During his seventeen years as prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru led India through one of its most difficult and potentially explosive periods in international affairs. As the leader of a new state created amidst the bloodiest partition in history, saddled with new and outstanding problems, Nehru was confronted with a range of disputes which threatened to boil over.
Srinath Raghavan draws on a rich vein of untapped documents to illuminate Nehru’s approach to war and his efforts for peace. Vividly recreating the intellectual and political milieu of the Indian foreign policy establishment, he explains the response of Nehru and his top advisors to the tensions with Junagadh, Hyderabad, Pakistan, and China. He gives individual attention to every conflict and shows how strategic decisions for each crisis came to be defined in the light of the preceding ones. The book follows Nehru as he wrestles with a string of major conflicts—assessing the utility of force, weighing risks of war, exploring diplomatic options for peace, and forming strategic judgements that would define his reputation, both within his lifetime and after.
Srinath Raghavan is Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, and Lecturer in Defence Studies at King’s College London. He is currently writing an international history of the India–Pakistan war of 1971 and the creation of Bangladesh.