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Indian Foreign Policy: The Age of Nehru

Author(s): Paul F. Power


Reviewed work(s):
Source: The Review of Politics, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Apr., 1964), pp. 257-286
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IndianForeignPolicy:The Age of Nehru


Paul F. Power
the foreignpoliciesof the new stateswhich have
AMONG
emergedfromthe Westerncolonialempires,that of India

non-Western
nationto beoccupiesa leadingplace. The first
come a memberof the BritishCommonwealth,
India became a
for severalnationalist
symboland catalystof self-determination
movements.India proceeded on an "independent"path in
worldpoliticsand had numerousemulators
in theworld.' Where
India's role in the state-making
has met withconsidrevolution
erable approval,its strategyof nonalignment
has been debated
in the West,and even in India since the open appearancein
1959 of the Sino-Indiandispute.The criticism
has includedquestionsaboutthewisdomofnonalignment,
doubtsas to itsfeasibility,
and chargesthatitsapplicationhas shownpreference
forthecommuniststatesduringperiodsoftheCold War.2 The Indiandefense
includesassertions
that nonalignment
servesIndia's welfareand
oftenthe world's,answersabout its workability,
and claimsthat
has
been
consistent
with
ideals.3
application
professed
foreignpoliciesof the new stateshave been examinedin
xThe independent
RobertA. Scalapino,"Neutralism
in Asia," AmericanPoliticalScienceReview,
XLVIII (March, 1954), 49-63; Hans J. Morgenthau,
PoliticsAmongNations
(Chicago, 1958), Ch. 10; Laurence W. Martin,ed., Neutralismand Nonalignment(New York, 1962), withessaysby C.B. Marshall,FrancisO. Wilcox
and ArnoldWolfers,amongothers;Michael Brecher,"Neutralism:An Analysis," InternationalJournal,XVII (Summer,1962), 224-236; Kurt London,
ed., New Nationsin a Divided World (New York, 1963), especiallyvaluable
forpaperson Sino-Sovietviewsof nonalignedcountries;and Mario Rossi,The
Third World (New York, 1963). For the originsof "neutralism"in Western
thought,see Peter Lyon, "Neutralityand the Emergenceof the Concept of
The Reviewof Politics,XXII (April,1960), 255-268.
Neutralism,"
criticalevaluationsof Indian foreignpolicyare "Vivek"
2 Some essentially
[A. D. Gorwala],India WithoutIllusions(Bombay,1953); Adda B. Bozeman,
"India's ForeignPolicyToday," WorldPolitics,X (January,1958), 256-274;
S. R. Patel,ForeignPolicyof India (Bombay,1960); and WinstonL. Prouty,
"The United States Versus UnneutralNeutrality,"Speech in U.S. Senate,
September19, 1961, Congressional
Record,Vol. 107, 87th Congress,1901519028.
3 Sympatheticexplanationsor defensesof Indian nonalignmentare A.
Appadorai,"India's Foreign Policy," InternationalAffairs,XXV (January,
1949), 37-47; VincentSheean, "The Case For India," ForeignAfairs,XXX
(October, 1951), 77-90; "P" [K. M. Panikkar],"Middle Ground Between
Americaand Russia: An Indian View," ForeignAffairs,XXXII (January,
1954), 259-270; and B. K. Nehru,"AmbassadorNehru on India's Policyof
India News,I (April 27, 1962), 8.
Non-Alignment,"

257

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258

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

To decide about the meritsof the criticismand defenseof


Indian nonalignment
of the country's
requiresan understanding
relationssince 1947. Emergingintothe worldcominternational
fromalienruleand thecostlypartitioning
ofa subcontinent,
munity
India tookstepsto protectitselfin SouthAsia and to pursueselectiveeconomicand politicalobjectivesin worldaffairs.For Indian
foreignpolicythe disputewith Pakistanover dividedKashmir
becameand remainsa centralissuewithimplications
forIndia's
relationswiththe communist
and Westernpowers.4India's economicdiplomacyhas soughtand obtainedcapitaland technology
fromtheadvancednations;forexample,it receivedaid fromthe
UnitedStatestotalingin excessof two billiondollars.Two political objectiveswithhumanitarian
foundations
have been to convince or pressurethe South Africangovernment
to cease racial
discrimination
and Indians,and to achievenuclear
againstAfricans
and conventional
disarmament.
India and otherstateshave had
no successwiththe firstobjective.Some progress
has been made
towardsthe secondgoal, in part throughIndian participation
as
one of the eight"independent"powersin Soviet-Western
arms
discussions.
to deMoreover,India has contributed
substantially
the
overseas
and
to
Asia
and
Africa
colonizing
empires
bringing
intothe frontranksof worldpolitics.Efforts
in theseareas were
dramatizedby Indian activities
in theNew Delhi AsianRelations
Conference
of 1947,theUnitedNations,theBandungConference
of Asian-African
statesin 1955, and the BelgradeConference
of
in
states
nonaligned
1961.5
For severalreasonsIndia soughtto bringthePeople'sRepublic
4 The religious,geographicaland legal sourcesof the Kashmirproblemare
describedin JosefKorbel,Danger In Kashmir (Princeton,1954), and Lord
Birdwood,Two Nationsand Kashmir(London, 1956). The SecurityCouncil
has metwithoutsuccessover 100 timeson the Kashmirissuesince India took
thequestionto theUnitedNationsin 1948. At Pakistan'srequestthe Security
Councilis again considering
the problemin early1964 withsignsof mounting
tensionsowingto Pakistan'snew friendship
withCommunist
China and India's
responseto thisdevelopment.
5 For the Asian RelationsConferencein 1947, see Asian Relations: A
Report of the Proceedings and Documentation of the First Asian Relations

Conference(New Delhi, 1948). A studygroupof theIndian Councilof World


Affairsreportson Indian activitiesin the worldorganization
in India and the
UnitedNations(New York, 1957). India's role in the 1955 meetingof Asian
and Africanstatesmaybe followedin GeorgeMcT. Kahin, The Asian-African
Conference(Ithaca, 1956). Nehru's addressto the BelgradeConferenceof
1961 is published in The Conference of Heads of State or Governmentof Non-

alignedCountries(Belgrade,1961), pp. 107-117.

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

259

of China into worldaffairs,a processaided by Peking'sturnto


diplomacyin 1954 and to an appreciationof the nonaligned
states.Out of Indian efforts
and the New China's responsiveness
came the Five Principlesof PeacefulCoexistenceor Panch Shila,
and mutuality
agreedupon in
generalnormsof nonintervention
the Sino-IndianTreatyon Tibet, signeda decade ago in April,
1954, but never renewed.6 SubsequentlyIndia signed Panch
Shila declarationsor agreementswith numerousuncommitted
statesand communist
nations,includingthe SovietUnion in the
before
the
Since 1959 relationswith
year
Hungariansuppression.
Indian
have
dominated
Peking
diplomacy,and, withthe Indian
defeatsin theborderfighting
oflate 1962,military
policiesas well.
of
as
record
the
India's
external
relations
is for
Important
of
the
evaluation
behavior
in
world
meanthe
affairs,
any
country's
ing of the eventsmustalso be soughtin the sourcesof Indian
to
foreignpolicy.The originsrangefromtraditional
philosophies
BuddhistorVedantic
today'seconomicneeds.Thustheconciliatory
externaloutlook
way to justicehas lefta markon the country's
as has the quest forforeigncapitalto assistits Five Year Plans.
havebeenmorevitalthanothers.The anticolonial
Someinfluences
and antifascist
standsof the Indian NationalCongressbeforeindependencehave had a greaterimpactthan the amoralpolitical
adviceof Kautilya'sArthasastra,
datingfromthe fourthcentury.
the
sources
of
India's externalpolicythe ideas
Among
major
and power of JawaharlalNehru have no real competitor.
Permittedby Congressleaders to specializein foreignaffairs,he
two decades beforefreedom.Since
preparedfor policy-making
Nehru
created
has
much of free India's foreign
independence
and
has
not
or
restated
policy
simply
managedit. Fivemainfactors
this
in domestic
produced result:hispre-eminent
leadership
politics;
his full use of formaland informalauthority;his dual role as
and foreign
hisfunction
as a bridgefrom
minister;
primeminister
thepast; and hisskillin discussing
international
relationsin terms
6 The Five
Principles are mutual respect for territorialintegrityand sover-

in internalaffairs,equality
eignty,mutual nonaggression,mutual noninterference
and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. See the firstWhite Paper on
the Sino-Indian frontier issue, Notes, Memorandum and Letters Exchanged
and AgreementsSigned Between the Governmentsof India and China: 19541959 (New Delhi, 1959) p. 98. For Nehru's account of their origin, see
Russell H. Fifield, The Diplomacy of Southeast Asia: 1954-1958 (New York,
1958), pp. 510-511. See also M. S. Rajan, "Indian Foreign Policy in Action:
1954-56," Indian Quarterly, XVII (July-September,1960), 224.

