The national movement for independence evoked world-wide reaction in which many imperialist countries like the United States, favoured independence for India. The leadership of a person like Nehru also infused internationalism in our approach.
Consequently, India evolved faith in resolving conflicts with its neighbours through international organisation and agencies. The number of conflicts which India had with its neighbors rose to about six. But faith in internationalism cost India very dearly.
The Kashmir issue which was referred to the United Nations taught a bitter lesson to India. Instead of finding any reasonable solution, the big powers sought to play a game of power politics in which India became involved.
Having learnt a bitter lesson from this experience, India refrained from referring disputes to the international organisation. She preferred to settle them on bilateral basis. The most glaring example of this is provided by the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962.
Bilateralism has many advantages over internationalism in settling disputes with neighbours. Firstly, it reduces chances of external considerations being forced on essentially a conflict of local nature. It means the chances of other powers to fish in troubled waters are reduced. The parties to the dispute who are familiar with each other’s problems try to iron out their differences essentially within the framework of their respective interests.
Secondly, it creates confidence in the partners concerned to take care of their own affairs without outside help. This helps in attaining greater degree of independence for which non-alignment is working. At the Colombo Conference (1976), the Havana Conference (1979) and the Delhi Conference (1983) of the non-aligned, bilateral issues were not included in the agenda.