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AS India before independence formed part of the British imperial possessions, the British Government decided her foreign policy. British interests were supposed to be also the interests of India. The foreign policy of England during the nineteenth century was directed to preserving her far-flung empire and safeguarding her world-wide economic interests. These objectives she tried to attain by a threefold strategy. One was to safeguard the routes to her imperial possessions. For this purpose she had to keep a strong navy equal to the combined navies of any two countries on the Continent. The center of the Empire was India. Therefore, the route to India was dotted with military bases in the Mediterranean—Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus. England also dominated Egypt, the Suez Canal, the Arab countries and the Persian Gulf.
A threat to Britain's imperial possessions and her economic interests could come only from the industrially advanced countries of Europe. To avoid this contingency was the purpose of the second plank in British foreign policy: to keep the balance of power in Europe.
But Russia was both a European and Asiatic power, with expansionist designs in Asia. Therefore the third plank of British foreign policy was to contain Russia within her Asiatic borders.
After she won independence India had to evolve a foreign policy of her own, devoted to her own interests. However, it would be wrong to say that before then India had no foreign policy aims apart from those of Imperial Britain. The Indian National Congress, from the time the independence movement gained strength under Gandhi's leadership, developed its own foreign policy and this was generally accepted by the country. Naturally it had little to do with what is strictly called international diplomacy, carried on through envoys and other agents accredited for the purpose. India had none of these. Indian foreign policy before independence was confined to the enunciation of basic principles which would guide the country's diplomacy after independence. These principles, influenced as a matter of course by the principles that directed our whole struggle, were based on non-violence and truth. These are moral principles, but translated into political terms they mean disarmament and open diplomacy, principles enunciated by President Woodrow Wilson during World War I. India stood for the freedom of all nations and peoples and against all colonial or racial domination of one people over another; therefore she sympathized with all national struggles against imperialism. She stood for progressive disarmament and for world peace, supervised by some international organization wherein all nations participated equally.
After independence these principles were reiterated. At that time, the new expansionism of Communist Russia had not yet shown itself in its true colors. Soon, differences arose among the Allies who had fought the war against the Nazi and Fascist powers and Japan. Soviet Russia had been allowed to occupy the countries of Eastern Europe from which it had driven the Nazi armies with the help of local liberation forces. As these countries had resisted German occupation, the Russian occupation, like that of France by the Western Allies, was considered temporary. But soon it was apparent that Russia had no intention of withdrawing her armies and allowing these countries to manage their own affairs. On the contrary, through political coups supported by Russian armed forces, she imposed Communist régimes on them, subservient to her. The result was the cold war. The Western powers sought to strengthen themselves against expansionist Communist Russia by forming military alliances and pacts—NATO, SEATO and the Baghdad Pact. As a countermove, the Russians made so-called treaty arrangements with the satellite states—the Warsaw Pact. But the countries signatory to the Pact were not free agents, as was made plain when there was a general rising against the Russian-dominated Communist government in Hungary. A short-lived régime there, supported by the popular will, wanted to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and remain neutral in the cold war. Soviet Russia would not allow this. One cannot imagine coercive action being taken by the dominant Western partners against any country that wanted to withdraw from one of the Western pacts!
In the present international circumstances, India, following her basic principles, has taken a position of non-alignment or neutrality as between the two power blocs, the Western and the Russian. But the Prime Minister of India has often said that Indian neutrality is not passive but dynamic. He means that India will freely express her opinion in international affairs and show her sympathy and solidarity with victims of aggression and injustice.
In spite of the fact that independent India was new to international diplomacy, her prestige in international affairs was somehow high, especially among Asio-African nations. This was due in part to the size of her territory, her geographical position and her vast population. It was also due to the unique character of the Indian struggle for independence, which put confidence and courage in colonial peoples everywhere by demonstrating that even an unarmed nation, if determined, could win its freedom. It was further felt that both before and after independence India's basic principles were just and humane. Though Western democracies mouthed the same principles, they were suspect, since they still held in an iron grip the remnants of their empires. The United States was not imperial in the West European sense, but it was thought to desire domination of other nations through its economic power. Its good faith was further suspect because of its alliances with imperialistic democracies and with non-Communist totalitarian and military régimes whose actions it could not control. The doctrine recently enunciated by President Eisenhower of "filling the vacuum" created by the dwindling influences of England and France in West Asia caused further distrust of American political motives. Both in Korea and Indochina the Western nations supported what Asians considered reactionary régimes. Naturally, therefore, Asio-African nations looked to free India for sympathy, support and guidance. Their representatives in the United Nations often consulted their Indian colleagues before making up their minds about policy decisions.
