Essay on the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Co-operation

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Before 1947, India was not an independent member of the World community. India had no diplomatic representatives abroad and no foreign policy of her own. In particular, India had no rela­tions with the Soviet Union. It was only after India got her indepen­dence in 1947 that India was able to form her own foreign policy. Her relations with Russia got off to a brilliant start, thanks to Mr. Nehru’s championship of the Russian cause since 1927. The bonds of Indo-Russian friendship were strengthened in August 1971 by the signing of a 20 year Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Co-operation.

It is strange that in India there are some people who are still obsessed by “The Russian bogey”. And that, in spite of our experi­ence of the great benefits which have accrued to India from Russian friendship in economic, political and military sphere. During the last decade India had to meet two attacks, one from China and the other from Pakistan; and the moral support of the Soviet Govern­ment was invaluable on both occasions. Indeed, the support was more than moral; India also received material help, and it cannot be forgotten that it was the initiative and resourcefulness of the Soviet Prime Minister which brought about the Tashkent accord at the end of our war with Pakistan. In the U. N. too, whenever India territorial integrity was in question, as In the case of Kashmir and Goa, the Soviet Government has extended its support to India, Indeed, but for the fear of Soviet veto, the Western powers would have tried to declare India an aggressor in Goa in 1964.

On the whole, the friendship of the Soviet Union for India has remained steady, like—to use a lovely metaphor from the ‘Geeta’—”a flame in a windless spot which does not flicker”, India was far from windless daring the last decade. Contrary winds, have been blowing in India and into India, and yet the flame has been burning with a steady glow.

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The dramatic conclusion of the “Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Co-operation” raises a number of interesting ques­tions. Is it what it purports to be, or is it something more and something else? Is it a military pact or a ‘Defence treaty’? Is it merely a move on the political chessboard or is it the outcome of vast historical forces?

Viewed from the contemporary angle, the Treaty may seem to be just an adroit rejoinder to President Nixon’s personal diplomacy. It is because of his tacit encouragement that West Pakistan has been holding out the threat of “a total war” with India ft is he who, in the midst of the Bangladesh crisis, declared his intention to pay a visit to the erstwhile abhorred Mao Tsetung, thus creating in Indian minds the fear of Sino-Pakistan—American axis. And it is he who has ….. the temerity to warn India that, in the event of a war between India on the one hand and Pakistan and China on the other, India should not expect any help from the USA. Is it no wonder that, in these circumstances India should have turned to an old sod tried friend, the Soviet Union, for a re-affirmation of its friendship in practical terms, appropriate to the present situation?

The Indo-Soviet Treat must, however, be regarded nor merely as a belated reaction to the policies of other countries, but as a consummation of our own policy towards the Soviet Union, Over since Nehru became Prime .Minister, it was his deliberate policy to develop our relations with it e USSR in all fields of human endeavor and his successors have faithfully adhered to his policy. The present Treaty is thus the latest fruit of the plant of In-do-Soviet friendship which, for twenty years, was being nurtured amidst for­midable obstacles by the Government of India and by that section of the Indian National Congress, which has now become Congress-(N), by all radical arid ever liberal parties, and by such representa­tive organizations as the Indo-Soviet cultural society.

When Sardar Swaran singh said that the treaty did not mean a reversal of our policy of sob alignment, he was spying no more than the truth. Basically, however, non-alignment means the will sad the determination of a nation to ask, whenever it is conformed with a major international problem, the question is not who is right, but what is right, If the Treat had been a military pact, India would not have been able to ask this question. Such a Pact would have made it obligatory on the part of one signatory State to align itself automatically on the side of the other, in the case of war or a threat of war, and India could have been said to have gone back on the policy of non-alignment. But what the Indo-Soviet Treaty does provide is that in the event of an attack or threat of attack on either party, they will enter into consultations, and take the neces­sary measures to remove the threat and to ensure the security of their countries. And this is an invaluable safeguard.

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In the treaty, it is again stated that “the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics respects India’s policy of non-alignment and reaffirms that this policy constitutes an important factor in the maintenance of universal peace and international security and in the lessening of tensions in the world.”

On the whole, the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, friendship and co-operation is a logical consummation of the foreign policy of Jawaharlal Nehru. At the same time, in entering into this Treaty, the Soviet Union has shown that it is the true heir of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. “Our eastern policy”, said Lenin in his ins­tructions to the first Soviet ambassadors to Iran and to Afghanistan, “remains diametrically opposed to that of the imperialist countries. In our policy we strive to promote the independent economic and political development of the eastern peoples and shall do every­thing in our power to support them in this. Our role and our mission is to be neutral and disinterested friends and allies of the peoples struggling for a completely independent economic and political development.” It is in this spirit that the Soviet Government has been valiantly standing by India through thick and thin, and it is in this spirit that the Indo-Soviet Treat j has been signed. And this spirit of the epoch making Treaty has force again been un-practically renewed by the recent visits of the Heads of the governments of both India and Russia and the ‘Apna Utsava’ and the ‘Soviet Mahotsava’.

There never was a measure which was greeted with such wide­spread enthusiasm by our countrymen is the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Co-operation. The immediate reaction was ewe of instantaneous relief. It was as if ore had been walking alone through a dark forest infested with snakes and robbers and sud­denly emerged into a sunlit glade. There nights still have some thorny paths ahead, but there would be a trusted companion by one’s side,

India and the USSR have taken an important step in cement­ing this friendship. They have concludes a Treaty of peace, friend­ship and co-operation for a period of 20 years. There is no doubt that at the end of 20 years this Treaty will be renewed for another 20 years and that in 2000 A, D. the friendship between India and the USSR will shine as brightly as ever.

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