Booknerds Podcast with Achala Moulik and Amb. Ashok Sajjanhar

8th January 2022

Commemorating India - Russia Friendship: Treaty of Peace, Friendship & Cooperation of 1971 | Author Achala Moulik | Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar | Dr. Uday Balakrishnan | Facebook Live

About the Author
Achala Moulik received her education in Washington, New York, London, and Rome, where her parents were posted on diplomatic assignments. She graduated from London University with a degree in Economics, History, International Relations, and International Law. In the Indian Administrative Service, she served as Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India and Education Secretary Government of India. She has written widely on Russian history and culture and is the recipient of the Pushkin Medal and Yesenin Prize.

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar, a Postgraduate in Physics from Delhi University and a career diplomat, has served as Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia, as well as Secretary/Principal Executive Officer of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony, an autonomous Organisation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. He has also held several significant positions in Indian Embassies in Washington DC, Moscow, Brussels, Geneva, Bangkok, Teheran and Dhaka.
Currently Ambassador Sajjanhar is Member, Executive Council, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses; Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Aspen Centre; Chairman, Member, Governing Board, and Advisor of several educational, social, cultural and ecological organizations.

Ambassador Sajjanhar is an active and prolific writer and commentator on current developments and issues pertaining to Indian foreign policy, national security, national integration, international relations etc. He is a regular Speaker at Conferences and Seminars on above issues in India and other countries. He appears regularly as a Panelist in TV debates and discussions on issues of current national and international relevance and significance. Ambassador Sajjanhar is fluent in English, Hindi and Russian and has working knowledge of French and Persian. His other interests include reading, music and Indian culture.

Dr Uday Balakrishnan is a former officer of the 1975 batch of the Indian Postal Service. He has worked across India in areas of logistics, banking, insurance, financial inclusion, child, women and unorganized labour, as well as vigilance and anti-corruption in the postal services and the larger Government of India. He retired voluntarily in 2010 as Member of the Postal Services Board & Chairman of the Investment Board to pursue other interests.

His academic interests include modern history, International Relations and Public Policy. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the National Institute of Advanced Study (NIAS), and twice at the Central European University (CEU) Budapest. Later, he was Visiting Faculty at the Centre for Contemporary Studies of the Indian Institute of Science Bengaluru and was Principal Adviser to the 2014 edition of the Kochi Biennale,India’s premier art and cultural event. Dr. Balakrishnan has been teaching a popular public policy and contemporary history course for undergraduate science students at the Indian Institute of Science since 2014. Dr Balakrishnan’s articles and book reviews have been appearing in The Hindu group of newspapers since the early 1990s.

About the Book
Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation of 1971 commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of a landmark Treaty between the Soviet Union and India in 1971. Though the Treaty is the central focus of the book, with a wide sweep the author has presented the fascinating relationship between Russia and India, commencing in ancient times. There is a seamless amalgam of historical facts and events, political and cultural ties, and the personal aspect of the author’s own connection with Russia.

The narrative shows how the Soviet Union’s ideological opposition to imperialism, India’s independence, and the Cold War gave a new dimension to the Indo–Russian relationship. India, like other developing nations, received economic assistance from Russia. The civil war in East Bengal took the Indo–Russian relationship to a unique status by the Treaty of 1971. While maintaining her non-aligned status, India became a close friend of the Soviet Union. This was made possible because the Soviet Union asked for nothing in return except friendship.

The author observes that two states with different socio-economic systems can be close friends. She describes the relative peace of the 1980s to the tumultuous aftermath following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the continuous adjustments made by both sides to keep alive the spirit of this unique Treaty.

Grab your copy now.

See more videos