'You either normalise with China or normalise with Pakistan. It's easier to normalise with Pakistan. In the long run, competition will be with China'

Walk the talkStephen P Cohen

In this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24X7, Stephen P Cohen speaks to The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta about the changing US relationship with India and Pakistan, and why India can play a crucial role in nudging Pakistan towards 'normalisation'.

Hello and welcome to Walk the Talk. We are at New Delhi's India International Centre and my guest is Professor Stephen Cohen, a guru of gurus, but more importantly a great student of the subcontinent.

Really appreciate being on your programme, I have watched it many times.

Thirty years of knowing each other and we've never done an interview. So we better get it right.

It's also a coincidence that it's the 50th year that I first came to India. In fact 50 years ago we stayed at the India International Centre.

Your children were very young then.

I had one baby here on the first trip and one was born here, so therefore he is an Indian citizen. My daughter is a professor, studied autism in India, and the son is a professor of history of Telugu. So we have a lot of India connection.

What has changed in the subcontinent and what hasn't in 50 years?

When I came here in 1963, we drove from Delhi to Patna, just to see what the country looked like. You couldn't do that now.

But what has changed is the attitude towards the United States, and there has been a roller-coaster of attitudes... When I came here right after the war with China, US-Indian relations were very close. The 1965 war took place and we were disillusioned, India was disillusioned. We broke apart, and for a long time, India turned towards the Soviet Union for weapons. When the Soviet Union collapsed, clearly that affected Indian strategy and that's one of the arguments I make in the book. The collapse of the Soviet empire sort of transformed India's relations with the United States. Also the economic reasons...

... contd.

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