NEW DELHI: Amidst the pulls and pressures of coalition politics and with constant risk to his government from allies, how did Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as the Prime Minister of India, take decisions in national interest in the late 1990s? What prompted his decision to go in for the Pokhran II nuclear tests in May 1998 or the historic bus ride to Lahore in February 1999 in the face of severe domestic criticism? Or the way he handled the Pakistani incursion that led to the Kargil war and India eventually winning it? He was both balanced and a realist, says former bureaucrat Shakti Sinha who was a close associate of Vajpayee and was an “observer” to some of his momentous decisions. On ‘Books Corner’, Sinha spoke to StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale about his book titled ‘Vajpayee: The Years That Changed India’ and what shaped Vajpayee’s decision-making.
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