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260

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

Nehru'semiof widelyvalued notions,forexample,nonviolence.


nencetowersover his Congressassociates,the Indian diplomatic
the Cabinet,and the nation'smajorinterest
groups.
organization,
In foreignpolicy mattersNehru has soughtand received
advice froman innercircle.Over the yearsthis grouphas inBritain'sterminalViceroyand
cluded Lord Louis Mountbatten,
India's firstGovernorGeneral; Sir Girja ShankarBajpai, Secreof ExternalAffairs,1947-1952;K.
taryGeneralof the Ministry
M. Panikkar,a versatileintellectualand India's ambassadorin
Peking,1950-53; Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Moslem scholar
a philosopher
and
and Congressleader;SarvepalliRadhakrishnan,
India's ambassadorto the Soviet Union, 1950-53,subsequently
and thenPresident;V. K. KrishnaMenon,
India's Vice President
Nehru'svolatileand controversial
advisorand agent for many
India's
years; Mrs. Vijaya LakshmiPandit, a sister,formerly
now Governorof Mahaambassadorin Moscowand Washington,
rashtra;and Nehru's daughter,Mrs. Indira Gandhi, who has
held highpostsin the Congress.But ultimately
Nehru has been
masterof his own thoughtson international
affairsand, to a
for the conduct
extent,has been directlyresponsible
significant
of Indian foreign
policy.
The stateof Nehru'shealthmay compelthe transfer
of his
to
hands
of
Indian
leader
others.
In
the
the
power
January,1964,
the Finance Minister,to handle
asked T. T. Krishnamachari,
routinequestionsin the Ministryof ExternalAffairs;and he
recalledLal BahadurShastri,a formerHome Minister,to rejoin
someof themrelatedto
the Cabinetto help on internalmatters,
The healthquestionalso permitsNehru'sdaughter
foreignaffairs.
and Mrs. Panditto receivenew powerbecauseof theirservicesto
the 74-year-old
leader.
The Age of Nehru,then,in Indian foreign
policyis approachThe
laid
its
conclusion.7
directives
down
by the Indianstatesing
man have prevailedfor nearlyseventeenyearsand increasingly
theyare subjectto challenges.Time, habit,and setbackshave
dissipatedNehru's creativeenergiesto formnew approaches.
India is stirring,
lookingforanswersto the successionissue and
7The deep impact of the Sino-Indian dispute on Indian foreign policy has
caused an experienced observer to conduct obsequies for the nation's nonalignment strategy. See Werner Levi, "Necrology on Indian Neutralism," Eastern
World, XVII (February, 1963), 9-11.

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

261

fora rationalization
of India's shifttowardthe West thatis not
in officialideology.Thus it may not be prematureto
reflected
tracetherootsoftheAge ofNehrubackintohispoliticaleducation
and the shapingof his worldview. Thereafter,
the influenceof
thisview,alongwithits changes,upon India's externalgoals and
diplomaticactivitiesmay be considered.Then, by way of conof
clusion,an attemptmaybe made to presentthe characteristics
theinitialphaseofIndianforeign
policy.
I
"Few men," Edward Shils writesof Nehru, "so intellectual
by disposition,
occupy comparablepositionsin any countries."8
The Indianleader'sformative
to thisdisposition
yearscontributed
and to the evolutionof his politicalthoughtwhichdid not begin
to coalesceuntilhe approachedmiddleage.9 Born into an accomplishedline of KashmiriBrahminsin 1889, Jawaharlalwas
theonlyson of MotilalNehru,a barrister
who had risento prominenceand wealthin Allahabad,a religiouscenterin the United
"red jewel."
Provinces,now Uttar Pradesh.Jawaharlalsignifies
His familyname derivesfromthe Urdu termforcanal, nahar.
An ancestor,
and Arabicscholar,had received
Raj Kaul, a Sanskrit
froma Moghul emperoraround 1716 an estatenear a canal
outsideof Delhi afterhe migratedfromKashmirby invitation
of
thecourt.Nehru'sfatherprevailedin thehouseholdas theunquestionedhead, allowinga modestscope forthe son's self-assertion
whichappearedonlyafterthe age of thirtyduringhis political
and intellectual
motherprovided
questsofthe 1920's. Jawaharlal's
him withcompensating
affection
and security.
Althoughshe was
her
husband
tended
have
few
to
orthodox,
religiousconcerns.
Educatedat homebytutors,
Nehruexperienced
an isolatedatmosof
little
disturbed
or
phere privilege
by political economicunrest.
middle
British
influences
in the house.
class,
Upper
predominated
" Edward
Shils, The Intellectual Between Tradition and Modernity: The
Indian Situation (The Hague, 1961), p. 95.

9Nehru's recollectionsof his beginningsare found chieflyin his autobiography,Toward Freedom (New York, 1941), pp. 16-47. Biographical
studies of note are B. R. Nanda, The Nehrus: Motilal and Jawaharlal (New

York, 1963), esp. pp. 17-105; Michael Brecher,Nehru: A PoliticalBiography


(London, 1959), pp. 1-57; and FrankMoraes,JawaharlalNehru (New York,
1956), pp. 15-43. See also Tibor Mende, Nehru: Conversations on India and

WorldAfairs (New York,1956), pp. 9-18.

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262

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

Some trainingin Hindu and Sanskritwas attempted;introduced


to theHindu classics,Nehrustudiedthemas mythology
and literature. An earlymove towardsyncretism
receivedaid fromexposureto thevariedbeliefsamonghisfather's
guestsand to theplural
of Allahabadthroughwhichhe came to understand
community
and respectMoslemsand Moghul culture.The transcendental
oncein an esoteric
form.Undertheguidanceofa Francoimpinged
Irishtutor,FerdinandT. Brooks,Nehrubriefly
exploredTheosophy
whenhe was thirteen,
a development
aided by Mrs. AnnieBesant
who admittedhim intothe TheosophicalSociety.The tutoralso
helpedJawaharlalto becomea seriousreaderof modemEnglish
literature.
he gained fromBrooksan enthuEqually important,
intolateryears.
siasmforsciencewhichpersisted
Motilal'sambitions
forhissonled himin 1905to sendtheyoung
man to Harrowwherehe showedintellectual
promiseand stirrings
of new politicalinterests.
withtheweak conAlreadysympathetic
in
the
Boer
and
with
the
conflicts
theAsianmastertesting strong
in
the
the
in
War, schoolhe drew
European
ing
Japanese-Russian
close to Garibaldi'snationalismwhich he believedsuitablefor
India. FromIndiannewspapers
he followed
theupward
fragmented
climb of the Indian National Congress.Motilal,however,was
of hisson'spotentialfortheBritishEmpire'sIndian Civil
thinking
secured
Service,and withthe aid of the Harrow achievements
to TrinityCollege,Cambridge.
Nehru'sadmission
Therehe studied
naturalscienceand satisfied
otherneeds,listening
to Keynes,BertrandRussell,and Shaw. Fabiansocialismattracted
himand,lookdid
so
the
Bal
revivalist
of
nationalism
ing East,
GangadarTilak,
thencompetingwithWesternized
moderatesfavoredby Motilal.
Afterthreeyearsmarkedby someease, Nehrureceivedhis degree
in 1910,withsecondclasshonors.He briefly
visitedIreland,as he
recalledlater,out of an interestin Sinn Fein. But thispull, as
withthosetowardthe Boersand Indian nationalists,
did not then
shakehis loyaltyto the Britishimperialsystem.AlthoughNehru
did notprepareforthe Indian CivilServiceexaminations
because
of his father'swishto expeditethe heir'sreturnto Allahabad,he
stayedin Englandand preparedforlaw in the InnerTemple.Admittedto practicein 1912, Nehru immediately
returnedto his
a restive,
without
family,
semicosmopolitan
inquirer
specificobjechad
beenopened
tivesorpronounced
the
convictions,
way
although

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

263

social concerns,and directaction.


for anti-Western
nationalism,
His Englisheducationand experiences,
togetherwiththe Anglicized part of his home,had providedhim withthe normswith
whichto judge theWestby itsownstandards;and he had begun
to developa foundationforthe Eurasianconsciousness
that has
and
him
than
mature
made
less
an
his
thought
distinguished
man.
integrated
For eightyearsafterhisreturnto India Nehrutriedto practice
he had stagefrightand showed
law. In spiteof his earnestness
littleof Motilal'slegal skillor financialambition.Emergingissues
of social welfareand Indian nationalismheld considerably
more
interestforhim,and throughpaternalassociationshe gradually
immersed
himself
in Congressactivities
and AnnieBesant'sHome
Rule League. During World War I he got vicariouspleasure
but basicallyhe was a loyalist.The Easter
fromGermanvictories,
Revolution
in Dublinand RogerCasement'sspeechof 1916 moved
him deeply.The same year his stylish,
arrangedmarriagetook
of
a daughterand evidence
in
the
next
the
birth
followed
place,
by
of an illnessofwhichhiswifedied in 1936. Newsofthefirst
Russian Revolutionpleased him, and the Bolsheviktake-overmore
reasonsforlookingto
so, thoughhe then had no fundamental
He began to thinkof politicsas social changeand
communism.
welcomedthe riseof Sovietpoweras a counterto the Britishin
Asia and theMiddle East.
mountedrapidlyafterthe
Nehru'sobjectionsto imperialism
Amritsarmassacrein 1919 when troopskilledunarmedIndian
inthePunjab.He turnedwithenthusiasm
totheleaddemonstrators
in
the
and
of
then
Gandhi
Congress
achievingprominence
ership
thenation.He first
mettheMahatmain 1916 at a Congressmeeting in Lucknow,althoughhe had earlierhelpedto raise funds
forGandhi'sSouth Africandisobediencecampaign.Throughout
his associationwiththe Mahatmawho did muchto advancehis
career,Nehrudisagreedto a varyingextentaccordingto thetopic
withGandhi'srelianceon directaction,stresson cottageeconomics,
of science,and appeals to religious
objectionto violence,distrust
Nevertheless
Gandhi's
activism,courage,politicalacusymbolism.
and
menand senseof timing,and his call fornationalself-respect
never failed to attractand influencethe
social reconstruction
however,if Gandhi'sunderstanding
youngerman. It is doubtful,

