India in World Affairs
India was an original member of the League of Nations (1920), founded by Woodrow Wilson. India attended the conference at San Francisco, created the United Nations (1945). Nehru organized an Asian Conference early in 1947. Nehru and others, who took part in the Conference, felt that India’s freedom would be complete only when other nations in Asia got freedom. The Conference helped to mobilize world opinion in favour of Indonesia in her struggle for freedom.
When India attained freedom, there were two power blocs— the US and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies. In. December 1947 Nehru said, “We propose to keep on the closest terms of friendship with other nations unless they themselves create difficulties.” The three basic features of India’s foreign policy are (a) Preservation of world, peace through peaceful methods. (b) Friendly relations with all nations (c) a policy of non-alignment.
The policy of non-alignment does not mean neutrality. The non-aligned are greatly interested in international issues. They look at them dispassionately and call a spade a spade. India has always expressed her views on international disputes without any fear. When the North Koreans crossed the 38th parallel in June 1950, India was among the first to denounce it as aggression. According to Nehru, this -policy of non-alignment is inherent in the circumstances of India, in the conditioning of the ‘Indian Union during the struggle for freedom. India stresses on “Panchsheel”. This was first formulated (April 1954) in the preamble to the agreement between India and China in regard to Tibet.
India can be proud of her role in promoting world peace In carrying out the armistice terms, India sent five thousand soldiers to Korea, to supervise the repatriation of prisoners. In Indo-China, it provided military and civilian inspection teams. It sent an infantry battalion to the UN Emergency Forces for guard duty in connection with the Suez Canal crisis (1956). It contributed military observers to Lebanon and a brigade of troops to the Congo on behalf of the UN. India made earnest efforts to secure the release of the captive American airmen in China. It sent about five thousand soldiers to Somalia to join the peace-keeping forces of the UN. It also sent a Medical team to Somalia.
In the Bandung Conference of Asian countries, held in 1955, India played an active role to evolve a policy of anti-colonialism and imperialism. The Afro-Asian group in the UN exerted great influence for the freedom of Asian and African countries. It denounced in strong terms the apartheid followed by South Africa. India and other members of the NAM want to see the UN Security Council expanded, to allow greater Third World representation.
India was one of the first countries to subscribe to the limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed in August 1963. In December 1986 the General Assembly of the UN, acting on an Indian resolution, called for a freeze of nuclear weapons. At present India does not want to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. This is mainly due to the fact that two of her neighbours are nuclear capable nations.
India has persistently advocated the cause of the Palestinians. When Israel was formed in 1948, more than 900000 Palestine Arabs were forced to leave their motherland. India always insisted on solving their problem amicably and expeditiously.
India is also an active member of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation). India believes that such an association will help to promote peace and good-will among the member nations. Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldive are the other nations in it.