Book Review: Rudra Chaudhuri. 2014. Forged in Crisis: India and the United States since 1947

Published date01 August 2015
Date01 August 2015
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 227
relations with the Western powers. One cannot help but believe that Harris, with
his Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade background and evident
knowledge of the subject area, would have offered a refreshing boost to the often-
staid domestic policy debate in his home country.
Even more curious is the complete absence of Taiwan from the chapter on
bilateral relations. While the security element of China’s relationship with
Taiwan is alluded to elsewhere (notably in the ‘Insecurity and Vulnerability’
chapter), the omission of such an important bilateral relationship is puzzling.
China’s often ambiguous relations with Taiwan extend far beyond its traditional
security concerns, and to treat the issue as an outgrowth of tensions with the US
fails to do the topic justice. A deeper analysis of one of North Asia’s most danger-
ous stand-offs is instead swapped for studies of China–EU and China–Myanmar
relations, with the author admitting that Chinese focus on the former was not
sustained for long.
What one ultimately makes of Harris’ work depends on how it is approached.
If readers go into the text expecting a unique central thesis that redefines the field,
or a deep focus on a single area of Chinese foreign policy, then they will likely
come away disappointed. However, those seeking out a well-researched and read-
able overview of contemporary Chinese foreign policy will be more than satisfied
with Harris’ offering. Its balance, broadness and concise nature more than out-
weigh the problems caused by the author’s overreach and relatively forgivable
omissions. It is an excellent introduction to a topic that has taken on supreme
significance, both within international relations and beyond.
Mitchell Sutton
University of Western Australia
Rudra Chaudhuri. 2014. Forged in Crisis: India and the United States
since 1947. India: Harper Collins. 368 pp. ISBN: 978-93-5136-253-1
DOI: 10.1177/2347797015586131
Rudra Chaudhuri’s Forged in Crisis explores the nature of the bilateral relationship
between India and the United States, the ideas that have shaped it and the guiding
policy outcomes that have resulted. Rather than providing an exhaustive narrative
of the political relationship between the countries, the author presents eight essays
on not just events of international interest but also what he notes as being points of
crisis that have otherwise been ‘under-researched or overlooked’ (p. 4). These cri-
sis points are used by the author to demonstrate the overarching theoretical themes
of the work: (i) the use of strategic non-alignment as a mode of diplomatic policy
engagement (rather than avoidance) with the international system and (ii) the way
that Indian policy makers and leaders have been interested to make decisions based
on the balanced mix of ‘ideas and interest’; an intellectual paradigm that takes cues

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