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China, Cold War, Foreign Policy, Images, India, Narrative, News


Recent attempts to recalibrate the US-India relationship require a clearer understanding of how this relationship began. To that end, this essay traces the themes characterizing early US-India relations through a rhetorical analysis of Time magazine cover portraits and articles from 1951 to 1962 featuring the first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru. Acting as an index of the US administration and partly conveying the attitudes of its editor-in-chief toward India, Time advanced a set of arguments about India's unreliability as a Cold War ally and the essential correctness of the US administration's stance against communist nations and those who eschewed open alignment with the US during the Cold War. Time's coverage formed a narrative arc that admonished India's attempts at friendship with China and Cold War neutrality while vindicating the US cause during this period. I conclude that Cold War themes linger in US news reporting on India, argue for more scholarship on non-Western nations, and suggest that, along with verbal texts, images are rich sources of foreign policy rhetoric.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Western Journal of Communication on 06 Sep 2013, available online:





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