United States Information Service (India) Indira Gandhi and Jacqueline Kennedy in New Delhi, March 14, 1962.
Foreign Affairs From The Anthology: India at 70
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India and the World

This year India celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of her independence. These have been years of change and turmoil everywhere. Deep surging forces have torn asunder our past colonial feudal structures and have combined with the tides sweeping the world to give our post- independence evolution its unique qualities. But our own unvarying concerns have been two: to safeguard our independence and to overcome the blight of poverty.

Many crises and dangers from within and without have obstructed our path but we have taken them in our stride. Contrary to predictions, the country has not broken into warring states, We have not succumbed to civil anarchy. There has been no widespread starvation; on the contrary, we have become self-sufficient in cereals. We have not jettisoned our free institutions, but instead gained greater political cohesion and economic strength. This does not justify complacency but it does give us confidence that the Indian people can rise to whatever challenge the future may hold. Under Mahatma Gandhi's inspiration, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress movement formulated a set of principles which have served as our guidelines and which are still valid for us. These are democracy, socialism and secularism so far as our internal affairs are concerned, and nonalignment in our external relations. One or the other of these principles has been the subject of criticism within the country and abroad. But generally speaking, internally there is a more mature awareness of the forces and compulsions of our age, and these principles have come to form the essential elements of a national program accepted by virtually all sections of our people, even though there are differences of interpretation and regarding tactics. The massive majority with which the Congress Party was returned to power in the fifth general election in 1971 and in the state elections in 1972 is an indication of this.

What holds people together is not religion, not race, not language, not even a commitment to an economic system. It is shared experience and

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