Beginnings of the journey
The serious engagement, however, began in 1955 with the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru while visiting Moscow in June that year and the Soviet Communist Party First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev arriving in New Delhi a few months later, overcoming the initial misgivings Moscow harboured about India.
One of the lasting outcomes of Khrushchev’s visit was the announcement of the Soviet Union’s support for India’s claim of sovereignty over the northern province of Kashmir. Sixty four years later Russia has displayed the same consistency in endorsing New Delhi’s revocation of Kashmir’s special constitutional status.
In the spirit of ‘principled reciprocity’ that cemented the bilateral bond between Delhi and Moscow during the Cold War decades, India denounced Western colonial attitudes as the root cause of the 1956 Suez Canal crisis involving Israel, France and the UK. India also refrained from criticising the intervention by Russian troops in the Hungarian uprising in 1955 after Budapest joined the Moscow-led Warsaw Pact. Years later, India was to again break ranks with almost the entire world when it tacitly supported the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979, which ultimately led to its collapse in 1991 and the outbreak of civil war and chaos that persists till today.
The most productive years
In the intervening years till the Soviet