Science her independence in 1947, India followed a police of peace and non-alignment. She always raised her voice in favor of truth and justice. She said what was right and proper without being afraid of anyone or without being tempted by any favors which she might receive from anyone. The result was that her prestige rose high in world affairs.
However, in august, 1971, she signed a treaty of peace and friendship with the Soviet Union. This treaty provided that the two nations would co-operate with each other in the cause of the world peace and that they would come to each other’s help in the hour of need. They would sincerely and honesty work together for world peace. With this end in view they would constantly consult each other. In this way better understanding would be promoted, the two would draw closer together and so would be in a better position to serve the cause of world peace.
So essentially it is a treaty of peace and friendship. But it had come in for a good deal of criticism. The critics point that India is non-aligned no more. She has joined the communist bloc. Russia is a powerful super-power, and hence forth India would be dominated by her. She would no longer be able to follow an independent foreign policy. She would be guided by Russia in every matter. She would be reducing to the position of a mere satellite. Further, it is said, she entered into the treaty in a hurry and out of rear. It was the fear of war with Pakistan over the Bangladesh issue that compelled him to sign this treaty with Russia. Whatever may be its language, essentially it is a military pact, designed to secure Soviet help in the event of China or U.S.A. coming to the help of Pakistan.
Such critics ignore the basic facts. The indo-soviet treaty has not been signed in a hurry. Nor is it the result of fear. It is rather the culmination of the friendship extending over a period of twenty five years. Since India became free in 1947, India and Soviet Union have been gradually drawing closer together. Soviet Union has always shown a sympathetic understanding of the problems that faced India. The two have constantly co-operated together both in the economic and political fields. The treaty is but an expression of this cooperation. It is logical outcome of friendship and cooperation over a long period of time.
Moreover, it is wrong to say that the treaty means that India has given up her policy of non-alignment. As the then prime minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, had repeatedly declared, India is prepared to sign such a treaty with any nation of the world which desires it. She has actually signed such a treaty with Bangladesh. Recently, India has come closer to France, and virtually she has such a treaty with that country also. She may have such a treaty with other nations in course of time.
Even the U.S.A. acknowledged that Mrs. Gandhi is too ‘tough’ a lady to become a satellite or a mere follower of anyone. India is too proud and spirited a nation to be guided and controlled by any country in the world, howsoever powerful it may be. She is proud of her rich cultural heritage and can meet others only on the basis of equality and mutual respect. She would always speak in her own voice, and never merely echo what others say. She would never give up her independence of judgment, or her right to react to world issues in her own way.
In short, the fears which the critics of the treaty have expressed are baseless. The treaty is a move in the right direction. It is working over the last 13 years or so has shown that it is really a treaty of peace and friendship, and that India is an equal partner in it. The Russians as their prime minister once said is not only satisfied with but are “proud” of their friendship with India. Visits between the leaders of the two countries have been constantly exchanged, and Indian leaders of the two countries have been constantly exchanged, and Indian leader have been treated with as much warmth, cordiality and respect, as the soviet leaders have received in India. As before, India continues to judge would issues on the basis of truth and justice and has in no way given up her policy of neutrality and non-alignment.
The treaty secured for India a powerful and sincere friend, on whose support she could count upon in her hour of need. Faced as she is with two hostile neighbors-China and Pakistan-she cannot do without such a friend. The treaty acquired an added significance in the context of the massive military aid that Pakistan received from the U.S.A. this was realized both by out late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi, and Shri Gorbachev of the Soviet Union.
However, in more recent times the treaty has lost much of its significance. The Soviet Union has disintegrated and broken up into a number of independent states. Negotiations in this respect have already begun.