India's prestige in international affairs was enhanced when it was offered, and accepted, the chairmanship of international commissions appointed after the deadlock in Korea and Indochina. The big powers which had indirectly come to grips in these two regions knew that any further fighting might lead to a third world war. They found a way out by consenting to cease-fire agreements on the basis of the status quo and the appointment of international commissions to solve immediate problems. But they were not willing to play the game to bring about peace in these countries and their ultimate unification. The international commissions formed under Indian chairmanship therefore could not discharge their responsibilities effectively and in course of time they seem to have faded away.
Indian prestige was further enhanced when an Indian, a woman at that, was elected President of the U.N. General Assembly. It was not generally realized that owing to the jealousies and rivalries of the big powers this position of prestige, without power, could go only to prominent politicians in militarily weak countries.
Whatever may have been the failings of the Congress Party government in internal affairs, it could always with some justification show that it had added to the prestige and standing of India in the international world. But all this prestige did not advance any vital interests of India or diminish tension on her borders. Our relations with Pakistan are as strained as ever. The Kashmir issue remains internationally confused. In the case of the tiny Portuguese imperial possessions in India, no progress has been made; indeed the situation has deteriorated. On her northern frontier, India allowed the annihilation of the buffer kingdom of Tibet without a protest; we have recognized the legitimacy of the Chinese claim there. The question of the citizenship of Indian nationals domiciled for decades in Ceylon still hangs fire. There is no improvement in our relations with South Africa.
Why is this so? It is because the Indian Government thought that the whole business of diplomacy consisted in enunciating the principles of international policy. But international politics is not concerned merely with enunciation of abstract principles. It is very much concerned with international diplomacy, strategy and tactics. To use the old metaphor, it will not do to lose sight of the trees in contemplating the beauty of the forest, for it is the trees, after all, which yield useful fruit and timber. To take a historical example: President Wilson during World War I enunciated important moral and political principles to regulate international affairs, but after the war his weak diplomatic strategy failed and paved the way to World War II.
It is true that the international complications which faced India, and still face her today, especially on her borders, are not of her creation. They are historical legacies. But what is successful diplomacy? It is not that a country should enjoy international prestige, desirable as that may be, but that it should be able to safeguard its vital interests, without recourse to war. At least it should be able to reduce tensions. Successful diplomacy should counteract the adverse effects of historical circumstances.
Another condition of successful diplomacy is to take appropriate action at the proper time. In politics, national or international, opportunities once missed are generally missed for good, or at least do not arise again in the same favorable form. The nation which fails to take advantage of a favorable opportunity has often to pay the full price of its mistakes, even as the merchant must for his miscalculated deals. The law of Karma is inexorable.
Let us take the example of the China-Tibet conflict. In resolution after resolution, the Indian National Congress before and after independence had denounced the domination of one nation over another. India never recognized unjust historical claims. If she had, her own struggle for independence would have had little justification. So it was, then, that immediately after independence when we invited to our country a conference of Asian countries, Tibet was included as a free nation. When the so-called Chinese liberation army marched into Tibet our government rightly protested. In surprise our Prime Minister asked: "From whom is Tibet to be liberated?" For this protest, Communist China dubbed us "the running dogs of imperialism." I am afraid we yielded to the usual Communist bullying tactics and allowed China a free hand in Tibet. Perhaps we were misinformed by our representative there about the nature of Chinese Communism. However that may be, we had no right to give our conscience a sop by taking refuge under the historic right of suzerainty claimed by Communist China. This suzerainty, as we know, or as students of history we ought to have known, was imposed upon Tibet by powerful imperial countries but was never accepted by the people or rulers of Tibet.
