NCERT Textbook - India’s External Relations Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Political Science Class 12

Created by: Uk Tiwary

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - India’s External Relations Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


In this chapter…
Thus far we have focussed in this book on the developments within 
the country and on domestic challenges. We now turn to the external 
challenges. Here too our leaders faced the challenge with an innovative 
response by way of the policy of non-alignment. But they also found 
themselves in conflict with neighbours. This led to three wars in 1962, 
1965 and 1971. These wars, and the external relations in general, were 
shaped by and had their impact on the politics in the country.
In this chapter we study the story of this relationship between the 
external and the internal politics by focussing on
•	 the 	 international 	context	that	shaped 	India’s	external	 relations;
•	 the 	 operational	principles	that	 informed	the	country’s	foreign		 	 	
	 policy;
•	 the 	 history 	of	India’s	relations 	with	China	and	 Pakistan; 	 and
•	 the 	 evolution 	 of 	India’s 	nuclear	policy.
Nehru with Nkrumah 
from Ghana, Nasser 
from Egypt, Sukarno 
from Indonesia and 
Tito from Yugoslavia 
at a meeting of non-
aligned nations, New 
York, October 1960. 
These five comprised the 
core leadership of the 
Non-Aligned Movement 
(NAM).
Credit: NMML
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 2


In this chapter…
Thus far we have focussed in this book on the developments within 
the country and on domestic challenges. We now turn to the external 
challenges. Here too our leaders faced the challenge with an innovative 
response by way of the policy of non-alignment. But they also found 
themselves in conflict with neighbours. This led to three wars in 1962, 
1965 and 1971. These wars, and the external relations in general, were 
shaped by and had their impact on the politics in the country.
In this chapter we study the story of this relationship between the 
external and the internal politics by focussing on
•	 the 	 international 	context	that	shaped 	India’s	external	 relations;
•	 the 	 operational	principles	that	 informed	the	country’s	foreign		 	 	
	 policy;
•	 the 	 history 	of	India’s	relations 	with	China	and	 Pakistan; 	 and
•	 the 	 evolution 	 of 	India’s 	nuclear	policy.
Nehru with Nkrumah 
from Ghana, Nasser 
from Egypt, Sukarno 
from Indonesia and 
Tito from Yugoslavia 
at a meeting of non-
aligned nations, New 
York, October 1960. 
These five comprised the 
core leadership of the 
Non-Aligned Movement 
(NAM).
Credit: NMML
2015-16(21/01/2015)
International context
India was born in a very trying and challenging international context. 
The world had witnessed a devastating war and was grappling 
with issues of reconstruction; yet another attempt to establish 
an international body was underway; many new countries were 
emerging as a result of the collapse of colonialism; and most new 
nations were trying to come to terms with the twin challenges of 
welfare and democracy. Free India’s foreign policy reflected all these 
concerns in the period immediately after Independence. Apart from 
these factors at the global level, India had its own share of concerns. 
The British government left behind the legacy of many international 
disputes; partition created its own pressures, and the task of poverty 
alleviation was already waiting for fulfilment. This was the overall 
context in which India started participating in the world affairs as an 
independent nation-state.
As a nation born in the backdrop of the world war, India decided 
to conduct its foreign relations with an aim to respect the sovereignty 
of all other nations and to achieve security through the maintenance 
of peace. This aim finds an echo in the Directive principles of State 
policy. 
Just as both internal and external factors guide the behaviour of an 
individual or a family, both domestic and international environment 
influence the foreign policy of a nation. The developing countries 
lack the required resources to effectively advocate their concerns in 
the international system. So they pursue more modest goals than 
the advanced states. They focus more on peace and development in 
their own neighbourhood. Moreover, their economic and security 
dependence on the more powerful states occasionally influences 
their foreign policy. In the period immediately after the Second world 
war, many developing nations chose to support the foreign policy 
preferences of the powerful countries who were giving them aid or 
credits.  This resulted in the division of countries of the world into two 
clear camps. One was under the influence of the United States and 
its western allies and the other was under the influence of the then 
Soviet Union.  You have read about this in the book on Contemporary 
World Politics. You have read there about the experiment called the 
Non-Aligned Movement. As you also read there, the end of the Cold 
w ar changed the context of international relations entirely. But when 
India achieved its freedom and started framing its foreign policy, the 
4
chapter
IndIa’s external 
relatIons
                  What does 
independence consist of? 
It consists fundamentally 
and basically of foreign 
relations. That is the test 
of independence. All else is 
local autonomy. Once foreign 
relations go out of your 
hands into the charge of 
somebody else, to that extent 
and in that measure you are 
not independent. 
 
