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Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India's Foreign Policy examines India's foreign policy options in order to ensure that the country retains its space for manoeuvre, to follow an independent foreign policy in the 21st century global scenario.


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Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India's Foreign Policy examines India's foreign policy options in order to ensure that the country retains its space for manoeuvre, to follow an independent foreign policy in the 21st century global scenario.

30 review for Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India's Foreign Policy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shriya

    I know a lot of people would be like: "What?! A book on diplomacy? And that too on foreign policy? And on Indian foreign policy at that...?" But trust me on this one, guys! It was totally worth my time! I have to be pretty honest: if it wasn't for the fact that this book is slightly older than the current day foreign policy of India, and if it weren't for certain change in statistics, this would would be a 5 star read, and not just because I learned so so much from it! Reading Mr Sikri's book is I know a lot of people would be like: "What?! A book on diplomacy? And that too on foreign policy? And on Indian foreign policy at that...?" But trust me on this one, guys! It was totally worth my time! I have to be pretty honest: if it wasn't for the fact that this book is slightly older than the current day foreign policy of India, and if it weren't for certain change in statistics, this would would be a 5 star read, and not just because I learned so so much from it! Reading Mr Sikri's book is like listening to a good TED talk or one of those Interesting Talks at Oxford sessions. You simply cannot rest in peace, read something else or even concentrate on your research work (like me!) if you're reading this. No, do not go by the size. Although seemingly small and not so lengthy, it will take you forever. In fact, if you have set your heart on reading it I recommend that you keep the following things close by: -An extra dark pencil -A sharpner (Trust me, you'll end up with a blunt pencil MORE often than you think! ) -Something to drop your pencil shavings in (Mine are still everywhere on the bed, including in my hair!) -Sticky notes (You need a whole stock of them.) -A pen and a pad. Chances are even if diplomacy, politics and non-fiction is not your thing, you're still going to end up making a lot of notes. You're also probably going to be Googling a lot (and when I say "a lot", I mean a LOT!) Do I recommend it to you? Well, only if you're: a) An Indian who is more interested in what's going on in your country more than what's going on in a celebrity's life. b) Someone who is interested in International Relations, India or Indian diplomacy and politics. c) A research scholar or student of IR. d) Amateur political science lover.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alok

    An impressive read - a very, very impressive read rather. Sikri, himself being a career diplomat for almost four decades in the Ministry of External Affairs, is expected to know the tricks of the business. But not everyone could have described it in a manner, so lucid and jubilantly candid, like Sikri manages to. The book deals with many aspects of the Indian foreign policy, each one individually in an orderly fashion that even a political novice won't have to toil much. While there are moments w An impressive read - a very, very impressive read rather. Sikri, himself being a career diplomat for almost four decades in the Ministry of External Affairs, is expected to know the tricks of the business. But not everyone could have described it in a manner, so lucid and jubilantly candid, like Sikri manages to. The book deals with many aspects of the Indian foreign policy, each one individually in an orderly fashion that even a political novice won't have to toil much. While there are moments where he takes humorous and satirical takes on some events, there are harsh criticisms of many. Here is one example of how he explains the widely discussed and debated pell-mell nuclear agreement between India and US(and the hidden Indian strategic miscalculations and American shrewd salesmanship) and takes a jibe at nearly all the parties(or shall I say co-passengers) involved: India has boarded a plane named ‘Nonproliferation Regime’ that is carrying nuclear weapons. The plane is flying around the world trying to pick up additional passengers. The plane has got an American captain, a Russian co-pilot and a three-member crew from China, France and the United Kingdom. Entry into the cockpit is firmly barred to everyone else under all circumstances. All other NPT signatories are locked into their cramped and uncomfortable seats in economy class and the keys have been thrown away. The captain suspects that one of the strapped passengers, Iran, is struggling to get loose and has issued a stern warning. One passenger, North Korea, who had broken loose now has a fractured arm and an emaciated look and is being coaxed back to his seat. For along time, only three passengers—Israel, Pakistan and India— stubbornly refused to board the plane. Israel, in cahoots with the captain, cleverly manages to avoid drawing attention by pretending it does not have nuclear weapons. No one dares to touch Pakistan, a suspected suicide bomber. India has been enticed on board with the offer of First Class travel. The entire First Class cabin is reserved for Indians. Apart from a free ego massage available on demand, also on offer are complimentary gifts of the latest hi-tech toys and gadgets, and mind-boggling frequent flyer miles that can be used for unlimited travel by all family members and relatives (the definition has been left to India) to the US with a guarantee of a ‘green card’ to anyone looking for one. The food is a combination of the best available in the finest restaurants of New York, London, Paris, Moscow and Beijing. After a hearty traditional English breakfast, one can move on to exotic Chinese food—however, only sweet and sour items are on the menu!—for lunch and the smoothest Russian vodkas for cocktails. Dinner brings to the table mouthwatering American steaks, washed down by vintage French wines. Just in case the First Class passengers are still not sufficiently intoxicated by now, rare single malt Scotch whiskies and the choicest French cognacs are available as after-dinner drinks. The entertainment on board is so engrossing that there is no time to think. Looking out of the window, one can see majestic castles in the air. Finally, there is a lullaby to lull the First Class passenger into a deep slumber, just in case the intoxicating drinks have not had their effect. Manmohan Singh’s India is mesmerized by the tantalizing temptations. The trouble is that once on board, it will not be able to get off the plane. But what places this book on my Favourites list is that Sikri simply doesn't condescend and rebuke - the book is filled with ingenious ideas to take a better, much better course, foreign policy wise. Sikri speaks from the heart of a true patriot, who understands the weaknesses of our nation and is still assured that with right people and pragmatic policies in place, our nation will one day, rise.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pratibha Suku

