India The Awakening of An Asian Power

Armed and assertive, the world's most populous democracy takes its place as a military heavyweight

Taking off from an air base five miles from the Taj Mahal at Agra, a fleet of Soviet-built Il-76 jet transports streaked southward across the subcontinent and then out over the Indian Ocean. When the planes landed four hours later on one of the 1,200 coral atolls that make up the Republic of Maldives, hundreds of elite Indian troops charged out onto the tarmac, rifles at the ready. But the mere sight of the Indian planes had struck panic among a band of mercenaries trying to bring off a coup d'etat against the government of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and they...

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