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Addressing a Conundrum

C.V. Ranganathan

By Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu and Jing-dong Yuan
India Research Press, New Delhi, 2003, pp. 204, price not stated.


The Centre for Non-Proliferation Studies in the Monterey Institute of International Studies, USA, along with the United States Institute of Peace and the Cooperative Monitoring Centre at the Sandia National Laboratories, USA, funded and supported the research and publication of the above volume. The Indian co-author was formerly with the International Peace Academy, USA, and Delhi University. His partner, an expatriate Chinese scholar is with the Monterey Institute. The book is perhaps the first of its kind in contemporary times where a scholar each from India and China have collaborated to take an indepth look at relations between India and China since the former’s independence and the latter’s emergence as the People’s Republic. The co-authors had the benefit of basing their book on extensive printed materials and interviews with policymakers, academia and intellectuals in both countries to whom they seem to have had easy access.   In the blurb on the book the authors say that it seeks to address a conundrum. To quote, “the hardline view of Sino-Indian relations found in the published reports of Indian and Chinese security analysts is often at considerable odds with the more tempered opinions those same analysts express in private interviews and conversations”. They could have added that these hardline views are also at considerable odds with the manner in which the Governments of India and China have managed the rapid improvements in relations over the recent past, given the known differences between the two nations. Given the academic background of each of the authors in security studies, including conventional and nuclear deterrence and confidence building measures, it is inevitable that bilateral relations and the impact of the changing international environment (particularly since the advent of the Bush Presidency, 9/11 etc.) on these relations are analysed purely through the prism of security to the near exclusion of other factors which have influenced the growth of Sino-Indian relations.   A listing of the first five chapters and contents of the Introductory Chapter would show this: ‘Imprisoned by History’; ‘Locked in an (In) Security Complex’; ‘A Complex Ménage à Trois: China, India and the United States’; ‘The Long and Winding Road to Cooperative Security’; ‘Decision-making in a Time of Popular Indifference’. The last chapter is ‘Conclusion: Learning to do Business’.   Under each of the first five chapters, the contemporary historical background in keeping with the titles is presented. Accompanied by well-referenced quotations from publications and ...

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