A book written by an insider in the Clinton administration is bound to pique interest among those keen on unravelling the driving force behind India-US relations.
The Eagle and the Elephant does not disappoint on that account. It is a very lucid collection of case studies, including civil nuclear cooperation, services outsourcing, anti-terrorism and renewable energy and climate change, which highlight the pivotal role that economic engagement will play in the future of the two global giants – one established and the other emerging.
While most of Vickery’s conclusions may not come as a revelation, he succeeds in putting forth a very solid argument in their favour with extensive research and personal insight.
He traces the relationship between the two estranged democracies of the past to the strategic partnership of today.
The author warns against the inherent Indian distrust at being told what to do by the US that could prove restrictive unless readjusted to the needs of the 21st century.
The over-riding message is that doing business in a complex country like India requires a special approach and the right local partners. However, there is always a way to avoid taking the route of bribery.
A must read for anyone interested in doing business in, or with, India.
The author was assistant secretary of commerce for trade development under former US President Bill Clinton and a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 2008-9. He was at Asia House in London for its UK launch last week.