India--the world's most populous democracy--is in dire trouble both at home and abroad. What should America do about India? These are the two outstanding themes of this compilation.
During its twelve years of independence, India, which has followed a neutralist path in foreign policy and claims to be building a democratic society on the "socialist pattern," has been much criticized in this country. Yet in almost the same number of years after independence from British rule, the Indians, like Americans early in our history, have been thrust into internationl problems which are severely testing their early "stand-off" position in world affairs. Now Communist China has made inroads into India's northern frontiers, following its suppression of the revolt in Tibet. As a result many leading Indians have found that the policy of neutrality or nonalignment, as the Indians prefer to call it, in the cold war needs searching reappraisal.
At home India has attempted in its short independent history to begin the march toward economic growth by democratic methods in contrast to its northern neighbors--both the Soviet Union and Communist China--which are seeking the same end by totalitarian methods. Yet India faces serious food shortages in the years immediately ahead, because of its low agricultural productivity and a tremendous population explosion. Lack of capital also impedes its industrial development.
Here lies the interest for the free world in India's experiment --whether it can succeed in raising the standard of living so as to extricate itself from the present production-population dilemma while still retaining democratic institutions. At present most comparative growth statistics show that the draconian methods employed by Communist China are achieving, however inhumanly, greater results.
Most keen observers see in India the challenge of democracy versus dictatorship--a test which may be decisive in the cold war. For if India fails, the example set by Communist China may . . .