The International Ambitions of Mao and Nehru: National Efficacy Beliefs and the Making of Foreign Policy by Andrew Bingham Kennedy

Melissa M. Cyrill is Research Intern at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.
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  • May 2013
    Book Review

    India and China represented two of the most dynamic anomalies within the international system during the height of the Cold War era in the 1950s. Both states were considered thus, as the world, particularly Western nations, looked upon their prospective futures with varying degrees of scepticism. On the one hand they severely doubted the ability of India to consolidate its national identity and achieve a successful democracy whilst dealing with debilitating poverty and the absence of infrastructure; on the other hand, they expressed sheer disbelief in the credibility or even endurance of China's Communist system. India and China had both emerged as independent nation states carved out of an incredibly charged colonial environment and, as ex-colonies, had experimented with two very different and distinctive eco-political and social frameworks. While India ambitiously engaged with democratic and secular principles and enshrined them in its constitution, China became an established Communist state in 1949, enshrining as its core values those that were antithetic to the Western ideals of what constituted a free democratic nation.