John F. Kennedy, during his presidency and before, was recognized by both Indians and Americans alike as a friend to India, and his election in 1960 marked a shift in the goals of U.S. foreign policy toward the Third World in general and India in particular. Kennedy's interest in India preceded his election as president, however. As a senator, he sponsored a U.S.-Indian conference in Washington in 1957 that was aimed at promoting cooperation between the two countries. Kennedy also had great personal respect for Nehru's role as a leader in India's struggle for independence. However, an examination of U.S. foreign policy toward India during the Kennedy administration reveals a pattern of conflicting aims between the president and Congress over political and economic relations with India and their ultimate effect on the regional balance of power in South Asia. If John Kennedy initiated a new era in U.S. foreign policy by reaching beyond the confines of the NATO alliance to newly formed states in Africa and Asia, some members of Congress were reluctant to renounce the legacy of the Cold War and the rigid outlook personified by former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. These lingering echoes of Cold War ideology were to affect both economic and military aid allocations to India and, ironically, encourage India to seek assistance from America's principal rival, the Soviet Union.