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The illusion of influence : Soviet-Indian strategic relations in the 1970's Robinson, Peter C.


This study is concerned with analyzing aspects of the influence relationship that has grown up between the U.S.S.R. and India since the late 1950's. Its chief concentration is upon the ability of the U.S.S.R. to exert constraining influence upon the direction of Indian foreign policy making in the present decade. In the past there has been a tendency for Western analysts to greatly overestimate the degree of Soviet influence on Third World countries. In large part, this has been a result of an undue concentration on the range of diplomatic tools available to the Soviet Union without sufficient attention being paid to the concrete returns from their usage. This study, utilizing a framework of enquiry in part suggested by Rubinstein in Red Star on the Nile, therefore, concentrates on an analysis of the effect of Soviet influence techniques on issues in the area of Indo-Soviet strategic interaction. The study proceeds through detailed analysis of a small number of the more significant contentious issues that have arisen in recent years between the two countries. It assumes that by tracing the development of these issues and the manner in which they were resolved (or otherwise), one can gain a very very real indication of the effectiveness of Soviet attempts at influence building. The substantive chapters of the study involve detailed analysis of Indo-Soviet interaction during the Bangladesh crisis of 1971, the Russian attempts to gain Indian endorsement of Brezhnev's plan for collective security in Asia, and recent trends in Indo-Soviet strategic relations, including analysis of India's military procurement policies and its diplomatic relations with Pakistan, China and the United States. This last case study is then supplemented by analysis of recent trends in Indo-Soviet economic cooperation. On the basis of the evidence provided by these case studies it is suggested that Soviet influence upon Indian foreign policy decision making in this decade has been, and will likely continue to be, very insubstantial.

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