Does India’s foreign policy reflect her desire to be an important regional power? Argue your case with the Bangladesh war of 1971 as an example.
India has always been a nation with a rich history and culture. India holds an important place in Asia and is the biggest democracy in the world. India was rich in both demographic and natural resources. It was a large territory and had all the capabilities of becoming a leading nation. This aspiration was also reflected in the Bangladesh War of 1971.
When there was a split verdict in Pakistan with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto from West Pakistan and sheik Mujib ur Rahman winning the respective elections, Pakistan didn't support the win of Sheik Mujib and in an undemocratic move, it attacked East Pakistan. Reign of terror was unleashed. Hordes of refugees started inflowing to India and India had to extend help to the homeless and battle stricken refugees and had to provide them moral and material in their struggle for freedom. Pakistan accused India of conspiracy. While India was busy tackling refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan attacked India on the western borders. However, it could not catch the Indian army off guard. The Indian army, at its heels, gave an appropriate response, defeating the Pakistani army. The Pakistani army general surrendered in front of the Indian general and as many as 90,000 Pakistani soldiers were taken by India as prisoners of war. Bangladesh became a free nation.
Such exemplary courage and tactics of India were aspiring and showed the signs of a nation that wasn’t scared of any mishappenings occurring in its course. People saw this event as a moment of great glory and Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then Indian prime minister, gained popular support.
Thus, it can be said that India’s foreign policy reflected her desire to be an important regional power in the region.
Write ‘true’ or ‘false’ against each of these statements.
(a) Non-alignment allowed India to gain assistance both from USA and USSR.
(b) India’s relationship with her neighbours has been strained from the beginning.
(c) The cold war has affected the relationship between India and Pakistan.
(d) The Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1971 was the result of India’s closeness to the USA.
(a) The goal of India’s foreign policy in the period 1950-1964
i. Tibetan spiritual leader who crossed over to India
ii. Preservation of territorial integrity, sovereignty and economic development
(c) Bandung Conference
iii. Five principles of peaceful coexistence
(d) Dalai Lama
iv. Led to the establishment of NAM
India’s foreign policy was built around the principles of peace and cooperation. But India fought three wars in a space of ten years between 1962 and 1971. Would you say that this was a failure of the foreign policy? Or would you say that this was a result of international situation? Give reasons to support your answer.
Read this passage and answer the questions below:
“Broadly, non-alignment means not tying yourself off with military blocs….It means trying to view things, as far as possible, not from the military point of view, though that has to come in sometimes, but independently, and trying to maintain friendly relations with all countries.” — Jawaharlal Nehru
(a) Why does Nehru want to keep off military blocs?
(b) Do you think that the Indo-Soviet friendship treaty violated the principle of non-alignment? Give reasons for your answer.
(c) If there were no military blocs, do you think non-alignment would have been unnecessary?