Historical Crisis Committee

Topic: Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet (1971)

Ever since India’s independence from the British Empire in 1947 (and the consequent “Partition” of the subcontinent into two independent states—India and Pakistan), there have existed strong political, sociocultural, and military tensions between the two states. The 1971 conflict, which resulted in the independence of East Pakistan as Bangladesh, marks one of the most significant moments in post-Partition history for a number of reasons. First, India’s actions in 1971 under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi earned the country a newfound respect in the international community. This would go on to affect India’s relations not only with Pakistan, but also lead to the formation of alliances that still exist today. Secondly, India’s humanitarian intervention into the conflict, as well as its redrawing of previously agreed upon borders as a result of the liberation of Bangladesh, changed South Asian geopolitical relations dramatically. Finally, Indira Gandhi’s victory in the 1971 elections on a platform of ending poverty brought about important domestic reforms to the country that would be a catalyst for its later growth.

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