Nonalignment has been an important aspect of India’s foreign policy. Non-alignment literally means not to be a part of any military alliance. It was India’s response to the Cold War politics of the two superpowers. The United States and the Soviet Union attempted to extend their respective ‘sphere of influence’ through promoting military alliances in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere in the world.

Some of the important military alliances during the cold war-

American Military Alliances:

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1949 (NATO)
  • ANZUS in 1951 (US, Australia, New Zealand);
  • South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) in 1954
  • Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) in 1955.
  • Soviet Military Alliances:
  • The Soviet Union and China signed a military alliance in 1950.
  • Warsaw Pact in 1955.

Unlike many countries in the world that chose to align with an alliance by one of the two super powers; India chose to remain “non-aligned”. It followed a policy of maintaining ‘equidistance’ from both the super powers. The idea and policy of Non- Alignment is the contribution of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. After the end of the cold war, questions were raised about the relevance of nonalignment. It must be noted that the essential features of nonalignment, independent foreign policy, and peace approach are still relevant today.

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