The period known as the “Emergency” in India—June 1975 to March 1977—is widely recognised as one of the darkest episodes in the nation’s 70-year history. Fundamental rights were suspended, whilst the courts had little or no authority. The security services received emergency powers to make arrests without explanation. Although the political, social, and economic history of the Emergency remains well known, there is nothing on the international history of this period. This analysis provides the first contribution to its diplomatic history. Examining the role played by the United States and Britain, in particular, finds basis largely on declassified papers available in the Indian, American, and British national archives as well as a survey of over 300 newspaper articles on and around the Indian Emergency.

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This article was originally published in Diplomacy & Statecraft.