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From the cover of the book till the end it is an extremely interesting read. This is by far the best book I've read on Foreign Policy till date. The book is fast moving contrary to the popular belief that Foreign Policy can be boring. Shashi Tharoor sure justifies his ability as a writer as well as one of the most competent people to write on such an important area. It gives an in depth understanding of Foreign Policy and how important it is for any nation especially for an emerging power like India and how it can benefit the nation and its citizens at large. The chapter wise coverage giving a brilliant analysis both from India's perspective and how India's relations with the World has changed over the years has been summed up beautifully. For all those aspiring to become Career Diplomats and all those who are Foreign Policy enthusiasts it makes for an excellent read. You will not regret reading it. Take a bow Shashi Tharoor!!!
A book that challenges long-held assumptions, enables an in-depth understanding of our various neighbours and our response to them; Witty in parts - which makes for fun reading; blunt in its honesty as regards acknowledging Indian mistakes, equally blunt and straight in praising India's good points... and brutally blunt in response to western misconceptions and dual standards on India
This is a book which analyses our Foreign policy challenges threadbare in a very easy-to-read format. The language is simple, the content deceptively simple while being comprehensive. It hits you in the gut when it analyses each country with which we have a relationship, as it looks at current issues giving both perspectives of the coin; clarifying the Indian position and looking at alternatives to take the relationship forward... This book is a must read for every Indian; if for no other reason - then just for its Pakistan section. A must read for every educated Indian!
The book presents a very good account of India’s International Affairs. I have loved Mr. Tharoos’s columns from The Hindu OP-ED pages during my Delhi University days and have followed him since then whenever I got an opportunity. His analysis of India’s Bilateral relation in particular used to be very precise and brought issues into notice that were not always so visible. However, contrary to my expectations, this book does not quite live up to the expectation.
Throughout the book, you get a very strong vibe that the book is being written by a sitting parliamentarian from the Congress party. Unnecessary NDA (read BJP) bashing is a conspicuously painful aspect of the book. One such instance where this tendency is most pronounced is the manner in which India’s stance on Israel-Palestine issue is portrayed. Historically India has shown sympathy with the Palestinian cause and have not approved of the Israeli hostilities. Overt relationship with Israel is, as per him, not desirable for a country that has historically opposed to its stand on Palestine. I personally think that the NDA could deal much efficiently with Israel because it did not come with this baggage of legacy. Today Israel is one of the most important strategic and military allies for India providing sophisticated military technology running into billions which India cannot get from anywhere else. And make no mistake, had it not been for Israel, India would have lost many more soldiers during the Kargil war for which India was not ready. In fact you must read the pages 177-180 to understand this paradox in his commentary. On one hand he is telling how important Israel is to India’s defence requirement with two neighbours with disputed boundary issues and then he goes on to add “It is clear that India values its relationship with Israel, but not at the expense of its friendship with Arab and other Muslim states” (Pg 180, para 2) which clearly stinks of the burden of legacy that is impairing our relationship with the Israel.
The pros and cons of the actions of NDA govt in particular have not been analysed properly. In fact I would not be wrong in calling this book an account (or should I say justification) of Congress’ Foreign policy. There are instances where he has mentioned the shortfalls of Congress’ policies but falls short of calling names. The markedly improved relation between India and a lot of other countries during the NDA regime hardly finds any mention in the book. The rigours of independent journalism are missing. And since I have followed Mr. Tharoor for some time, it is difficult to see this as anything but an attempt to impress (or at least not antagonize) the ruling UPA coalition. He is definitely better than what you might want to judge from this book.
Despite this shortcoming this book does present the reader with very important issues to consider when talking about India’s foreign relations. The chapters on India’s relation with Pakistan and the US make for a very insightful reading. The chapter mentioning the bureaucratic problems with the working of Ministry of External Affair present a rare insider’s view. You may not find many accounts like these and coming from a person with 29 years at the United Nations it carries a lot of weight. A must read for students.
An insightful inside scoop with historical anecdotes and game swinging current events that will shape India's foreign policy role in the future with all round relations from South Asia to the West and it's position in United Nations,strong emphasis on multi alignment and soft power. Pax Indica also highlights India's list of accomplishments while laying down a template on what it needs to accomplish and what it has the capability to.Shashi Tharoor scores a game winning touchdown, given his colossal United Nations and MEA credentials, in terms of scanning the positives and negatives of foreign relations while offering constructive solutions without taking sides et al. Must have for every foreign affairs and geopolitics aficionados.
Who can write on Indian Foreign Policy better than Shashi Tharoor. The book has immense fresh ideas like 'Multi-Alginment' a befitting and better policy option than 'Non-Alignment 2.0"; converting 'Big Brother syndrome' to elder brother syndrome. The chapters on Soft power and on Africa and Latin America were missing in most books and were desperately required by Readers. The note on the ministry of External(in Throor's lexicom 'Eternal') Affairs is worth read with lot of insider and real info.
However I wont recommend it for a fresher student of International relations. Its loosely written at times with lot o repetations. I will recommend 'Does the Elephant Dance?, by David Malone for UPSC candidates and freshers to Indian Foreign Policy. That book is more well rsearched and compact. Still this book derserves 5 stars for the reasons mentioned above.
A very general Indian affairs book , Im sure Shashi would have penned it down in a week or so , drifting through the backwaters...Read More
Out of curiosity what this learned, rich in international affairs, uncommon Indian politician has to say on India was the motiv...Read More
To understand India's changing foreign policy in the contemporary world and the future challenges faced by it, this book provid...Read More
Very informative and detailed. It's ideal for anyone who wants to be abreast with where the country stands in terms of its fore...Read More