Indian Foreign Policy during Cold War

Indian Foreign Policy during Cold War:

  • In spite of India’s long association and experience with the west, India did not copy any foreign models in its foreign policy.
  • At the dawn of the Cold War, Nehru maintained Indian autonomy over the two power blocs, garnering support from the UN and cooperation for the security of Commonwealth members, at the same time who maintained close relationships with their Asian neighbors and, especially with China.
  • In 1945 Nehru proposed the creation of the UN Disarmament Commission, with the aim of combating nuclear proliferation and thus led the persuasion struggle against minor states to abandon this type of energy.
  • A notable feature of Indian foreign policy has been its strong advocacy of general and complete disarmament, with nuclear disarmament being accorded the highest priority.


Support to UN:

  • India was among the original members of the United Nations that signed the Declaration by United Nations at Washington, D.C. on 1944 October and also participated in the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945.
  • As a founding member of the United Nations, India strongly supports the purposes and principles of the UN and has made significant contributions in implementing the goals of the Charter, and the evolution of the UN's specialized programmes and agencies.
  • India has a firm belief in United Nations and supports UN for peaceful settlement of international disputes.
  • The examples of India's role about Korea and Indo-China are the best example of India's faith in UN.
  • India played significant role in multilateral institutions and particularly in United Nations peacekeeping operations. India involved in International Control Commission in Vietnam.
  • India is one of the largest contributors of troops in INPFK.
  • In 1988, India presented to the 3rd Session of the UN General Assembly, devoted to Disarmament, an Action Plan for ushering in a Nuclear Weapons-Free and Non-Violent World Order.



Non Alignment Policy:

  • India, while conducting its external relations with Super Powers distanced itself aligning with either of the blocs, thereby pursuing independent foreign policy, and maintaining its sovereignty.
  • India’s policy also maintained aloofness in the politics of Super Powers without taking the side.
  • India adopted a closed-door economic policy, its foreign policy was fundamentally unaffected by the international economic environment prevailing at that time.



Align with USSR:

  • Ties between India and the Soviet Union initially were distant. Nehru had expressed admiration for the Soviet Union's rapid economic transformation, but the Soviet Union regarded India as a “tool of Anglo-American imperialism”.
  • After Josef Stalin's death in 1953, the Soviet Union expressed its hopes for "friendly cooperation" with India.
  • Nehru's state visit to the Soviet Union in June 1955 was the first of its kind for an Indian prime minister.
  • It was followed by the trip of Premier Nikolai Bulganin and General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev to India in November and December 1955.
  • During the India-Pakistan war of 1965, the Soviet Union acted with the United States in the UN Security Council to bring about a cease-fire.
  • India benefited at the time because the Soviet Union came to support the Indian position on Bangladesh and because the treaty acted as a deterrent to China.
  • The friendship treaty notwithstanding, Indira Gandhi did not alter important principles of Indian foreign policy.
  • India shifted its foreign policy to an alliance with the Soviet Union in 1971.
  • India and the Soviet Union concluded the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in August 1971.
  • But PM Gandhi made clear that, the Soviet Union would not receive any special privileges-much less naval base rights-in Indian ports, despite the major Soviet contribution to the construction of shipbuilding and ship-repair facilities at Bombay on the west coast and at Vishakhapatnam on the east coast.
  • Article 9 stipulates that in the event of “either being subjected to an attack or a threat thereof, the High Contracting Parties shall immediately enter into mutual consultations to remove such threat and to take appropriate effective measures to ensure peace and the security of their countries”
  • The alliance was successful in counterbalancing the US-China-Pakistan combination. 
  • Soviet Specialists helped develop India’s space programme. In 1975 India’s first satellite, Aryabhatt was launched from Kapustin Yar, a Russian rocket launch and development site in Astrakhan OblastusingaKosmos-3Mlaunch vehicle.
  • In 1984, Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma travelled into space as a crew member of Soyuz T-11 



India US Relations:

  • In October 13, 1949, Prime Minister Nehru Visits U.S.
  • December 9, 1959President Eisenhower Visits India
  • In 1962, Washington supports India in the conflict, recognizing the McMahon line as the border, and provides air assistance and arms. Until the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, strategic and military ties between Washington and Delhi remain close.
  • In 1963, Norman Borlaug travels to India to begin testing high-yield wheat varieties. His collaboration with Indian scientist Dr. M.S. Swaminathan results in the “Green Revolution,” and India goes from food scarcity to self-sufficiency within a decade.
  • January 1, 1978President Carter Visits India
  • In March 10, 1978, the Jimmy Carter administration enacts the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act, which requires countries not included in the Nonproliferation Treaty which includes India—to allow inspections of all nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency. India refuses, and Washington ends all nuclear assistance to Delhi.
  • Bhopal gas leak incident harms U.S.-India relations, and continues to complicate the bilateral relationship years after.