In The Tryst Betrayed, former Indian foreign secretary Jagat Singh Mehta looks back on an eventful career which began on the day after India s independence. In his lucid and informative style Mehta sheds light on Nehru s prophetic assertion of ideological agnosticism (named Non- Alignment in 1946) and its distortion by the accidental overlap of decolonization with the Cold War. Mehta argues that Nehru was naïve on China, wishful on the Soviet Union and prejudiced against America. The civil servants were hypnotized by what he refers to as the Panditji knows best syndrome. He illustrates that Nehru s bark was no doubt frightening but his bite not vicious.
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Jagat S. Mehta was born in Udaipur in 1922 into one of the then princely state s most prominent families. After degrees from Allahabad and Cambridge universities, he joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1947. He was chargé d affaires in China between 1963 and 1966, launched the foreign ministry s policy planning division in 1966, was high commissioner to Tanzania between 1970 and 1974, and became Foreign Secretary in 1976, a post he held till 1979. He authored Militarization in the Third World (1985); The March of Folly in Afghanistan (2002); Negotiating for India (2006); and Rescuing the Future (2008). He also published articles, inter alia, on diplomatic negotiations; democracy and South Asian security; world politics after the Cold War; international riparian problems; Non-Alignment; and India s relations with China, Pakistan and Nepal. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2002. He remained associated with voluntary organizations in Udaipur until his death on 6 March 2014.Review:
Candid and controversial. --Statesman
A page turner. --Business Line
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