Forged in Crisis: India and the United States since 1947 by Rudra Chaudhuri

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  • January 2015
    Book Review

    ‘My, I always thought he was the peaceable sort’, remarked Jacqueline Kennedy, sitting next to her husband in the White House in the late evening of October 25, 1962. She had just read a letter written to John F. Kennedy from Jawaharlal Nehru, the first of three crucial letters seeking US military assistance during the Indo-China war in 1962. While analysts at the time (and even today) describe it as the moment India forsook the ideals of non-alignment to pursue material heft in the face of mounting enemy pressure, the author, Rudra Chaudhuri, instead finds it only an expression of fresh tensions between ‘a repertoire of older habits and styles and the harsher realities of the time’ (p. 113). This is a theme repeatedly underlined by Chaudhuri in his book, as he employs a wide range of sources and newly available Indian archives to study a difficult relationship between the world’s richest and world’s most populous democracy.