India and the USA – India wanted to have cordial and friendly relationships with US despite itspolicy of non-alignment. The US, however, disappointed India first on Kashmir issue, then overfood aid. The US had big influence in the UN and it used it to project a negative image of Indiaover Kashmir issue and ignored the fact that Pakistan was an aggressor and it later evenprovided military help to Pakistan on the name of countering Soviet threat. Similarly food-aidwas delayed to India and she was humiliated. The US also showed it open displeasure overIndia’s recognition of communist China as a nation and India’s support to its permanent seat inUNSC.
The US was also miffed by India’s abstention in the UN resolution over Korea war. US alsodragged cold war at India’s doorstep by including Pakistan in military blocks like SEATO andCENTO and it termed non-alignment as immoral. On Goa issue also, the US supportedPortuguese claim. The US was grossly obsessed with its anti-communist crusade and in thisfervor failed to appreciate Indian stance quite frequently.
Further, the US never saw India as astrong bulwark against communism and according to it India might collapse under burden of itsdiversity. However, people to people contacts remained healthy and the US was also a source oftechnology and machinery. When India went closer to the USSR, the US got wary and started tothink towards improving its relations with India. However, situation took a bad turn in wake of1962 war with China in which the US tacitly supported India. When Indira Gandhi came topower, she tried to considerably improve relations with the US and the UK. However, she wasdisappointed when the US president Lyndon Johnson dithered over her request for foodshipments in aftermath of 1965 war and draught as the US wanted to make India apologetic ofher criticism of Vietnam War. As a result, India ventured on to bring Green Revolution for foodsecurity, 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 Indiaunder imperial influence as India joined Commonwealth.
Further, Communist Party of India wasalso in opposition to Indian government. First major sign of India’s truly non-aligned statusappeared in India’s position vis-à-vis Korea war when India voted against UN resolution callingChina as aggressor. Impressed, Soviet and China sent food shipments to India when India wasbadly hit by draught. The process of friendship speeded up after death of Stalin in 1954 and iteven offered military equipment in wake of Pakistan joining CENTO and SEATO, but Indiarefused citing its non-alignment. Relations took healthy turn when Nehru visited USSR in 1955and Russian president visited India following year. This time onward, the USSR also offered fullsupport on Kashmir issue through veto in UNSC and it provided huge relief to India.
USSR alsosupported integration of Goa. USSR also supported industrial development of India and helpedin setting up heavy industries like Bhilai and Bokaro steel plant. The USSR also suppliedmachinery and equipments for other heavy industry projects. The USSR also didn’t sided with itscommunist brother China when Indo-China relations deteriorated over Dalai Lama issue in 1959and 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 withIndia in war with China and later bolstered their military equipment ties with India which servedIndia well in 1971 war.
The USSR also got a tacit ally amidst Cold War as India’s stance wasalways tilted towards the USSR. Soviets also had a long disputed border with China andfriendship with India meant diverting Chinese attention and keeping a check on it. Mostimportantly, the support of the USSR had always been unconditional unlike Western supportwhich always came with many strings attached. When Indira came to power, she also continueda policy of closeness with the USSR.Nepal and India – With Nepal, there were historic ties of India and they were furtherstrengthened with 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship and allowed Nepal free passage throughIndia. 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 andensuing events have already been discussed. Kashmir issues was continuously used to blackmailIndia 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 ithelped India militarily as well in international fora as well. It supported Kashmir issue as well byvetoing resolutions in UNSC. From 1962, Pakistan also sided with China, thus threatening Indiain a two side pressure which seemed to be very acute in 1971.
India showed great generousnessin division of pre-partition assets, division of water of Indus water and treatment of refugeesand their compensation.China and India – India always wanted to have friendly relationships with China as both haveborne the brunt of colonialism and it was evident in its recognition of Communist China rightfrom 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 formallyrecognized it in 1954 as Panchsheel agreement was signed between the two and agreed on amutual co-existence on the basis of it.
India even hailed Chinese leadership in Bandungconference in 1959. But in the same year, a big uprising happened in Tibet and thousands ofTibetan refugees along with the Dalai Lama sought refuge in India which was provided by Indiaon humanitarian grounds on the condition that no political activities should be carried out fromIndian soil. China, however, didn’t take it so kindly and soon after that skirmishes took place onIndo-China border between soldiers of two sides and China for the first time laid a firm claim ondisputed area of NEFA and Ladakh. In October 1962, Chinese forces launched a massive attackon NEFA (today’s Arunachal Pradesh) and soon occupied vast areas as Indian army showed littleresistance.
Indian PM Nehru sought Western help, but China voluntarily retreated asunpredictably as it has launched strike leaving a bruised ego and a broken friendship. Nonalignmentand Panchsheel got a body blow and ironically India was hit not by a capitalistimperial 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 andlaunched 1965 war.Many analyst feel that Nehru failed to foresee the developments and instead of sorting outborder 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 Indiawas 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 nationbuilding. India also didn’t want to have another insecure neighbor when one was already therein form of Pakistan. In aftermaths of refuge to the Dalai Lama, India had very little choice. Indianfailure had not been because of naïve faith in Chinese friendship, not because of belief inutopian pacifism and Panchsheel or under-equipped armed forces.
In fact military strength ofIndian 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 anintegrated one as it was evident from little use of Indian air power in the war. Civilian-militarycoordination was not good either. It was a failure of logistics, of intelligence, of nerve on thepart of military commander who fled seeing onslaught of enemy. Others also argue that Chinafor long wanted to make her presence felt on global scene, but was thwarted every time.
Be itUS recognition of Taiwan as real China, denying of UNSC seat, attempt to check-mate her in caseof 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 makingfriendship 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 aggressiveassertion as manifested in 1962 war. Thus, Chinese war a result of China’s own compulsionsrather than aggressive posture of India or misjudgment of Nehru. In fact Nehru was right inpursuing a policy of friendship as a developing country could hardly afford two hostile nations atits doorstep.