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India and the Cold War$
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Manu Bhagavan

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469651163

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651163.001.0001

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Indira Gandhi, the “Long 1970s,” and the Cold War

Indira Gandhi, the “Long 1970s,” and the Cold War

(p.178) Chapter Eight Indira Gandhi, the “Long 1970s,” and the Cold War
India and the Cold War

Priya Chacko

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on Indira Gandhi’s turn to populism and authoritarianism from the late 1960s and 1970s. It is argued that populism and authoritarianism had a long-term impact on Indian politics and political economy by creating the conditions that facilitated the emergence of long-term processes of political fragmentation – due to the decline of the Congress Party and the rise of various social forces and political formations – and economic reform. The chapter first shows how Cold War interventionism played a key role in Indira Gandhi’s shift toward agrarian populist policies and authoritarianism. It then details the ways in which the outcomes of populism and authoritarianism laid the path for the turn to pro-business and pro-market policies as well as political fragmentation and democratic deepening. Hence, the chapter makes the case for seeing the 1970s as a critical juncture in Indian history which laid the foundations for the major economic and political changes India has recently experienced. Within this period, the Cold War context was a crucial factor in the decisions and choices made by the Indian leadership.

Keywords:   Indira Ghandi, Populism, Authoritarianism, Political fragmentation, Congress Party, Economic reform, Cold War, Interventionism, 1970s

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