Cultural Revolutions

Anti-Colonist Ally

India, during the Cold War, was officially nonaligned.  She was closer to the Soviet Union, which saw her as a natural “anti-colonialist” ally and also wanted a regional counterbalance for China—and accordingly assisted India militarily and politically, especially during U.N. debates over the Kashmir conflict.  Later, in 1998, India’s continued refusal to sign the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and her nuclear tests led to the Clinton administration imposing partial sanctions against India.

Since Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984, relations have gradually warmed, nuclear disagreements notwithstanding.  Successive Indian governments have sought better relations with the United States, most recently the reforming and business-friendly United Progressive Alliance government of Manmohan Singh (a Congress Party-led coalition that took over from the Hindu nationalist-led government in 2004).

As long ago as 1999, George W. Bush was advocating a closer relationship with a country that, in common with Soviet-era policymakers, he saw as a potential bulwark against Chinese ambitions.  (India fought a losing war against China along the two countries’ 1,000-mile border in 1962.)  One of the earliest foreign-policy actions of Bush’s administration was to lift some of the 1998 sanctions.  President Bush met with the prime minister of India in 2001.  In...

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