President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have built their politics on the promise of making their countries great again. Placing India and the US as leaders on the world stage is the stated objective of their respective foreign policies, based as they are on the assumption that both inherited a mess from their predecessors.
As Trump sets out to potentially reorient his own country and the world, Varghese K. George, in Open Embrace, provides a quick overview of the changes occurring in America s relations with the world under the Trump presidency and what it means for India. Trump s alignment with Modi s world view what George calls the Hindutva Strategic Doctrine and America’s changing relationships with India s neighbors, Pakistan and China, form a crucial part of this narrative.
In the introduction, George states that the book is a “broad exploration” of the question of whether Trump and Modi can “find common ground,” and on what happens to India-U.S. ties “when both countries appear to be under the spell of ultranationalism? Or, in Trumpian language, can Modi and Trump make a deal?”
But, he notes that what the book is not is a thesis of the strategic interests and calculations of the two countries, “or on the technical questions related to military equipment and tactics, the minutiae of trade deals and disputes, or on geopolitics.”
Open Embrace, according to George, is an attempt to offer “an unconventional approach to understanding strategy.”
Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament showers kudos on Open Embrace, describing it as “an outstanding work—a superb analysis of the state of Indo-U.S. relations in the Modi-Trump era, with a lucid explication of the Hindutva Strategic Doctrine and detailed discussions of Indian and U.S. policy differences on China, Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
Walter Andersen, Senior Adjunct Professor of South Asian Studies at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and a former longtime State Department official, who co-authored ‘The Brotherhood in Saffron: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism,’ says Open Embrace “addresses the impact of a growing nationalism in India and the U.S. on their conduct of diplomacy,” and lauds George’s “riveting” analysis of the foreign policy implications of Trump’s “Make America Great” and Modi’s Hindu nationalism.
Varghese K. George is the associate editor and US correspondent for The Hindu. Earlier, he was the political editor of the daily, based in New Delhi. He has written extensively on politics, political economy, society, and the foreign policy of India and the US, particularly on the rise of Modi in India and Trump in America.
Prior to joining The Hindu, he was chief of bureau at Hindustan Times. He has also worked for the Indian Express in various roles. His reports have won several awards, including the Ramnath Goenka Journalist of the Year, the Prem Bhatia Memorial Award for Excellence in Political Reporting, the Transparency International Award for fighting corruption and the International Press Institute Award for Excellence in Journalism.