Read this term paper to learn about decolonization and its aftermath that led to conflicts in Afro-Asia.
Decolonization and Conflicts in Afro-Asia
Term Paper Contents:
- Term Paper on the Conflict in the Middle East
- Term Paper on the French Colonial Empire Collapsed in Indo-China and the Settlement of 1954
- Term Paper on the Suez Crisis in 1956 and India’s Role
- Term Paper on the Ideological Basis of India’s Foreign Policy
- Term Paper on the Panchasheela: The Bandung Conference
Term Paper # 1. Conflict in the Middle East:
During a critical stage of the World War I, Arthur Balfour, British Foreign Minister, under Zionist pressure, made a declaration in 1917, promising to establish in Palestine “a national home for the Jewish people.”
Now the question comes — why in Palestine? Are the Jews original inhabitants of Palestine? Let us see what history tells. James Parks, an expert on the Jewish problem, points out “Apart from Neolithic survivals and the Capts in Egypt, Jews are the longest settled of the present identifiable inhabitants in some [countries in the Middle East], and have lived longer in all the others, than Arabs have in Palestine or Egypt.”
There is a misconception in some countries that Jews are the outsiders and occupiers of Palestine. The Jewish presence and immigration into Palestine was constant, though it became most significant only in the twentieth century. At the turn of the century, 18 per cent of the Palestinians were Jews; and by World War I the Jewish population of Palestine was already 100,000.
If the Jews did not increase their percentage of the Palestinian population, it was because Arab immigration into Palestine considerably outdistanced the Jewish immigration and was stimulated by the economic opportunities opened up in consequence of one area in the Middle East undergoing rapid economic development.
Hence, they were hardly strangers in Palestine. 65 percent of Israel’s present populations are Arab Jews – Jews from Morocco, Tunisia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Jordon and other parts of the Middle East. Of the remaining 35 per cent, a large number are indigenous Sabras.
The land acquired by Jewish settlers was purchased from Arab landowners with money collected from hundreds of thousands of Jews-contributing to the Jewish National Fund. The grievances of the Arabs were that the land legislation of the Jewish government threatened the existence of thousands of Arabs. These laws enabled the Jews to buy up large portions of the arable soil which was none too plentiful.
Besides the Jews newcomers were subsidised by the Zionist organisations in the West and so had every advantage that capital, science and organisation could give them. As a result the Arabs were being gradually deprived of their lands and ousted from most of the gainful occupations. This economic danger gave an impetus to Arab nationalistic agitation. The discontent of the Arabs found vent in violent anti-Jewish outbreaks in 1929 and 1933 in which many Jews were killed.
Regarding the land bought by the Jews much of it was barren swampland, owned by absentee Sheikhs, and unusually unpopulated. The Jews had converted this barren soil into fertilized one.
The British colonial rule in the name of Mandate in Palestine came into effect in 1922. The Jews and Arabs, in order to work out political and economic co-operation, met at numerous meetings between them. The negotiations between the representatives of the Zionist executive and Arab spokesmen had to be suspended due to British pressure. A year later similar attempt at direct negotiation with Arab leaders ended in a fiasco because of British intervention.
Precisely at this time, November 19, 1943, a number of repressive measures against the Jew community in Palestine were launched by the British administration. Settlements were cordoned off and besieged by British soldiers, ostensibly to search for deserters from the Polish army resulting in many Jewish casualties.
In the months that followed, intensified search operations were conducted, and “illegal immigrants” — victims of Nazi oppression who had managed to reach Palestinian shores — were arrested and deported. Large-scale arrests took place, designed to smash the Jewish apparatus of defence and regrouping of the exiles.
Balfour’s declaration conflicted with Britain’s war-time promises of Arab independence and also Wilson’s theory of self-determination. The Arabs were not to tolerate the large influx of Jews and so Palestine soon became a cockpit for Zionism and Arab nationalism.
The British government tried to bring about a peaceful settlement but the British imperial interests were soon found to be an impregnable hurdle. Palestine was important to Britain as an air and military base and as containing the terminus of an oil pipeline from Mosul. The Jews demanded the whole of Palestine and the removal of all restrictions on Jewish immigration. The Arabs were equally determined to keep Palestine theirs and to stop immigration altogether.
