them to get much needed economic assistance from both power blocs. With
the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union (1991), the
policy lost much of its usefulness as a guiding principle in many nations’
foreign relations.
                        Bandung Conference in Indonesia
Evaluation of Non-alignment
How did non-alignment shield India from the storms of the Cold War that
swallowed up other countries of Asia and Africa? First, the importance of the
Cold War as a determining factor in western, particularly American, policy-
making cannot be stressed too much. The Cold War was only the “nuclear”
period of the total war concept that gripped the western world after the First
World War. Total war meant that all society would be affected by war and its
effects and that the whole nation as a unit would have to be mobilised for
warfare. In this light, independent India’s decision to align itself with neither
bloc was truly remarkable, given that the post World War II ideological
struggle was ferociously directed against newly-decolonising nations, in
order to get them to line up on one side or the other of the ideological divide.
It was precisely against such