Jawaharlal Nehru 
during a debate in the 
Constituent Assembly in 
March 1949. 
“
“
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 3


In this chapter…
Thus far we have focussed in this book on the developments within 
the country and on domestic challenges. We now turn to the external 
challenges. Here too our leaders faced the challenge with an innovative 
response by way of the policy of non-alignment. But they also found 
themselves in conflict with neighbours. This led to three wars in 1962, 
1965 and 1971. These wars, and the external relations in general, were 
shaped by and had their impact on the politics in the country.
In this chapter we study the story of this relationship between the 
external and the internal politics by focussing on
•	 the 	 international 	context	that	shaped 	India’s	external	 relations;
•	 the 	 operational	principles	that	 informed	the	country’s	foreign		 	 	
	 policy;
•	 the 	 history 	of	India’s	relations 	with	China	and	 Pakistan; 	 and
•	 the 	 evolution 	 of 	India’s 	nuclear	policy.
Nehru with Nkrumah 
from Ghana, Nasser 
from Egypt, Sukarno 
from Indonesia and 
Tito from Yugoslavia 
at a meeting of non-
aligned nations, New 
York, October 1960. 
These five comprised the 
core leadership of the 
Non-Aligned Movement 
(NAM).
Credit: NMML
2015-16(21/01/2015)
International context
India was born in a very trying and challenging international context. 
The world had witnessed a devastating war and was grappling 
with issues of reconstruction; yet another attempt to establish 
an international body was underway; many new countries were 
emerging as a result of the collapse of colonialism; and most new 
nations were trying to come to terms with the twin challenges of 
welfare and democracy. Free India’s foreign policy reflected all these 
concerns in the period immediately after Independence. Apart from 
these factors at the global level, India had its own share of concerns. 
The British government left behind the legacy of many international 
disputes; partition created its own pressures, and the task of poverty 
alleviation was already waiting for fulfilment. This was the overall 
context in which India started participating in the world affairs as an 
independent nation-state.
As a nation born in the backdrop of the world war, India decided 
to conduct its foreign relations with an aim to respect the sovereignty 
of all other nations and to achieve security through the maintenance 
of peace. This aim finds an echo in the Directive principles of State 
policy. 
Just as both internal and external factors guide the behaviour of an 
individual or a family, both domestic and international environment 
influence the foreign policy of a nation. The developing countries 
lack the required resources to effectively advocate their concerns in 
the international system. So they pursue more modest goals than 
the advanced states. They focus more on peace and development in 
their own neighbourhood. Moreover, their economic and security 
dependence on the more powerful states occasionally influences 
their foreign policy. In the period immediately after the Second world 
war, many developing nations chose to support the foreign policy 
preferences of the powerful countries who were giving them aid or 
credits.  This resulted in the division of countries of the world into two 
clear camps. One was under the influence of the United States and 
its western allies and the other was under the influence of the then 
Soviet Union.  You have read about this in the book on Contemporary 
World Politics. You have read there about the experiment called the 
Non-Aligned Movement. As you also read there, the end of the Cold 
w ar changed the context of international relations entirely. But when 
India achieved its freedom and started framing its foreign policy, the 
4
chapter
IndIa’s external 
relatIons
                  What does 
independence consist of? 
It consists fundamentally 
and basically of foreign 
relations. That is the test 
of independence. All else is 
local autonomy. Once foreign 
relations go out of your 
hands into the charge of 
somebody else, to that extent 
and in that measure you are 
not independent. 
 