In 1936 the British government appointed a commission headed by Earl Peel to investigate the whole situation in Palestine and to make pertinent recommendations. In the report of the commission — which was approved by British Cabinet and published in 1937 — it was declared that the claims of the Jews and the Arabs were irreconcilable and the only solution of the problem lay in the partition of Palestine.
Thereupon the British government proposed to terminate the mandate and to divide the country into three parts — an Arab section, a Jewish section and a neutral area controlled by the British. This plan aroused bitter protests from both the Jews and the Arabs. A section of the Arabs encouraged by Italy made violent and murderous demonstrations. A British district commissioner was murdered. Scores of Arabian leaders were jailed or deported and for months Palestine was the scene of bomb outrages and guerilla warfare.
The leader of the Palestine Arabs was Amin El Hussein, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and President of the Arab Higher Committee. He demanded that the Jewish immigration should cease and that Palestine should be bound to Britain by treaty relationship similar to that enjoyed by Iraq and Egypt.
He fled to Syria during the disturbances but his followers continued to attack the Jews, the British guards and even moderate Arabs who sought a compromise solution. In 1939 the British government made another attempt at solving the problem in a conference held in London, but to no avail. The outbreak of the Second World War prevented further attempt in the direction of a final settlement.
When the London Conference was being held the so-called Hussein-McMohon correspondence was published in order to quiet certain Arab claims. The Arabs said that Henry McMohon had promised Hussain the independence of the whole Arab race in return for help against the Turks.
The British Government, on the other hand, maintained that Palestine had not been included in the promised Arab State and was outside the scope of the agreement entered into with Hussain. The evidence on the point is obscure.
After the close of the Second World War the situation in Palestine became acute owing to the increased national spirit of the Arabs and the desperate plight of thousands of Jews left stranded in post-war Central Europe.
In 1945 a joint Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry was appointed to investigate the Palestine situation and it recommended, among other things, the immediate admission of 100,000 Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. The Arabs bitterly denounced the whole report and threatened a national struggle if efforts were made to give effect to the recommendations. The Jews began to enter Palestine clandestinely and organised terrorist groups. Strife and terror became epidemic.
During the two years following World War II and preceding the establishment of Israel, the British colonial regime encouraged the return to power within the Arab community of the Hussein party, most of whose principal leaders had spent the war years in occupied territories of Europe. In 1947 the General Assembly of the UNO appointed a Special Committee on Palestine at the request of Great Britain.
Seven members of the Committee proposed a partition of Palestine into three parts — an Arab state, a Jewish state and the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was to be governed under the Trusteeship Council. The Assembly next promptly appointed a commission to assume responsibility for the administration of Palestine during the transition period between the relinquishment of the mandate by Britain and the establishment of the two independent states.
The Jewish Agency welcomed the prospect of the creation of a Jewish State but the Arabs were bitterly opposed to any plan of partition. Hence bitter strife flared up and the terroristic activities of the Jews and the Arabs increased to alarming proportions in 1948. Realising the gravity of the situation the Security Council began to consider the advisability of sending an international force to Palestine.
On May 15, 1948, the British government terminated their mandate over Palestine. The Jews anticipated the UN decision and immediately declared the establishment of the new independent State of Israel in the area which they already occupied, with Tel Aviv as its capital.
America and the Soviet Union recognised the new state at once. Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the famous scientist, became the President of the state. Incensed by this, the Arab countries close to Israel invaded the newly created Israel and thus ensued, the fierce struggle between the Jews and the Arabs.
The United Nations came forward to intervene. The Security Council appointed Count F. Bernadotte as the UN mediator for Palestine. Meanwhile the war between’ the Arabs and the Jews was going on and an Egyptian army penetrated well into Palestine and captured Gaza. But the Jews held to their position with desperate tenacity and repulsed all attacks to dislodge them.
Bernadotte arranged a ceasefire, and, on 16th September 1948, recommended to the UN Assembly a modification of the proposed partition boundary. The decision went clearly in favour of the Arabs and the next day he was assassinated in Jerusalem by Jewish terrorists. An American, Dr. Bunche, succeeded Bernadotte as mediator.
After months of negotiation, deadlock and compromise, armistice agreements were signed between Israel and her Arab neighbours — Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria — in 1949. In the result the territorial disposition which had already resulted from the war was maintained. About three-fourth of Palestine passed under the control of Israel. In 1949 Israel became a member of the United Nations as an independent state.