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264

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

in spiritand
of international
relations,
alwaysmoremetaphysical
parochialin politicsthan Nehru's,providedNehru with many
of worldaffairs.10
conceptions
Even on the social questionNehru owed much to his own
In 1920 he came to realize at first
experienceand reflections.
hand the plightof the Indian peasantwhenhe investigated
kisan
were especially
unrestin Oudh wherelandlordand moneylender
venal. The exposureappalled the youngsophisticate
and caused
and to doubtthe relhimto feelshameabout his own privileges
evanceofbourgeoisnationalism.
he interpreted
Equallyimportant,
the Indian peasantsituationas one wherethe peasantsexpected
him and menlikehimto riseand lead them.The Brahmindutifullyresponded.11
Firstunderthe tutelageof his patricianfatherand then of
the paternalGandhi,Nehru acquiredstatureand confidence
in
of the 1920's. But partyfactionalism
the nationalist
activities
(involvingdirectactionistsand parliamentary
opportunists),
disapstrifebetweenHindus and
pointingresultsfromnoncooperation,
Moslems,and threejailingsin the 1921-1923periodreducedhis
in the Indian struggle
interest
and producedintellectual
lethargy.
He struggled
withthisconditionin 1926 whenhe tookhis wife
to Europe for her healthand entereda crucialperiodfor the
moldingofhispoliticalthought.
In Geneva he foundtemporary
help for her and a chance
to rethink
hispositionand India'splace in theperspective
ofworld
then
in
the
He
was
struck
the
narrowLocarnophase.
politics,
by
nessof Indian nationalism
and urgedhis fatherto becomebetter
informedabout world affairs.He made brieftripsto Britain,
and talkedto ErnstToller,RomainRolland,
France,and Germany
and Indianrevolutionists
in exile.Of particular
Nehru
importance,
the Congressat the BrusselsCongressof Oppressed
represented
Nationalities
in February,1927, wherehe encountered
a broad
movement
and as he soonappreciated,
againstcolonialism,
capitalism. The meetingincludedanti-imperialists
fromAfrica,Asia,
10 Nehru adapted Gandhi's principlesand applied them to international
accordingto WillardRange,JawaharlalNehru'sWorldView (Athens,
relations,
Georgia; 1961), a thesisI find unconvincing.See my Gandhi On World
Affairs(Washington,
1960).
11For Nehru'ssenseof obligation,see MargaretW. Fisher,"Nehru: The
in India,
Hero As ResponsibleLeader,"in Leadershipand PoliticalInstitutions
RichardL. Parkand Irene Tinker,eds. (Princeton,1959), esp. p. 50.

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

265

element,"Nehru
Europe,and Latin America. "The communist
recalledlater,"was also strongthere."12The Marxianspiritand
attackvocabulary
appealedto him,and he issueda pressstatement
From
the
Brussels
the
came
ing imperialism.
meeting
League
withGeorgeLansbury,AlbertEinstein,and
AgainstImperialism,
otherfamousnoncommunists
on its executivecommittee.Nehru,
a
on
Later he persuadedthe
the
committee.
too, accepted post
to
the
Congress affiliate,conceding
potentialdisadvantagesof
"thesocialistcharacterof the League and thepossibility
thatRussian foreignpolicymightinfluenceit."13 Communists
prevailed
in the League and triedto forceNehruto abandon conciliatory
in 1928-1929.He refusedand theLeague
dealingswiththeBritish
expelledhim.
Whenhe leftBrusselsin 1927,Nehrureturned
to Switzerland
and in a reportto the All-IndiaCongressCommittee
condemned
United States "imperialism"
in Latin Americaand praisedthe
Nehru and his father,at the son's urging,
meetingliberally.14
of
accepteda Soviet invitationto attendthe tenthanniversary
the BolshevikRevolution.Their staywas limitedto fourdaysin
Moscow. They met ForeignMinisterChicherinand President
Kalinin. The son leftwithan appreciationof Sovieteducation,
Lenin's reputation,
and the Russianprisonsystem.And he saw
a need forfreeIndia to workforcordialrelationswiththe Soviet
Union.15
Returningto India in 1927, Nehru continuedhis studyof
withGandhi'smoderation,
he supported
Marxism.16Dissatisfied
the Congresswing that demandedindependencewithoutqualificationsas to Commonwealth
ties.And he pressedthe partyto
theleftin foreign
affairs
and domestic
questions.In thelate 1920's
12Nehru,Toward Freedom,p. 124.
13 Quoted in Brecher,
op. cit.,p. 113.
"4Ibid., pp. 111-12.
15Nehru'sviewsof Russia were publishedin Indian newspapersand collectedin JawaharlalNehru,SovietRussia (Bombay,1929). The elderNehru's
of SovietRussia werealso favorableand he expressedthemin the
impressions
LegislativeAssemblywhere he was Leader of the Opposition. See K. M.
Panikkarand A. Pershad,eds.,The Voice of Freedom:The Speechesof Pandit
Motilal Nehru (New York, 1961), pp. 372-392.
s1WithoutnamingNehru,one writersuggests1927 as the startof a preforworldcommunism
viouslyunknownsympathy
amongsomeIndian nationalists. See Bimla Prasad, The Originsof Indian ForeignPolicy: The Indian
National Congressand World Affairs,1885-1947 (Ph.D. Thesis, Columbia
University,
1958), p. 72.

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266

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

BenwithSubhas ChandraBose,the irrepressible


Nehru,together
gali patriot,beganto lead theleftbloc of theparty.Nehru,moreover,became the Congress'major spokesmanon externalissues
whichhe interpreted
withthe help of Marxistand Leninistideas.
declaredthat India
Thus the party,under Nehru'sprompting,
would not participatein any imperialist
war, whichin his view
stemmedfromthe drivesof advancedcapitalism.
II
The appearanceof Marxistand Leninistexplanationof political life in Nehru'sthoughtmustbe seen in the contextof his
ideason revolution,
someofwhichtraceto hisschoolyears.Clearly
whenfromprisonhe beganto writerevealing
the
1930's
by
early
Mrs. Indira Gandhi,
lettersto his daughter,Indira,subsequently
her father'sconfidanteand influentialCongressleader, Nehru
thathas remained
had arrivedat an interpretation
of revolution
morefixedthan have his ideas borrowedfromMarxiannotions
MamthroughLenin.17In a studyof Nehru'spoliticalthinking,
mathNath Das showsin somedetailthe contentof thisinterpreherewith
of whichcan be summarized
tation,18themainfeatures
someadditionalcommentary.
To Nehru revolutionhas meantculturaland social change,
and possiblythe endingof ignorance,
leadingto the amelioration
and
The
institutions
of men,ratherthan men
poverty, injustice.
fortheseills. Economic
bear the major responsibility
themselves,
institutions
are especiallyimportant.
Insightand actioncan providetheremedies,
largelyby applicationofscienceand technology,
of
the
West.
facesgreatmaterialand human
However,reform
gifts
in
so
that
forward
shiftsare rare and retrogresobstacles,
history
sion and immobilism
are noticeable.Radicalism,at leastin one's
intellectualmakeup,is necessaryto implementthe doctrineof
progresswhichlike truthshouldprevailin spiteof all criticisms
and difficulties.
As to means,the violenceused in revolutionary
upheavalsis deplorable,but the social gains,for example,from
are worththecosts.Nonviolence
is superior
theFrenchRevolution,
to violencebut at no timehas Nehruadoptedthe fullGandhian
17The letters,writtenbetweenOctober,1930, and August,1933, are collectedwitha "RamblingAccountof HistoryforYoung People" in Jawaharlal
Nehru, Glimpses of World History (New York, 1942).
18 Mammath Nath Das, The Political Philosophy of Jawaharlal Nehru

(New York,1961), pp. 45-69.

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

267

way,19becausehe believesthathe and mostmen are not fitfor


nonvioFor the Indian nationalrevolution,
such a commitment.
lent disobediencewas a practicalnecessity,
given the disarmed
his
Conduciveto open revolution,
massesand imperialstrength.
ideas work againstsecrecywhich degradesthe actorsand demoralizesthe movement.
About the varietiesof revolution,
that of self-determination
and struggleagainstforeignrule is obligatoryto fulfillman's
temporalpurpose,the onlykindabout whichtruthis certain.It
for
is not clearthathis thoughtincludesthe unqualified
necessity
on
men
and
balance
social revolutions;
theyhappen,fortunately,
shouldwelcomethem. Nehruhas not distinguished
typesof political and social revolutions;but he has denied the legitimizing
name of revolution
to fascistand othermovements
traditionally
that
as rightist,
notseeingin themsomeofthediscontent
described
he tendsto assignexclusively
to the left.Legislative"revolutions"
do notimpress
him,althoughthelegislative
processmaycontribute
illustrated
in
India
to revolutionary
by the endingof the
goals,
of
a
establishment
for
States
and
the
Princely
planningauthority
Nehru'sunderstanding
of
the nationaleconomy.As to the future,
revolutionholds that the human spirit,which he perceivesin
and overcomesuperstition,
agnosticlight,willmaintainitsintegrity
The
and
masses
will eventually
tastethe
indifference, repression.
fruitsof revolution,
historically
keptfromthemby forceswithin
but mainlyoutsidetheirranks.
the
If this is the framework
of Nehru'sview of revolution,
most prominentparts with respect to Indian foreignpolicy deal

withMarxismand internationalism.
The instantcause of his attractionto Marxismin the late 1920's stemmedfromhis dislike
Its post-1917recordfilled
of the Second SocialistInternational.
and insuffihim "withdistaste,"because it was too bureaucratic
but
because
the
British
Labour
Party,a
cientlymilitant, chiefly
had proveda bitterdisapmemberof the Second International,
to Indian nationalists
who expectedthe partyto give
pointment
In
contrast
Nehrubelievedthatthe
themmoreeffective
support.
both
in dealingwithits
anticolonial
SovietUnion was genuinely
with dependent
and
in
relations
minorities
its
own internal
around
he
turned
1927,
"inevitably
peoples elsewhere.Thus,
19The Mahatma'stheoryof nonviolenceis exploredin myarticle"Toward
a Reevaluationof Gandhi'sPoliticalThought,"The WesternPoliticalQuarterly,XVI (March, 1963), 99-108.

