The Most Dangerous Place?

Mr. Srinath Raghavan in Conversation with Mr. Niranjan Rajadhyaksha

MUMBAI: On Tuesday, 4th September 2018, Asia Society India Centre hosted Srinath Raghavan, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, Senior fellow at the IDFC Institute for a discussion on the diplomatic history of the United States in South Asia, in relation to Raghavan’s latest published book.

As Raghavan suggested, the title of the book, ‘The most dangerous place’ came from a phrase used by former US president Barack Obama in 2009 and Bill Clinton in 2002, making a reference to the South Asian region. He went on to highlight the salient features of his book- Power, Ideology and Culture, which laid a foundation for the discussion.

According to Srinath, early American capitalists were initially drawn to the Indian subcontinent to pursue economic interests, the wave of globalization in the mid-nineteenth century further strengthened this movement. He is of the opinion that the American Ideology has been shaped by a strong religious belief-exercised by the missionaries and a political view of the United States as being providential, in the proliferation of republican liberty throughout the world. He emphasized on the role culture has played in bridging the gap between US and South Asia-the power of American pop culture and jazz music in specific.

Niranjan brought in pertinent arguments, he questioned Raghavan on the geopolitical history of Indo-US ties and pointed out the relevance of observing this relationship beyond the prism of the Cold War. Tracing the history of US presidents and their policies, he was curious to understand the role of the ‘mercurial’ Donald Trump in shaping the future of the Indo-US relationship to which Srinath responded by speaking of the current realignment in the US-India-China sphere and India’s need to find stability with the US while also maintaining a balance with China and Russia.

As Reported by Swati Gopakrishnan, Programme Development Intern, Asia Society India Centre