A Changing Cold War, 1953-1956
In spite of the less than promising beginning, the outlook for aid to India improved somewhat during Dwight D. Eisenhower's first term in office. The most important catalysts for new policy initiatives arose from the changing nature of the international setting. The process started as early as March 1953, when Premier Josef Stalin passed from the world scene and new Soviet leaders adopted a more conciliatory stance toward the West. Peace soon came in Korea, Soviet trade with the West opened, Russian controls over Eastern Europe loosened, a treaty guaranteed Austria's neutrality, and in 1955, a Soviet-American summit met in Geneva. John Foster Dulles went to Geneva wearing a grimace, and the concrete accomplishments of Soviet-American diplomacy were few, but both sides seemed to welcome a thaw in the Cold War. And both sides seemed to acknowledge that geopolitical lines had hardened in Europe.
At the same time, a series of revolutionary events shook the Third World. In Asia, a defeated French army withdrew from Vietnam in 1954, but fighting between Communist and non-Communist forces continued. In Latin America, also in 1954, a reformist regime -- with some Communist support -- came to power in Guatemala. In the Middle East, Gamal Abdel Nasser consolidated control over Egypt, and by 1956 his brand of anticolonial nationalism had gained popularity throughout the region. The widespread instability and American fears of Soviet exploitation of unrest caused Washington to increasingly turn its attention to non-Western areas and strengthened arguments for providing increased economic assistance to the newly emerged nations -- including India.
The Eisenhower administration, however, proved reluctant to adjust to change. As their Mutual Security Program for 1953 demonstrated, the Eisenhower/Dulles team initially remained wedded to Cold War policies that placed a premium on bolstering the military capacities of America's overseas friends and allies. The trend continued after 1953 and carried immense ramifications for India when it resulted in the consummation of a United States military pact in 1954 with India's foremost rival, Pakistan.
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Publication information: Book title: Bread and the Ballot:The United States and India's Economic Development, 1947-1963. Contributors: Dennis Merrill - Author. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 102.