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268

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

forwhateveritsfaults,it was
withgood willtowardcommunism,
and notimperialistic."20
at leastnothypocritical
he
Concurrently,
foundthatcommunists
had "dictatorial
ways"and "vulgarmethof science which he
ods."21 His devotionto the potentialities
identified
withMarxianclaimsto a scienceof history
strengthens
communism's
attractions
forhim. Moreover,Nehruhad not previouslyfounda basis for his social consciencein Indian ideas,
or renaissance,
whethertraditional
or in liberalor Fabian notions,
him. Additionally,
of
these
had
influenced
he had
all
although
it
lacked
a cowith
Indian
dissatisfied
become
nationalism,
believing
withsomepriorfaithdid
modemideology.Disillusionment
herent,
himin favorof Marxism,forapartfromhis brush
notpredispose
with Theosophyin boyhood,he had alwaystakenpride in his
Althoughin April,1936, Nehrucalled "socialism"his
skepticism.
"vitalcreed,"22he viewedMarxismnot as a faithsystembut as
of
a rationalphilosophy
thatgave himhis firstand onlynetwork
inteltime
and
and
values,linkingchangesdespite
bridging
place
lect and matter.23
betweenNehru'sMarxian ideas
There is a close relationship
For the period,1927-1938,the associaand his internationalism.
lifein whichIndian
tionis foundin an awarenessof international
nationalismwas only one importantunit that had to take its
of other
properplace.24Breakingaway fromthe concentration
Nehru
on
Indian
at
leaders
or, most,imperialquestions,
Congress
about
in
his
ideas
Marxian
self-determination
a
intellecrethought
In thisphase
tual contextand a European,politicalframework.
he becameconvincedthatthe riseof fascismin Italy,Spain, and
Germany,
providedevidenceof how Marxianprinciples
explained
and that his Indian
otherwise
disjointedhistoricalcircumstances,
nationalismmustserve a broad internationalism
illuminatedby
20Nehru, Toward Freedom, p. 126.
21Ibid.

22Ibid., p. 398, fromNehru'sPresidential


Addressat the49th sessionof the
CongressPartyin Lucknow.
23 Compareanotherview of what Nehrudiscovered:"In his youngerdays
he read Marx thoroughly
and foundthe Marxian analysisof imperialisma
usefultool duringthe long struggleagainst the British." ChesterBowles,
Ambassador's Report (New York, 1954), p. 106.

2 The leader of the nationalMoslemsin the independencestrugglewrote


of Nehru: "I may also mentionthatJawaharlalhas alwaysbeen moremoved
thanmostIndians. He has looked at all quesconsiderations
by international
tionsfroman international
ratherthana nationalpointofview." Abul Kalam
Azad, India WinsFreedom(Calcutta, 1959), p. 65.

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

269

theseexplanations.
He did notthinkofthisrelationship
as a diminutionof Indian aspirationsto freedom.Instead,he considered
Indian nationalismin its highestmanifestation
to coincidewith
this internationalism,
that is to say, duringthe Popular Front
for at that time his appreciationof
period,with antifascism,
Marxismhad reachedits peak. To be an internationalist
was to
be antifascist,
he told a London audienceof the Conferenceon
Peace and Empirein July,1938.25 To Nehruand to manyassociatedwithhimin theCongress
thismeantthatanyIndiannationalist worthhis salt would be an internationalist
fighterin the
and
fascism.
The
next
againstimperialism
struggle
stagewouldbe
a worldfederation
ofundefined
character
in whichsociallyresponsibleand pacificnationalism
wouldprevail.
The apogee of Nehru'sattachment
to a Marxian interpretation of worldpoliticscame in 1937-38whenhe flewto Europe.
In Spain he saw a Manicheantragedyand raisedhis voice in
supportoftheRepublicanregime.He detectedtragedyin Czechoslovakiaand England.He accusedtheBritishGovernment
of seekan
economic
alliance
with
in
an
effort
to
ing
Germany
strengthen
Britain'swaningrole in worldpoliticswhereGermany,Russia,
and the United States providedleadership.26
He believedthat
the Munich agreementconfirmed
his analysisof Britishpolicy.
The Nazi-Sovietdetenteand Russianaggressionin Finland disreactions
appointedhim,but he viewedthemas understandable
to Westernevils.Nehruwroteto Maulana Azad thatthe attack
was to be explainedby Sovietdesireto preventBritishimperialism
fromusingFinland as "a futurejumpingoffplatform"for an
Sovietbehavior
invadingRussia.27At anothertimehe interpreted
as "payingback the imperialist
powersin theirown coin."28He
confessed
thatRussianopportunism
and powerpoliticshad damworld
socialism.
The
was not thatof Marxismfault,
then,
aged
Leninism.
Nehru'sinvolvement
in frustrated
to achieve a
negotiations
national Indian participation
in World War II, the civil disobedienceof 1942, and his subsequentimprisonment
depressed
prior optimismabout men reshapinghistorywith the help of
Marxism.In prisonduring1944 he wrotea major work,The
25

Jawaharlal Nehru, The Unity of India (New York, 1942), pp. 268-277.
p. 302.
27Jawaharlal Nehru, A Bunch of Old Letters (Bombay, 1958), p. 430.
28 Jawaharlal Nehru, China, Spain and the War
(Allahabad, 1940) p. 244.

26 Ibid.,

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270

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

Discoveryof India.29 He delved into his Indian heritageand found


much to reject fromcaste abuses to supernaturalism,
but he valued
the middle way of Gautama and the life-affirmation
of the early
Vedic Aryans.He expressedhis debt to Marx and Lenin for providing him with a theoryof social development,although as Donald E. Smith has commented,Nehru saw the difficulty
of recondialectical
materialism
with
the
idealism
of
other
ciling
phases of
his thought,especiallyhis concernforan ethical approach to life.30
Influencesotherthan Marxism, especiallythe sentimentalhumanism of Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi's teachings about correct
means, and Westernpragmatism,made themselvesfeltin this restatementof his philosophy.A drawing away from materialism
appears in his acknowledgmentthat life is in touch with an invisible world which thinkingman cannot ignore. Released from
prison in June, 1945, Nehru took his revised outlook with its
contraritiesand inconsistenciesinto the final and successfulcontest with weakened imperialism.Indian sovereignty,followed by
the Hindu-Moslem upheavals, disputes with Pakistan over the
accession of threePrincelyStates,and the assassinationof Gandhi,
broughtnew problems.It also broughthim great political power
to build a social democracyand to formulatea foreignpolicy in
keepingwith his understandingof the principlesto guide India in
world affairs.
III
Soon afterindependence Prime MinisterNehru expressedhis
belief that morality and self-interest
inspire and direct Indian
This
foreignpolicy.31
unexceptionalconviction,applicable to any
has
the
state,
provided
guidelinesfor discussionof India's external
relations.Studentsof Indian foreignpolicy have oftenfound one
or the other of these inspirationsto be paramount. Probably the
national interesthas received more attention,32a development
helped by Nehru's tendencyafter approximately1955 to defend
29 Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India (London, 1956).
30 Donald E. Smith, Nehru and Democracy (Bombay, 1958),
p. 34.
31 See Jawaharlal Nehru, Visit to America (New York, 1958), pp. 29-30;
and S. L. Poplai, ed., Select Documents on Asian Affairs:India 1947-1950, II
(Bombay, 1959), 21-24.
32 For the national interest view, see, for example, Appadorai, op. cit.;
and E. Malcom Hause, "India: Noncommitted and Nonaligned," XIII
WesternPolitical Quarterly (March 1960). Quincy Wright has taken "peace"
as India's main concern, although Michael Brecher and Norman D. Palmer
stress national self-interestin the report of the Conference on India and the

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

271

Indian foreignpolicy from charges of self-righteousness


by disit
that
has
moral
But
the
moral
any special
qualities.
claiming
concerns of Nehru have had important,indeed, crucial influence
on the substanceand the executionof Indian foreignpolicy. Even
if one sees Nehru more as the leading spokesmanforhis associates

in the Congress,thereis a highlyethicaland reformist


content
to many of the ideas transmittedto free India from the years
before freedom. J. C. Kundra identifiedthese as support for
anticolonialismand internationalcooperation, rejection of white
racialism, endorsementof an ethical outlook, and an absence of
fear of communism.33Doubtless self-interest
has guided Nehru;
witnessthe case of Kashmir, where his governmentused force to
forreasonsof strategyand religiouspolicy.
take and absorb territory
Yet the young Indian governmentalso exhibited "moral" sensitivityin the Kashmir crisis; for it observedlegal formalitiesas to
the accession of the state to India, promised a plebisciteto the

the controversy
to the UnitedNations.
population,and submitted
The application of Nehru's general directivesfor his country's

The
foreignpolicymay be describedunderorderand strategy.
world ordermay be exemplified
India's
declared
by
friendship
withall states,whatevertheirpoliticalor economicsystems;
by its
for all peoples, and of the eliminaadvocacy of self-determination
tion of war, by the removal of its historicalor potential causes,
Western imperialism,Caucasian racism, economic want, military
alliances,nationalfear,sizable conventionalarmaments,and nuclear

at theBelgrademeetweapons.The problemofwar,Nehruinsisted
thanany of itsroots
ing of neutralsin 1961,is of greaterpriority
which must be approached in termsof solvingthe higherissue.34
The heading of "strategy"is essentiallythat of "nonalignment"
United States in 1959, found in Selig S. Harrison, India and the United States
(New York, 1961), pp. 38-43. A history for the Indian Council of World
Affairs uses principle and interest to explain the sources of India's foreign
policy. See K. P. Karunakaran, India In World Affairs,I (Calcutta, 1952),
pp. 21-57.
33 J. C. Kundra, Indian Foreign Policy, 1947-1954: A Study of Relations
with the Western Bloc (Groningen, 1955), p. 43. Resolutions of the Indian
National Congress party from 1885 to 1952 dealing with external affairs are
compiled in The Background of India's Foreign Policy, N. V. Rajkumar, ed.
(New Delhi, 1952).
s3 The Conference of Heads of State or Governmentof Nonaligned Countries,p. 116. Opposition to war and militarypacts is also importantin Congress
statements. See All India Congress Committee, Resolutions on Foreign Policy:
1947-1957 (New Delhi, n.d.), pp. 11, 14-15, 33, 51-52.

