UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

In search of peace and security - a study of Indian foreign policy in the cold war Kavic, Lorne John


Since India became independent in August, 1947, the Indian government has pursued a 'neutralist' policy in world affairs which has raised some doubts and difficulties, more particularly in the Western non-communist camp. India's foreign policy, both generally and in its various manifestations, has been frequently subject to bitter criticism and has even been condemned as immoral and motivated by a pro-Communist bias. Such an analysis is, of course, entirely out of focus. It is hoped that this thesis will help dispel some of the doubts and clear away some of the misinterpretations concerning the policies that the Indian government has pursued on the world stage. Various aspects of Indian foreign policy have been discussed by a number of writers both in general and in specific degrees; however, to this writer's knowledge, no one has attempted to view India's foreign policy in the manner treated in this thesis. Within the limits placed by the proximity to the events discussed, this study tries to survey objectively India's foreign policy in the cold war. Throughout this study India's foreign policy has been discussed in its various manifestations. A country's foreign policy naturally derives from a complex set of historical, geographic, economic and emotional factors, and thus the context within which Indian foreign policy was formulated and the determinants upon which it is based are examined in the first Chapter. Then in Chapter Two, which describes India's approach to the problem of security, are discussed the various efforts made by the Indian government to satisfy, within the bounds permitted by the country's resources, the strategic requirements of the State. Recognizing that India's real security depends on removing tension from the world, however, India has sought the removal of Western controls over dependent Afro-Asian peoples as a concrete step towards peace. The third Chapter discusses this, from India's initial out-spoken championship of the cause of dependent peoples to a more recent moderate approach caused by a realization that Western imperialism is a 'dead issue' and that Communist imperialism is the greater threat. In recognition that the division of the world into power blocs increases the chances of war, the Indian government has striven to ease tension through furthering the ideals of the United Nations Charter, as illustrated in Chapter Four by her opposition to power blocs and to alliances, her advocacy of disarmament, and her championship of Red China's right to a seat at the United Nations. Aware of the delicate peace existing between East and West and realizing that a world war could result from any dispute involving the rival interests of the two power blocs, India has sought to prevent such an occurrence through dealing with each issue on its intrinsic merits. India also understands that the only alternative to coexistence is co-destruction, and she has sought to instill this realization in both the Communist and non-Communist camps. These two aspects of Indian foreign policy are discussed in Chapters Five and Six. Finally, a brief attempt is made to summarize India's foreign policy and to arrive at some general conclusions. I gratefully acknowledge the constant advice and guidance of Dr. P. Harnetty whose constructive suggestions facilitated the writing of this paper.

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