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India is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the multinational association of Britain and its former colonies. Although Nehru initially considered withdrawal from this organization, he decided to retain membership to prevent isolation in the bipolar international system, to prevent the Commonwealth from becoming pro-Pakistan, to have access to Western economic assistance and military equipment without excessive dependence on the United States, and to convert the Commonwealth from an extension of the British Empire to a multiracial association of equal states. India actively participates in Commonwealth affairs and has found the organization a useful forum in which to voice its concerns on such matters as apartheid, race relations, and citizenship rights, as well as a source of economic assistance under the Colombo Plan for Cooperative Economic and Social Development in Asia and the Pacific (Colombo Plan -- see Glossary). In 1989 the Indian government under Rajiv Gandhi sponsored Pakistan's reapplication for Commonwealth membership under the civilian leadership of Benazir Bhutto. In the early 1990s, with Indian approval, Commonwealth priorities were enlarged to include the importance of democratic institutions and human rights.
Data as of September 1995
Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.
Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for India was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.
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Section 323 of 374
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