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THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

272

or "independent"
policy,whichin Nehru'smindis morethanan
ad hoc responseto the Cold War. Nonalignment,
the superior
methodfor achievingthe rightinternational
order,would be
India'spolicyevenin theabsenceofthestruggle
betweenthecommunistand anticommunist
blocs. For nonalignment
is a means
to combattheentiresystem
of"traditional"
worldpoliticsin which
and war are naturalresultsand the concentration
of
imperialism
is
a
Thus
Indian
characteristic.
under
power leading
foreign
policy
Nehru has demandedan end to bipolarity,
the particularkind
of concentration
whichIndia has faced foralmosttwo decades.
The culturaland politicalintegrity
of nationsrequiresa breaking
of
hisup the greatcampswhenevertheyappear in international
tory.The processwill, Nehru has argued,spreadthe arena of
he has oftensaid that India does not
peace. To be consistent,
demanda thirdbloc,an illicitobjective.As NehrutoldtheUnited
Nations Assemblyin December,1947, India "travelsa lonely
road." True internationalism,
is incompatiblewith alignment.35
this
is
his
thatIndia willnot barnotion
insistence
Strengthening
for
ends
selfish
an
gain
through independent
pathin worldpolitics.
to
for
India's
Nehruhas presentBut, compensate
possibleisolation,
ed hisnationas a pillarand guardianofinternational
organization
interests
of themajornations.36
againsttheselfish
Nehru'sideas on revolution,
notablythe Marxian analysesof
and
capitalism,imperialism, war, have influencedthe fieldsof
order and strategy.Nonetheless,
the Indian leader's movement
from
The
reflected
in
Marxism,
away
Discoveryof India, reduced
itsappeal to himas a mastertheoryof life.For himMarxismhad
nearlythat statusduring1936-38; but in the postindependence
periodto 1958, it was moreof a major politicaland economic
otherexplanations,
explanation,
subjectto limitingcircumstances,
and revisions.Consequently,
withthe acquisitionof sovereignty,
Nehrudid not himselfengagein or cause his nationto enterthe
militantclass struggleof international
communism
and its penetrationofnoncommunist
societies
constitutional
or
othermeans.
by
And he did notattempt
to buildan Indiannationafterthemodel
of SovietRussia,despitehis admirationformuchof the Russian
social reconstruction.
On the otherhand, he consideredhimself
M. N. Das, op. cit.,p. 202.
Berkesand MohinderS. Bedi, The Diplomacyof India: Indian
ForeignPolicyin the UnitedNations (Stanford,1958), pp. 2-3.
35

36 Ross N.

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

273

and his followers


to be buildersof democraticcollectivism,
who
owed much to Marxian inspirationand analysisfrom Marx
to Lenin.
throughLenin to Stalin,whomNehruratedas inferior
As to world politics,Nehru enteredfreedomwith many fewer
doubtsabout the motivesof "socialist"statesand thoseaspiring
to join theirranksthanaboutthecapitalistand imperialist
democracies, includingthe United States. The former,despitetheir
internalcoercion,werefundamentally
correctin theirorientation,
whilethe latterwere diseasedby privatecapital and monopoly,
and therefore
had foreignpoliciestendingtoward domination
and war.
The impressof Nehru'sattraction
to Marxismon Indian conof
of the
order
and
is
characteristic
a
ceptions
strategy significant
Indian recordin foreignrelations,especiallybetween1951 and
1958. Earlier,between1947 and 1950, Nehru'sgovernment
had
a pro-Western
withinthe framework
of nonalignment.
orientation
DuringthisperiodBritishinfluencewas especiallynoticeablebecause of the relatively
of empire,the residues
gracefuldissolution
ofEnglishlaw, administration
and language,and India's favorable
balance in London.The writingof thelong and complex
sterling
Indian Constitution
took place in thoseyears,and discussionof
its Westerndemocraticelementsinfluencedthe nation to look
West. Moreover,SovietRussia then consideredNehru a tool of
the Zhdanovline,
imperialism.
Throughan unclearleftstrategy,
in
Moscow
stimulated
communists
and their
adopted early1948,
clientsto undertakeindustrial
in
sabotageand ruralinsurrection
manypartsof Southand SoutheastAsia.37The Indian stateand
centralgovernments
witharmedforceand
respondedsuccessfully
detentions.
Moscowchangedto a moreflexible
line in early1950,
withthe nationalbourgeoiseof the
makingpossibleunitedfronts
new statesin a struggleagainstcapitalismand imperialism
led
also shiftedin 1950-51
by the UnitedStates.Worldcommunism
towardsthe abandonmentof the "two camps" doctrinewhich
Stalin formallyscrappedin early 1952.38The nationalvictory
37 Changes in often negative Russian directives and their sometimes incorrectinterpretationby the Indian Communistsfrom 1945 to 1954 are studied
in John H. Kautsky, Moscow and the Communist Party of India (Cambridge
and New York, 1956).
38A stringentMoscow line on neutrality-neutralism
lasted from the war
years to early 1952, giving way to a softerview looking to benefitsfor international communism in Europe, where neutrality-neutralismmight weaken
Western securityplans, and in former colonial areas where it might serve as

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274

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

over most of the violentcommunistthreatsin India and the


communist
ideas opened the way for
evolutionof international
deferenceto the wordsand acts of
Nehru to exhibitunderlying
states.
communist
Evidenceof the shiftof Indian foreignpolicyto a postureof
deference
communism
to international
emergedduringtheKorean
conflict.39Although
New Delhisupported
theUnitedNationsconsent
demnationof NorthKorean aggression,
Nehru'sgovernment
onlya Gandhianambulanceunitto Korea, decliningto make a
India's
forreasonsof costand effectiveness.
combatcontribution
and
contrasted
with
the
combat
of
Ethiopia,
response
help Turkey
India
non-Western
statesno stronger
than India. Subsequently,
foundit possibleto sendfivethousandtroopsto supervise
prisoners
in Korea, and stilllaterto providearmedtroopsforthe United
Nationsshieldsin the Middle East and the Congo. But in these
ventures
the politicalrisksweresmalland the benefits
potentially
and
large. MoreoverNew Delhi emphasizedself-determination
"no-force"
to bringKoreanpeace, as if theUnitedNationsforces
did not protectthesevalues. India urgeda cease-fire
whenthe
UnitedNationsarmiescrossedthe 38thparallel,arguingthatthe
warmustnotbe "enlarged"and thatlegalityrequiredthepursuers
to stop at the line. India's confidential
warningto the United
StatesthatPekingwouldenterthewar iftheparallelwerecrossed
provedan accuratepredictionand gave New Delhi satisfaction
when the UnitedNationscould not hold NorthKorea by conventional
means. AfterthetrucebothPekingand Moscowberated
India foritsformula
on repatriation
ofprisoners.But India'soverall conductin the Korean episodehelpedto serveSino-Russian
interests.Clearlythe South Korean government
joined the Naa transitionalphase. See George Ginsburgs, "Neutrality and Neutralism and
the Tactics of Soviet Diplomacy," American Slavic and East European Review,
XIX (December, 1960), 531-560.
39Representative of the views of Nehru's articulate followers is the statement of the Bengali journalist and novelist,Chanakya Sen, that "it was during
the Korean war that nonalignment as an international force made its first
impact on a world crisis. Asian sentimenthad already been outraged by the
dropping of the firstatomic bombs on Japan, an Asian country,and by the
nuclear tests carried out in areas adjacent to Asian lands. Now Asians realized
that the Western powers and their rivals had chosen another Asian battlefront
to fightEurope's war which had nothing to do with the national interestsof
the non-CommunistAsian countries. They bent their diplomatic energy for
quick containmentof the Korean War and for its early end." Chanakya Sen,
Against the Cold War (New York, 1962), pp. 248-249.

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

275

tionalistChineseregimeas an official
targetof Indian displeasure,
with Nehru'sguarded commentson the communist
contrasting
a nationwhosefreedom
he had
seizureofpowerin Czechoslovakia,
knownfirsthand.40
Indian behaviorin the UnitedNationsafterthemainKorean
crisisdeclinedprovidedfurther
indications
of New Delhi'snavigation in worldpoliticsbased on checkpointsfromthe portside.
Nehru'sgovernment
deniedthe competenceof a UnitedNations
headed
an
Indian, into enforcedlabor in the Soviet
by
inquiry,
Union,on the groundsthatthe studydealtwitha singlekindof
slavelaborand did not studyconditions
India, howelsewhere.41
had
to
other
because
ever,
objectedpreviously
investigations
they
weretoobroad. Additional
evidenceis foundin thecareerofV. K.
KrishnaMenon in the UnitedNations. AssociatedwithNehru
since1935,afterindependence
KrishaMenonbecameIndia'sHigh
Commissioner
in GreatBritainand in 1952 beganhis UnitedNationsservice,becomingchiefdelegatein twoyears. In the world
he articulatedand executeda proceduraland suborganization
stantiveapproachholdingthe West, and especiallythe United
foractivelyor passively
theadvanceof
States,responsible
impeding
international
Afro-Asian
and
the
underdevelnationalism,
peace,
lands.
In
1956
Nehru
rewarded
Krishna
Menon
with
cabinet
oped
rank.A neopacifist,
KrishnaMenonsoonbecameDefenseMinister,
from1958 hisand Nehru'sbeliefthatRussiawould
implementing
be a socialistfriend
to checktheNew Chinaand theUnitedStates.
and publicdemandsfollowing
thefrontier
debacle(1962)
Congress
compelledthe PrimeMinisterto releaseKrishnaMenonfromthe
government.Despitetheintellectual
kinshipof Nehruand Krishna Menon for nearlythree decades,42there is no substantial
evidenceof undue influenceon Nehru or that KrishnaMenon
exceededhis authority,
exceptduringthe Hungariancrisiswhen
he votedagainsta UnitedNationsresolution
callingforsupervised
elections
in Hungaryinsteadof following
instructions
to abstainon
all Hungarianissues.43KrishnaMenon'simportance
is thathe is
Norman Cousins, Talks With Nehru (New York, 1951), pp. 55-57.
41 A/C. 3/SR. 53 (23 November, 1953).
42 A biographer speaks of Wahlverwandtschaft,
a rare linkingof minds. See
Emil Lengyel, Krishna Menon (New York, 1962), p. 99. Harold J. Laski was
Krishna Menon's guru in his formativeyears when he drew his political ideas
fromsources familiar to Nehru.
43Brecher,Nehru, p. 573.
40