The question often asked is, what could India have done? We could not possibly go to war on this issue; but the alternative to war is not acquiescence in injustice. We denounced the aggression of Britain, France and Israel against Egypt, but this did not involve us in war. Today we side with the Algerian struggle for independence, but this has not meant the cutting of our normal and friendly relations with France. Acquiescence in aggression amounts to appeasement, which merely whets the appetite of the aggressor, as was seen at the time of Munich. England was not prepared for war with Hitler. But Chamberlain's mistake was to acquiesce in Hitler's aggression against Czechoslovakia by dedaring it a distant country about which the English people knew little. In the case of China, we could have recognized the de facto Communist rule on Chinese soil and continued diplomatic and trade relations with the new government. We have such relations with France in spite of Algeria and with Russia in spite of Hungary. We have them with England even though she has not freed all her colonies. We have not ceased to be a member of the British Commonwealth, though some of its members are not friendly to us and indulge in racial discrimination against us. It is usual to recognize de facto governments, within their own borders, whatever their origin. However, when the means used to acquire power are of a doubtful character, the de facto and the de jure recognition should not be accorded immediately, especially the latter. One must wait and see if the new régime is accepted by the bulk of the people, without undue coercion. It was not even amiss to advocate the cause of Communist China's membership in the United Nations. It would not have been the first or only imperialist power represented in that august body. But we should never have put the seal of our approval on the rape of a virtually independent nation. India herself renounced her extraterritorial rights over Tibet, acquired under British imperial rule. We renounced these rights because we believed in the freedom of nations in spite of historical accidents to the contrary. India did not renounce these rights in favor of China but of Tibet. Even though we were assured that, unlike Soviet Russia, Communist China was democratic and progressive, we should have known that a régime that insists on unjust historical rights, derived from previous governments which it considered imperialist and reactionary, cannot be liberal or progressive. In their international affairs the Communist régimes in both Russia and China follow the expansionist and imperialist policies of the Tsars and of the Chinese emperors and Chiang Kai-shek.
In any case, by 1954, when the treaty between India and China was signed, the character of this régime was, or should have been, clear to the Indian Government. Yet by that treaty we confirmed the suzerainty of China. Since 1950, mine has been the solitary voice raised in the Indian Parliament against the recognition of the suzerainty of China over Tibet and in favor of Tibetan independence. Speaking in the House in 1958 on Panchsheel, I said that it "was born in sin in as much as by it we put the seal of our approval on the annihilation of a free nation." Subsequent tragic events have justified my criticism. Our recognition of Chinese suzerainty over Tibet is in clear contradiction to what our Prime Minister has often said: "Where freedom is menaced or justice threatened, or where aggression takes place, we cannot and shall not be neutral." This is dynamic neutrality. In the case of Tibet we have not been even neutral. We have dynamically sided with the aggressor.
Another example of the failure of our diplomacy is provided by the way we have handled the Kashmir problem. According to the "Instrument of Transfer of Power" from Britain to India and Pakistan, the rulers of the Indian States were free to accede either to Pakistan or India. The Kashmir ruler acceded to India. Legally, therefore, the integration of Kashmir with India was complete. Yet we made it a condition precedent to our accepting the offer of accession that power be handed over to the representatives of the people and that the Prince occupy the position of a constitutional ruler. This was done. Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of the popular party representing the people of Kashmir, was asked to form a democratic government. Thus not only was the condition laid down by the British Parliament about the accession of a princely state fulfilled, but India went further and helped in the establishment of a democratic régime in Kashmir. Yet we went out of our way to say that the accession of Kashmir would not be complete until a plebiscite had been taken. This was to create confusion about our legal and moral rights. Further, though we rightly described the action taken against the raiders from the North-West Frontier as a police action, we ordered a cease-fire without clearing the whole of Kashmir of outside raiders who were responsible for looting, murder, arson, rape and other atrocities on the people of Kashmir, both Muslims and Hindus. A police action does not come to an end by a cease-fire agreement with any foreign power, even at the instance of the United Nations. It is a matter of internal law and order, which cannot be ended unless the whole territory is cleared of the raiders from outside. However, if after the cease-fire we still stood by the promise of a plebiscite, we should have advised the Kashmir administration to arrange it in that part over which it had control, as soon as the situation was normal as regards law and order. But we did not do this.
Soon the Kashmir government under Sheikh Abdullah decided to convene a Constituent Assembly to frame a constitution for the region. This Assembly was obliged to review the question of accession even though it had already been decided legally. The Constituent Assembly's confirmation of the earlier decision should have laid at rest the question of a plebiscite. However, the Indian Prime Minister even then declared that the calling of the Assembly was without prejudice to the issue of a plebiscite.
