*Friday, April 16, 2010*


*<File 4)*

*COMMEMMORATING The 55*^*th* * Anniversary*



Following is the speech of Prime Minister of the Republic of India, 
Pandit Jawaharlal* NEHRU*, at the Political Committee of the Bandung 
Conference. The Indian Prime Minister refuted the speech of the Turkish 
Delegation (member of the Western military alliance NATO). Nehru pointed 
ou the Turkish delegate is representing the views of one of the major 
military blocs in the world. Stressing India's independent foreign 
policy Nehru said:

"*I belong to neither and I propose to belong to neither whatever 
happens in the world."*

Nehru insist upon India's stand of not siding on any of the military 
blocs, neither the US bloc nor the Soviet bloc, as follows:

"*. . . So far as I am concerned, it does not matter what war takes 
place; we will not take part in it unless we have to defend ourselves. 
If I join any of these big groups I lose my identity. . . .*

* * *

*Prime Minister Nehru: *
*Speech to Bandung Conference Political Committee, 1955 *

"Mr. Chairman,

The turn this discussion has taken is a much wider one than that we had 
already expected. In fact, it has covered the whole major heading. We 
have just had the advantage of listening to the distinguished leader of 
the Turkish Delegation who told us what lie, as a responsible leader of 
the nation must do and must not do. He gave us an able statement of what 
I might call one side representing
the views of one of the major blocs existing at the present time in the 
world. I have no doubt that an equally able disposition could be made on 
the part of the other bloc. I belong to neither and I propose to belong 
to neither whatever happens in the world. If we have to stand alone, we 
will stand by ourselves, whatever happens (and India has stood alone 
without any aid against a mighty Empire, the British Empire) and we 
propose to face all consequences. . . .

We do not agree with the communist teachings, we do not agree with
the anti-communist teachings, because they are both based on wrong 
principles. I never challenged the right of my country to defend itself; 
it has to. We will defend ourselves with whatever arms and strength we 
have, and if we have no arms we will defend ourselves without arms. I am 
dead certain that no country can conquer India.
Even the two great power blocs together cannot conquer India; not even 
the atom or the hydrogen bomb. I know what my people are. But I know 
also that if we rely on others, whatever great powers they might be if 
we look to them for sustenance, then we are weak indeed.
. . .

My country has made mistakes. Every country makes mistakes. I have no 
doubt we will make mistakes; we will Stumble and fall and get up. The 
mistakes of my country and perhaps the mistakes of other countries here 
do not make a difference; but the mistakes the Great Powers make do make 
a difference to the world and may well bring about a terrible 
catastrophe. I speak with the greatest respect of these Great Powers 
because they are not only great in military might
but in development, in culture, in civilization. But I do submit that 
greatness sometimes brings quite false values, false standards. When 
they begin to think in terms of military strength - whether it be the 
United Kingdom, the Soviet Union or the U.S.A. - then they are going 
away from the right track and the result of that will be that the 
overwhelming might of one country will conquer the world. Thus far the 
world has succeeded in preventing that; I cannot speak
for the future. . . .

. . . So far as I am concerned, it does not matter what war takes place; 
we will not take part in it unless we have to defend ourselves. If I 
join any of these big groups I lose my identity. . . . If all the world 
were to be divided up between these two big blocs what would be the 
result? The inevitable result would be war. Therefore every step that 
takes place in reducing that area in the world which may be called the 
/unaligned area is /a dangerous step and leads to war. It reduces that 
objective, that balance, that outlook which other countries without 
military might can perhaps exercise.

Honorable Members laid great stress on moral force. It is with military 
force that we are dealing now, but I submit that moral force counts and 
the moral force of Asia and Africa must, in spite of the atomic and 
hydrogen bombs of Russia, the U.S.A. or another country, count. . . .

. . . Many members present here do not obviously accept the communist 
ideology, while some of them do. For my part I do not. I am a positive 
person, not an 'anti' person. I want positive good for my country and 
the world.

*Therefore, are we, the countries of Asia and Africa, devoid of any 
positive position except being pro-communist or anti-communist?* Has it 
come to this, that the leaders of thought who have given religions and 
all kinds of things
to the world have to tag on to this kind of group or that and be 
hangers-on of this party or the other carrying out their wishes and 
occasionally giving an idea? It is most degrading and humiliating to any 
self-respecting people or nation. It is an intolerable thought to me 
that the great countries of Asia and Africa should come out of bondage 
into freedom only to degrade themselves or humiliate
themselves in this way. . . .

I submit to you, every pact has brought insecurity and not security to 
the countries which have entered into them. They have brought the danger 
of atomic bombs and the rest of it nearer to them than would have been 
the case otherwise. They have not added to the strength of any country, 
I submit, which it had singly. It may have produced some idea of 
security, but it is a false security. It is a bad thing for any country 
thus to be lulled into security. . . .

....Today in the world, I do submit, not only because of the presence of 
these two colossuses but also because of the coming of the atomic and 
hydrogen-bomb age, the whole concept of war, of peace, of politics, has 
changed. We are thinking and acting in terms of a past age. No matter 
what generals and soldiers learned in the past, it is useless in this 
atomic age. They do not understand its implications or its use. As an 
eminent military critic said: 'The whole conception of War is changed. 
There is no precedent.' It may be so. Now it does not matter if one 
country is more powerful than the other in the use of the atomic bomb 
and the hydrogen bomb. One is more powerful in its ruin than the other. 
That is what is meant by saying that the point of saturation has been 
reached. However powerful one country is, the other is also powerful. To 
hit the nail on the head, the world suffers; there can be no victory. It 
may be said perhaps rightly that owing to this very terrible danger, 
people refrain from going to war. I hope so.. The difficulty is that 
while Governments want to refrain from war, something suddenly happens 
and there is war and utter ruin.

There is another thing: because of the present position in the world 
there can be aggression. If there is aggression anywhere in the world, 
it is bound to result in world war. It does not matter where the 
aggression is. If one commits the
aggression there is world war.

I want the countries here to realise it and not to think in terms of any 
limitation. Today, a war however limited it may be is bound to lead to a 
big war. Even if tactical atomic weapons, as they are called, are used, 
the next step would be the use of the big atomic bomb. You cannot stop 
these things. In a country's life and death struggle, it is not going to 
stop short of this. It is not going to decide on our or anybody else's 
resolutions but it would engage in war, ruin andannihilation of others 
before it annihilates itself completely. Annihilation will result not 
only in the countries engaged in war, but owing to the radioactive waves 
which go thousands and thousands of miles it will destroy everything.

That is the position. It is not an academic position; it is not a 
position of discussing ideologies; nor is it a position of discussing 
past history. It is looking at the world as it is today." (End)

* * *

Reprinted in G. M. Kahin, //The Asian-African Conference// (Cornell
University Press, 1956), pp. 64-72.
This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook
© Paul Halsall, July 1998

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