International Context or Relations
(i) In post independence period, India faced many challenges to make a strong foreign policy.
(ii) India shaped its foreign relations with an aim to respect the sovereignty of all other nations and to achieve security through the maintenance of peace.
(iii) In post Second World War period, world politics led to the division of countries of the world into two clear camps-one under the United States and other under the Soviet Union.
The Policy of Non-Alignment
(i) The Cold War era marked the political, economic and military confrontation at the global level between the two blocs led by the superpowers, the US and the USSR.
(ii) Along with this in other prevailing world politics Indian leadership was in the direction to pursue its national interests with these international context.
(i) Nehru exercised foreign policy from 1946 to 1964. The three major objectives of Nehru’s foreign policy were to preserve the hard-earned sovereignty, protect territorial integrity and promote rapid economic development.
(ii) Despite the fact that many leaders from India, wanted India to follow a pro-US foreign policy; Nehru wished to achieve his objectives of foreign policy through the strategy of non-alignment.
Distance from Two Camps
(i) India wanted to keep away from the military alliances led by US and Soviet Union against each other. The US was not happy about India’s independent initiatives the policy of non-alignment.
(ii) During the 1950s India took an independent stand on various international issues and could get aid an assistance from members of both power blocs.
(iii) India’s independent stand and her growing relations with USSR hurt the sentiments of USA. Therefore, there was a considerable unease in Indo-US relations during 1950s.
(i) Nehru era marked the establishment of contacts between India and other newly independent states in Asia and Africa.
(ii) Under the leadership of Nehru, India convened the Asian Relations Conference in March 1947.
(iii) India supported the process of decolonisation and opposed racism, especially apartheid in South Africa.
(iv) The Afro-Asian Conference held in the Indonesian city of Bandung in 1955 which is known as Bandung Conference and marked the establishment of the NAM.
(v) The first summit of the NAM was held in Belgrade in September 1961.
Peace and Conflict with China
(i) Independent India began its relationship with China on a friendly note as India was one of the first countries to recognise the communist government.
(ii) Some of Nehru’s colleagues like Vallabhbhai Patel, were working about possible Chinese aggression in future but Nehru thought it was exceedingly unlikely that India will face an attack from China.
Panchsheel (The five principles of peaceful co-existence) Agreement signed between Indian Prime Minister Nehru and the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlia on 29th April, 1954 was a step in the direction of stronger relationship between two.
(i) Tibet, a plateau of the Central Asian region, is one of the major issues that historically caused tension between India and China.
(ii) After the Panchsheel Agreement of 1954 India conceded China’s claim over Tibet.
(iii) In 1959, the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama was given asylum (refuge) by India which worsened the relations between both countries.
The Chinese Invasion, 1962
(i) China annexed Tibet in 1950 and removed historical buffer between two countries. The issue of Dalai Lama added fuel to the fire.
(ii) China claimed two areas within the Indian territory: Aksai-Chin area in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir and state of Arunachal Pradesh in North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA).
(iii) China launched a swift and massive invasion in October 1962 on both the disputed areas.
(iv) The China was dented India’s image at home and abroad.
(v) The Sino-Indian conflict and the growing rift between China and the Soviet Union created irreconcilable differences within the Communist Party of India (CPI). The Pro-USSR faction remained within the CPI and moved towards closer ties with the Congress.
Wars and Peace with Pakistan
(i) The conflict started with Pakistan just after independence over the dispute on Kashmir.
(ii) The India-Pakistan Indus Waters Treaty was signed by Nehru and General Ayub Khan in 1960 which has worked well despite all ups and downs in the Indo-Pak relations.
(iii) In April, 1965 Pakistan launched armed attacks in the Rann of Kutch area of Gujarat which was followed by a bigger offensive in Jammu and Kashmir in August-September.
(iv) The hostilities came to an end with the UN intervention. Indian Prime Minister Lal Bhadur Shastri and Pakistan’s General Ayub Khan signed the Tashkent Agreement, brokered by the Soviet Union, in January 1966.
Bangladesh War, 1971
(i) In a dramatic internal politics during the 1970 the East and West Pakistani rulers were not willing to accept the democratic verdict.
(ii) Throughout 1971, India had to bear the burden of about 80 lakh refugees who moved the East Pakistan and took shelter in the neighbouring areas in India.
(iii) After months of diplomatic tension and military build-up, a full-scale war between India and Pakistan broke out in December 1971.
(iv) On 3rd July, 1972 the Shimla Agreement was signed between Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
India’s Nuclear Policy
(i) The first nuclear explosion undertaken by India in May 1974.
(ii) In India nuclear programme was initiated in the late 1940s under the guidance of Homi J.Bhabha.
(iii) Nehru was against nuclear weapons and India wanted to generate atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
(iv) The five permanent members of the UN security council tried to impose the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968 on the rest of the world.
(v) India always considered the NPT as discriminatory and had refused to sign it.
(vi) India conducted a series of nuclear tests in May 1998 demonstrating its capacity to use nuclear energy for military purposes.