India and the USA – India wanted to have cordial and friendly relationships with US despite its
policy of non-alignment. The US, however, disappointed India first on Kashmir issue, then over
food aid. The US had big influence in the UN and it used it to project a negative image of India
over Kashmir issue and ignored the fact that Pakistan was an aggressor and it later even
provided military help to Pakistan on the name of countering Soviet threat. Similarly food-aid
was delayed to India and she was humiliated. The US also showed it open displeasure over
India’s recognition of communist China as a nation and India’s support to its permanent seat in
UNSC. The US was also miffed by India’s abstention in the UN resolution over Korea war. US also
dragged cold war at India’s doorstep by including Pakistan in military blocks like SEATO and
CENTO and it termed non-alignment as immoral. On Goa issue also, the US supported
Portuguese claim. The US was grossly obsessed with its anti-communist crusade and in this
fervor failed to appreciate Indian stance quite frequently. Further, the US never saw India as a
strong bulwark against communism and according to it India might collapse under burden of its
diversity. However, people to people contacts remained healthy and the US was also a source of
technology and machinery. When India went closer to the USSR, the US got wary and started to
think towards improving its relations with India. However, situation took a bad turn in wake of
1962 war with China in which the US tacitly supported India. When Indira Gandhi came to
power, she tried to considerably improve relations with the US and the UK. However, she was
disappointed when the US president Lyndon Johnson dithered over her request for food
shipments in aftermath of 1965 war and draught as the US wanted to make India apologetic of
her criticism of Vietnam War. As a result, India ventured on to bring Green Revolution for food
security, further strengthening NAM and pursue a more independent foreign policy.
India and USSR – Indian relations with Soviet Union started on a cold note as it perceived India
under imperial influence as India joined Commonwealth. Further, Communist Party of India was
also in opposition to Indian government. First major sign of India’s truly non-aligned status
appeared in India’s position vis-à-vis Korea war when India voted against UN resolution calling
China as aggressor. Impressed, Soviet and China sent food shipments to India when India was
badly hit by draught. The process of friendship speeded up after death of Stalin in 1954 and it
even offered military equipment in wake of Pakistan joining CENTO and SEATO, but India
refused citing its non-alignment. Relations took healthy turn when Nehru visited USSR in 1955
and Russian president visited India following year. This time onward, the USSR also offered full
support on Kashmir issue through veto in UNSC and it provided huge relief to India. USSR also
supported integration of Goa. USSR also supported industrial development of India and helped
in setting up heavy industries like Bhilai and Bokaro steel plant. The USSR also supplied
machinery and equipments for other heavy industry projects. The USSR also didn’t sided with its
communist brother China when Indo-China relations deteriorated over Dalai Lama issue in 1959
and in fact made first military agreement with India in 1960 to make border roads along Chinese border which were damaged by China. In 1962, India got a license to manufacture MIG aircrafts
– first time for a non Soviet nation. The USSR also remained neutral and rather empathized with
India in war with China and later bolstered their military equipment ties with India which served
India well in 1971 war. The USSR also got a tacit ally amidst Cold War as India’s stance was
always tilted towards the USSR. Soviets also had a long disputed border with China and
friendship with India meant diverting Chinese attention and keeping a check on it. Most
importantly, the support of the USSR had always been unconditional unlike Western support
which always came with many strings attached. When Indira came to power, she also continued
a policy of closeness with the USSR.
Nepal and India – With Nepal, there were historic ties of India and they were further
strengthened with 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship and allowed Nepal free passage through
India. Both countries also agreed to be responsible for each other’s security.
Burma and India – With Burma, border issues were settled amicably.
Pakistan and India – Pakistan’s invasion of Kashmir and subsequent accession of Kashmir and
ensuing events have already been discussed. Kashmir issues was continuously used to blackmail
India in UN and Pakistan also grew closer to US and joined its regional military blocks like SEATO,
CENTO etc. It was only USSR which recognized genuineness of Indian non-alignment that it
helped India militarily as well in international fora as well. It supported Kashmir issue as well by
vetoing resolutions in UNSC. From 1962, Pakistan also sided with China, thus threatening India
in a two side pressure which seemed to be very acute in 1971. India showed great generousness
in division of pre-partition assets, division of water of Indus water and treatment of refugees
and their compensation.
China and India – India always wanted to have friendly relationships with China as both have
borne the brunt of colonialism and it was evident in its recognition of Communist China right
from the beginning in 1950, support of China in Korea war and support of China in UNSC seat.
India also raised little objection over Chinese occupation over Tibet in 1950 and it even formally
recognized it in 1954 as Panchsheel agreement was signed between the two and agreed on a
mutual co-existence on the basis of it. India even hailed Chinese leadership in Bandung
conference in 1959. But in the same year, a big uprising happened in Tibet and thousands of
Tibetan refugees along with the Dalai Lama sought refuge in India which was provided by India
on humanitarian grounds on the condition that no political activities should be carried out from
Indian soil. China, however, didn’t take it so kindly and soon after that skirmishes took place on
Indo-China border between soldiers of two sides and China for the first time laid a firm claim on
disputed area of NEFA and Ladakh. In October 1962, Chinese forces launched a massive attack
on NEFA (today’s Arunachal Pradesh) and soon occupied vast areas as Indian army showed little
resistance. Indian PM Nehru sought Western help, but China voluntarily retreated as
unpredictably as it has launched strike leaving a bruised ego and a broken friendship. Nonalignment
and Panchsheel got a body blow and ironically India was hit not by a capitalist
imperial country, but by a socialist friend. The US and the UK had responded positively and could not be brushed aside in post-war scenario. Pakistan thought India was weakened and
launched 1965 war.
Many analyst feel that Nehru failed to foresee the developments and instead of sorting out
border dispute early on allowed the matters deteriorate and instead followed a ‘forward policy’
which alarmed China and it had to launch attack in self-defense. Some others argue that India
was still an under developed country and could not have afforded too much military spending –
especially on Chinese border – and have instead chosen to focus on Industrialization and nation
building. India also didn’t want to have another insecure neighbor when one was already there
in form of Pakistan. In aftermaths of refuge to the Dalai Lama, India had very little choice. Indian
failure had not been because of naïve faith in Chinese friendship, not because of belief in
utopian pacifism and Panchsheel or under-equipped armed forces. In fact military strength of
Indian armed forces have been multiplied many times since 1947 when India defeated Pakistan.
It was rather due to unexpected nature of the war. Approach of armed forces was not an
integrated one as it was evident from little use of Indian air power in the war. Civilian-military
coordination was not good either. It was a failure of logistics, of intelligence, of nerve on the
part of military commander who fled seeing onslaught of enemy. Others also argue that China
for long wanted to make her presence felt on global scene, but was thwarted every time. Be it
US recognition of Taiwan as real China, denying of UNSC seat, attempt to check-mate her in case
of Korea war and Indo-China conflict, differences between Soviet and China over border issues.
The Chinese were also upset that Afro-Asian countries were following Indian line in making
friendship with both the US and the USSR, rather than Chinese way of distancing from both.
These events made China frustrated and isolated and prompted China on path of aggressive
assertion as manifested in 1962 war. Thus, Chinese war a result of China’s own compulsions
rather than aggressive posture of India or misjudgment of Nehru. In fact Nehru was right in
pursuing a policy of friendship as a developing country could hardly afford two hostile nations at
its doorstep. 

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