Meenakshi Ahamed | Podcast
Author, 'A Matter of Trust: India-US Relations From Truman to Trump'
The India-US relationship is one of the most significant and fascinating among great nations. In this episode of the Serve to Lead Podcast, historian and journalist Meenakshi Ahamed discusses her new book, A Matter of Trust: India-US Relations From Truman to Trump.
Ahamed combines analytical rigor with a storyteller’s gift for narrative. The book has garnered critical acclaim, and is a finalist for the prestigious Arthur Ross Award of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Seventy years of India-US relations has shown that despite the two countries being democracies, not only are they far apart culturally but the intersection of their critical interests is relatively modest. Therefore, the only time when the relationship has developed any real momentum is when one of the leaders has been willing to make a leap of faith.
India’s world role continues to evolve amid the kaleidoscopic changes underway with the rise of China and other challenges to the so-called liberal international order that has prevailed since the end of the Second World War. Ahamed illuminates current issues—such as India’s decision not to join the United States in support Ukraine’s struggle against Russian aggression in 2022—through her understanding of India’s history of non-alignment during the twentieth-century Cold War. She also has a keen understanding of the unique contributions of Indian-Americans in US business, which may continue to pull our nations ever closer in the decades ahead.
'Meenakshi Ahamed has brought us a brilliant, important, sparkling and definitive study of a part of American history that is growing more crucial by the day. A Matter of Trust is essential reading at a moment when the United States and India are all the more central to each other, and when valiant democracies around the world are in danger.'
—Michael Beschloss, New York Times bestselling author and NBC News Presidential Historian
'Meenakshi Ahamed has given us an authentic, thoughtful and accessible account of a relationship characterized by paradox and progress. She tells the tale of the highs and lows of that relationship in all its drama, with strong and idiosyncratic personalities on both sides. Today's transformed India-US relations could determine the future not only of one-fifth of humanity but of the Asian Century. This is a book with a serious message—one to read and savor.'
—Shivshankar Menon, Former National Security Advisor, Ambassador to China and Foreign Secretary
'In this world of growing great power competition, the Indian-American relationship has become one of central, strategic importance to the two nations. In her history of the relationship, Meena Ahamed has given us a timely, lively and captivating account of the road India and the United States have travelled and a compelling insight into what lies ahead.'
—Frank G. Wisner, Former United States Ambassador to India
'Meenakshi Ahamed's labor of love is a real tour de force covering the long tortuous history of the often-troubled relationship of the world's two largest democracies since India's independence. The book is at once scholarly, deeply researched and yet down to earth. It brings to life the prickly personalities on both sides, and their sensitivities, that often bedeviled the evolving bilateral relationship. As a new era of competitive geopolitics pits West versus East, what lies ahead for this unusual relationship? To prepare ourselves this book is a must-read.'
—Dr Rakesh Mohan, Former Deputy Governor Reserve Bank of India
About the Author
Meenakshi Narula Ahamed was born in 1954 in Calcutta, India. After finishing school in India, she obtained an MA from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in 1978. She has had a varied career as a journalist and prior to that as a development consultant. She has worked at the World Bank in Washington D.C. as well as for the Ashoka Society. In 1989, she moved to London and became the foreign correspondent for NDTV. Among the leaders she interviewed were Nelson Mandela, John Major and Bill Clinton during his presidential campaign. She covered the race riots in London and reported on the rise of Indian entrepreneurs in the US in the mid nineties. After returning to the US in 1996, she worked as a freelance journalist. Her op-eds and articles have been published in Asian Age, Seminar, Foreign Policy, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. She has served on the board of Doctors Without Borders, The Turquoise Mountain Foundation and Drugs for Neglected Diseases. She divides her time between the US and India.
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Image credit: HarperCollins Publishers.