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Indian Diplomacy

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Nehru was the symbol and the maker of Indian diplomacy after 1947 and the key spokesman on foreign affairs for the Indian Congress Party before 1947. His mental outlook and approach yielded a mixed legacy in foreign affairs. (1) His move towards the USSR produced policy-development. (2) His contradictory impulses institutionalised ambivalence in the Indian decision process concerning nuclear affairs, military policy and Pakistan policy. (3) His China policy produced policy-failure. Finally (4) his attitude towards India's smaller South Asian neighbours and Southeast Asian states produced policy-neglect. After Nehru, Indian diplomacy became power-oriented and interventionist; and the level of action shifted from the primacy of the global plane to that of regional and domestic planes. Indian diplomatic theory and practice in the Nehru and the post-Nehru eras reveal the presence of six competing approaches or sub-cultures. The debate between their assumptions and implications has not been settled in Indian thinking. Hence Indian diplomatic theory and practice are still evolving. Nehru's foreign affairs record deserves critical scrutiny in part to correct the mythology about his diplomacy and in part to get a true measure of his bitter-sweet legacy.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada


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