Book review: Sumantra Bose, Kashmir at the Crossroads: Inside India’s 21st-Century Conflict

Published date01 June 2024
AuthorSreya Maitra
Date01 June 2024
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 289
India continues to deal with a soft power gap (p. 209). When it comes to military
power as hard power, China has an edge over India in Army, Navy and Air Force
in both tactical and technical advancement. India has a sophisticated weapon
system and is still working to bridge the power gap and budget allocation with
China (pp. 195–207). In the last chapter, Bajpai offers concluding remarks by
combining the ongoing tensions and harmonising the integration of the four
critical factors in the present regional and global setting.
The book’s strengths stem from Bajpai’s expertise in the use of a wide range
of primary and secondary sources. This source includes historical documents,
government documents, insightful interviews, media coverage and a wide range
of academic study materials such as books, journals and crucial talks with
policymakers and experts from both India and China. Throughout the book, Bajpai
deftly underscores the various perspectives and approaches that India and China
can use to understand regional and global issues.
Overall, India Versus China: Why They Are Not Friends stands as a pertinent
and intellectually stimulating examination of a paramount and intricate relationship
within the contemporary context. The book arrives at a crucial juncture, offering
insights that prompt deep contemplation. It is an indispensable read for individuals
seeking to grasp the nuances of China–India relations, unfolding strategic
landscape and the prospects for peace and stability in the region.
Special thanks to Professor Pranav Kumar, who encouraged me to read and write a review
on such a marvellous workpiece.
Dharmendra Kumar
Dharmendra Kumar
Central University of South Bihar
Gaya, Bihar, India
Sumantra Bose, Kashmir at the Crossroads: Inside India’s 21st-Century
Conflict. New Delhi: Picador India, Pan Macmillan India, 2021,
333 pp. (hardcover). ISBN: 978-93-90742-73-8
DOI: 10.1177/23477970241250124
Sumantra Bose begins Kashmir at the Crossroads with a disclaimer: ‘This is not
a book’ he had ‘particularly wished to write’. As the preface unfolds anecdotally,
Bose sets the lens to recount the ‘conflict-riven Kashmir’ he witnessed as a
specialist (1994–2020) and its grim contrast to the idyllic Kashmir he visited as a
child with his family (1970s). The book presents a comprehensive account of the
Kashmir conflict over the past 75 years. It has been the ‘bane of the subcontinent’

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