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Past Event

Discussion | Aid wars: U.S.-Soviet competition in India during the Cold War

Content from the Brookings Institution India Center is now archived. After seven years of an impactful partnership, as of September 11, 2020, Brookings India is now the Centre for Social and Economic Progress, an independent public policy institution based in India.


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A Brookings India discussion on “The Price of Aid: The Economic Cold War in India” with Dr. David C. Engerman, Professor of History at Brandeis University.  Looking back to the origins and evolution of foreign aid during the Cold War, Engerman explores the role of strategic thinking at the heart of development assistance and the associated political costs.

In The Price of Aid, Engerman argues that superpowers turned to foreign aid as a tool of the Cold War and in fact it was India that stood at the center of American and Soviet aid competition. Officials of both superpowers saw development aid as an instrument for pursuing geopolitics through economic means. Indian officials however, sought superpower aid to advance their own economic visions. Drawing on an expansive set of archival documents from seven countries, Engerman reconstructs a story of Indian leaders using Cold War competition to win battles at home, but in the process eroding the Indian state.

This discussion was open to the public and on-the-record.


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