ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bureaucrats and Politicians

With Nehru in the Foreign Office by Subimal Dutt; Minerva Associates,
NOT many of our diplomats have written any account of their experiences and the few of them who have done so have tended to project a larger than life image of their own role in the making and implementation of foreign policy. The great merit of the present hook is that its spotlight is largely on Nehru and his foreign policy and very rarely on Subimal Dutt. First as the Commonwealth Secretary and then as the Foreign Secretary, Dutt presided over the foreign office at times when certain crucial problems of India's foreign relations had begun to emerge. In the early years of the, Sino-Indian conflict, Dutt was holding the key position of the Foreign Secretary; earlier, when he was the Commonwealth Secretary the 1950 crises in India-Pakistan relations had occurred leading ultimately to what is called the Bengal Pact. As Foreign Secretary, Dutt was also associated with the formulation of India's policy on the Suez and the Hungarian crises on which there was considerable controversy within the country. Finally, as Ambassador to Germany and the Soviet Union, the author had first-hand experience of relations with these two crucial countries. (There is no reference in the book to his term in Bangla Desh.) Many others in Dutt's place might have concluded from the depth and variety of their participation in the making of policies on all these key issues that they were in fact the real power that operated behind the scene. Some flamboyant diplomats have, in fact, been claiming credit for whatever went right with our foreign policy, almost like the dog that ran with the train and convinced itself that it was pulling the wagons. Dutt was, however, a quiet unpretentious and honest civil servant who had a great concern for propriety and a highly developed sense of proportion. The personality of the author emerges in the book not because of what he writes on himself but because of his scrupulous care not to project himself as one of the principal actors on the stage.

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