In 1950 Britain, France and the United States, in an effort to prevent the possibility of a renewal of war, undertook in a tripartite agreement not to supply arms to either side concerned in the Palestine problem. There was, however, no peace in Palestine. Frontier disputes were frequent but they never led to a renewal of war until 1956 when Israel anticipated the Egyptian invasion and swooped down upon Egypt.
Term Paper # 2. The French Colonial Empire Collapsed in Indo-China and the Settlement of 1954:
The term South-East Asia is generally used to describe the vast region to the east of India, the south of China and north of Australia. Portion of it consists of mainland, while the rest comprises the Malay Archipelago and a large number of other islands, large and small. This part of Asia is relatively backward and undeveloped, but very rich in natural resources.
It attracted the attention of the European powers as early as sixteenth century, and by the end of the nineteenth century came to be shared among the three European colonial powers — Britain, France and Holland. These powers developed their colonial territories in their own way and went on merrily with their work of exploiting them.
But towards the middle of the present century the Second World War came and its convulsions and repercussions demolished the elaborate structure of colonial rule set up by the Western Powers in South-East Asia. In 1941 Japan swept over much of South-East Asia and shook the foundation of Western imperialism in the region. The final push was, however, given by the subject-peoples themselves whose who roused nationalism would no longer tolerate any form of foreign domination.
In Indo-China France was first established in Cochin- China which was directly administered as a colony. Gradually the French extended their conquests and established protectorates over Annam, Tongking, Cambodia and Laos and these four kingdoms together with Cochin-China constituted what was called French Indo-China. The culture of Tonking and Annam was largely Chinese in origin. Cambodia and Laos were non-Annamite in population and their civilisation was more affected by Chinese than by Indian culture.
French rule in Indo-China aimed at assimilating them within the French civilisation and never displayed any intention of giving them any measure of self-government. The locally enlisted Civil Servants were most carefully trained to emulate French systems while the whole educational policy was directed towards inculcating French culture — language, literature and habits of thought.
The indirect results of this policy were, however, not what the French desired. The French institutions were so impregnated with the liberal ideas of 1789 that they unconsciously fostered liberalism, patriotism and nationalism and love of political liberty among the intellectuals of Indo-China.
But one thing is crystal clear that Indo-China was run for the benefit of French investors. All higher jobs were reserved for French nationals and nothing was done to improve the lot of the people of Indo-China.
Nationalism in Indo-China had its initial growth as a reaction against the early French policy of assimilation. It was particularly strong among the Annamites who are the most vigorous among the people of Indo-China, and had a long history of struggle behind them. It was stimulated by the Japanese victory over Russia in 1904-1905, and received a further impetus from the successful nationalist revolution in China against the Manchu dynasty.
During the First World War thousands of Annamites were employed by France to fight her battles in Europe. But they were greatly disappointed when they found that France was not inclined to reward their loyalty by even the slightest measure of genuine self-government.
As a consequence in 1925 a Nationalist Party with Communist outlook appeared in Annam. The first outbreak of revolutionary communism took place in 1930. Its leader was Nguyen That Thanh, far better known to the world as Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969).
He had studied in Moscow and became a convinced Communist. The revolt was suppressed with a strong hand and Ho Chi Minh fled to Hong Kong where he was arrested and imprisoned for two years. It was in 1939 that he formed the Vietnam Independence League which under his leadership became a powerful force in the politics of Indo-China.
The outbreak of the Second World War had powerful repercussions in Indo- China. When France fell to Germany in 1940, Japan took advantage of her plight to secure the military occupation of Indo-China. The Japanese, however, did not displace the French authorities from the country but allowed them to carry on the administration in conformity with Japanese demands. The French rule was maintained but the French authorities had to take their direction from Tokyo.
The collaboration of the French authorities with the Japanese had the effect of lowering French prestige in their colony and of stimulating the nationalists to increased exertion for independence. Throughout the Second World War, Ho Chi Minh had been systematically building the organisation of the Communist Party with the object of overthrowing both the French and the Japanese and of establishing Annamese sovereignty in Indo-China.
When the French in Indo-China came to realise that the inevitable defeat of Japan was only a matter of time, they organised the resistance movement against the Japanese. This might have led Japan early in 1945 to set up their own colonial administration in Indo-China and to encourage the nationalists of Indo-China in their demand for independence. All French civilians were interned and French troops were disarmed.
