India

Universal Newsreel 32-35 (4/30/59) from National Archives - DVD63
1947 - India became an independent nation with a Hindu majority at midnight August 15, and Pakistan with a Muslim majority was partitioned east and west. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of India 1948-1964. The Hindu maharaja of the state of Jammu and Kashmir had refused to to join either India or Pakistan, but when attacked by West Pakistan Muslims, decided in October to join India, causing the first India-Pakistan war 1947-48, ended by a United Nations-sponsored cease-fire Jan. 1, 1949, with 30% of Kashmir under Pakistan control.

1948 - Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated January 30 in New Delhi, by a Hindu extremist opposed to Gandhi's openness to Muslims.

1954 - India remained nonaligned but Pakistan signed a Mutual Defense Agreement with the United States and became a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). In 1955 Pakistan joined the Baghdad Pact with Iran, Iraq, and Turkey that later became the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) after Iraq's withdrawal in 1959. Ayub Khan declared martial law in 1958 and became the leader of Pakistan, president 1962-69, aligned with China against India until the Zia government (1977-88).

1959 - China occupied Tibet and the Dalai Lama fled to India, caused increased tensions between India and China.

1961 - John Kenneth Galbraith arrived in April in New Delhi as the U. S. ambassador to India, supported increased economic aid to India to reduce widespread poverty, and to build a stronger friendship with India against China; travelled with Nehru on his American trip to visit Kennedy; Nehru in December sent 30,000 troops into Portuguese Goa.

Universal Newsreel 35-25 (3/22/62) from National Archives - DVD65
1962 - Jackie Kennedy visited India in March, rode elephant, visited the Taj Mahal; Nehru sought military aid from the U.S., feared a communist invasion across the old British McMahon line, and fought a border war against China Oct. 20-Nov. 21 that took place at the same time as the Cuban missile crisis. Galbraith arranged a C-130 airlift of supplies to India, U-2 spy flights over Chinese lines

1963 - India bought from General Electric two 210-megawatt boiling-water reactors for the Tarapur Atomic Power Station. India agreed that any plutonium from power reactors will not be used for atomic weapons, but India does not sign the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, and with the help of France builds and tests its first atomic bomb in 1974. Pakistan began its atomic program in 1972, importing reactor technology from Canada, Germany, and China, developing atomic warheads by 1990 and testing its first atomic bomb in 1998.

1965 - Second war with Pakistan over Kashmir, ended by a United Nations-sponsored cease-fire Sept. 23. 1966 - Indira Gandhi, the only child of Nehru, became prime minister after the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri January 11.

1971 - India supported the independence of Bangladesh, created March 26 after General Yahya Khan of West Pakistan, president since 1969, tried to unify the two Pakistans under his control. The dispute over Bangladesh caused the third Indo-Pakistani war until Pakistan forces were defeated by India in December. Indira Gandhi signed in August a twenty-year Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation with the Soviet Union.

1977 - Morarji Desai became prime minister until 1979, followed by Chaudhury Charan Singh until 1980.

1980 - Indira Gandhi again became prime minster until her assassination by her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984.

1984 - December gas leak at Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal killed thousands.

1984 - Rajiv Gandhi, Indira's eldest son, became prime minister until his resignation on November 29, 1989. Rajiv Gandhi sent troops to Sri Lanka 1987 (until withdrawn 1990) to prevent ethnic civil war. He was assassinated by Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers terrorists on May 21, 1991.

1996 - Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defeated the Congress Party of Gandhi-Nehru, and formed the basis of a coalition government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

1999 - Atal Bihari Vajpayee began his third term (1996, 1998) as Prime Mister of India and leader of the majority Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

2000 - Bill Clinton visited India.

2001 - Vajpayee held July summit conference with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf; both offered support to President Bush after Sept. 11; U. S. lifted sanctions that had been imposed after 1998 nuclear tests by both countries.

2002 - India and Pakistan test nuclear-capable IRBM missiles; in July, the scientist who developed India's missile program, APJ Abdul Kalam, was elected president.

2003 - India and Pakistan declared a Kashmir ceasefire in November.

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revised 4/15/04 by Steven Schoenherr | Songs | Films | Maps