Both the authors need no introduction to the public attentive to strategic matters. Between them, they have fifty years of engagement with strategic affairs. Both have past publications that place them in good standing as readers appraise whether they should pick up their latest wares. While Joshi’s landmark book was on Kashmir—The Lost Rebellion—in the nineties, Sawhney’s co-authored one—The War Unfinished—was on the India-Pakistan crisis of early this century. Both have been deeply immersed in the subject of the two books—India-China strategic relations—ever since. While Joshi was on the panel of a defence reform committee some ten years back, Sawhney has been founder-editor of a respectable publication on defence issues over the past twenty years. Both justify their credentials in their respective books under review.
The subject itself is very topical. China has been breathing down India’s neck for some ten years now, beginning with intrusions of temporary duration exactly ten years back, building up to wholesale intrusion three years ago. It can reasonably be speculated that had COVID not intervened, the two countries might have come to fisticuffs. Their respective ‘No First Use’ pledge notwithstanding, there is no guarantee that the outcome could have been benign for either.