Social Scientist. v 17, no. 198-99 (Nov-Dec 1989) p. 3.

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Perestroika and International Security


'Three years ago, when the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sprung the Delhi Declaration upon an unsuspecting world public, the international response varied from the dismissive to the skeptical. For many people in the nonaligned world too the call of the Delhi Declaration for a nuclear weapon-free and non-violent world appeared long on rhetoric and short on realism. Even for those Indians, in empathy with the goals of the Delhi Declaration, the document seemed Utopian to the point of being embarrassing. But much has happened in 1987,1988 and 1989 taking the edge of the cynicism that greeted the Delhi Declaration at the end of 1986.

The new international situation is marked by the easing of Soviet-American tensions, the emergence of a number of negotiations on arms limitation and progress in the resolution of a number of vexing regional conflicts. There is a new enthusiasm for the United Nations, sidelined for years as a pointless debating forum. At a deeper level, it is being argued that the international system is undergoing a profound change. The redistribution of the economic weight among the great powers of the world is throwing the post-war economic, political and security arrangements into disarray. It is already commonplace to suggest that the post-war era of international relations is drawing to a close.

The *new thinking1 in Soviet foreign policy, under the leadership of Gorbachev certainly deserves much of ttie credit for the new mood of optimism in the international scene. Gorbachev's dogged pursuit of a new relationship with the West has begun to yield dividends. The recent Soviet-American dialogue spread over five summit meetings between President Reagan and Gorbachev has succeeded in eroding, perhaps irreversibly, the Cold War framework that has undergirded the relationship between the two giants for nearly four decades. The current detente between Washington and Moscow is likely to be long-lasting and deeper than the one attempted in the 1970s. The new Soviet

* Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi.

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