Jawaharlal Nehru 
during a debate in the 
Constituent Assembly in 
March 1949. 
“
“
2015-16(21/01/2015)
66                                                                   Politics in India since Independence
Cold war was just beginning and the world was getting divided into 
these two camps. Did India belong to any of these two camps in global 
politics of the fifties and the sixties? w as it successful in conducting 
its foreign policy peacefully and avoiding international conflicts? 
The Policy of non-alignment
The Indian national movement was not an isolated process. It was a 
part of the worldwide struggle against colonialism and imperialism. 
It influenced the liberation movements of many Asian and African 
countries. prior to India’s Independence, there were contacts between 
the nationalist leaders of India and those of other colonies, united 
as they were in their common struggle against colonialism and 
imperialism. The creation of the Indian National Army (INA) by Netaji 
Subhash Chandra Bose during the Second w orld w ar was the clearest 
manifestation of the linkages established between India and overseas 
Indians during the freedom struggle.
The foreign policy of a nation reflects the interplay of domestic 
and external factors. Therefore, the noble ideals that inspired India’s 
struggle for freedom influenced the making of its foreign policy. But 
India’s attainment of independence coincided with the beginning 
of the Cold war era. As you read in the first chapter of the book, 
Contemporary World Politics, this period was marked by the political, 
economic, and military confrontation at the global level between the 
two blocs led by the superpowers, the US and the USSR. The same 
period also witnessed developments like the establishment of the 
UN, the creation of nuclear weapons, the emergence of Communist 
The Constitutional principles
Article	 51	 of	 the	 Indian 	 Constitution	 lays 	 down	 some	 Directive	 Principles	 of 	 State	 Policy	 on	
‘Promotion	 of	international	peace	and	 security’.
“The 	State	 shall	endeavour	 to	–	
(a)		 Promote	international	peace 	and	security
(b)  Maintain just and honourable relations between nations
(c)  Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised  
	 people	 with	 one 	another;	and
(d)  Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.”
How well did the Indian state live up to these principles in the first two decades after 
Independence? You may come back to this question after reading the chapter. 
It’s the fourth 
chapter and it’s Nehru 
once again! w as he a 
superman or what? 
Or has his role been 
glorified?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 4


In this chapter…
Thus far we have focussed in this book on the developments within 
the country and on domestic challenges. We now turn to the external 
challenges. Here too our leaders faced the challenge with an innovative 
response by way of the policy of non-alignment. But they also found 
themselves in conflict with neighbours. This led to three wars in 1962, 
1965 and 1971. These wars, and the external relations in general, were 
shaped by and had their impact on the politics in the country.
In this chapter we study the story of this relationship between the 
external and the internal politics by focussing on
•	 the 	 international 	context	that	shaped 	India’s	external	 relations;
•	 the 	 operational	principles	that	 informed	the	country’s	foreign		 	 	
	 policy;
•	 the 	 history 	of	India’s	relations 	with	China	and	 Pakistan; 	 and
•	 the 	 evolution 	 of 	India’s 	nuclear	policy.
Nehru with Nkrumah 
from Ghana, Nasser 
from Egypt, Sukarno 
from Indonesia and 
Tito from Yugoslavia 
at a meeting of non-
aligned nations, New 
York, October 1960. 
These five comprised the 
core leadership of the 
Non-Aligned Movement 
(NAM).
Credit: NMML
2015-16(21/01/2015)
International context
India was born in a very trying and challenging international context. 
The world had witnessed a devastating war and was grappling 
with issues of reconstruction; yet another attempt to establish 
an international body was underway; many new countries were 
emerging as a result of the collapse of colonialism; and most new 
nations were trying to come to terms with the twin challenges of 
welfare and democracy. Free India’s foreign policy reflected all these 
concerns in the period immediately after Independence. Apart from 
these factors at the global level, India had its own share of concerns. 
The British government left behind the legacy of many international 
disputes; partition created its own pressures, and the task of poverty 
alleviation was already waiting for fulfilment. This was the overall 
context in which India started participating in the world affairs as an 
independent nation-state.
As a nation born in the backdrop of the world war, India decided 
to conduct its foreign relations with an aim to respect the sovereignty 
of all other nations and to achieve security through the maintenance 
of peace. This aim finds an echo in the Directive principles of State 
policy. 
Just as both internal and external factors guide the behaviour of an 
individual or a family, both domestic and international environment 
influence the foreign policy of a nation. The developing countries 
lack the required resources to effectively advocate their concerns in 
the international system. So they pursue more modest goals than 
the advanced states. They focus more on peace and development in 
their own neighbourhood. Moreover, their economic and security 
dependence on the more powerful states occasionally influences 
their foreign policy. In the period immediately after the Second world 
war, many developing nations chose to support the foreign policy 
preferences of the powerful countries who were giving them aid or 
credits.  This resulted in the division of countries of the world into two 
clear camps. One was under the influence of the United States and 
its western allies and the other was under the influence of the then 
Soviet Union.  You have read about this in the book on Contemporary 
World Politics. You have read there about the experiment called the 
Non-Aligned Movement. As you also read there, the end of the Cold 
w ar changed the context of international relations entirely. But when 
India achieved its freedom and started framing its foreign policy, the 
4
chapter
IndIa’s external 
relatIons
                  What does 
independence consist of? 
It consists fundamentally 
and basically of foreign 
relations. That is the test 
of independence. All else is 
local autonomy. Once foreign 
relations go out of your 
hands into the charge of 
somebody else, to that extent 
and in that measure you are 
not independent. 
 
