During its first years as a republic India figured increasingly in international affairs, especially in deliberations and activities of the UN. Nehru became world famous as the leading spokesman for nonalignment, the idea that other countries should refuse to take sides in a mounting ideological and political struggle between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States known as the Cold War. Indian determination to avoid entanglement with either of these powers became increasingly apparent after the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-1953). Although the Indian government approved the UN Security Council resolution invoking military sanctions against North Korea, no Indian troops were committed to the cause, and Nehru dispatched notes on the situation to the United States and the Soviet Union, repeatedly trying to restore peace in Korea. In its initial attempts at mediation the Indian government suggested that admitting China to the UN was a prerequisite to a solution of the Korean crisis. Even after China intervened in the Korean War—and despite India’s differences with China over Tibet, which China had invaded in 1950—India adhered to this view. However, it was rejected by a majority of the UN Security Council.
Nehru was unable to resolve the hostility with Pakistan, rooted in the Indian nationalists’ opposition to the creation of Pakistan and in the terrible bloodshed that accompanied the partition of the two countries at independence. The division of Jammu and Kashm?r along the 1949 cease-fire line left each country claiming important territory held by the other. Diplomatic efforts at the UN and at bilateral meetings between Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan, proved unsuccessful.
Although India had agreed to hold a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashm?r state, it claimed that the plebiscite was dependent on the withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the region, and that the vote of the Jammu and Kashm?r state legislature in the mid-1950s to integrate fully into India made a plebiscite unnecessary. Pakistan claimed that a mutual withdrawal of forces was necessary, and that one party to an agreement cannot unilaterally change it.
In the late 1950s India began to conflict with China over the ownership of some largely uninhabited land along India’s northeastern border in Arun?chal Pradesh and in the hill areas of northeastern Jammu and Kashm?r.
Until that time India’s relations with China had been generally amiable, and Nehru believed that the territorial dispute could be solved through friendly negotiations. The difficulty of mapping the area accurately, and the conflicts between the security interests of the two countries, however, proved to be thornier problems than Nehru had anticipated. By 1959 the dispute had begun heating up, and popular pressure not to yield territory to China grew. Nehru’s government sent military patrols into the disputed territory.
China’s answer was to attack in both disputed areas in October 1962, quickly routing an ill-prepared Indian army, and threatening to move virtually unopposed to the plains of Assam.
In desperation, India sought Western and military aid, especially from the United States, which the administration of President John F. Kennedy willingly provided. The fighting ended when China unilaterally announced a cease-fire in late November, continuing to occupy some of the territories it had invaded. The crisis precipitated a drastic overhaul of Indian defenses, including massive arms procurement and the modernization of its armed forces. Also, Defense Minister V. K. Krishna Menon, a powerful neutralist, was ousted from the government at the end of October. This in turn alarmed Pakistan, concerned that its small size and small economic capacity compared with India would condemn it to a permanent position of inferiority on the subcontinent.Nehru died in May 1964. He was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri, who was seen both at home and abroad as a weak successor. Unrest in Kashm?r combined with Pakistan’s belief in India’s weakness, resulted in a short war between the two countries in September 1965. The Soviet Union brokered a cease-fire, and literally hours after it was signed in January 1966, Shastri died in Toshkent, Uzbekistan. "India" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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