    Quite an instructive book. Coherent. Pragmatic. Rational. Mr Sikri presents that 'Diplomacy will have to be imaginative and skillful, guided by hard-nosed national interest, and tempered with morality and ethics'.Need of hour is an "agile and flexible policy in order to ensure India’s military, economic, energy and environmental security in its strategic neighborhood". By starting with the evolution of Indian Foreign policy to the challenges faced and the way ahead to uphold the national interest M Quite an instructive book. Coherent. Pragmatic. Rational. Mr Sikri presents that 'Diplomacy will have to be imaginative and skillful, guided by hard-nosed national interest, and tempered with morality and ethics'.Need of hour is an "agile and flexible policy in order to ensure India’s military, economic, energy and environmental security in its strategic neighborhood". By starting with the evolution of Indian Foreign policy to the challenges faced and the way ahead to uphold the national interest Mr Sikri made this quite a impressive read especially to a normal reader like me who doesn't know much of Foreign policy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Varun

    Foreign policy an country need to be diligent and strategic rather than on a paper work, In this book Rajiv sikri, clearly cited that how colonial sufferedcountry like India, need a vision to dictate a foreign policy for development and grow as super power in Asian century. I would recommend whoever interested in knowing foreign policy of INDIA to read this book once.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Utkarsh Pandey

    This is a nice work by a former diplomat who has vast experience in Indian foreign affairs. He nicely brings out our relations with concerned countries, groups of countries and organizations. He also throws light on working of MEA, its shortcomings and improvements that can be done. The only issue is with the outdated context. The book was published in 2008-09 and hence this book must be supplemented by a more recent book by the reader.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kundan Kumar