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276

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

a prismwhichexaggerated
Nehru'smindwhere,as A. D. Gorwalla
wrotein 1959, "A considerable
tenderness
towardcommunism
is
discernible."44
The Hungariancrisisproduceda much discussedillustration
of the Indian leader'skindlytreatment
of Sovietmisdeeds. On
November9, 1956,he explainedto theIndianpeoplewiththeaid
of a note fromBulganinthat the unrestin Hungary,datingto
October23,was a confusing,
and he delayeduntil
domestic
conflict;
November19 beforeadvisingtheLok Sabha, aftermounting
critia genuine,nationalrevolt.
cism,thatSovietarmieshad suppressed
Even thenhe interpreted
Russianactionas an outgrowth
of the
WarsawPact, a reactionto NATO, and of theundesirable
notion
of military
alliances;he said thatthisdeplorableviolencewas not
akinto the aggression
againstEgypt.45That Nehrudistinguished
Soviet and Westernaggressions
was no surpriseto experienced
observers
of Indian foreignpolicywho knewthat he and other
Afro-Asians
had notconsidered
of Soviet
theactivities
imperialistic
Russia in EasternEurope after1945.46

The Middle Easterncrisisof 1956 fittedinto Nehru'sinternationalpreconceptions


in a waythatno otherworldcrisishad done
sincetheSpanishCivilWar. He saw theiniquitousAnglo-French
buteventually
rebuffed
colonial
imperialists
attacking,
by,a former
nation,Egypt,whichdrewmoraland politicalaid fromthevirtuous
newstatesand thetraditional
SovietRussia. The
anti-imperialist,
UnitedStates'politicalassistance
to Egyptdid notfitsinceAmerica
was an allyoftheaggressors
in theCold War. Israel,a newfactor,
44A. D. Gorwalla, "Perils of Panch Shila," in A Study of Nehru, Rafiq
Zakaria, ed. (Bombay, 1959), p. 257.
45Jawaharlal Nehru, India's Foreign Policy (New Delhi, 1961), pp. 557560. About the execution of Imre Nagy, Nehru said, "Those who are dead
are dead, but I earnestlyhope that this process will not continue." Ibid., p. 563.
46 Shortly after the Bandung Conference Nehru told the Lok Sabha that
to nonaligned states colonialism meant Western imperialism, and to include
the East European states in the category amounted to Cold War projections
into Asian affairs. Ibid., p. 276. Later he conceded while visiting sensitive
West Germany that East Europe is under a "certain domination," but this is
not colonialism. New York Times, July 16, 1956. Indian nationalists tend
to see communistswho fightimperialism as genuine nationalists,for example,
Ho Chi-minh. See Norman D. Palmer, "Indian Attitudes Toward Colonialism," in The Idea of Colonialism, Robert Strausz-Huph and Harry W. Hazard,
eds. (New York, 1958), p. 295. For the thesis that opposition to Western
imperialismis the touchstoneof New Delhi's external policy, see R. M. Fontera,
"Anti-Colonialism As a Basic Indian Foreign Policy," Western Political
Quarterly,XIII (June 1960), 421-432.

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

277

was countedamongtheattackers.In generalNehrusaw theEgyptian affairin a simplistic


advanced
way and by suitableresponses
India'sreputation
as a foeofaggression
and a protector
oftheweak.
A moreimportant
matterthantheIndianleader'sinterpretation
oftheHungarianand MiddleEasterncrisesof 1956 withrespectto
was the latitudegivento Bulganinand
servingIndian interests
Khrushchev
on theirvisitto India latein 1955. At thattimeIndia
was theleadingpoweroftheextra-bloc
states.It had assumedrefor
the 1954 Genevasettlement
sponsibilities supervising
concerning
formerFrenchIndochina,and had established
speciallinkswith
nonaligned,communistYugoslavia. Moreover,Nehru's governmentwas alarmedby Americanmilitaryaid to Pakistan (announcedin February,1954), theformation
of the SoutheastAsia
in
of
that
TreatyOrganization September
year,and thecreationof
the Baghdad Pact in early1955. Radiatingthe spiritof Panch
Shila, whichroughlycoincidedwithKhrushchev's"peacefulcoand reactingagainstAmericandefenseassistance
which
existence,"
when offeredto India by Eisenhower,
Nehru had spurned,the
IndianleaderallowedhisRussiangueststo identify
theirideologies
and interests
withthoseofIndia.47 It can be arguedthatin return
India got Russiansupporton the Kashmirand Goan issues,in
additionto attractive
termsforpurchasingRussiansteeland oil
equipment.
Yet in 1963 India complainedvigorously
about Communist
China and Pakistandrawingtogether
at India's expensethrough
the provisionalSino-Pakistanagreementof March 3, 1963, on
"common"frontiers
in Kashmir,an agreementNew Delhi fears
to divide Kashmir. The
may contain secret understandings
Nehru government
is partlyresponsiblefor this real or imagined intervention
in the Kashmirmatter,because it welcomed
supportfromRussiain 1955 and later. Alongwithmanyin the
division
West,ofcourse,New Delhi did notforeseetheSino-Soviet
and itseffect
on India'ssecurity.
Moreimmediately,
India'sstrategy
of nonalignment
failedin 1955 whenNehrugave the Westgood
reasontobelievethatthecommunist
blochad wonIndia to itsviews
on a wide varietyof issues,among them,disarmament,
nuclear
The resultwas a new declinein
tests,and Germanreunification.
UnitedStates-Indian
reflected
in thecelebrated
comment
relations,
4r See N. A. Bulganin and N. S. Khrushchev, Speeches During Sojourn
in India, Burma and Afghanistan (New Delhi, 1956), pp. 7-31, 101-105.

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278

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

of JohnFosterDulles in mid-1956that"neutrality"
was obsolete
was an "immoraland
and apart fromveryspecialcircumstances
The Secretary
of Statelaterexplained
conception."48
shortsighted
was immoralonly when it meant denouncing
that neutrality
"genuine collectivesecurity.""49

tensionbetweennationswithmuchin
Behindthisunfortunate
commonthereweretwodifferent
waysoflookingat theworld,not
with
solelyto be explainedbytheabsenceofIndiandisillusionment
in contrastwith the Americanexperience.50The
communism
PrimeMinister's
visitto the UnitedStatesin the fallof 1956, alforvisitorand hostthanNehru'sfirstvisit
more
successful
though
narrowthegap betweenthetwo outin 1949,did notappreciably
of theproblem,the sendingof
looks. As a subsequentillustration
Americantroops into Lebanon in 1958 corroboratedIndian
while in the
fearsabout United Statesimperialism,
government
fromopening
Americanviewtheactionwas to preventrevolutions
thewayto communist
governments.
In the period,1951-58,eventsand Nehru'sresponding
policy
to the Marxiststrainsin his thought.51Theregave prominence
shiftin Indian foreignpolicyis evident.By
after,a perceptible
of Marxthe end of the 1959-63periodNehru'sreconsideration
ism,externalchangesand domesticeventshad dissolvedthe unity
of the nation'sinternational
policy,erasedmuchof the self-confias to the futureof
dence of its molderand produceduncertainty
In "The
theNehruvian
and
interests.
of
Indian
interpretation
goals
Basic Approach,"a sensitiveand revealingmemorandumfirst
circulatedin 1958 amonghis associates,Nehruoffered
privately
if Marxismhad everbeen an eschatology
that
forhimas it
proof
had beenforothers,52
itno longerattracted
himin thatway.53 For
48John Foster Dulles, quoted in Department of State Bulletin, XXXIV

(June 18, 1956), 999-1000.


49Ibid., XXXV (July23, 1956), 147-148.

50Cf. Phillips Talbot and S. L. Poplai, India and America (New York,

1958), p. 41.
51A penetrating
studypublishedtowardthe close of the 1951-58 phase
whichstresses
theMarxianoriginsof Nehru'sideas abouttheworldis Bozeman,
op. cit.
52 See Gabriel A. Almond, The Appeals of Communism (Princeton, 1954),
p. 377.

