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The Nth Moment
Crossing The Rubicon: The Shaping Of India
By C. Raja Mohan
Rs 450; Pages: 321
The Rubicon here is a nuclear stream: Narasimha Rao trembled at its edge, Vajpayee plunged through. With that, according to the author, Indian foreign policy was decisively unshackled from a whole range of outdated attitudes. Pragmatism, not ideology, became the lodestar. Non-alignment and ‘Third Worldism’ were set aside, the values India shares with the West were affirmed. Most important was the burgeoning friendship with America. How this was brought about, the diplomacy that deflected post-Pokhran hostility and opened up new vistas is the book’s theme.
In the author’s perception, altered power equations due principally to nuclearisation have permitted a confident reshaping of India’s vital relationships. There are limitations: nuclear equivalence with China, regarded as the biggest future challenge, enables India to be more assertive, but when it comes to Pakistan, nuclearisation only adds risks.
This book is a pioneering account of the current mainsprings of India’s foreign policy. Those who share its assumptions will applaud, others will look in vain for a galvanising vision in this nuclear age to match the legacy of Nehru’s humanistic conviction.