On 11 May 1998, three nuclear devices detonated under the Thar Desert shook the surrounding villages—and the rest of the world. The immediate effect was to plunge Indo-US relations, already vexed by decades of tension and estrangement, into a new crisis. The situation deteriorated further when Pakistan responded in kind two weeks later, testing a nuclear weapon for the first time.
Engaging India is the fascinating first-hand story of the diplomacy conducted between the United States and India after the nuclear tests. From June 1998 to September 2000, in what was the most extensive dialogue ever between the two countries, US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Indian Minister for External Affairs Jaswant Singh discussed both the immediate items on the security and non-proliferation agenda, as well as their wider visions for Indo-US relations, including economic and strategic cooperation. As the relationship improved over the course of the talks, it allowed the United States to play the role of negotiator during the Kargil conflict and laid the foundation for President Bill Clinton’s transformational visit to India in March 2000.
Strobe Talbott takes us backstage to one of the most suspenseful and consequential diplomatic dramas of our time, reconstructing what happened—and why—with narrative verve, rich human detail and penetrating analysis. In the process, he has produced an objective, insightful and entertaining book that provides an insider’s perspective on the ground-breaking efforts to build a cordial relationship between the world’s two largest democracies.