53JawaharlalNehru, "The Basic Approach,"in VincentSheean, Nehru:


The Years of Power (New York, 1960), Appendix,pp. 291-298. For the

response of the Soviet envoy to Peking, gentlycriticizingNehru's objections to

violence and describingIndia as semi-feudalistic,


see M. Yudin, "Can We

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

279

he had movedsufficiently
far fromMarxismto reflecton some
to how it may
reasonswhymenhave adoptedit, callingattention
for
lost
notapplicable
a
an
faith, explanation
compensate
religious
to him,or fordisillusionment
withWesterncivilization,
whichis
to his case. He condemnedMarxian predisposition
to
pertinent
employviolence. In economicshe believed,withoutgivingany
details,that timehad outdatedsome partsof Marxian analysis,
economicprocesses.He foundtruth
althoughit did helpto clarify
and violence,
in the chargethatcapitalismis builton exploitation
and impliedthatMarxismavoidstheformer
and genuinely
seeksthe
man.
of
kingdom
Two themesin "The BasicApproach"are especiallyrelatedto
the studyof Nehru'spoliticalthoughtand Indian foreignpolicy.
The firstis a suspicionof poweritself,a distrust
of the chiefinof
This
outlook
gredient politics.
may originatein Nehru'sexto
British
liberal
and socialistthoughtor
posure nineteenth-century
to Buddhism. It may have contributed
in
to his indecisiveness
domesticand externalmatters
whichhe has shownduringhis own
tenureof power. The secondthemeinvolveshis judgmentthat
Marxismfailsbecauseof itsrigidity,
contradictions,
fundamentally
and lack of concernwiththe "essentialneedsof humannature."
whichanswered
Althoughhe had not foundanotherphilosophy
theseneeds,it was clearthathe had turnedfrompositions
heldin
1944 and notablyin 1934. In 1958 the implications
of these
themesforIndian foreignpolicywerethatNehru'squestforthe
best international
orderwould proceedwith less certainty
and
but
also
with
more
of
operationaleffectiveness,
appreciation the
liberalism
and freedom
in thecapitalist
as
bloc, wellas an increased
awareness
ofMarxianerrors.On thislastmatter,
itis probablethat
ofSovietthought
by 1958Nehruhad begunto realizethecoarseness
on worldpoliticsevenbehindthetalkofde-Stalinization
and peace.
whatGeorgeLiska finds,thatthe
Conceivablyhe had discovered
bloc in the developingworldare
specialfavorsof the communist
and limited,goingto the mostradicalanti-Western
unpredictable
member.54ClearlyNasserand Sukarnohad emergedby 1958 in
a play-offgame for which they were and are politicallyand
bettersuitedthantheIndianleader.
temperamentally
Accept Pandit Nehru's Approach?" World Marxist Review, I (December,
1958), 38-56.
54GeorgeLiska,NationsIn Alliance (Baltimore,1962), p. 252.

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280

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

of the unityof Indian


forthe dissolution
Directlysignificant
borderdisputes
was
evidence
of
the
important
foreign
open
policy
event
withCommunistChina. On the surfacethe precipitating
of a Tibetanrevoltwhichbegan in
came in Peking'ssuppression
March,1959,leadingto theexilein India oftheDalai Lama and
numerous
refugees.AfterChinesetroopscapturedtheLongjupost
had taken
in the NortheastFrontierAgencyand otherintrusions
forthe
Indian
told
the
in
the
White
summer,
public
place
Papers
timethatNew Delhi and Pekinghad discussedseriousborder
first
disputessince 1954 withsignsof mountingChinesepressureon
oftheSinoThe complexorigins
India'sgovernment
and territory.
will not be examinedhere.55 As to
Indian frontier
controversies
Indian
somefaultrestedwithineffective
immediateresponsibility,
at the timeof the Sino-Indiantreaty
diplomacy. In particular,
on Tibetin 1954, India did notsecurePeking'sformalconsentto
of the
to the description
the MacMahon lineor formalagreement
in
the
for
its
case
on
which
India
features
depends
geographical
Northeast. The chiefand mostobviousfaultlies with Chinese
in the relaviolationof thespiritand letterof theFive Principles
tions and correspondence
betweenthe two capitals,duringthe
governperiod1954to 1958.In 1956-1957,theChineseCommunist
mentbuilta road throughAksai Chin in Ladakh, causingIndia
a lossof 5,000 squaremiles. The surfaceerrorsbehindthe Sinowhich
matters
Indianfrontier
disputesmaybe tracedto underlying
contributed
to a moreprofounddifficulty,
the failureof Nehru's
Chinapolicy. These maybe summarized
as a culturalSinophilia;
with
and claimingtheearlier
to
over
anti-imperialism respect taking
in Tibet; and Nehru'sdeference
Britishinterests
to Marxianstates.
55A sizable literatureexistson the Sino-Indiandispute. For the official
Indian publications,
see especiallythe relevantWhitePapers,now numbering
of the
five,the firstof whichis cited at n. 6. See also Reportof the Officials
Governments
of India and the People's Republic of China on the Boundary
Question (New Delhi, 1961). A competent,pro-Indianaccount is P. C.
India's China Policy (Bloomington,
1961). The WesternliteraChakravarti,
tureincludesHamiltonFish Armstrong,
"ThoughtsAlong the China Border,"
ForeignAfairs,XXXVIII (January,1960), 238-59; P. P. Karan, "The IndiaChina BoundaryDispute," Journalof Geography,LVIIII (January,1960),
16-21; L. C. Green,"Legal Aspectsof the Sino-IndianDispute,"The China
Quarterly,No. 3 (July-September,
1960), 42-58; and Leo E. Rose, "SinoIndian Rivalryand the HimalayanBorderStates" Orbis,V (Summer,1961),
in the Indian
199-215. Peking'saccountmaybe followedin its correspondence
White Papers, and in Documents On the Sino-Indian BoundaryQuestion
(Peking,1960); SelectedDocumentson Sino-IndianRelations(Peking,1962);
and The Sino-IndianBoundaryQuestion,2nd ed. (Peking,1962).

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

281

Out of theseingredients
he had developedhis China policy,sentiabout
the
cultural
bondsbetweenthetwo greatAsian
mentalizing
too rapidlyand withoutdiplomaticcomnations,withdrawing
in Tibet,
fromthe"forward
pensation
policy"ofBritish
imperialism
and overlooking
in the revolutionary
Pekingregimewhat he did
not overlookin the acts of London or Washington.Although
critics,
Gandhian,AcharyaKripalani,56
especiallytheindependent
arose in 1959 and laterto challengeNehru'sChina policy,the
PrimeMinistermade fewconcessions
to thoseIndianswho argued
thatto continuePanch Shila meantto appease Peking. He declinedtotaketheTibetanhumanrights
issuetotheUnitedNations,
and afterdramatic,armedattacksin disputedareas by Chinese
forcesin the fallof 1959, he adopteda defensive,
nonprovocative
attitudetowardPeking,accompaniedby protestsagainsttrespass
and modeststepsto improveIndian defenses
and influence
in the
mountain
zones. NehruinvitedChou En-laito New Delhiin April,
discussions
1960,but thegestureand thesubsequentunsatisfactory
servedonlyto weakenIndia'sposition.57
The mostdecisiveact againstcommunism
was internal.58In
Prasad used
advice,President
July,1959,on the PrimeMinister's
Article356 ofthe Indian Constitution
to displacetheelectedcommunistgovernment
ofKerala and to installPresidential
rulewhich
lasted untilnew electionsin 1960 had returnedan anticommunistcoalition. The centerhad facedthispotentialYenan in Kerala
since 1957; but withmounting
local unrestovercaste,education,
and labor issues,New Delhi acted withpoliticalprofitwhenthe
CommunistPartyof India was dividedinto "nationalist,"
"Chinese," and undecidedfactions. Despitethe formalconstitutionalismofIndiancommunists
and therelativeneutrality
oftheSoviet
5 A formerPresidentof the Congresswho in 1951 moved into the
opis desirablebut that Nehru
position,Kripalani believes that nonalignment
to Tibet and China. See J. B. Kripalani,"For Principled
appliedit incorrectly
Neutrality,"
ForeignAfairs,XXXVIII (October,1959), 46-60.In 1962 Krishna Menon defeatedKripalaniin NorthBombayfora parliamentary
seat, but
in 1963 Kripalaniwon in Amroha,Uttar Pradesh,largelyon the China issue,
overa CabinetMinister,
HafizIbrahim,whomNehruendorsed.
to salvage his China policybetweenMarch,
5 The Indian leader's efforts
1959, and April, 1960, may be followedin Nehru, Indian ForeignPolicy,
pp. 313-385.
scene in 1959, see HarryGelman,"The
5sFor the Indian and communist
Communist
in Communist
Partyof India: Sino.SovietBattleground,"
Strategies
in Asia, A. Doak Barnett,ed. (New York,1963), pp. 107-113.

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282

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

Union on the Sino-Indiandispute,Nehruhad changedhis mind


to domesticcommunism.
aboutthefreedom
permissible
This developmentedged India's foreignpolicy toward the
visitto India in December,1959,and Western
West. Eisenhower's
for
India's
borderplighthelpedthetrend. In 1960 even
sympathy
withPakistanimproved;Nehruand AyubKhan metand
relations
Indus WaterTreaty. But
therewas the signingof the important
theimprovement
vanishedlaterin theSino-Pakistan
diplomacyof
Kashmir
1962-63 and withthe revivalof the
issuein 1963-64.
India's rolein the Congo crisisof 1960 showednew if temporary
a moderation
of antievidenceof acceptinga trusteeship
notion,59
Conferat
which
Nehru
the
later
Belgrade
imperialism
expressed
ence in 1961. The PrimeMinisterwelcomedKennedy'selection,
whichhe interpreted
as a triumph
forthoseAmericanintellectuals
India and itspolicies.Someofthisoutlookdimmed
whounderstood
when India was criticizedfor not objectingat Belgradeto the
Russianannouncement
of theresumption
of nucleartesting.
Subsequently
duringNehru's1961 tripto the UnitedStates,
itwas clearthattherelations
ofthetwonationshad improved
consince
1951
when
over
the
was
the
siderably
signed
JapaneseTreaty
of
and
New
Delhi.
with
Nonetheless,
protests Moscow,Peking,
Nehruin late 1961, as withDeGaulle in early1964, the United
Statesgovernment
turnedaside theproposalto neutralize
all parts
of formerFrenchIndochinaand to have the greatpowers,inChina,guaranteethestatus. In keepingwith
cludingCommunist
Indianpreferences,
in theneutralitheUnitedStatesdid participate
zationof Laos in 1962, withunhappyresultsfromWashington's
strategic
viewpoint.Moreover,India movedtowardthe Westin
the same yearwhenin the International
Truce Supervisory
CommissionforVietnamit joined Canada againstPoland to findthe
Hanoi regimeguiltyofspecific
intervention.
But in 1961 immediately
followingNehru's discussionwith
when
the
Prime
Minister
Kennedy
agreedthatWesternaccessto
WestBerlinmustbe respected,
he sentthe IndianArmyto absorb
Goa and twootherPortuguese
enclavesin thesubcontinent,
injuring
India's standingin the Westand shifting
India back towardthe
bloc whichapplaudedthe action. Indian conductin
communist
theGoan episodereducedWesternmoralsupportforNew Delhi's
59RobertC. Good, "The Congo Crisis: A Studyof PostcolonialPolitics,"
in Martin,op. cit.,p. 60.