Jawaharlal Nehru 
during a debate in the 
Constituent Assembly in 
March 1949. 
“
“
2015-16(21/01/2015)
66                                                                   Politics in India since Independence
Cold war was just beginning and the world was getting divided into 
these two camps. Did India belong to any of these two camps in global 
politics of the fifties and the sixties? w as it successful in conducting 
its foreign policy peacefully and avoiding international conflicts? 
The Policy of non-alignment
The Indian national movement was not an isolated process. It was a 
part of the worldwide struggle against colonialism and imperialism. 
It influenced the liberation movements of many Asian and African 
countries. prior to India’s Independence, there were contacts between 
the nationalist leaders of India and those of other colonies, united 
as they were in their common struggle against colonialism and 
imperialism. The creation of the Indian National Army (INA) by Netaji 
Subhash Chandra Bose during the Second w orld w ar was the clearest 
manifestation of the linkages established between India and overseas 
Indians during the freedom struggle.
The foreign policy of a nation reflects the interplay of domestic 
and external factors. Therefore, the noble ideals that inspired India’s 
struggle for freedom influenced the making of its foreign policy. But 
India’s attainment of independence coincided with the beginning 
of the Cold war era. As you read in the first chapter of the book, 
Contemporary World Politics, this period was marked by the political, 
economic, and military confrontation at the global level between the 
two blocs led by the superpowers, the US and the USSR. The same 
period also witnessed developments like the establishment of the 
UN, the creation of nuclear weapons, the emergence of Communist 
The Constitutional principles
Article	 51	 of	 the	 Indian 	 Constitution	 lays 	 down	 some	 Directive	 Principles	 of 	 State	 Policy	 on	
‘Promotion	 of	international	peace	and	 security’.
“The 	State	 shall	endeavour	 to	–	
(a)		 Promote	international	peace 	and	security
(b)  Maintain just and honourable relations between nations
(c)  Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised  
	 people	 with	 one 	another;	and
(d)  Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.”
How well did the Indian state live up to these principles in the first two decades after 
Independence? You may come back to this question after reading the chapter. 
It’s the fourth 
chapter and it’s Nehru 
once again! w as he a 
superman or what? 
Or has his role been 
glorified?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
India’s external relations                                                                                     67  
China, and the beginning of decolonisation. So India’s leadership had 
to pursue its national interests within the prevailing international 
context.
Nehru’s role
The first prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru played a crucial role in 
setting the national agenda. He was his own foreign minister. Thus 
both as the prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, he exercised 
profound influence in the formulation and implementation of India’s 
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. 
Nehru wished to achieve these objectives through the strategy of non-
alignment. There were, of course, parties and groups in the country 
that believed that India should be more friendly with the bloc led by 
the US because that bloc claimed to be pro-democracy. Among those 
who thought on these lines were leaders like Dr Ambedkar. Some 
political parties, which were opposed to communism, also wanted 
India to follow a pro-US foreign policy. These included the Bharatiya 
Jan Sangh and later the Swatantra party.  But Nehru possessed 
considerable leeway in formulating foreign policy. 
Distance from two camps
The foreign policy of independent India vigorously pursued the dream 
of a peaceful world by advocating the policy of non-alignment, by 
reducing Cold w ar tensions and by contributing human resources to 
the UN peacekeeping operations. You might ask why India did not join 
either of the two camps during the Cold w ar era. India wanted to keep 
away from the military alliances led by US and Soviet Union against 
each other. As you read in the book, Contemporary World Politics, 
during the Cold war, the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation 
(NATO) and the Soviet-led warsaw pact came into existence. India 
advocated non-alignment as the ideal foreign policy approach. This 
was a difficult balancing act and sometimes the balance did not appear 
perfect. In 1956 when Britain attacked Egypt over the Suez Canal 
issue, India led the world protest against this neo-colonial invasion. 
But in the same year when the USSR invaded Hungary, India did not 
join its public condemnation. Despite such a situation, by and large 
India did take an independent stand on various international issues 
and could get aid and assistance from members of both the blocs.  
w hile India was trying to convince the other developing countries 
about the policy of non-alignment, pakistan joined the US-led military 
alliances. The US was not happy about India’s independent initiatives 
and the policy of non-alignment. Therefore, there was a considerable 
                 Our general 
policy is to avoid 
entanglement in power 
politics and not to join 
any group of powers as 
against any other group. 
The two leading groups 
today are the Russian 
bloc and the Anglo-
American bloc. We must 
be friendly to both and 
yet not join either. Both 
America and Russia 
are extraordinarily 
suspicious of each other 
as well as of other 
countries. This makes 
our path difficult 
and we may well be 
suspected by each of 
leaning towards the 
other. This cannot be 
helped.
 