The Japanese established closer contacts with the Viet Minh. Just before the surrender of Japan in August 1945, the Viet Minh ordered a general revolt in the country and no attempt was made by the Japan government in Indo-China to suppress the revolt. The result was that on the verge of collapse of Japan in August 1945, Ho Chi Minh captured Hanoi, the capital of Tonking and established his authority in Annam and Cochin-China.
BaoDai, the Emperor of Annam, whom the Japanese installed as a puppet ruler, abdicated and Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of the Vietnam Republic on 28 August 1946 comprising the three countries of Tonking, Annam and Cochin China. Dr. Ho Chi Minh became the first President of the Republic of Vietnam.
France had, however, no intention of withdrawing from Indo-China. After the capitulation of Japan her troops in the North of Indo-China were to surrender to China and those in the South to Britain under the Potsdam Agreement. This led to a lot of trouble. France sought to resume control of Indo-China, but the people of Vietnam were not prepared to go back to pre-1939 days.
There were demonstrations in Saigon long before the arrival of French troops. Lawlessness prevailed all over Indo-China and it was further added by the Japanese by selling arms to the Viet Minh. A cease-fire agreement with France was signed in October 1945 but it was difficult to enforce it.
Realising the gravity of the situation the French came to terms with Ho Chi Minh in March 1946. They agreed to recognise the Republic of Vietnam as a Free State, and forming part of the Indo-Chinese federation and the French Union. The territorial extent of Vietnam, that is whether it would include Cochin China, was to be determined by referendum.
Immediately after this, the French government at home adopted a new constitution transforming the French Empire in a Union comprising all the associated states and colonies belonging to France. In this constitution Indo-China was to be a federation of the four states of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and the colony of Cochin China and was to remain part and parcel of the French Republic.
The new constitution was looked upon with suspicion as it offered little prospect of real independence or even of local autonomy. Moreover, serious differences arose between Vietnam and France regarding the scope of proposed federation and the boundaries of Vietnam. Hence mistrust flared up again and all negotiations failed. The Vietnamese began hostilities by attacking French garrisons and a long period of guerilla warfare set in.
The position of Ho Chi Minh became very strong after the establishment of Communist regime in China in 1949. Communist China, henceforth, began supporting Dr. Ho Chi Minh, while the United States supported the French government in the war in Indo-China. The French, in their attempt to oust Ho Chi Minh, persuaded BaoDai — who was then in retirement at Hong Kong — to come back to his throne in Vietnam. Britain and the United States immediately recognised the government of BaoDai which lacked popular support.
Thereupon, Communist China and the Soviet Russia hastened to give full diplomatic recognition to Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh began receiving military help from China and the Soviet Union and France received military assistance from the United States. Eventually, it became beyond the capacity of French troops to oppose the Viet Minh army and then she invited the United States to come to their rescue.
Thus the Indo-China problem threatened to develop into war of full international scale. David Thomson remarks “The coming of the Cold War and the western policy of “containment” turned the war, in the eyes of the outside world, into a wider issue than French imperialism.”
Meanwhile the guerilla warfare continued and the Vietnamese forces grew in strength, capturing garrison after garrison of French forces and threatened to advance upon the neighbouring territory of Laos. To check their advance the French decided to hold their impregnable fortress town of Dien Bien Phu which was eventually captured by the forces of Ho Chi Minh on 7th May 1954. It was a great feather in his cap and a big success for the cause of communism. There was the possibility of an open war between the United States and Communist China.
It was at this stage that the Indo-China question was taken up by a Conference of Powers which met at Geneva in July 1954. The Foreign Ministers of China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Minh, France, Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union reached a cease-fire. The conference solved the question by partitioning Vietnam roughly along the line of 17th Parallel of latitude leaving to the Viet Minh the areas of Tonking and Annam.
In the southern areas the non-Communist regime of BaoDai, ex-emperor of Annam, was preserved by French power until he was deposed by referendum in October 1955. France had to give up all hopes of retrieving Northern Vietnam. Cambodia had already been declared independent and both it and Laos were recognised as neutral territories. The Indo-Chinese affairs marked a stage in the gradual folding up of the French Empire. “The colonial revolution merged into the Cold War.”
