Thirty years ago, when veteran journalist Seema Sirohi first arrived in Washington DC, bilateral relations between India and the United States of America were at their worst. In the late 1980s and 1990s, the political spotlight shone favourably upon Pakistan and China. For the leader of the free world, India didn’t matter. The years leading up to the twenty-first century saw the US-and the multilateral organizations of which it was a member-force India to jump through endless bureaucratic hoops. India’s nuclear tests in 1998 were the final nail in its coffin, as far as the US was concerned.
Cut to the present, and the curtain has lifted on a dramatically different geopolitical stage. India is no longer the enemy for the US, nor is it sidelined strategically. In an age dominated not just by China’s rise but by its undoubted political and economic muscle power, India has become the fashionable new ally in Washington.
What has taken the two countries so long to get here? What have been the events that have forced India and the US to dance, finally, in sync? Did political leaders take the initiative to push policy mandarins to change the game, or was it vice versa? What role has China played in the change in bilateral relations? And are India and the US finally ready for a relationship of equals, or will they continue to be ‘friends with benefits’?
To look for answers, this book takes the reader back to the twilight years of the Cold War, and charts an engaging journey of global and bilateral diplomacy through the decades. Using first-hand reportage and drawing on conversations with key diplomats, foreign policy makers and former CIA operatives, Sirohi brings a delightfully frank and anecdotal perspective to a thrilling tale of diplomacy and high-voltage politics.