India's human rights diplomacy:
Crisis and transformation
In the first decades after independence, India became an international advocate of human rights. Opposing European colonialism and apartheid, and later Israeli actions against Palestinians, it was a leader among non-aligned nations in a quest to end the state-enforced social inequality that had characterized the world order in the preceding centuries. India engaged in assertive diplomacy, criticizing states well beyond the reach of its limited material power. It twice intervened militarily outside its borders, invoking human rights: opposing the government in East Pakistan in 1971 and aligning with the government in Sri Lanka in 1987. Before the end of the Cold War, external human right spressureon India waslow, in spite of events that might easily have occasioned such pressure. For example, there were anti-Sikh riots in Delhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, with the clear involvement of politicians in the ruling Congress Party, yet India faced little criticism about this from other states.
India's foreign policy environment changed abruptly in 1991. The disappearance of the USSR was accompanied by a multifaceted domestic crisis in India. The USSR had been India's primary arms supplier and its rivalry with the West had created the possibility of non-alignment for post-colonial states. India went from being a non-aligned country with room for manoeuvre in a bipolar world to being a vulnerable state in a