14 June, 2021

Looking Out And Over

Scalpel in hand, a former foreign secretary picks at the faultlines of Indian geopolitics

Looking Out And Over

Geopolitics is a fashionable term in commentaries on international affairs. In India and Asian Geopolitics, Shivshankar Menon rescues it from inaccurate connotations: geopolitics is politics, especially foreign policy, influenced by factors like geography, history, economics and demography. He focuses a wide-angle lens, across geographies and centuries, on trends and events that have shaped India’s geopolitics.

As a former foreign secretary and National Security Adviser, Menon knows how policy-makers see power equations around them, which (as he notes) is not as analysts and historians see them.  He adds that geopolitical analysis also includes the subjective element of looking into the heads of decision-makers.

Asia is today the “cockpit of major power rivalry”. China dominates this cockpit, having progressively extended the boundaries of its influence well beyond the continent. It has converted the South China Sea into a Chinese lake, suppressing competing territorial claims. It has acquired Indian Ocean ports across Asia and...

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