Conventional narratives would have us believe that the US has, historically, been opposed to India acquiring nuclear WMDs for strategic deterrence, that the had from 1947 till 1999 had wholeheartedly supported Pakistan, etc etc. Now, for perhaps the first time, such myths have been dispelled through the contents of the autobiography of former Indian career diplomat Maharaj Krishna Rasgotra.
The autobiography candidly explains the naivety of India’s foreign policy perceptions, as well as the duplicitous role of the United Kingdom, which along with France and Portugal were the principal advisers of the US when it came to formulating and shaping US foreign policy for East, South and Central Asia.
Rasgotra also for the very first time reveals that contrary to popular perception, the US since the late 1950s began to look up to India as the only stabilising factor in both South and Southeast Asia, and by April 1961, even went to the extent of offering India all possible help for developing nuclear WMDs for strategic deterrence. Consider the following:
Rasgotra’s revelations had earlier been backed-up by disclosures from the US, following the declassification of several documents dealing with US-India covert cooperation in several areas, including nuclear WMD R & D activities. Prior to May 1974, the US never objected to obtaining any type of hardware that would end up in unsafeguarded nuclear R & D facilities of India’s Department of Atomic Energy.
Rasgotra has also explained how the US had forewarned India in March 1965 about Pakistan’s forthcoming OP Grand Slam.
And India never shied away from returning the favour. For instance, when the Indian Army had proposed the public showcasing of its war booties (including the then state-of-the-art M-48 Patton tanks) after the 1965 war, the US requested India not to go ahead with this plan, since this would have terribly embarrassed it.
And contrary to popular perceptions of that time, the overwhelming public opinion in the US in mid-1971 was in favour of India militarily liberating East Pakistan and heralding the birth of Bangladesh without any further delay.