Term Paper # 3. Suez Crisis in 1956 and India’s Role:
On the outbreak of the Second World War Egypt joined the Allied Powers against Germany and co-operated with them whole-heartedly. But the Egyptians were bitterly offended by the high-handed conduct of the Britishers who treated them not as allies but as conquered subjects. Hence after the close of the war their dormant anti-British feeling flared up. They were determined to remove all traces of British supremacy from their country.
They felt bitterly aggrieved by the presence of British troops at Suez Canal area. Egyptians considered the presence of British troops as the violation of the UN Charter and was against the Anglo- Egyptian condominium in the Sudan as a threat to international peace. Egypt argued that the Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936 — which allowed Britain to keep her troops in Egypt till 1956 — had been invalidated by the UN Charter.
There was serious rioting all over Egypt. The mounting tension on both sides led to armed conflicts in the canal area followed by a terrible outburst of mob violence in Cairo in January 1952. By a coup d’ etat led by General Naguib and his following, King Farouk was forced to abdicate and leave the country in July 1952. His infant son was proclaimed king. Naguib assumed control of the government and negotiated an agreement with Britain whereby the Sudan might become independent after three years of trial and transition.
Next, then occurred a dramatic change in the political situation of Egypt. The monarchy was abolished and Egypt was proclaimed a Republic with Naguib as its President and Premier. Naguib signalised his accession to power by concluding an agreement with Britain in October 1954, by the terms of which all British troops were to evacuate the Canal zone within twenty months, but were to be entitled to return in case of certain eventualities of war.
This agreement marked the end of British military ascendancy not only in Egypt but in the Middle East. It was a great diplomatic success on Naguib’s part, but, in spite of it, he was regarded by the extreme nationalists as too moderate. Hence he was relieved of his office and Gamal Abdul Nasser assumed the supreme power in the State.
Col. Nasser was a man of initiative and energy and had a strong will and determined spirit. He assumed office with certain definite aims in view, such as the elimination of Western influence from the Middle East, Egyptian leadership of the Arab nations and the destruction of the new state of Israel. He condemned the Bagdad Pact of 1955 as he regarded it as a serious challenge to his leadership in the Middle East for which he was making subtle bids.
He sought to upset the Bagdad Pact by a new alliance with Syria and by establishing close diplomatic contacts with Saudi Arabia and Yemen. By 1956 Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Syria came to an agreement providing for a unified command of their armies.
Thus, at Nasser’s initiative was set up a new alignment of Middle East states to counter-balance the Bagdad Pact. Meanwhile Nasser procured the dismissal of Glubb Pasha (General Sir John Glubb), the pro-British Premier of Jordan, and thus brought Jordan within the orbit of Egypt’s influence.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria promised to give subsidy to Jordan in compensation for the loss of British subsidy which Glubb’s dismissal entailed. Meanwhile Nasser negotiated an arms deal with Soviet Russia and received an enormous supply of weapons from both Russia and Czechoslovakia. This move alarmed Israel and seriously undermined the Western influence in the Middle East.
Meanwhile Egypt’s relations with Israel drifted from bad to worse. Since 1949 the Egyptians, along with the Arab States, had been carrying on a desultory warfare with Israel. Israel in turn retaliated. The increasing tension between the two states was producing an explosive situation in the Middle East. The situation was further complicated by the reaction which Nasser’s policy produced in Britain and France.
In England Nasser was looked upon by the British Premier as a dangerous dictator as mischievous as Hitler, while the French had come to believe that he was the abettor of disturbances in their possessions in North Africa. Both the Powers came to think that the abasement of Nasser was essential to the security of their imperial interests.
The United States also looked askance at Nasser for his arms deal with Russia and for his recognition of Communist China. There is no denying the fact that the situation in the Middle East was ominous in the extreme.
At this posture of events the United States and Britain refused to give the promised money as financial aid to Egypt for the building of Assuan High Dam, a project vital to the economic rehabilitation of Egypt. It was a blow that stirred Nasser to take some extreme steps. He denounced this act of the West, staged a demonstration in Alexandria and announced the immediate nationalisation of the Suez Canal Company (July 20, 1956).
His declaration that the amount to be collected from the Canal would finance the construction of the Assuan Dam was hailed by not only the Egyptians, but also by Asia and Russia. But the Anglo-French authority was not to give way so easily.