Jawaharlal Nehru 
Letter to K .p. S. 
Menon, January 
1947. 
“
“
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 5


In this chapter…
Thus far we have focussed in this book on the developments within 
the country and on domestic challenges. We now turn to the external 
challenges. Here too our leaders faced the challenge with an innovative 
response by way of the policy of non-alignment. But they also found 
themselves in conflict with neighbours. This led to three wars in 1962, 
1965 and 1971. These wars, and the external relations in general, were 
shaped by and had their impact on the politics in the country.
In this chapter we study the story of this relationship between the 
external and the internal politics by focussing on
•	 the 	 international 	context	that	shaped 	India’s	external	 relations;
•	 the 	 operational	principles	that	 informed	the	country’s	foreign		 	 	
	 policy;
•	 the 	 history 	of	India’s	relations 	with	China	and	 Pakistan; 	 and
•	 the 	 evolution 	 of 	India’s 	nuclear	policy.
Nehru with Nkrumah 
from Ghana, Nasser 
from Egypt, Sukarno 
from Indonesia and 
Tito from Yugoslavia 
at a meeting of non-
aligned nations, New 
York, October 1960. 
These five comprised the 
core leadership of the 
Non-Aligned Movement 
(NAM).
Credit: NMML
2015-16(21/01/2015)
International context
India was born in a very trying and challenging international context. 
The world had witnessed a devastating war and was grappling 
with issues of reconstruction; yet another attempt to establish 
an international body was underway; many new countries were 
emerging as a result of the collapse of colonialism; and most new 
nations were trying to come to terms with the twin challenges of 
welfare and democracy. Free India’s foreign policy reflected all these 
concerns in the period immediately after Independence. Apart from 
these factors at the global level, India had its own share of concerns. 
The British government left behind the legacy of many international 
disputes; partition created its own pressures, and the task of poverty 
alleviation was already waiting for fulfilment. This was the overall 
context in which India started participating in the world affairs as an 
independent nation-state.
As a nation born in the backdrop of the world war, India decided 
to conduct its foreign relations with an aim to respect the sovereignty 
of all other nations and to achieve security through the maintenance 
of peace. This aim finds an echo in the Directive principles of State 
policy. 
Just as both internal and external factors guide the behaviour of an 
individual or a family, both domestic and international environment 
influence the foreign policy of a nation. The developing countries 
lack the required resources to effectively advocate their concerns in 
the international system. So they pursue more modest goals than 
the advanced states. They focus more on peace and development in 
their own neighbourhood. Moreover, their economic and security 
dependence on the more powerful states occasionally influences 
their foreign policy. In the period immediately after the Second world 
war, many developing nations chose to support the foreign policy 
preferences of the powerful countries who were giving them aid or 
credits.  This resulted in the division of countries of the world into two 
clear camps. One was under the influence of the United States and 
its western allies and the other was under the influence of the then 
Soviet Union.  You have read about this in the book on Contemporary 
World Politics. You have read there about the experiment called the 
Non-Aligned Movement. As you also read there, the end of the Cold 
w ar changed the context of international relations entirely. But when 
India achieved its freedom and started framing its foreign policy, the 
4
chapter
IndIa’s external 
relatIons
                  What does 
independence consist of? 
It consists fundamentally 
and basically of foreign 
relations. That is the test 
of independence. All else is 
local autonomy. Once foreign 
relations go out of your 
hands into the charge of 
somebody else, to that extent 
and in that measure you are 
not independent. 
 
