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Kerala PSC Indian History Book Study Materials Page 2110Book's First Page
President Nasser of Egypt and President Tito Nehru saw the non-aligned philosophy as a force for peace and an opportunity to inject the pacifist ideals of Mahatma Gandhi in situations of conflict. But to the United States and some of its allies, India appeared to be favoring Moscow over Washington. THE HIMALAYAN BLUNDER However, Nehru’s biggest foreign policy crisis, rather blunder, arose not in his dealings with the West, but with India’s giant northeastern neighbor, China. For years, both countries had wrangled over two border areas—one in the Aksai Chin plateau where Kashmir meets China, and the other in an equally remote, mountainous area northeast of India. Even as diplomats behind the scenes tried to settle the dispute, the Indian government’s official slogan to describe Sino-Indian ties was “Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai” (Indians and Chinese are brothers). The mask of rhetoric was ripped off in 1962, when border dispute flared into a full-scale war. Wave upon wave of Chinese troops crossed over the northeast frontier, overwhelming Indian troops. China soon withdrew its troops, having accomplished its objectives. India was humiliated, and its military was shaken to the core. Valuable resources had been diverted to boost the war effort, and that—coupled with two years of poor harvests— weakened the economy and jeopardised the third five-year plan. The alarming increase in population further aggravated the crisis, swiftly negating much of the economic gains that had been achieved until then. Jawaharlal Nehru never recovered from what became known as “the Himalayan blunder.” He died in May of 1964. His legacy remains a matter of debate to this very day. His innumerable admirers point to his noble ideas and his undoubted love for India. His detractors instead highlight the dismal results of many of his economic policies–the consequences of which haunted India for long after wards. Then there was the question of aid. India received food shipments from the United States, help it through periods of drought and famine.