A conference of twenty-two nations was held in London to discuss the future status of the Canal and it was decided by most of the countries that there must be some form of international control. At their instance the Australian Premier Mr. Menzis led a delegation to Nasser and submitted a proposal according to London formula. But Nasser refused to accept it. The state was set for a final macabre struggle.
When all prospect of a negotiated settlement of the Suez Canal question seemed doomed to failure the drastic action taken by the tiny state of Israel precipitated the crisis. The relations with Jordan deteriorated to an extreme point and it reached a breaking point when a joint army command was set up by Jordan with Egypt and Syria. Apprehending imminent danger, Israel forestalled it by invading Egypt and routed the Egyptian forces, capturing huge quantities of armament and taking thousands of prisoners.
Britain and France — under the pretext of separating the warring forces — joined the fray, captured Port Said and destroyed the Egyptian aerodromes housing hundreds of Russian-made aeroplanes by air attacks. A very critical situation developed. The Arab League became restive and the conflict tended to develop into large scale warfare between the Arab nations and Israel. Russia came forward at the critical situation and threatened intervention to stop the Anglo-French aggression.
The UN Assembly immediately acted to stop the brawl and passed a resolution for immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of warring troops to the respective borders. The United Nations Emergency force, composed of contingents from all over the world, quickly arrived and acted as a buffer until the withdrawal of the belligerent troops.
The Anglo-French troops were withdrawn from Port Said in December 1956 and three months later Israeli troops evacuated the Gaza area. The Egyptians assumed control of all the territories recently occupied by the enemy troops.
The Suez Crisis showed the naked aggressive attitude of the former colonial powers — Britain and France. The Western Powers facing the wrath of the Third World had to retreat. The British government led by Eden also suffered humiliation in its own country. W. Nap points out that “the threat of the collapse of the pound was the key factor deciding the government in order to cease-fire against the reluctance of its ally.”
Though Australia and New Zealand supported Britain, Canada protested vehemently against British action. The United States also did not support British policy in Egypt. John Spanier remarks that “America’s opposition to the Suez invasion was the decisive factor in stopping the fighting.” Spanier observes that the reluctance of the United States was because she did not want to do anything which could have altered the existing political situation of West Asia.
There was every possibility that Arab nationalism, in case of America’s intervention, could have switched over to Soviet influence. In Britain Eden had to resign on January 9, 1957, and the political influence of Britain and France on West Asia was completely doomed. Gradually America emerged to fill in the empty space there. This was perhaps part of America’s foreign policy and, therefore, she did not involve herself in Suez Crisis.
On the other hand, Nasser became “a modern Saladin” of Arab nationalism. Jordan freed herself from Anglo-Jordan treaty and concluded an alliance with Egypt. Joined with Syria, Egypt created United Arab Republic.
Nap points out that “The era of British dominance in the Middle East had been brought to an end and has seen to have ended.” From the economic point of view Britain sustain serious set-back in matters of finance besides huge loss in the field of military and political. She had to spend 400 million dollar in last three months of 1956.
The real and immediate gainer was the Soviet Union. Taking the opportunity of Suez Crisis, the Soviet Union ruthlessly suppressed the Hungarian Revolt and also augmented her political influence in the Middle East promising to give military support to them. This was not all. The Soviet Union assented to give necessary financial help to Egypt for building the Assuan Dam. Iraq, under General Kassem, retreated from the Bagdad Pact.
Threatened by the increased influence of Soviet Union in the Middle East, the United States decided to pursue Active Policy there. On January 5, 1957 President Eisenhower declared his Doctrine in the American Senate. The Eisenhower Doctrine announces that any country bullied by international communism would be given military assistance if the concerned country sought. This announcement is known as “Eisenhower Doctrine”. This proved to be “an annex of the Cold War”.
In this war Israel proved her military adroitness, though she had to retreat and was subsequently deprived of her war-spoil. Her situation remained unchanged.
Role of India:
The development of first Indo-Arab good relation could be traced in 1928 when Indian National Congress passed a resolution expressing India’s full sympathy for the Arabs in their struggle against Western imperialism. India’s cordial relation continued and it was highlighted at the time of Suez crisis in 1956, when India gave her unconditional support to the Arabs.