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. History cannot always be a reliable guide to future yet the study of history can gives us rough understanding of how future shall unfold. This book in it's very first chapter declares that 'predictions are fraught with uncertainties; a single unexpected event, or a development in a single unimportant part of the world could trigger off a chain reaction that draws in great powers and leads to unforeseen consequences.' ' witness the assasination of atchduke Ferdinand of Serbia that led to world wa History cannot always be a reliable guide to future yet the study of history can gives us rough understanding of how future shall unfold. This book in it's very first chapter declares that 'predictions are fraught with uncertainties; a single unexpected event, or a development in a single unimportant part of the world could trigger off a chain reaction that draws in great powers and leads to unforeseen consequences.' ' witness the assasination of atchduke Ferdinand of Serbia that led to world war 1. Or the Soviet invasion of Afganistan that has made this country a cockpit international rivalry and morass of instability that has spawned terrorism and drug trafficking all over the world. Or 9/11?' But one must study history at least to derive meaning and form an understanding from so many unconnected and chaotic events of today, and thereby arrive at a rough understanding of future. History is also important so that we mustn't repeat the same mistakes of past. Before prognosis, we must arrive at diagnosis, and to adequately diagnose we must delve in the history. The book tries to capture geopolitical trends which are guiding the international affairs today. The very first paragraph of the book starts with ' The world has been in flux for nearly two decades. The fall of the Berlin war signalled end of an era..... A new world order was proclaimed. Long established principles of international relations like sovereignty of states, equality between states and non-interference in internal affairs States were cast aside in the name of humanitarian intervention, or to tackle the problem of failed states. International treaties and agreements were given the go-to if it didn't suit the US. A decade and half later, the world is saddled by disastrous situations in Afganistan and Iraq, a looming crisis over Iran, and the global spread of terrorism and drug trafficking.... Contrary to Francis Fukuyama's predictions, there has been no "end of history". Rather it is " the return of history and the end of dreams."' This gives a flavour that how this book proceeds. It forms an understanding from decades of international affairs particularly after independence of India. Why nation states behave the way they do? Why US belligerence and China's intransience? Has the Asian century arrived? Why there is so much conflict in south Asia. Despite sharing so much historical and cultural unity, why the south Asian region is so much fragmented and divided. What are the historical, cultural and political reasons for conflict? And so on. After articulating the problems that is being confronted today, the book suggests what could be the possible course of actions. And most importantly, what should be the role of India in it? Despite being a decade old, reading of the book is still rewarding. After reading it, one feels that not much has happened in decades past. Old problems are still hunting us. In fact, they have become even more intractable. On the other hand, the solutions that book offer seem still contemporary. Quite interestingly, when the author indulges in predictions or prognostications, he seems quite on the mark. Take for example following from the first chapter: ' One cannot be sure of the long term consequences of the ongoing Iraq war..... Will Israel or the US attack Iran? Will Afganistan go back to it's Taliban past? Whither Pakistan? Will the global financial crisis change the shape of western society? What of natural disaster and Pandemics?....' This is a remarkable achievement for a book to have raised questions more than a decade ago which still indulges our attention today. Months ago, we were talking of possible US-Iran war. The Iran crisis is still looming large. After being unsuccessful in Afganistan, the US has signed a peace treaty with Taliban thus giving it a legitimate claim in governance. Global Financial Crisis has definitely changed the western society. It has made them more protectionist, conservative, anti-immigrant and illiberal. Climate change and terrorism has shaped global discourse more than anything in the recent times. And now, we are in the middle of Pandemic. It will definitely and perceptibly change the world here on. A good book should raise our curiosity. It should raise questions that make us think. This book raises as much questions as it tries to answer them. This is a commendable feat.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anurag Vaishnav

    Good to begin with to get an understanding of evolution of India's foreign policy. Much easier to understand than Tharoor's 'Pax Indica' and Malone's 'Does the Elephant Dance'. But apparently the latest edition is of 2008 and foreign policy of India; and the world have undergone tremendous developments in the recent years which makes it not suitable for the present geopolitical scenario.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shivam

    the book is a cornerstone in the arena of the foreign policy literature on an Indian account. The encompassing spectrum of the topics covered and the objective and rational approach of the author makes the book a perfect read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Yaswanth Pottimurthy

    An excellent book on India's foreign policy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rajani Patnaik

    It's a good book on contemporary foreign policy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aniket Patil

    a very informative and useful book for the purpose of studying India's foreign policy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Apurv

