ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: India and Belgrade

Editorial from Vol XIII, No 35, september 2, 1961.

Pandit Nehru has been widely, but not intelligently, criticised for the distrust with which he initially approached the idea of the Belgrade “Summit” and the caution with which he later agreed to participate. Both the original distrust and the later caution are understandable. To appreciate this, it is necessary to grasp the basic fact that India stands in a very special relationship towards non-alignment… It was an unusual concept and even the mature nations of the world had a consider-able amount of difficulty in grasping its essentials for a long time. Most often, it was confused with “neutrality’’… Since this idea is so inadequately under-stood by even the Indian critics of non-align-ment, it is not to be expected that it should be fully grasped by others. The somewhat disheartening wrangle at Cairo was the result of this. A number of countries calling themselves “neutral’’ have evidently come to the conclusion that the only way of breaking the suffocating hold of the two power-blocs in the world is to add a third to them… [This] is entirely, wholly and absolutely impracticable… …[N]on-aligned and independent, every country has its individual worth and impor-tance, for itself as well as for the big powers. But joined together in a bloc of their own, these countries lose their identity in the inter-national scheme of things, without replacing it with anything whose power or influence can match either of the Big Two... Pandit Nehru distrusted the idea of a Bel-grade “Summit” precisely because he knew that the participants would have more enthu-siasm than understanding of non-alignment...

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