India under Nehru fostered a very good relation with Gen. Gamal Abdul Nasser, the President of Egypt. Nasser expressed his reliance on India’s policy of Non-Alignment. Subsequently India, Yugoslavia and Egypt became the core-group of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Term Paper # 4. The Ideological Basis of India’s Foreign Policy:
Before 1947 India had no foreign policy as such. The foreign policy of India was determined by the British government for the interest of Britain. But this foreign policy was often criticised by the Indian leaders and their opinion was to be expressed in the resolutions of the Indian National Congress. In the First World War, when India was dragged to war by the British government, the Indian leaders vehemently protested against it.
At the end of the war, when the Treaty of Versailles was concluded, India signed the Treaty but not by its leaders, by Britain on behalf of India. The effort of Indians to represent their country proved abortive. But India participated in the League activities, Indian representatives participated in the Geneva Conference and also took part actively in the various humanitarian activities of the League and also participated in the Washington Conference and the World Economic Conference.
Thus India achieved an important position in international affairs. Realising the gravity of the situation, Indian National Congress, in the thirties, opened a foreign policy cell and Nehru became its virtual director. During the World War II India co-operated with Britain against fascism and, after the war, the burning situation of India as well as international pressure compelled Britain to leave India for good. India got freedom and formulated its new foreign policy.
The foreign policy of India was determined by the following factors:
(a) Geography and India’s strategic location. Being placed in the centre of the Indian Ocean, India has its neighbours like China, Afghanistan, the USSR, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. India is to be developed herself both as a land power as well as a maritime power.
(b) India possesses both traditions of violence from the Mahabharata and the Gita and also non-violence preached by Buddha, Mahavir, Asoka, Nanak, Kabir and also Gandhi and Nehru.
(c) India’s historical friendly ties with her neighbours also determined her foreign policy. India’s policy was against anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism and, therefore, she acted against it wherever colonialism exists.
(d) Ideologically India’s foreign policy is deeply influenced by the thoughts of Western liberal thinkers, Gandhi and Nehru, Marx, Lenin and Laski.
(e) India, being partitioned, became economically weak and, therefore, her policy was one of quick economic recovery and her prosperity is to be distributed equally among its people. This policy forced her to accept foreign aid from all available sources but without allowing the aid-giving countries any opportunity to inflict any harm in its freedom.
(f) Finally, India is to keep herself away from both East and Western Powers and not to be involved in military alliances or conflicts of superpowers.
The above factors led India to generate her concept of Non-alignment and this became the significant feature of India’s foreign policy. Jawaharlal Nehru, who governed India for nearly 17 years, was both Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. He was the principal architect of India’s foreign policy. He was ably assisted by men like Sardar Patel, K. M. Panikkar, V. K. Krishna Menon, K. P. S. Menon and others.
Nehru’s declaration long before India’s independence (September 1946) formulated the basic tenets of foreign policy. He says “We propose, as far as possible, to keep away from the power politics of groups, aligned against one another, which have led in the past to two World Wars and which may again lead to disasters of even vaster scale.”
“Non-alignment became the logical framework of India’s foreign policy.” The definition of Non-alignment, as given by J. W. Burton, is the foreign policy of a country which is not involved or joined with any power, East or West, against any of them.
But at the same time, the policy does not follow strictly neutrality and not stay away from international problems but responds to the challenges of the times. The Non-alignment policy followed before 1961-62 and after 1962 has oriented differently. Before 1962 India was against any military pact and stressed on development rather than defence.
But after Chinese invasion India had to think otherwise. When reliance on a friendly country like China proved disastrous and China stabbed India at her back India had to realise that her policy was passing through rough weather.
The integrity and freedom of India were threatened and she had to take some measures in her foreign policy. The Government of India rightly understands that the Non-alignment policy does not mean strict neutrality. When the country is invaded then neutrality appears meaningless. New Delhi asked for military help but not from any particular country.
Term Paper # 5. The Panchasheela: The Bandung Conference:
In June 1954 a Sino-Indian Pact was concluded in which Chou En-Lai, the Premier of China, and Jawaharlal Nehru, the Premier of India, reached an agreement on the five paramount principles of international conduct, known as Panchasheela.
(i) Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. But China herself flouted this principle in 1962 by attacking India;
(iii) Non-interference in each other’s internal affairs;
(iv) Recognition of equality and mutual benefit and
(v) Peaceful co-existence.
