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PAX INDICA

SHASHI
THAROOR
This much publicized book by Shashi
Tharoor, Pax Indica, translated Peace India
should rightly have a question mark at its tail.
The book is an attempt at narration and
analysis of Indias relations with the world
around it
Broad contours are similar to NAM2.0
Meant for laymen and not serious scholarly
work
Deals more with present and future rather
than history
Has generated world-wide interest in
understanding the why of Indian initiatives.
Shashi Tharoor is an elected member of
Parliament from the Thiruvananthapuram Lok
Sabha constituency in Kerala. He was earlier
Minister of State for External Affairs in the
government of India and before that, a career
diplomat with various United Nations
organizations for nearly three decades. Over and
above the preoccupations that holding these
positions have entailed, Shashi Tharoor has been
a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction,
the book under review being his thirteenth.
Repeatedly asserts why foreign policy must
remain subservient to domestic compulsions.
The book begins and ends with Jawaharlal
Nehrus vision of India in the world. Dr
Tharoor is convinced that India has a sense
of responsibility to the world of which it is
such a crucial part and whose destiny it has
earned the right to shape.
Wide leeway for the PMO in foreign policy
making.
Public opinion hardly factored in earlier days.
Nehrus Foreign policy-Though brilliant and
nationalistic but lacked processes of
pluralistic bargaining.
Most Foreign ministers-Seniority in ruling
party became primary qualification , not
necessarily matched with interest and
expertise.

Flawed institution staffed by superbly qualified
and able diplomats.
4 basic weaknesses- short staffed ,co-ordination
poor-both intra and internal ministerial ,training
deficiencies
In todays multilateral diplomacy ,MEA requires
varied skill set.
India needs internationalist minded young
Indians who see the chance of serving the
country abroad not as a privilege ,but as
something indispensable for Indias growth and
prosperity.
Pax Indicas valuable contribution to the
debate on Indias foreign policy is that it
charts the growth of the country as a regional
hegemon.
Indias prosperity is intrinsically linked to the
well-being of those nations with whom we
share borders.
defence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs
determination to continue talks with Pakistan
is eloquent and correct.
To counter Chinese needling on Arunachal
Pradesh and Tibet, Mr. Tharoor ponders
aloud the possibility of holding up Taiwan as
a similar trump card.
Soft power, bureaucratic reform,
multilateralism and strategic autonomy.
our interests must supersede issues of pure
principle.
promoting liberal democracy is in Indias
interests
Indias strategic location sharing a long border
with China also seemed ideal to check Beijings
attempts to enlarge its strategic sphere of
influence.
Wests belief that India was a strategic partner,
while China was a strategic competitor
chapter on India-Pakistan relations, entitled
"Brother Enemy", focuses almost entirely on the
Islamist terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008 - a
reminder of how much of a setback the attacks
have been for the bilateral relationship. Yet it
also contains a series of concrete proposals -
such as unilaterally accelerating the process of
issuing multiple-entry visas to Pakistanis.
Dedicates part of the chapter 'unchartered
territories' to Latin America, lauding Brazil's
President Lula's attempts to strengthen
relations between emerging powers. Yet also
adds a cautionary note: "South-South
cooperation is all very well, but national
interests must inevitably prevail.

Indias tough dance between the West and
SCO on one hand and its needs to meet with
its strategic and economic interests in Iran, Af
Pak and the Arab world needed greater
scrutiny for a book of this nature.
Russian interests in reaching the Persian Gulf
via Pakistan should be a cause for great
concern in India, something, which finds no
mention in the book.


The book has not credited the deep impact
our military diplomacy has had in shaping the
world around us.
Though challenges have been identified ,
solutions are very vague or ambiguous and at
times ,even absent.


The very title of the book expresses the author's
conviction that India is destined and ready to
play an important role in global affairs.
Tharoor providing a foreign relations primer to
the students of Indias foreign relations. It also
exposes the vast difficulties that India would
encounter in future in dealing with a tough
neighbourhood, a dangerous and volatile
extended neighbourhood in the West and a
weak Look East Policy as evident from a poor
delivery model.


The most sterling contribution of the book is in
flagging the intriguing deficiencies in a
structured mechanisms to formulate a pragmatic
policy and shortfall of the diplomatic corps in
executing the foreign policy.
Non alignment of Nehruvian model had outlived
its utility fairly early as we had willy nilly aligned
with Russia during the cold war. The multi
polarity of the information age world
demands interdependence to meet with various
demands of national interests


Policies are always work in progress as long
as national interests are well-defined and not
a result of knee jerk responses to events
around us. Currently we seem to be
managing our foreign policy in a crisis mode.
We lack long-term vision and short-term
execution strategies
It must be on every book shelf that aspires to
understand the enigma called India in an
interdependent world.

THANK YOU