India's Search For Power: Indira Gandhi's Foreign Policy, 1966-1983

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India's Search For Power: Indira Gandhi's Foreign Policy, 1966-1983

By Surjit Mansingh
Sage, 1984
398 pp.
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The author, a former Indian Foreign Service officer now teaching in the United States, has produced one of the few comprehensive studies of Indira Gandhi's foreign policy. One of the book's themes is that Mrs. Gandhi's failures on the domestic front restricted her room for maneuver in foreign affairs. Another important theme, brought out by Selig Harrison in the introduction, is the persistent American tendency to underrate India's power potential. Yet India now has the fourth largest armed forces in the world. One of the weaknesses in the book is the failure to analyze the costs and benefits of Mrs. Gandhi's Soviet link. And there is an unsatisfactory section about the impact on Indian foreign policy of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The author quotes Mrs. Gandhi in 1981 as denying that the Soviet military presence south of the Hindu Kush mountains poses a threat to India's security, but comments only that Soviet intervention in Afghanistan "has raised many questions" about Mrs. Gandhi's conduct of foreign affairs which "have yet to be fully answered."[Reviewed prior to Mrs. Gandhi's assassination.]