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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 24 New Delhi June 6, 2015

M.L. Sondhi Prize to Aaron Friedberg

Saturday 6 June 2015

Dr Aaron Friedberg (Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University) was awarded the Professor M.L. Sondhi Prize for International Politics for 2013 on May 5, 2015 at New Delhi Habitat’s Gulmohar Hall; this is a prize annually awarded by the Professor M.L. Sondhi Memorial Trust and the M.L. Sondhi Institute for Asia-Pacific Affairs.

Trustees Lalit Mansingh and Madhuri Santanam Sondhi honoured him with a shawl, and presented him with an inscribed plaque and cheque for Rs 2,00,000, while Prof Shivaji Sondhi of Princeton read out the citation. The Chief Guest, former Minister Dinesh Trivedi, remembered the enthusiasm and energy of the late Prof Sondhi, and urged the audience to take note of India’s continuing contribution to learning and knowledge.

Speaking on the ‘The Struggle for Mastery in Asia’ Professor Friedberg gave a historical analysis of the evolving American strategy towards China from the Cold War days to the present as a mixture of engagement and balancing, and of China’s ambitions and assertiveness in the Asian region. He emphasised the overriding importance of India as a partner in America’s balancing strategy, and referred to India’s own mixed strategy of engaging economically with China while bolstering her own military preparedness and alliances in the region.

The talk was followed by a lively Q & A session from a packed hall in which the Professor was quizzed on a wide range of topics relating to China’s policies towards Japan; its infrastructure initiatives; its unusual diplomatic practice in combining goodwill visits with military threats; a seat for India in the Security Council; innate corruption in the current Chinese political system acting as a brake on economic progress; and hope for an eventual more liberal order.