Jawaharlal Nehru 
during a debate in the 
Constituent Assembly in 
March 1949. 
“
“
2015-16(21/01/2015)
66                                                                   Politics in India since Independence
Cold war was just beginning and the world was getting divided into 
these two camps. Did India belong to any of these two camps in global 
politics of the fifties and the sixties? w as it successful in conducting 
its foreign policy peacefully and avoiding international conflicts? 
The Policy of non-alignment
The Indian national movement was not an isolated process. It was a 
part of the worldwide struggle against colonialism and imperialism. 
It influenced the liberation movements of many Asian and African 
countries. prior to India’s Independence, there were contacts between 
the nationalist leaders of India and those of other colonies, united 
as they were in their common struggle against colonialism and 
imperialism. The creation of the Indian National Army (INA) by Netaji 
Subhash Chandra Bose during the Second w orld w ar was the clearest 
manifestation of the linkages established between India and overseas 
Indians during the freedom struggle.
The foreign policy of a nation reflects the interplay of domestic 
and external factors. Therefore, the noble ideals that inspired India’s 
struggle for freedom influenced the making of its foreign policy. But 
India’s attainment of independence coincided with the beginning 
of the Cold war era. As you read in the first chapter of the book, 
Contemporary World Politics, this period was marked by the political, 
economic, and military confrontation at the global level between the 
two blocs led by the superpowers, the US and the USSR. The same 
period also witnessed developments like the establishment of the 
UN, the creation of nuclear weapons, the emergence of Communist 
The Constitutional principles
Article	 51	 of	 the	 Indian 	 Constitution	 lays 	 down	 some	 Directive	 Principles	 of 	 State	 Policy	 on	
‘Promotion	 of	international	peace	and	 security’.
“The 	State	 shall	endeavour	 to	–	
(a)		 Promote	international	peace 	and	security
(b)  Maintain just and honourable relations between nations
(c)  Foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised  
	 people	 with	 one 	another;	and
(d)  Encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.”
How well did the Indian state live up to these principles in the first two decades after 
Independence? You may come back to this question after reading the chapter. 
It’s the fourth 
chapter and it’s Nehru 
once again! w as he a 
superman or what? 
Or has his role been 
glorified?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
India’s external relations                                                                                     67  
China, and the beginning of decolonisation. So India’s leadership had 
to pursue its national interests within the prevailing international 
context.
Nehru’s role
The first prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru played a crucial role in 
setting the national agenda. He was his own foreign minister. Thus 
both as the prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, he exercised 
profound influence in the formulation and implementation of India’s 
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. 
Nehru wished to achieve these objectives through the strategy of non-
alignment. There were, of course, parties and groups in the country 
that believed that India should be more friendly with the bloc led by 
the US because that bloc claimed to be pro-democracy. Among those 
who thought on these lines were leaders like Dr Ambedkar. Some 
political parties, which were opposed to communism, also wanted 
India to follow a pro-US foreign policy. These included the Bharatiya 
Jan Sangh and later the Swatantra party.  But Nehru possessed 
considerable leeway in formulating foreign policy. 
Distance from two camps
The foreign policy of independent India vigorously pursued the dream 
of a peaceful world by advocating the policy of non-alignment, by 
reducing Cold w ar tensions and by contributing human resources to 
the UN peacekeeping operations. You might ask why India did not join 
either of the two camps during the Cold w ar era. India wanted to keep 
away from the military alliances led by US and Soviet Union against 
each other. As you read in the book, Contemporary World Politics, 
during the Cold war, the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation 
(NATO) and the Soviet-led warsaw pact came into existence. India 
advocated non-alignment as the ideal foreign policy approach. This 
was a difficult balancing act and sometimes the balance did not appear 
perfect. In 1956 when Britain attacked Egypt over the Suez Canal 
issue, India led the world protest against this neo-colonial invasion. 
But in the same year when the USSR invaded Hungary, India did not 
join its public condemnation. Despite such a situation, by and large 
India did take an independent stand on various international issues 
and could get aid and assistance from members of both the blocs.  
w hile India was trying to convince the other developing countries 
about the policy of non-alignment, pakistan joined the US-led military 
alliances. The US was not happy about India’s independent initiatives 
and the policy of non-alignment. Therefore, there was a considerable 
                 Our general 
policy is to avoid 
entanglement in power 
politics and not to join 
any group of powers as 
against any other group. 
The two leading groups 
today are the Russian 
bloc and the Anglo-
American bloc. We must 
be friendly to both and 
yet not join either. Both 
America and Russia 
are extraordinarily 
suspicious of each other 
as well as of other 
countries. This makes 
our path difficult 
and we may well be 
suspected by each of 
leaning towards the 
other. This cannot be 
helped.
 
