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Has Indian Negotiating Power, to Achieve an International Order Based on Justice and the Rule of Law, Increased since the 1998 Nuclear Tests?

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From the “Quit-India Resolution” of 1942 to Nehru's visit to the United States in 1948, and the numerous carefully worded statements of Indian diplomats at the United Nations thereafter, India has supported global disarmament and a peaceful and just world order based on the rule of law. Unfortunately, after the Second World War, the Cold War prevented an early implementation of the UN Charter provisions for collective security. Thereafter, the world organisation, with its parliamentary assembly, executive and international court, continued to exist but “never quite recovered from its [initial] failure to live up to” the original expectations. While today, the need for an effective international system is not questioned, we are still looking for a safe way “how to get to it.” This article supports and investigates the principal idea of a democratic One-World order or world federation, and India's role, to establish a binding world structure that would be able to cope efficiently with world problems.

Mahatma Gandhi had already in the 1920s answered the question of world organization positively, arguing in favour of interdependence rather than independence: “The better mind of the world desires today not absolutely independent States warring one against another but a federation of friendly inter-dependent States.” Gandhi and all of Congress approved not only of the United Nations, as the Powers had first named their Alliance in January 1942,4 but also of universal federation in the famous “Quit-India” Resolution, adopted on 8 August of that year. In the Resolution the Congress Committee expressed its “opinion that the future peace, security and ordered progress of the world demand a world federation of free nations.“ True enough, it also declared that “the immediate ending of British rule in India is an urgent necessity, both for the sake of India and for the success of the cause of the United Nations,” arguing that the “continuation of that rule” was “degrading and enfeebling India … making her progressively less capable of defending herself and of contributing to the cause of world freedom.” Apart from a free India being able to contribute more effectively to the allied cause and “affect materially thefortunes of the war,” such measure would “bring all subject and oppressed humanity on the side of the United Nations,” filling “the peoples of Asia and Africa … with hope and enthusiasm.” This was the voice of reason and compassion.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2007

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