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

By M. Srinivas Chary | Go to book overview

1
Laying the Foundation: Anglo-American Competition and Indian Freedom

Since the 1950s the United States has played a major, though by no means exclusive, part in influencing events in South Asia. The crumbling of the European colonial system in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa posed one of the most significant challenges faced by the United States in the 1950s. Poverty and the transition from colonialism to national independence have made Third World countries such as India the most prone to crisis, and it is here that the U.S. role has grown enormously without interruption. 1 Even if one accepts the argument that the difficulties of the Third World would have remained monumental without a U.S. role there, far less debatable is the fact that dealing with these problems and the issues they have generated has increasingly dominated American foreign policy. Indeed, in these regions it is only since 1950 that the United States has been very actively involved. To come to grips with the U.S. relationship to the Third World, especially India, is to analyze the single most important aspect of the international role of the United States in modern times.

Indo-American relations had been troubled since India attained independence. They suffered through a succession of disputes, tensions, and near crises. The relationship never broke down completely, but continuing conflicts characterized the relations between the United States and India. 2 The roots of this mutual friction can be traced to the Roosevelt years. 3 The United States had traditionally thought of itself as an anticolonial power, and in the twentieth century anticolonial sentiments had shown itself in Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points and in the Atlantic Charter of August 1941. Bearing many idealistic similarities to the Fourteen Points, the Atlantic Charter reflected the U.S. pledge to the principle of self-determination. There have also been strong countertrends. The United States entered the race for colonies, intervened militarily in Latin American countries, and established ties with its former antagonist, Great Britain, the world's leading colonial power. As a result, when it encountered the Indian nationalist movement in a leading

-9-

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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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