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Indo-Russian Perspectives

Achin Vanaik

Edited by Rajen Harshe
Rawat Publications, Jaipur, 2004, pp. 276, Rs. 550.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 2 February 2005

This book brings together contributions to a national seminar organized by the Indian Council of Social Science Research under a heading that though less appealing than the book title was also a more accurate reflection of the contents, namely, “Globalisation and International Relations: Indo-Russian Perspectives”. Of the thirteen chapters plus introduction, six are devoted to specific studies of regional tensions and variations in India/SAARC (‘Glocalisation and the Indian Nation-State’ by B. Ramesh Babu, ‘India’s Federal Experience in the Northeastern States and Globalisation’ by Sudhir Jacob George, ‘Perspectives on International Economy, Regional Economic Cooperation and SAARC’ by Arif A. Waqif) and in Russia (Grigory Marchenko on ‘Globalisation and Russia’s Regions’, Elena Meleshkina on ‘Regional Identity in Contemporary Russia in the Era of Globalisation’); and how these are affected by the realities and possibilities thrown up by globalization. A seventh chapter by Sudha Mohan (‘Civil Society Activism in the Age of Globalisation’) looks at differing conceptions of civil society and how activism therein might be affected by current globalization. These are interesting chapters in their own right, especially the one by Alexander Akimov—‘Food Production as a Strategy of Globalisation of the Russian Economy’—that proposes a radical reorientation in Russian agricultural policy so as to make itself food self-sufficient by 2050. In Russia, like Sweden, only 8% of its land is arable. But in contrast to countries like Indonesia, China and India, Russia with a projected 0.14 hectares per capita in 2050 is much better off relative to population pressure and can greatly reduce its current import dependence if it is prepared to adopt an appropriate long-term investment and development strategy.   It is however the more general, early chapters that are likely to be most appealing to the general reader not that concerned about the specificities of India’s North East or the tensions within the Russian Federation; and it is on these that this review will largely focus upon. The debate on globalization revolves around four axial themes. The first of these pertains to the question of how to relate whatever globalization is supposed to embody to the study of the world order, presumably the domain where the academic discipline of International Relations (IR) is king. Here the two contributions by A.P. Rana and Rajen Harshe provide contrasting perspectives. Rana perceives a “basic asymmetry” between the “logic of the globalisation process” and the “security problematic of developing countries”. What he ...

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