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From Nonalignment to Globalization

Tapan Biswal

Edited by Mohammed Badrul Alam
Reference Press, New Delhi, 2014, pp. 300, Rs. 975.00


The book under review, a collection of essays, is thematically divided into four sections. It juxtaposes the Indian state within the broad process of globalization and sees it as an influential power as a result of its growing military and economic might. There is a brief overview of the stand taken by the Indian state right after attaining Independence and its decision to remain aloof in a politically divided world during the Cold War era. It also highlights how India in the post-Cold War era adopted economic liberalization and privatization which led it to be closer to USA. This meant increasing influence of the state in the international community. It highlights the joint military exercise with the US and European nations and the Indo-US nuclear deal. The book focuses on i) effective implementation of foreign policy and diversion of all resource and energy in that process in order to gain success at the international level; ii) de-escalation of tensions with the immediate neighbours and iii) striking of proper balance with the major powers which includes Russia, Japan, Iran, and growing major powers like China.   Ravi Prasad Narayanan discusses the importance of the micro-constituents of India’s decision making process which displays new facets to be taken into account while analysing foreign policy. He discusses the case of India and Bangladesh relations within this framework. This chapter is based on three hypotheses which highlight i) the domestic conditions which shapes the foreign policy of the country with coalition politics at the centre; ii) rise of regional political parties and their impact in the form of engaging the centre on policy issues related to neighbours in terms of adopting postures often contradictory to the official policy, and iii) bargain on foreign policy matters between the centre and the states where the state is seen as a zone of contestation which the author describes as a double-edged sword that is leading to greater pluralism in Indian foreign policy. The author sums up by analysing that in the Indian context the basic unit and linkages is a highly contested domain, where the individual and the institutional actors arbitrate, negotiate and adopt positions that may be at variance with the overall national interest of the state.   The chapter on India’s position on growing global environment concerns highlights the need for India to strike a balance between those concerns and national interest. ‘Nuclear Diplomacy: From ...

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