64. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter1

SUBJECT

  • Weekly National Security Report #6

1. Opinions

India’s Political Future

The election victory of the Janata Party in India seems to mark a major shift in Indian politics.2 For the first time, a party other than Congress will rule; democracy and human rights should be fully restored; and a government is in power that will probably be less well disposed towards the Soviet Union.3 The change, however, needs to be put in perspective. The victorious coalition lacks a common program and embraces widely different ideologies. Indeed, it is in many ways a carbon copy of the Congress Party but without an organizational framework. Its political weight is more to the right of center than Congress but in a country needing radical change, this is not necessarily a recommendation. Certainly India’s objective problems remain. The possible pro-American tilt of the new government is also not without problems. Our ability to help India economically or politically is limited [Page 163]by objective factors and we may face expectations that we cannot fulfill. Further, no rational Indian Government can reject the Soviet Union as long as it feels threatened by China. Finally, some of the members of the ruling group hold chauvinistic views that could threaten the peace of the subcontinent and result in dangerous pressures on the nuclear front. In sum, we are facing a period of uncertainty and will want to take the measure of the new government very carefully before we adopt a definitive policy line towards it.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to India.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Subject Chron File, Box 125, Weekly National Security Report: 2–4/77. Top Secret; Sensitive; Contains Codeword.
  2. Telegram 1521 from New Delhi, February 1, reported: “Leaders of the four main non-Communist opposition parties (Congress (O), Jan Sangh, BLD, and Socialist Party) organized to form a single Janata Party on Jan. 20. In the following week, leaders of the new party were announced. Congress (O) leader Moraji Desai is Chairman, BLD President Charan Singh is Deputy Chairman.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770035–0949) For the Carter administration’s public statement on the new government, see footnote 3, Document 242.
  3. In a report on the political background of the newly-elected Indian Prime Minister, telegram 4161 from New Delhi, March 24, concluded that Desai “has strongly opposed Indian Communists and has criticized Indian policy as being tilted toward the Soviet Union.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770101–0042)