The book examines the lapses in leadership which led to certain crucial problems in foreign policy at the time of India's independence in 1947, unresolved even in the first decade of the 21st century. It argues that Indian leaders, opting for Partition in 1947, perpetuated and institutionalised the very problem they wanted to resolve by Partition - communal antagonism. This has, over the ensuing decades, mutated into international terrorism. A major contention of this book is that before 1991, because of the twin shackles of socialism and non-alignment, India's foreign policy makers could exercise very little independence. On account of the policies of economic liberalisation and globalisation, and the resultant economic surge post-1991, India could gain a greater power status in world affairs, which eluded it before. One of the first studies of its kind, the book traces the subtle changes in foreign policy which set the stage for India's movement towards such a role by means of certain epoch-making deals as the India-United States Civil Nuclear Cooperation Pact.
Jayanta Kumar Ray is National Research Professor, Government of India, and Honorary Professor, Institute of Foreign Policy Studies, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India.