Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

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Non-alignment or Double Appeasement?

-Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya
[Political Diary, 22 February, 1960]

Communist China by following an aggressively expansionist policy has not only created problems of national defence for the countries of the South and South–East Asia, but has also vitiated the atmosphere created in the international world by the joint efforts of the Soviet and the Western blocs. While Russia and America are painfully and scrupulously trying to make the summit a success, their allies China and France are following a policy that might make any summit meaningless. While we recognise the timely usefulness of the summit conference, in so far as it will go a long way in easing the tension created by cold war manoeuvres, we do not feel very optimistic about the real benefits of any international conference desired for securing an enduring world peace. It must be noted that the present political map of the world is neither in keeping with the principles of the UN charter, nor represents humanity in its true form. There are vast numbers of people who have been denied the fundamental freedom of developing according to their own genius. There are governments, who claim to represent civilized people, but are treading in the foot–steps of Timur and Chengiz Khan. Equality between man and man is nowhere to be seen and in some countries it is an offence to talk about it, how cans the democratic conscience of the Western would tolerate apartheids? But colonialism, racial segregation, exploitation and tyrannical rule continue and the leaders of the world try to calm the qualms of their conscience by solemn declarations of abiding peace and a prosperous world. All this creates no impression on the suppressed, down–trodden and enslaved humanity. They are not bound by decisions of any summit conference unless it leads to the realisation of their aspirations. If the summit means that the people of Africa should cease to strive for their independence and that the free world should legalize the misdeeds of Russia in Hungary and other countries of Eastern Europe, of in Algeria, of Britain in Kenya and of China in Tibet, it will be no more than a conspiracy against the human race and an agreement among bandit nations which can hardly be respected by the aggrieved nations. Bharatiya Jana Sangh has, therefore, in its resolution on international situation drawn attention to this aspect of the summit meet. The emergence of free nations in Africa is in keeping with this aim and therefore Jana Sangh has extended its cordial greetings to them. Jana Sangh has, therefore, demanded that steps should be taken to make the UNO an effective instrument for securing to the enslaved nations status of equality and freedom. Unless all nations of the world are truly represented in it, the UNO can hardly claim to bear that appellation. The UNO Charter needs revision. But fear has been expressed that any attempt to revise it may lead to the disintegration of the UNO. Well it may. But it will be no use allowing the UNO to repeat the history of the League of Nations. The test of Statesmanship of the leders of world powers lies in successfully revising the Charter. It may not be impossible if Eisenhower realises that what Lincoln fought for was liberty of man not only in USA but in the whole world; If Macmillan can show that he no longer represents the die hard conservatives of the Kipling age, but an enlightened race which, of its own free will, could grant independence in a constitutional manner to a number of nations in succession; and if Khrushchev can establish that the sympathies of the communist world for slave and suffering peoples is not a political ruse to win such people to its side but an expression of the true nature of communism and therefore nations within its fold are also entitled to the same independent and honourable treatment. If that is done, there will be on case for nuclear or other weapons of destruction, and real disarmament will ensure.

Coming to our own problems, we are faced with a grim situation and much confusion about our foreign policy. India has claimed to follow a policy of non-alignment. The Prime Minister does not like to call it a policy of neutrality, for he is not prepared to be a mere spectator of the world drama. It is true that today we cannot think in terms of isolation. We are very much in the midst of a turmoil, and when we are affected by the major developments of the world, it will not be wise not try to shape them to our best advantage. But in a world which is so sharply divided into two irreconcilable blocs, it requires a man of very high calibre to implement what the P.M. has termed a policy of dynamic neutrality. Granting that it is always easier to criticise than to work out a policy, it is accepted universally that we have not succeeded in out attempts. There is a feeling that it is because we chose a wrong man as spokesman of our foreign policy. I do not underrate the qualities of Sri V.K. Krishna Menon. At one time be might have been very useful to the country, and after the passing of Sir Girja Shankar Bajpal, might have assisted the Prime Minister with his vast, first–hand and intimate knowledge of international affairs. He has served his purpose. Unfortunately today he has ceased to be a non–controversial figure, as is needed, to work out a policy of non-alignment; His communist leanings are no secret. His temperamental weakness is even recognised by the Prime Minister. It is, therefore, in the interest of the country’s international foreign policy to see that he dissociates himself from the Government of India and the Foreign Affairs Department. We have decided to follow a policy of non–alignment. But in his anxiety to justify this policy the Prime Minister has often tried to give it a philosophical basis. We Indians being of a primarily philosophical penchant, are susceptible to such polemics. It has led to a kind of sentimental support to our foreign policy and not to a realisation of our responsibilities on the acceptance of that policy. And at a time when we are faced with a number of international problems, the antagonists of non–alignment can easily exploit national feelings to win the people to their camp. It is therefore necessary that we correctly propound our foreign policies and the reasons for adopting it.

