India not to Align with Power Blocs

Jawaharlal Nehru's address to journalists, Bombay, 19 April 1949.

I have always sought the goodwill, affection and cooperation of the Indian people and always obtained it in a generous and abundant measure. If I have achieved anything in life, it is because of that affection and goodwill. I feel now that at no time this goodwill and affection are more necessary than at the present moment, when I am on the point of emplaning for the West to consider problems, which affect the present and the future.

During the past years we, all of us in India, have been partners in the making of history and history has marched with giant strides in this country, in Asia and in the world. History is still in the process of being made and there are mighty movements and considerable turmoil and conflicts in the world.

Free and independent India faces this prospect with a measure of confidence. We have, to a large extent, found ourselves and we have survived many perils and dangers and this has bred this confidence in us to face the future. I have little doubt that in the future, India has to play an important role, provided that it always adheres to the great ideals which have inspired us in the past and to the lessons which the Father of the Nation taught us.

Our very position demands a wider appreciation of what is happening in the world and an acknowledgement of our duties and our obligations to further world peace and progress.

The immediate object of my going to England is to discuss the future association of India with the Commonwealth countries. I have already in Parliament and in the open meetings of the Congress and elsewhere discussed this matter with frankness and stated what our fundamental position is. I shall abide necessarily with the direction given to me on this subject and equally necessarily by the ideals which have inspired us.

In regard to our foreign policy, we have repeatedly stated that we cannot align ourselves with power blocs hostile to each other. This is not merely a policy of neutrality, but is a positive approach to the problems of the world in the hope that we might further the cause of peace and friendship between nations. I believe India can be of service not only to India and Asia but to the world in this matter. It is with this background that I have tried to approach all our foreign problems.

History is on the march and we have to keep in step with it, at the same time trying to mould it and fashion it to the best of our ability. Ultimately the policy of a nation depends upon her inner strength. It is because our inner strength has grown, and our great potential will progressively become actual, that India counts more and more in the counsels of the world.

Recently I was reported by some error in a London newspaper as having said that there is no morality as between nations. As a matter of fact I hold strongly to the opinion that unless there is a moral basis, both to the internal politics of a nation and to its external affairs, that nation will suffer and the world will suffer.

I hope that whatever happens India will never do anything that is wrong morally even though some misguided people might think it is advantageous for the moment. And so for the present I bid a brief goodbye, conscious that I am not going abroad as a mere individual, but as a representative of a great nation with the goodwill of millions and with the desire to approach the problem in a spirit of friendship and cooperation of other nations. Jai Hind.


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