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INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

283

case withPeking;contrariwise,
the "NATO reaction,"and proIndian responsesin the new statesstrengthened
Nehru'shand in
hisattempt
to findhisownwayoutoftheborderproblems.Semiisolatedfromall campsexceptthethirdworld,Nehrudescribedhis
to negotiatewithan
approachin March, 1962, as a willingness
mind
and
to
Aksai Chin road in
Chinese
use
of
the
open
permit
a
settlement.60
Underneath
thispermissiveness
Ladakh,pending
a
conviction
the
facts
do
which
not
lay
necessarily
justify,that
and
the
had
determined
entire
Sinocustom
treaties,geography
Indianfrontier
and madeit a closedboundary,
to
subjectonly small
the
end
of
this
external
1961,
conviction,
changes. By
September,
evidenceof Sovietand Americanpressureon CommunistChina,
and overestimation
of the Indian Army'seffectiveness
had contributedto an unrealistic
posture,revealedin Nehru'sstatements
aboutrecapturing
and rigidpreconditions
forresumption
territory
ofnegotiations.61
India and Chinablamedeach otherwhenmajor
hostilities
to a detailedstudy"China
beganin October. According
to
have
an
baited
elaborate
appears
trap"so thatIndia seemedbut
was notresponsible
forthehostilities.62
The clear defeatof ill-equippedIndian forcesin the Northeastand Ladakh duringOctober,and November,1962,profoundIndia and muchof the world.The mainresponseof
ly disturbed
the Afro-Asian
neutralscame in the Colombo Proposals,63dein
veloped December,1962, by Ceylon,Indonesia,the United
Arab Republic,Ghana, Cambodia and Burma, which lean in
the Indian direction
but have been acceptedin principlewithout
difficulty
by Mao's regime.AlthoughIndia has agreed to the
and substanceof the ColomboProposals,providedthat
principles
60 The Hindu, March 27, 1962.
1xKlaus H. Pringsheim, "China,

India and Their Himalayan Border


(1961-63)," Asian Survey, III (October, 1963), 483-484.
62 Ibid., 490.
63 In effect the Colombo Proposals recommend a Chinese withdrawal of
12.43 miles in Ladakh, with no Indian withdrawal, followed by a temporary
and joint civil administrationof the vacated area which is to be demilitarized;
maintenance of the status quo in the middle sector; adoption of the "line of
actual control" in the Northeast as a cease-fireline, with both sides allowed to
keep forces on their respectivesides of the MacMahon line, except in two areas
held by the Chinese, Chedong and Longju; and the resumption of SinoIndian negotiations. The chief reason for Indian satisfactionwith the proposals is their close approximation to India's demand for the restorationof the
militarypicture as of September 8, 1962. See the Asian Recorder, IX (February 19-25, 1963), 5051-5052.

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284

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Communist
Chinaacceptsthemin fullwithoutreservation,
to date
the propagandaresultof theseoutsideefforts
has been as much
to Peking'sinterests
as to New Delhi's. Involvedin its Cuban
adventure,Russia firstreactedto the 1962 crisisin a relatively
pro-Chinesemanner,but later swung to condemnPeking for
Moscow
usingforceto settlefrontier
questions;yet increasingly
has been unable to do what Nehruhas anticipatedsince 1958,
to moderateor checkPeking'sforeign
policyto India's advantage.
Westernmilitary
and psychological
assistance,
soughtand receivedby the Indian government,
has opened the door to new
Indian problemssincelate 1962. These problemsincludean overrelianceon Westernresources;embarrassment
about a formally,
nation
and
nonaligned
receiving
displaying
foreignarms; friction
about militaryparitywith Pakistan;dilemmasabout balancing
democratic
the
help withSovietaid; and questionsof readjusting
to
economy meetdefenseneeds.At a deeperlevel Indian politics
inwardin Gandhianfashion,bringbeganto turnthe searchlight
ing in August,1963, the firstmotionof censureagainstthe Consince freedom.Althoughdefeated,the motion
gressgovernment
providedinsight,
especiallyin the chargeof M. S. Masani of the
SwatantraPartythatIndian nonalignment
had collapsedbecause
of the government's
basic misunderstanding
of communism
and
and
measures.
faultydiplomatic security
From the 1959-1963recordtherearisesthe urgentneed to
the nation'sforeignpolicyfollowingthe virtualterreconstruct
minationof its China policyand the raisingof seriousquestions
about futurerelationswiththe SovietUnion and the Afro-Asian
neutralists.
It is unlikelythat PrimeMinisterNehru,because of
habitsof mindand declining
health,is equippedto meettheneed.
On the China issue,he has foundthe rootproblemin Peking's
returnto a "two camp" doctrine,
producinga driveagainstIndia
as an outstanding
memberof the nonalignedworldwhichdoes
notdeserveto exist.He has avoidedopenexamination
of his own
ideas and of errorswithinIndia, althoughhe has showna new
in worldpolitics.64
insightinto the limitsof peacefulintentions
India remainson friendly
termswiththe Soviet Union as part
of its refusalformally
to alignwiththe Westand to secureRussian economicand military
assistance.
" Jawaharlal Nehru, "Changing
India," Foreign Affairs, XLI

1963), 460-461.

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(April,

INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY

285

Indian relationswith Russia may hingeon the outcomeof


of the Congressto influence
Nehruand
by the left-wing
attempts
in the Indian government;
but
to secureimportant
appointments
in the Sino-Soviet
theymay depend especiallyon developments
in
dispute.The main concernis forIndia to regainthe initiative
Soviet-Indianrelations.With the nonalignedAfro-Asiangroup,
Indian diplomacyis preoccupiedwithCommunist
China's diplomaticoffensive,
dramatizedby Chou En-lai'sAfricanand Middle
Easterntripin the winterof 1964, and withthe growthof an
autonomousAfricansectionat the expenseof India's
increasingly
in
the
position
group.India's taskin nonalignedAfro-Asiais to
convinceleadersthat self-respect
and nationalindependenceare
more vital than the posturingof neutralism,65
althoughsome
Indian government
willfirsthave to concedethistruth.
IV
has
been
kind
to
History
JawaharlalNehru.For manyyears
acclaimedby his nationas BharatBushan,India's jewel,and reconspectedby manymen beyondIndia for his humanitarian
cerns,he has enjoyeda reputationas a greatAsian leader who
dedicatedhis considerable
giftsto the progressof India and the
international
order.In the area of foreignpolicywherehe had
and exercisedvast power,Nehru'sperformspecialqualifications
ance has been a blend of some achievements
and severalmisadventures.
shared
ideas
and
institutions
withthe
Through
political
in the
democracies,
symbolized
English-speaking
by membership
whichrepublicanIndia helpedto transform,
Commonwealth
India
under Nehru'sleadershipcontributed
to world efforts
to build
and spread representative
and nationalself-respect.
government
and sometimesoverpowering
Workingagainstthis contribution,
of revolutionary
it, were his interpretations
change and antiFor at leasta decadeafterIndianindependence,
these
imperialism.
aided Marxianneutralism
and premature
decoloniunderstandings
ratherthanaidingpeace and freedom.
zation,challenging
UnderNehru'sautocratic
India eventually
received
stewardship
economicaid fromtheWest; but it receivedthehelp
considerable
forWesternpoliticalreasonsand out of theobligations
principally
not importantly
of affluence,
becauseof Indian nonalignment.
In
65 For this telling point with respect to neutralism in
general, see William
C. Johnstone,Burma's Foreign Policy (Cambridge, Mass.; 1963), pp. 299-300.

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286

THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

the case of one Westerndonor,the United States,nonalignmentin


Nehru's fashion confused and angered when he applied it with
deferenceto the communistworld, therebyinjuring India's economic developmentthroughtardy and suboptimumassistance.
Nehru's China policy,to some degree influencedby his Marxfailed to protectIndian security,causing losses
ian predispositions,
in key mountainpositionsand Indian lives. It is too earlyto assess
Indian attemptsto protect its interestsin the Himalayan states
and to offsetCommunistChina's effortsafter October, 1962, to
isolate India fromother uncommittednations,includingthe convening of a second Bandung meetingwith Peking as the leader of
a nonwhitebloc. Successfulin the role of the firstpower among
formercolonial peoples, Nehru's India earned a high place in
the third zone until its foreignpolicy became counterproductive,
bringingcompetitionin the United Nations and world opinion.
As to Kashmir, India shared with Pakistan a responsibilityfor
errorsof tragic significance.In SoutheastAsia the Indian government has recentlyshown sophisticationby rethinkingthe problems
of neutralization and supporting Malaysia against Communist
China and Indonesia. India's main influencein the region has
been indirectlyto encourage myopic neutralism and extremist
nationalismin Burma, Cambodia, and Ceylon.
The Age of Nehru in Indian foreignpolicy constituteda time
in which moral concerns,stemmingprincipallyfromthe political
education of a complex and remarkable man, prevailed over a
wide spectrumof diplomatic,ideological and strategicconsiderations. More often than not these concerns did not result in the
advancement of India's welfare or internationalsecurity.The
findingof the means to achieve these objectivesawaits India when
the Karma of the Age has run its course.

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