Within a short time these five principles were accepted by Vietnam, Burma, Poland, Yugoslavia, Austria and Egypt.
The Panchasheela does not constitute any contractual obligation nor has it any sanction behind it except the good faith of the powers concerned. It is only an expression of pious hope that nations would peacefully settle all international disputes and live side by side in friendly cooperation despite the wide differences that exist in their social systems and political outlook. The Panchasheela reminds one of Czar Alexander is conception of the Holy Alliance.
Whatever one may think of the Panchasheela, there is no doubt about the resounding importance of the Bandung Conference which reinforced and elaborated it. The plea for Asian and African co-operation was first foreshadowed by Sastroamidjojo, the Indonesian Prime Minister, who in 1953 suggested that it was time that countries — both in Asia and Africa — should begin to work together in union in order to make a stand against the “remnants of imperialism”.
This principle of collaboration was endorsed by a conference of five Asian Prime Ministers, held in Colombo in Ceylon in 1954 from April 28 to May 2, 1954 at the instance of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Sir John Kotelawala. It was attended by India, Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and Indonesia (henceforth called the Colombo Powers). It was held at a time when a meeting was also held in Geneva of nine countries to discuss a settlement in Indo-China and other Far Eastern Problems, The Colombo Conference obviously contributed to the success of the Geneva Conference.
In fact, at the Bogor Conference held in Indonesia on December 28, 1954, the question of membership, purposes and organisation of the proposed bigger conference was discussed. The five Prime Ministers who attended the Colombo meeting agreed to invite 30 more countries including Communist China.
The Bogor Conference also agreed on the basic objectives for promoting goodwill and cooperation among Afro-Asian nations. It was proposed at Bogor to hold a conference at Bandung in April 1953 to discuss problems of special interest to Asian and African peoples and to promote co-operation between them in economic and cultural spheres.
The Bandung Conference was evidently completed different from that of other earlier conferences. Bandung was not the official one but it had a wider geographical representation. It was also against the failure of the Western Powers to give due importance and recognition to the Afro-Asian nations. Bandung was a unique and significant event in the history of modern Asia and may be looked upon as inaugurating a new age in world’s history.
It was attended by representatives of twenty-nine countries of which twenty-three were Asian and six African. No European nation was invited; in that respect it was an assertion of the complete independence of Asia from the apron-strings of the old imperial powers. It marked a “new solidarity between vast groups of emancipated nations” and demonstrated their new-found confidence in their international personality.
This was clearly shown in the wide range of international issues considered by the Conference with courage and dignity. Each country honestly stated its position, pressed its claims and, at the same time, assumed readiness to understand and cooperate.
The Bandung Conference gave out a list of principles for:
(i) World peace and cooperation;
(ii) Respect for fundamental human rights and for the UN principles;
(iii) Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations;
(iv) Non-interference in the internal affairs of any other country
(v) Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively in conformity with the UN Charter;
(vi) Abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defence to serve the particular interests of any of the big powers;
(vii) Mutual non-aggression;
(viii) Pacific settlement of international disputes;
(ix) Promotion of mutual interests and cooperation, and
(x) Respect for justice and international obligations.
Nehru, Nasser, Sukarno, Tito and Nkrumah were the leading personalities in the Non-alignment movement. The Bandung Conference endorsed the Panchasheela formulated in the Sino-Indian agreement and reinforced it by adding two significant principles, viz., respect for fundamental human rights, and settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means. But in spite of this agreement in general principles “Bandung spoke to the world with many voices, not one.”
There were many cross-currents and wide differences in policies and outlook which it was found impossible to harmonise. The subjects which aroused the most lively debates and strong controversy were those of colonialism and the right of collective defence.
But these differences notwithstanding, agreement was reached on the condemnation of colonialism with its lingering traces, on economic and cultural cooperation, racial discrimination, enlargement of the membership of UNO, the prohibition of the production and testing of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons and the limitation and reduction of armed forces everywhere.
The Bandung Conference, however, should not be regarded as an isolated occurrence but as part of a great movement of human history. Already the example of Asia has greatly accelerated similar movements throughout Africa.
William Kellor points out “The ultimate objective of Nehru and his disciples was the formation of a cohesive bloc of Third World nations recently emancipated from European rule which would promote the cause of world peace by declining all participation in the Cold War between the superpowers.”