Chester Bowles as U.S. Ambassador in India: 1951-1953

  • Surendra K. Gupta (Autor/in)

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Chester Bowles, who served as U. S. Ambassador in India during the last two years of the Truman Administration, conducted his diplomacy on the premise that rather than forcing India to side with the U.S., Washington should accept New Delhi's non-aligned policy and help its democratic experiment by participating in its economic development. This, in the long run, would persuade India to move closer to the West. He and his family also conducted a highly visible public diplomacy by mingling with the Indian people at different levels. Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, responded warmly to his overtures. India also decided to accept the provisions of the U.S. Mutual Security Pact. It, however, reacted coolly to Russia's support of Kashmir in January 1952, and spurned Soviet offers of aid made at the International Economic Conference in Moscow in April 1952. If the Bowles approach had continued under the new Eisenhower Administration, it is unlikely that Nehru wouldhave responded as warmly as he did to Moscow's moves after 1953, but Washington decided to replace Bowles and soon devised an Asian military alliance which India opposed and Pakistan eagerly joined. Thus, the abandonment of the highly successful Bowles approach paved the way for Soviet-Indian rapprochement.