Nehru governed India until his death in and Lal Bahadur Shastri succeeded him as Prime Minister of India in 1964. He successfully repulsed Pakistan's twin attack on India-in the Rann of Kutch and in Kashmir. After India-Pakistan War of 1965, Shastri met in Tashkent with Pakistan's President and signed a “no-war” declaration.
After Shastri's death he was succeeded by Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi. She rode a wave of success in1971 with India's victory in the second Indo-Pak war (1971), resulting in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh; launching of the India's first satellite into space (1975), nuclear explosion in Pokhran (1974). Other major decisions during her tenure include the nationalization of banks and the abolition of privy purses to the princes. In her attempt to control population growth, she implemented a voluntary sterilization program. But her adversaries criticized it. In 1975, beset with deepening political and economic problems, Mrs. Gandhi declared a state of emergency and suspended many civil liberties. The Emergency was a dark night in Indian democracy.
The people also suffered a lot from this emergency rule. In the same year India acquired Sikkim. Seeking a mandate at the polls for her policies, she called for elections in 1977. Congress party lost the election to the Janata Party and Moraji Desai became India's new prime minister. In 1979 Desai's government crumbled and Charan Singh of the Janata Secular Party formed an interim government. But in 1980, Gandhi's government returned to power.
In 1984, Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated by her own Sikh guards in apparent retaliation for dispatching troops to the Sikh Golden Temple. The years following the assassination, saw the Sikh Terrorism in Punjab. The situation has returned to normal after a decade of bitter violence.
Within 24 hours, Indira's son Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the new prime minister. But his government was brought down in 1989 by allegations of corruption. Two major scandals, the "Spy" and the "Bofors" affairs, tarnished his reputation and he resigned his position. This was followed by opposition coalition governments headed by V.P. Singh and then Chandra Shekhar. That alliance also collapsed, resulting in national elections in 1991. But Rajiv Gandhi who stood for the elections, met with a tragic end in 1991 at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai by an LTTE Suicide Bomber when he was attending an election meeting.
In the elections INC becomes the largest party and returned to power at the head of a coalition, under the leadership of P.V. Narasimha Rao. In 1996, he and his cabinet officials were subsequently indicted for major corruption. Religious conflict between Hindus and Muslims lead to bloody riots in 1992. Rao's tenure also marked extensive economic reforms under the Finance Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in the early 90s, which paved the way for India's economy growth at a high rate.
In 1996, When general elections were held Rao and Congress were badly defeated, and he lost the prime minister ship. The Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged from national elections as the single-largest party in the Lok Sabha but without a parliamentary majority. Under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, BJP coalition government lasted only 13 days. With all political parties wishing to avoid another round of elections, a 14-party coalition led by the Janata Dal formed a government with H.D. Deve Gowda as Prime Minister but his government collapsed within a year. Another minor party leader, I.K. Gujral replaced Dev Gowda. In November 1997, the Congress Party again withdrew support from the United Front. In new elections in February 1998, the BJP won the largest number of seats in Parliament, but fell far short of a majority. The President inaugurated a BJP-led coalition government under Vajpayee. This coalition fell apart and new elections in 1999 improved the position of the BJP, Vajpayee formed a new coalition. In 1999, Pakistani infiltrators crossed the line of control in Kargil, Kashmir resulting in an armed conflict between the Indian army and Pakistani paramilitary forces, resulting in eventual withdrawal by the Pakistani soldiers. In 2004 elections, Congress formed the government under the former Finance Minister popularly known as the father of Indian Economic Reforms, Dr. Manmohan Singh.