Our leanings towards the USSR and its communities ideologies resulted in our alienation from the Western world whilst Pakistan had a more forward and futuristic foreign policy having their bread buttered on both sides.
It cannot be disputed that whilst USSR professed to be a friend of India and opposed to the policies of Pakistan President Brezhnev stabbed India in the back with the Tashkent declaration.
General Ayub Khan, the then President of Pakistan had forced war on India with the diminutive Lal Bahadur Shastri as Prime Minister but finding thousands of square miles and important towns lost to India in the war, approached USSR for a cease fire. This was forced on India by USSR together with the Tashkent treaty where India meekly surrendered its gains without even getting Pakistan Occupied Kashmir back in exchange.
We later saw the Simla Agreement too where Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto played his unscrupulous game with Indira Gandhi and got back every inch of territory lost in the war without giving anything in return. But what support did we finally get from USSR excepting that USA did not overfly intervene but covertly it did.
Even after Glasnost and Perestroika did we wake up and continued with our affiliations to the Soviet bloc. All this after we had been professing and declaring to the world since our Nehruvian policies of being a Non-Aligned nation.
Our failure to mobilize opinion of the Western world-the dominant powers, towards Pakistan raised bogey of Kashmir and their cross border terrorism was only because of our being branded as a Soviet satellite. The major world power, both economically and militarily, the US gave Pakistan support through and through even to the extent of turning the proverbial Nelson’s eye towards its terrorist activities and even their failure of the democratic system.
Unfortunately India with its failed policy of socialism, the public sector undertakings being drainage on the exchequer, quality delivered below par and production levels far below considering its wage bills, learnt its lessons too late.
Another important factor was the rejection of friendship offered by Israel. There is no doubting Israel’s integrity, their motivation and their intelligence agencies. If only India had grabbed the hand offered instead of spurning it, just to prove to the Muslims and Muslim countries, our profession of secularism, it would have changed the scenario of Pakistan’s activities in Kashmir and its ISI sponsored terrorist killings. This when every single Muslim country including Yasser Arafaat’s Palestine, considered the Hindu majority India as a Kafir country, covertly supporting Pakistan and even overtly doing so.
Pre-Pokhran it was still tolerable but Post-Pokhran II it became a case of near isolation what with the fragmentation of the once Super Power USSR and Boris Yeltsin still very tentative in asserting himself.
It is only the New Millennium which has seen a sudden spurt in diplomatic activities favorable to India. After decades of pushing India to the wall and backing Pakistan to the hilt, US of America had a volte-face and made positive overtures signaling a perceptible victory for the ‘Caucus of India’ lobby amongst their Senators.
The reason for this change of heart is not very far to seek as the US administration had been keenly observing the pro-China tilt of Pakistan. The supply of ballistic missiles by China to Pakistan may have been another factor with suspicions lingering around supply of nuclear knowhow and warheads too.
Although Pakistan has a more favorable lobby in USA than India and the slight tilt would not be enough to misbalance the opinion for the country, having had for better relations for nearly half a country, but still there is a beginning and on what a grand scale!
The year 2000 saw the opening up of new vistas for India thanks to a better foreign policy and its follow up. The big powers of the world agreed to go a step further in their friendship with India and this was substantiated by the visit of the President of US of America with his better half.
Mr. Bill Clinton and his wife Mrs. Hillary Clinton came on a six day visist, covered hugely by the world media and making it one of his enjoyable trips. In comparison the President visited Pakistan only for a day. He took the opportunity to visit Gujarat after the huge and disastrous earthquake promising aids to the state and addressing both houses of Parliament in India.
The trip of the US President was shortly followed by the four day visit of the Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin together with Lady Putin. This was also a huge success and several treaties were signed together with the address to the houses of Indian Parliament.
Even after the fragmentation of USSR, Russia still wields considerable power in world politics and India has the advantage of its support on all important issues.
We have also realized the importance of friendship with Israel and doing better to mountain a balance instead of blindly siding with Yasser Arafat. We are waking up to the fact that when the crunch comes, all Muslim countries will side with Pakistan and India will be left lurching. Already ominous signs are there from Bangladesh after the departure of Shiekh Hasina Wajed from Prime Minister ship. The anti-Indian tirades are reaching a crescendo and attacks on minority Hindus and their places of worship have become State sponsored.
It is high time that we take a firm stand regarding our affiliations and prioritize them so that we emerge from the current confusions a strong nation with even stronger friends. After all, the days of non-Alignment were a different chapter and India needs the support of the Powers, even our survival is at stake.