By Jayshree Borah
May 08, 2015
Sixty years ago, India was at the forefront of efforts to create a new world order. Times have changed.
Sixty years ago, delegates from 29 Asian and African countries gathered in Bandung, Indonesia for a conference to decide their own futures and destinies, free of the yoke of colonialism. The aspiration of building an “intermediate camp” of national independence and neutralism to counter the “imperialist camp” of the United States and the “socialist camp” of the Soviet Union was also very much part of the motive behind the conference.
However, the tone for that 1955 conference on Afro-Asian solidarity was actually set by then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru almost a decade earlier. Nehru’s enthusiasm for pan-Asian cooperation found its expression in the Asian Relations Conference, convened in New Delhi in March and April 1947. This earlier conference had special significance as it created an Asian Relations Organization in New Delhi and made Nehru its president.