“India’s Foreign Policy: Towards Resurgence,” compiled and edited by Major General Dhruv C. Katoch comes at an opportune moment as the 16th Lok Sabha wraps up and experts buckle up to critique India’s reinvigorated foreign policy under the bold and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj. It will be hard to deny the distinct shift in the country’s foreign policy endeavours from a reactive and passive stance of the past few decades to its transformation into a proactive, dynamic, and ambitious arm of Indian statecraft.
Summarising this phase of Indian foreign policy and linking it back to the historical traditions of ancient Indian wisdom on the subject, this book presents insights of thirty-six of the greatest experts of Indian foreign policy. The distinguished contributors include thought leaders from across the spectrum, ministers, diplomats, bureaucrats, and journalists, members of the Armed Forces, and academicians who have observed, experienced, and studied India’s engagement with the world for the major portion of the last century, till the present times.
Foreign policy and citizens
The foreign policy of a nation has a direct bearing on the lives of its citizens. In that sense, this book serves as a great resource for foreign policy enthusiasts and laymen alike to understand the shaping of the fundamental aspects of India’s foreign policy since Independence. While it sheds light on the historical aspects of the evolution of India’s strategic thought, it equally delves into the state of India’s affairs in the world today.
The success of the book is marked by the fact that it can be a starting point for a study of India’s foreign policy for beginners as well as a resource for a 360 degree perspective on the subject for the more seasoned practitioners. The major security challenges faced by the country, the role of India’s soft power in diplomacy, the importance of its vibrant diaspora, the promise of its burgeoning economy in its interaction with the world, have been covered by intellectual mammoths of the field.
A special focus has been given to India’s neighbourhood, which has always held a significant position in India’s engagements. India’s relations with the major global players like the US, China and Russia among others have been dealt with individually.
This book must find a space in your shelves for the multiple reasons listed above. But most of all, it deserves credit for bringing together this galaxy of intellectuals, including External Affairs Minister, Smt Sushma Swaraj, MoS for External Affairs Gen. V.K. Singh, former minister M.J. Akbar, Union Minister for Commerce and Trade Suresh Prabhu, former Permanent Representative of India to the UN and current Union Minister of State Hardeep Singh Puri, former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, and some of the most eminent ambassadors and academicians of India to share their thoughts on this pertinent subject at a propitious time in India’s history.
For this one reason, India’s Foreign Policy: Towards Resurgence becomes one of a kind resource on India’s foreign policy and merits multiple readings.
The reviewer is Research Fellow, India Foundation.