No wonder that nations which are not necessarily prejudiced against India for reasons of their own misunderstand our position in Kashmir. Our representatives in the United Nations have laid most stress on India's legal rights there. The fact is that there are other more weighty, practical and humanitarian considerations for not disturbing the present position. If it is disturbed, there will again be a movement of population both ways and India and Pakistan will have a fresh refugee problem to face, even before the old one is satisfactorily solved. Further, the incorporation of Kashmir in Pakistan will be justified only on the assumption that religion is the basis of citizenship and nationality. The two-nation theory based on religion is reactionary and was never accepted by India. If it is accepted, every Muslim in India will be an alien in his country and every Hindu in Pakistan will be an alien there. Pakistan may welcome this, but a modern democratic nation like India can never accept such an undemocratic, reactionary and obscurantist solution. It will be the repudiation of our political principles, nullifying all our past. It will upset the whole of our mental thinking. India will have to make a new constitution. It will be in a sense totalitarian in as much as a large part of the community will not enjoy full citizenship rights. Further, India cannot and should not countenance a solution which will make Indian Muslims aliens in their home. This position can be better appreciated by the modern mind than insistence mainly on our legal rights.
There is always a danger in overemphasizing moral and ideological principles in international affairs. There are bound to be contradictions in the actual conduct of nations in dealing with each other. Our Prime Minister is never tired of repeating that "War solves no problems." Yet the expenditure on the Indian Army has been progressively increasing. As I once said in the Indian Parliament, supposing Pakistan was foolish enough to attack India, or if today China did so, would India fight? If she did, it would mean war. Would such a war be fought by India in the belief that war solves no problems? Armies are not maintained or military expenses incurred or wars undertaken on the assumption that war solves no problems. Rather the assumption is that, as long as the world has found no peaceful way of redressing international wrongs, war, in the last resort, is the only way of vindicating international justice and maintaining national dignity and independence. Today no nation maintaining an army which swallows a large part of its revenues, sometimes 50 percent and more, can with any logic or honesty hold that war solves no problems.
We also often say that the cold war is the result of fear. This is true. But we cannot talk too often of it, if we ourselves are afraid of Pakistan and of China. We cannot make light of the Russian fear of the United States, or vice versa. Even more, we cannot blame the Western European nations if they are afraid of Russia or if today the Asian nations fear expansionist China. Military power even for defense is born of fear. Only a determined nation, believing in non-violence, prepared for annihilation but unwilling to yield to injustice and tyranny, can really be fearless. This is what Gandhiji taught us, and he was right. It is no use reminding other nations of the faults from which we ourselves are not immune. Moral platitudes can be mouthed by politicians once in a while, but if they are repeated frequently, without appropriate action, their authors cannot escape the charge of hypocrisy.
For instance, the United States claims that if it ever goes to war against Communist powers it will be in defense of democracy and the free world. Do we believe these high and altruistic assertions when in pursuit of them the United States enters into alliances with imperialists and dictators? Would it not be better for the United States to say that it wants to safeguard its national freedom and is afraid of the expansionist designs of the Soviet Union? In that case, alliances with military dictators and imperialists to strengthen itself, however opportunistic, will not look so incongruous and hypocritical as they do today. If we are reluctant to believe in the pious utterances of others, we may be sure that such utterances by us, unsupported by appropriate action, will not be believed. Repeated platitudes will only confirm the belief, now so general, that the words of politicians have no meaning. They are blub, blub, blub. If words have no meaning, communication becomes difficult.
Take again the Panchsheel. Its principles if analyzed would amount to maintaining the status quo in international affairs, however inequitable. Neither the aggrieved nations nor the aggressor nations want or can maintain this status quo. For instance, there can be no peaceful coexistence between nations which have diametrically opposite apostolic missions to discharge and which want to do it through violence, war and crooked diplomacy. Nor can a conquered nation consent to peaceful coexistence with its imperial masters of whatever hue. Algeria can have no peaceful coexistence with France, nor for that matter can the Arab nations. Hungary cannot live in a state of peaceful coexistence with Russia or Tibet with China. The Portuguese dictator takes refuge under the Panchsheel doctrine of peaceful coexistence to deny the right of India in Goa or of the inhabitants thereof. Peaceful coexistence in such cases will be that of the lamb with lion, when the lamb is safe in its belly.
The same applies to other principles of Panchsheel. One cannot respect the sovereignty of imperial nations over their colonies, yet international law recognizes it as a fact. The independence of nations must be recognized and realized before there can be peaceful coexistence or mutual respect of each other's sovereignty. The Panchsheel principles are not moral imperatives that can be adhered to unilaterally. In international affairs, even moral principles have no unilateral application; much less can Panchsheel, which depends upon mutuality of rights and obligations. It is therefore no wonder that recently while on a visit to Nepal the Indian Prime Minister when questioned about Panchsheel was constrained to say, in effect, "Where is Panchsheel? It cannot be worked in the present international situation. It has become merely a slogan."