Bharatiya Jana Sangh has always believed that a country’s foreign policy is formed on the basis of its enlightened self interest. It is always a policy and not principle, and therefore it can be changed if the interests of the country so demand it. It we have followed a policy of non–alignment; it was because our interests could be best served by it. It is a different matter that those who practised it could not secure the maximum benefit to the country. It was due to their occasional lapses, and not to the basically correct policy. Even today when our borders are threatened, we feel that a policy of non–alignment could best safeguard our interests. Alignment would complicate matters. Of course when we talk of non–alignment it is presumed that we can [on our own strength, and on the basis of a general improvement in the international situation, defend our interests. There are people who feel diffident on this point. They are afraid of the powers that are ranged against us. These powers are Pakistan and China. They belong to two different blocs. How are we going to meet the challenge of both by joining any one bloc? And possibly we cannot go on changing our membership of these blocs from time to time as the danger from the one or the other increases. Today both have aggressed into our territory. While China has crossed into India from the Ladakh border, Pakistan continues to illegally occupy one–Third of Jammu–Kashmir. Legally we are at watt with Pakistan, and with China we have averted a de jury war by a de factor surrender of our sovereignty and rightful claims in Ladakh. When aggressive acts of China were not known, and cries of jihad were a daily feature of Pakistan, there were people in this country who advocated our joining the Soviet bloc Now when Chinese aggression is in the headlines, people demand rushing to America for help. They are swayed more by newspaper headlines and sporadic acts rather than by a realisation of the all time danger from these two neighbours. We have thought of measures for a lasting defence. Non–alignment is the answer to this complicated situation.

It must, however, be realised that non–alignment cannot succeed if it continues to be based on fear of displeasing the one or the other. In that case non–alignment would mean appeasement of one or the other. In the present case it has been appeasement of both in succession. We surrendered our rights in Tibet to China and tolerated her occupation of our territory, only to meet the danger from Pakistan. Now we are appeasing Pakistan, so that we may deal effectively with China. But in fact we have been able to deal effectively with neither. Instead they have in turn exploited our difficulties to secure the best possible terms for themselves. The Sino–Indian Agreement of 1954 and the present Indo–Pak border agreement are examples in point. Non–alignment, to be useful, requires a bold policy which, in turn, needs strength and conviction. Only a strong and self–reliant India can preserve, protect and promote her interests. All stapes should be taken towards this end.

When we talk of non–alignment as a policy we need not bring in ideological considerations. This policy has nothing to do with our opposition to communism or love of democracy. It is true that on an ideological basis, viewed only superficially, there is much in common between India and the Western world. But it should be remembered that these democratic countries do not formulate their foreign policy on any ideological basis. They care for democracy only in their own countries. As for others, they only care that their own interests should be served best. It is for this reason that they have supported dictatorial and tottering regimes in a number of countries. Even their opposition to communism has little to do with their foreign policy. For example, Yugoslavia, an avowed communist country, has always derived support from them.

The P.M. was right when he said that we have to fight communism in our country. But that should not make us oblivious to the dangers of international communism in our own country. We can maintain our non–aligned position with out allowing international communism a dent in our national life. Col. Nasser has followed this policy. The P.M. by his attitude towards communists in this country has unnecessarily projected foreign policy into home affairs.

It need not be repeated that on the question of border aggression Bharatiya Jana Sangh does not expect Russia to use her influence with China in favour of India. All that she will do is to deter active steps by India to regain her territory. Khrushchev’s visit and statements have made that clear.
Compiled by Amarjeet Singh, Research Associate & Programme Coordinator, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, 9, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110001
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