve the well-being of the recipient country and promote greater stability and security. Meanwhile, it encourages them to become more peaceful cultures and stronger US friends. The efficiency of international aid: – Despite the fact that the amount of aid sent to foreign countries varies year to year, the practise isn’t going away anytime soon. This has been the case for quite some time. William Henderson writes in his book The Politics of Foreign Aid, published in 1962, that: “Because of its effectiveness and flexibility, foreign aid as a political tool of US policy is here to stay.”


Military i.e., the most important form of foreign aid as well as it was aimed to aid warring parties that were strategically vital in some way. As it was first used in the modern age when Prussia sponsored some of its allies in the 18th century. European powers gave huge sums of money to their colonies in the 19th and 20thcenturies. Typically, infrastructure improvements are made with the goal of enhancing the colony’s economic output. Following World War II, two important developments shaped the form and breadth of foreign aid: (1) The implementation of the Marshall Plan, a US-sponsored programme to rebuild the economies of 17 western and southern European countries; and the establishment of the World Bank. (2) The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank were all founded during this period. The international organisations have played a significant role in allocating international funding, determining aid eligibility, and evaluating the impact of foreign aid. Foreign aid today is notable not only for its humanitarian nature (with little or no self-interest on the part of the donor country), but also for its scale, amounting to trillions of dollars since World War II ended, the large number of governments that provide it, and the transparency of the transfers. The majority of countries in the world participate in international help as donors, receivers, or, in many cases, both. Foreign aid is used by countries to achieve their foreign policy goals. Aid can be cut off to cause economic hardship or to undermine a regime that is unfriendly or ideologically hostile. Aid can also be given to strengthen and reward a friendly or obedient regime. Foreign aid, which was formerly the sole tool of wealthy, powerful states, is now being offered by middle-income countries as well. Nontraditional donors’ motivations for foreign assistance disbursements are similar to those of traditional Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors. Nontraditional assistance donors often do not set conditionality on their loans, which is one of the key differences between traditional and nontraditional aid donors.

Humanitarian action’s functions and principles

Humanitarian activity is multifaceted and complex. It carries out programmatic activities such as protecting disaster-affected civilians, exchanging prisoners of war, demobilizing combatants, and providing critical assistance. Assistance, rights protection, and advocacy are all essential humanitarian tasks. Their goals are to save lives, alleviate suffering, and preserve human dignity, so establishing the foundations for peace. Scholars and few practitioners have always questioned humanitarian neutrality. This is owing to the importance of hidden political interests, humanitarian negotiating politics, and the broader field of humanitarian diplomacy in granting humanitarian aid access.

Conclusion: –

In recent years, health has emerged as a foreign policy concern. Political leaders are increasingly addressing global health issues as part of their foreign policy agendas. The intersection of health and foreign policy has opened these concerns up to analysis, allowing for a better understanding of the fundamentals and determinants of this link, as well as a new framework for international health policy.


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