When all nations believe in war, in the ultimate, as the solvent of international problems, there is something to be said in favor of the doctrine of "brinkmanship," enunciated by the late Secretary of State, Mr. Dulles. As a matter of fact this is no new doctrine. It has been enunciated by politicians everywhere when they say, "Believe in God but keep your powder dry." On the basis of violence, no other kind of diplomacy is likely to succeed.
Unfortunately most nations have not powder enough to keep dry. It is also true that even the most powerful nation today cannot defend itself singlehandedly. It is therefore natural for nations to enter into military alliances for mutual protection. But there are countries which enter these alliances not for the purposes of defense but to safeguard their imperial interests or work their designs on their neighbors. For instance, Pakistan, as she has often said, has only one enemy—India. But for India, she would be neutral like most of the Asiatic countries which have recently achieved independence. France uses the military help she receives from the United States against Algeria. Portugal is in NATO to safeguard her imperial possessions. But in the confused international world of today this is inevitable, when both parties to the cold war want to strengthen themselves by any alliance, however doubtful.
It nevertheless is good that, in spite of any strength they might gain from military alliances, some nations have chosen to remain neutral. They do so for valid and weighty reasons. Not only do they have no expansionist designs, but they also feel that if they ally themselves with more powerful nations, and especially if they allow them military bases (ultimately it will come to that), they will impair their independence. Further, they believe that if more nations are linked in military alliances there is a greater danger of world conflagration, which, with the present nuclear weapons, may destroy humanity. If the number of neutral nations increases there will be a greater possibility of settling international problems through negotiations and conferences, below or at the summit. It will also mean more and more reliance on the good offices of the United Nations, thereby strengthening that organization. Even as it is, its services are utilized when the rival big powers feel that any further fighting in which they are directly or indirectly involved, if not speedily stopped, will produce complications leading to world war. This happened in Korea and Indochina and during the Suez and other West Asian troubles. In any case, regional military pacts weaken the standing and authority of the United Nations.
The underdeveloped Asio-African countries which have recently achieved freedom have so many political, economic and social problems of their own that they feel they must confine their attention to the solution of these rather than dabble in partisan international politics. They do not want to annoy any of the big powers. Furthermore, nations which have recently cast off the Western yoke are not quite sure that the colonialists have altogether abandoned the idea of regaining their old dominant position, given the opportunity. They therefore utilize the anti-imperialist assertions of Russia to keep in check fresh ambitions of the West. At the same time they are not enamored of the political and economic setup in Communist Russia or China. They therefore remain neutral. Further, they do not believe in the apostolic mission of reforming the world that both sides claim for themselves, one more fanatically and more aggressively than the other. No nation has been commissioned by God or His substitute, Historical Necessity, to reform the world.
These are good reasons for neutrality as between the two blocs, and they appeal to India. Therefore the policy of the Indian Government in this respect is generally accepted by the nation.
But with all these advantages, there is no guarantee of noninterference, direct or indirect, by the power blocs if they feel that their real or fancied interests are affected. Under these circumstances the neutrality of uncommitted nations can be useful to themselves and to the world only if it is born of strength of conviction and not out of weakness or opportunist considerations. In the latter case they cannot stick to it under strain from one side or the other. Their moral influence can count only when they refuse to yield to the threats and bullying tactics of powerful nations. There must be no compromise on clear issues, involving questions of international justice and peace. It must be understood that no nation can keep intact its independence and whatever moral influence it has without taking risks. To suppose that right conduct, whether in the individual or the group, involves no risks is not true to the facts of life and historical experience. As we have said, the risks involved in appeasement in the long run are greater. Where physical resistance is not possible, one must not shrink from moral resistance to evil. That is the only way to save one's liberty and self-respect. Unfortunately, the world is so constituted that right conduct does not save one from material loss and suffering. In the struggle for independence, even though it was non-violent, India had to take great risks at critical times; and she did not hesitate to take them. Neutral nations have to resist the temptation of inclining to one side or the other to gain temporary advantage. They must be impartial. They must avoid any action which may undermine the confidence of other nations in their neutrality and do everything that will strengthen it.
