chapter  2
India in world politics
Pages 19

India’s independence in 1947 coincided with the onset of the Cold War. Having just secured independence from Britain after more than a century of struggle, India was anxious to preserve its freedom of action at the international level. As such, it adopted the doctrine of non-alignment and refused to join either the American or the Soviet alliance. It was hardly surprising that the country’s foreign policy was influenced by the emergent international order. Like other Third World countries during the Cold War, India’s foreign policy was reactive in nature, guided by global changes and transformations. However, despite professing non-alignment, it was not averse to developing close relations with either superpower when it suited its interests. For example, while India drew closer to the US during the early-1960s, the following decades witnessed an ever closer relationship between India and the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War forced India to redefine its traditional foreign policy of non-alignment. Relations with the US and many other western and non-western countries improved considerably. It also established formal diplomatic relations for the first time with Israel and South Africa. At the same time, it attempted to rebuild its relationship with China and Pakistan. Finally, the desire to attract foreign investment and the quest for energy supplies led to greater international engagement with Asian and African countries it had previously ignored.