    Challenge and Strategy Rethinking India's Foreign Policy is a comprehensive and in-depth book covering all aspects of India's Foreign Policy. Rajiv Sikri delves into his vast experience as a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service to share insights into how India can learn from the past and develop a coherent foreign policy to project itself as a global player in the world of geopolitics and in International Organisations. However while the book is a great starting point for those interest Challenge and Strategy Rethinking India's Foreign Policy is a comprehensive and in-depth book covering all aspects of India's Foreign Policy. Rajiv Sikri delves into his vast experience as a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service to share insights into how India can learn from the past and develop a coherent foreign policy to project itself as a global player in the world of geopolitics and in International Organisations. However while the book is a great starting point for those interested in understanding more about Indian foreign policy, there are some loopholes and missing pieces from the publication. The first and foremost is the lack of maps and illustrations to support the geography lines the author speaks about. Since the author often mentions border lines, topography and trade and energy routes it is important to provide visual illustrations for the reader to better understand which regions specifically Mr. Sikri is trying to depict especially when the areas mentioned are contentious and online maps may vary from the ones he is referring to. Secondly at times the book becomes distracting with the constant use of terminologies such as "vis-a-vis" and its This said, the content of the book cannot be discredited and Mr.Sikri's knowledge of the Indian Foreign Service and India's relations with other countries is commendable. The author covers a wide range of issues from International Trade and Economics to Climate Change and how they affect India. The best part is that he manages to explain the connectivity between all the various factors that influence a nation's foreign policy decisions. Apart from the book being slightly outdated (2009) it provides a decent generic starting point for anyone interested in understanding how India's policy has been shaped by its past and where it should go from here for India to continue its a role as an ascending global power.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Prashant Mishra

    Foreign policy is the extension of national interest. The author, being the first hand witness of the foreign policy formulation and implementation process has inadvertently added lustre to his splendid work. Especially commendable is the approach with which the whole boo has been written. Instead of bickering over the flaws,the futuristic and recommendatory tilt of the book is highly commendable. The author has successfully avoided cynical tendencies and has churned out an intellectual stimulan Foreign policy is the extension of national interest. The author, being the first hand witness of the foreign policy formulation and implementation process has inadvertently added lustre to his splendid work. Especially commendable is the approach with which the whole boo has been written. Instead of bickering over the flaws,the futuristic and recommendatory tilt of the book is highly commendable. The author has successfully avoided cynical tendencies and has churned out an intellectual stimulant sans jargon. Foreign policy in its ever evolving dimensions and growing mutuality with national policies has been given lucid treatment making it understandable for those interested in the fate of nation. Moreover, it is also reflective of the fact that foreign relations are much more than protocols and lavish settings. A seemingly small mistake in the domain of foreign policy and international relations may haunt us for generations. Especially the clarity with which India-U.S. nuclear deal has been explained along with its strategical and technological ramification reflects author's authority over the subject matter. This book is a must read for all those interested in understanding all that goes beyond the walls that circumscribe centres of power.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ashutosh Dwivedi

    Having bought the book to look at Indian foreign policy history, I was quite disappointed that it didn't cover much historical aspects rather its quite generic treatment of relationships with various countries was quite off handed. Apart from the last couple of chapters where various inter-linkages and challenges were covered the rest of the work is under-researched and quite off-putting. Not a book any foreign policy enthusiast should read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nephilim

    A book capturing the political, economic and strategic conditions in 2008 accurately. Grounded in realpolitik, it is interesting to see the way the author goes about explaining the changes occurring in the world in 2008 and extrapolating it to scenarios in the future. The problem lies with the fact that being in 2016, most of it needs to be updated taking into account the current situations. I look forward to future works from the author.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shubham

    Rethinking India's Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri who was former ambassador of India. The India US Nuclear deal chapter can be difficult to digest as Sikri is very critical about the whole development in that field. [That chapter should be ignored.]

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ajit Kumar

    Good book for getting familiar with our foreign policy with important countries and multilateral institutions.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rahul Saureshranjan

    A comprehensive research on relationship of India with other nation.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Abhi

    Well written and informative. An update would be awesome.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jack Fontane

    A 2008 perspective of India's outlook.... Tried to be non-judgmental... But not possible all times ... Gives a look at the 2008 scene in a few pages

  21. 4 out of 5

    Satya Brat Tiwari

    Nice but not comprehensive book for India's foreign policy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Arpit Shukla

    A wonderful book...totally worth the time. A must read for UPSC aspirants and foreign policy lovers

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pratibha Verma

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sahil Sinha

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rakesh Kalani

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gautham Guganesh

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sjnsd'

  28. 4 out of 5

    Saurabh Rai

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rajath

  30. 4 out of 5

    K.Sachin

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