It is natural that India should want to be friendly towards her Communist neighbors. Neighbors are most likely to have conflicting interests and to find ready cause for a fight. In Europe, West and East, I have been told by every country that it was friendly to India. My reply usually was: "Why not? We are not neighbors." That India should be anxious for friendship with Communist Russia and China, in spite of difference in ideology, should not be difficult to understand; but this anxiety should not blind us to whatever they say or do, particularly where the freedom and interests of other nations are concerned. For instance, our condemnation of Russian action in Hungary in 1956 was so halting and belated that it lost its merit. We were more forthright in condemning British, French and Israeli action in Egypt, and also American and British action in West Asia, when troops were landed in Lebanon and Jordan. In the case of Tibet as I said earlier, our attitude from the beginning has been in contradiction with our avowed principles. It has had the appearance of weakness and opportunism, of purchasing Chinese friendship at the cost of Tibet.
On occasions, we have allowed our guests from Communist countries to denounce Western democracies, with whom we are on friendly terms, from our soil. We cannot stop nations from denouncing each other. But if they do so they must do it from their own country and not from ours. It is possible for nations so attacked to feel that we share the views of our guests. In any case, they naturally feel aggrieved.
In assessing historical events, we should not forget contemporary facts. Whatever the world has suffered and is suffering from overseas imperialism, we cannot ignore the fact that, for whatever reasons or on whatever pretext, a new variety of imperialism has made its appearance. It nibbles at its neighbors and swallows them. It waits for some time, brief or long according to circumstances, to pounce on other victims. It has not the merit of being democratic even at home. In a Western country the existence of democracy at home mitigates to some extent the rigors of its domination in colonial lands. In England, Labor as a party, and some of its leaders individually, advocated democratic reforms in India. Ultimately, the Labor Party not only supported the cause of Indian independence but negotiated on that basis. In Communist countries there can be no vocal public opinion against their aggression or tyranny. Not a single voice was raised or could be raised in Communist Russia or China against the aggression in Hungary or Tibet and the atrocities committed in these hapless and helpless lands. Within democratic France there is a section of socialists and the whole bloc of Communists who advocate Algerian independence. (In non-Communist countries, the Communists, though not very ardent patriots, are always the most passionate advocates of civil liberties and the freedom of the colonial peoples.) In the imperialist democracies, usually, when civil liberties are denied to colonial people or there is executive tyranny, some groups or individuals in parliament protest and rouse public opinion. This does not and cannot happen under dictatorships—Fascist, Communist or military. In the colonies of Western democracies, also, the legal system is generally modelled on the pattern of democracy at home, which affords some protection against executive highhandedness and tyranny. The legal system in totalitarian countries or their dependencies affords the individual no protection against political and executive highhandedness.
Toward the danger of this new imperialism the Indian attitude has not been as strong and unequivocal as it was toward the older imperialism from which India herself suffered. The old imperialism is thoroughly discredited and is on the decline. It no longer gets support from progressives and intellectuals even in imperialist countries. This does not mean that it does not weigh heavily on those who suffer from it. But the new Communist imperialism, now fast beginning to show its paws and claws, is more dangerous. It embraces in its vise both the home country and the dependencies. Moreover, it is imposed in the name of high principles and noble ends which may have an appeal for many intellectuals and idealists the world over.
As matters stand today, a neutral nation cannot afford to lean heavily on large loans from outside for the development of its internal economy, if it wants to maintain its independence of opinion and action. The anxiety for large loans has sometimes put India in an awkward position. Often when our representatives have gone to the West, especially to America, they have impressed upon their audiences the idea that if large loans are not advanced to India she will be overwhelmed by Communism; the great bastion of democracy in Asia will thus be destroyed. This appears to be a humiliating position for a great nation to take. If Communism is bad, India must resist it, loans or no loans. Unarmed India did not rely on foreign powers or foreign financial aid in order to win its independence. Today it cannot rely upon huge foreign loans to meet not only its economic needs but also an internal Communist danger. Furthermore, Western nations understandably do not appreciate our criticizing them, even on issues which do not adversely affect our vital interests, at the same time that we ask them for large loans. An independent nation which wants to maintain its right to free criticism and action will do best to rely upon its own resources for its economic development.
To sum up, then, the principles upon which the Indian foreign policy of non-alignment is based are correct. They are generally accepted by the country and are in keeping with the genius of our people. If more nations will accept the same attitude there will be a definite lessening of international tension. It is in details of diplomacy that our foreign policy has been weak and has sometimes gone wrong. Our mistakes have to some extent impaired our moral standing as a neutral nation and have often injured our interests in various ways. But, after all, India is new to diplomacy, and the world situation is extremely complicated.