India's recent abstention on both the U.S.Soviet sponsored Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty, “commended” by the U. N. General Assembly, and the Security Council's resolution offering “guarantees” to signatory non-nuclear weapons nations was prompted as much by domestic as by international considerations. Probably for the first time since India's independence, a major foreign policy position of the Indian government has been influenced by opposition parties, especially the Socialists. Heretofore, Indian foreign policy was almost exclusively the preserve of the governing Congress Party and within it of the Prime Minister and a few political and civil service confidants. This monopoly was increasingly challenged within both Congress and the Parliament, beginning with opposition to Nehru's position on the Hungarian revolt of 1956, and continuing through Prime Minister Shastris' Tashkent agreement of 1965. But it was the results of the Fourth General elections of 1967, and the rise of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty issue, that gave all opposition parties a more influential role in the formation of foreign policy. Among the most persistent, vocal, and influential critics against Indian support for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty have been the Praja Socialist (PSP) and Samyukta Socialist (SSP) parties who receive powerful support fromthe Jan Sangh, from Independents, and from within the Congress Party itself. Right Communists and Swatantra, on the other hand, favor the treaty.

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