Chapter 4. India’s External Relation

• first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, played a crucial role in setting national agenda. He was foreign minister. Thus, both as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, he exercised profound influence in formulation and implementation of India’s foreign policy from 1946 to 1964.
• three major objectives of Nehru’s foreign policy were to preserve hard-earned sovereignty, protect territorial integrity, and promote rapid economic development. Jawaharlal Nehru wished to achieve these objectives through strategy of Nonalignment.
• foreign policy of independent India vigorously pursued dream of a peaceful world by advocating policy of Non-alignment, reducing Cold War tensions and by contributing human resources to UN peacekeeping operations.
• India wanted to keep away from military alliances led by US and Soviet Union against each other as, during Cold War, US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [NATO] and Soviet-led Warsaw Pact came into existence.
• India advocated Non-alignment as ideal foreign policy approach.
• Throughout 1940s and 1950s, Nehru had been an ardent advocate of Asian unity. Under his leadership, India convened Asian Relations Conference in March 1947.
• Afro-Asian Conference held in Indonesian city of Bandung in 1955, commonly called Bandung Conference, marked zenith of India’s engagement with newly independent Asian and African nations.
• Bandung Conference later led to establishment of NAM. First Summit of NAM was held in Belgrade in September 1961. Nehru was a co-founder of NAM.

India and China
• India was one of first countries to recognise Communist Government after Chinese Revolution in 1949.
• Nehru felt strongly for this neighbour that was coming out of shadow of Western domination and helped new government in international fora.
• For a very long time, Chinese border was guarded by para-military forces, not army.
• joint enunciation of Panchsheel, Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, by Indian Prime Minister Nehru and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai on 29 April 1954 was a step in direction of a stronger relationship between two countries.
• China annexed Tibet in 1950 and thus, removed a historical buffer between two countries.
• Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, sought & obtained political asylum in India in 1959. China alleged that Government of India was allowing anti-China activities to take place from within India.
• main dispute between India and China was about western and eastern end of long border.
• China claimed two areas within Indian territory: Aksai-chin area in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir and much of state of Arunachal Pradesh in what was then known as NEFA [North Eastern Frontier Agency].
• Chinese occupied Aksai-chin area and built a strategic road there.
• China launched a swift and massive invasion in October 1962 on both disputed regions.
• first attack lasted one week, and Chinese forces captured some key areas in Arunachal Pradesh. second wave of attack came next month.
• While Indian forces could block Chinese advances on western front in Ladakh, in east, Chinese managed to advance nearly to entry point of Assam plains.
• Finally, China declared a unilateral ceasefire and its troops withdrew to where they were before invasion began.
• China war dented India’s image at home and abroad.
• India had to approach Americans and British for military assistance to tide over crisis.
• Nehru’s stature suffered as he was severely criticised for his naïve assessment of Chinese intentions and lack of military preparedness. For first time, a no-confidence motion against his government was moved and debated in Lok Sabha. It took more than a decade for India and China to resume normal relations. It was in 1976 that full diplomatic relations were restored between two countries.
• Atal Bihari Vajpayee was first top-level leader [he was then External Affairs Minister] to visit China in 1979. Later, Rajiv Gandhi became first Prime Minister after Nehru to visit China.
• war with China alerted Indian leadership to volatile situation in Northeast region.
• Apart from being isolated and extremely underdeveloped, this region presented India with challenge of national integration and political unity.
• Nagaland was granted statehood; Manipur and Tripura, though Union Territories, were given right to elect their own Legislative Assemblies.

India and Pakistan
• conflict with Pakistan started just after partition over dispute of Kashmir. issue was then referred to UN.
• Kashmir conflict did not prevent cooperation between Governments of India and Pakistan. Both governments worked together to restore women abducted during partition to their original families.
• A long-term dispute about sharing of river waters was resolved through mediation by World Bank. India- Pakistan Indus Waters Treaty was signed by Nehru and General Ayub Khan in 1960.
• In April 1965, Pakistan launched armed attacks in Rann of Kutch area of Gujarat. It was followed by a bigger offensive in Jammu and Kashmir in AugustSeptember.
• Pakistani rulers were hoping to get support from local population there, but it did not happen. To ease pressure on Kashmir front, Shastri ordered Indian troops to launch a counter-offensive on Punjab border. In a fierce battle, Indian army reached close to Lahore.
• hostilities came to an end with UN intervention. Later, Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistan’s General Ayub Khan signed Tashkent Agreement, brokered by Soviet Union, in January 1966.

Bangladesh War
• country’s first general election produced a split verdict in Pakistan.
• Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s party emerged as a winner in West Pakistan, while Awami League led by Sheikh Mujib-ur Rahman swept through East Pakistan.
• Bengali population of East Pakistan had voted to protest against years of being treated as second class citizens by rulers based in West Pakistan.
• Pakistani rulers were not willing to accept democratic verdict, nor were they ready to accept Awami League’s demand for a federation.
• In early 1971, Pakistani army arrested Sheikh Mujib and unleashed a reign of terror on people of East Pakistan. In response to this, people started a struggle to liberate ‘Bangladesh’ from Pakistan.
• India extended moral and material support to freedom struggle in Bangladesh. Pakistan accused India of a conspiracy to break it up.
• Support for Pakistan came from US and China. To counter US-Pakistan-China axis, India signed a 20-year Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Soviet Union in August 1971. This treaty assured India of Soviet support if country faced any attack.
• A full-scale war between India and Pakistan broke out in December 1971.
• Pakistani aircrafts attacked Punjab and Rajasthan, while army moved on Jammu and Kashmir front. India retaliated with an attack involving air force, navy & army on both Western and Eastern front.
• Within ten days Indian army had surrounded Dhaka from three sides and Pakistani army of about 90,000 had to surrender. With Bangladesh as a free country, India declared a unilateral ceasefire.
• Later, signing of Shimla Agreement between Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on 3rd July 1972 formalised return of peace.

India’s Nuclear Policy
• Nehru had always put his faith in science and technology for rapidly building modern India.
• Nehru was against nuclear weapons. So, he pleaded with superpowers for comprehensive Nuclear Disarmament.
• When Communist China conducted nuclear tests in October 1964, five nuclear weapon powers, US, USSR, UK, France, & China, five Permanent Members of UN Security Council tried to impose Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty [NPT] of 1968 on rest of world. India always considered NPT discriminatory and refused to sign it.
• India’s first nuclear test was called a “peaceful explosion” at the time. India said it would stick to its policy of only using nuclear power for peaceful purposes. India’s nuclear doctrine of credible minimum nuclear deterrence says “no first use” and restates India’s commitment to global, verifiable, and nondiscriminatory nuclear disarmament that will lead to a world without nuclear weapons.

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