19 January, 2021

The Soft, The Hard, The Swift

A good read, but doesn’t reveal anything new

Tribhuvan Tiwari
The Soft, The Hard, The Swift

Pax Indica is the dummy’s guide to Indian foreign policy. It is a book that students, reporters and those trying to understand the new India will find useful. It is written in Tharoor’s trademark easy, lucid style. The book gives you a large sweep of India’s diplomatic challenges, beginning with a chapter that revisits Nehru’s India, and the shift to a more pragmatic foreign policy with a willingness to do business with all. The chapter effectively lays the ground for the ‘onion that is peeled’ next—as Tharoor puts it, beginning with Pakistan and then moving beyond.

But here also lies the problem. While Tharoor, for example, deals extensively with Pakistan, one would have liked more than a page-and-a-half on Iran. Afghanistan, a country so critical to India’s geopolitical interests, is dealt with in just about five pages. In an attempt to cover so many countries and regions, he has often only skimmed the surface. It may have been better, perhaps, to write about fewer countries, for a more incisive final...



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