The Eagle and the Peacock: U.S. Foreign Policy toward India since Independence

By M. Srinivas Chary | Go to book overview

Introduction

This is a study of American foreign policy toward India since 1947. It examines the roles that the United States has played on the South Asian stage during the forty-five years that constitute the history of the Cold War.

My aims in writing this book are twofold: to probe the conventional wisdom concerning the U.S. foreign policy toward India and to fill a gap. American historians of the Cold War have neglected Indo-American relations. In contrast to the interest they have displayed toward such areas as Europe and the Far East, little has been done with regard to India. The few published works are descriptive accounts providing little interpretative analysis. 1 Scholarship on South Asia has largely overlooked the massive quantity of archival material on Indo-American relations available at presidential libraries and archival centers in the United States. Furthermore, many analyses consist largely of cliches and stereotypes and adopt an intensive tone of moral judgement in appraising American or Indian foreign policy. Dispassion and scholarly temperament are much needed. This book attempts to fill the void and to contribute to the debate by evaluating the forces which have shaped U.S. policy toward India. Important historical questions are seldom finally settled but rather are constantly interpreted. Their status changes not only with discovery of new sources, but with the changing perspectives of the historians themselves. 2 With the end of Cold War in the 1990s the need for this study became more compelling, since the politics of that conflict had so greatly shaped IndoAmerican relations from the beginning of modern India's independence.

The U.S. role in the Third World, especially in South Asia, has been complex, controversial, and ambiguous. During the four decades since India achieved independence, the United States and India suffered through a succession of disputes and misunderstandings. Divisions over foreign-policy fundamentals go back to the earliest days of the Cold War. India's independence and Cold War were accidentally simultaneous. After 1946, American officials hoped India would become a major contributing element to an emerging stability in Asia. India, they believed, could best fulfill this stabilizing role by opening its commerce, investment, and raw materials to American and western business people. To influence India's national development, Washington used relief, especially during India's famine of

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The Eagle and the Peacock: U.S. Foreign Policy toward India since Independence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 7
  • 1 - Laying the Foundation: Anglo-American Competition and Indian Freedom 9
  • Notes 19
  • 2 - Confronting Turbulent India: Truman and the Indian Famine of 1946 23
  • Notes 33
  • 3 - The Quest for Commerce, Peace, and Prosperity: Truman's Point Four, Mutual Security, and the Grain Deal of 1951 39
  • Notes 50
  • 4 - The Nationalist Challenge: Indian Nonalignment and Indo-American Conflicts 57
  • Notes 67
  • 5 - The End of Optimism: Cold War Comes to South Asia 71
  • Notes 85
  • 6 - Confrontation to Collaboration: U.S.-Pakistan Military Alliance, Trade, and Aid to India 93
  • Notes 107
  • 7 - Promise Fulfilled: The New Frontier, Kennedy, Johnson, and India 113
  • Notes 127
  • 8 - The Limits of Power: The Nixon and Indira Gandhi Challenges 131
  • Notes 142
  • 9 - Principled Pragmatism: Carter, Human Rights, and Indo-American Relations 147
  • Notes 155
  • 10 - Conservative Pragmatism: Reagan and India 159
  • Notes 170
  • Conclusion 173
  • Notes 178
  • Selected Bibliography 179
  • Index 189
  • About the Author *
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