Jawaharlal Nehru 
Letter to K .p. S. 
Menon, January 
1947. 
“
“
2015-16(21/01/2015)
68                                                                   Politics in India since Independence
unease in Indo-US relations during the 1950s. The US also resented 
India’s growing partnership with the Soviet Union. 
You have studied in the last chapter, the strategy of planned 
economic development adopted by India. This policy emphasised 
import-substitution. The emphasis on developing a resource base also 
meant that export oriented growth was limited.  This development 
strategy limited India’s economic interaction with the outside world.
Afro-Asian unity
Yet, given its size, location and power potential, Nehru envisaged a 
major role for India in world affairs and especially in Asian affairs. 
His era was marked by the establishment of contacts between India 
and other newly independent states in Asia and Africa. Throughout 
the 1940s and 1950s, Nehru had been an ardent advocate of Asian 
unity. Under his leadership, India convened the Asian Relations 
Conference in March 1947, five months ahead of attaining its 
independence. India made earnest efforts for the early realisation of 
freedom of Indonesia from the Dutch colonial regime by convening 
an international conference in 1949 to support its freedom struggle. 
India was a staunch supporter of the decolonisation process and 
firmly opposed racism, especially apartheid in South Africa. The Afro-
Asian conference held in the Indonesian city of Bandung in 1955, 
commonly known as the Bandung Conference, marked the zenith of 
India’s engagement with the newly independent Asian and African 
nations. The Bandung Conference later led to the establishment 
of the NAM. The First Summit of the NAM was held in Belgrade in 
September 1961. Nehru was a co-founder of the NAM (See Chapter 1 
of Contemporary World Politics). 
Peace and conflict with China
Unlike its relationship with pakistan, free India began its relationship 
with China on a very friendly note. After the Chinese revolution in 
1949, India was one of the first countries to recognise the communist 
government. Nehru felt strongly for this neighbour that was coming out 
of the shadow of western domination and helped the new government 
in international fora. Some of his colleagues, like Vallabhbhai patel, 
were worried about a possible Chinese aggression in future. But Nehru 
thought it was ‘exceedingly unlikely’ that India will face an attack 
from China. For a very long time, the Chinese border was guarded by 
para-military forces, not the army. 
The joint enunciation of panchsheel, the Five principles of peaceful 
Coexistence, by the Indian prime Minister Nehru and the Chinese 
premier Zhou Enlai on 29 April 1954 was a step in the direction of 
stronger relationship between the two countries. Indian and Chinese 
leaders visited each other’s country and were greeted by large and 
friendly crowds. 
Did we have more 
recognition and power 
in the world when we 
were younger, poorer 
and more vulnerable 
than now? Isn’t that 
strange?
            a country without 
material, men or money 
– the three means of power 
– is now fast coming to be 
recognised as the biggest 
moral power in the civilised 
world …her word listened to 
with respect in the councils 
of the great.
C. Rajagopalachari 
Letter to Edwina 
Mountbatten, 1950. 
“
“
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Read More
Offer running on EduRev: Apply code STAYHOME200 to get INR 200 off on our premium plan EduRev Infinity!

Complete Syllabus of Humanities/Arts

Dynamic Test

Content Category

Related Searches

NCERT Textbook - India’s External Relations Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

,

Extra Questions

,

Important questions

,

study material

,

Viva Questions

,

Free

,

ppt

,

NCERT Textbook - India’s External Relations Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

,

mock tests for examination

,

Semester Notes

,

Sample Paper

,

shortcuts and tricks

,

Previous Year Questions with Solutions

,

Exam

,

MCQs

,

NCERT Textbook - India’s External Relations Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

,

past year papers

,

pdf

,

practice quizzes

,

video lectures

,

Objective type Questions

,

Summary

;