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A Complex Domain

Sukanya Natarajan

By Kishan S. Rana and Bipul Chatterjee
CUTS International, Jaipur, India, 2011, pp.285, Rs. 450.00

VOLUME XXXV NUMBER 8-9 August-September 2011

In eloquent and insightful expose of economic diplomacy principles and practices, Kishan S. Rana and Bipul Chatterjee succeed in crafting a book that will stimulate and inform anyone interested in this previously opaque realm of international relations. The economic dimension of diplomacy constitutes an increasingly important share of the operational responsibilities of diplomats. Their prime task revolves around defending the commercial interests of the state they represent. This is often implemented in the form of trade export promotion activities. The edited volume is a collection of experiences of Indian Foreign Service officers who have contributed to 27 chapters in five sections—regulatory environment, investment and aid promotion, export promotion and creating networks. The papers reflect the thinking of the contributors on the world economy and trading system and explain how they promoted national interest while advancing the global trade agenda. It highlights how governments lobbying has contributed to the development of the commercial and economic interests of the country represented across the globe. This volume marks an important advance in our understanding of the theory and practice of the new economic diplomacy. The contributors explain how states conduct their external economic relations as the 21st century begins: how they make decisions domestically; how they negotiate internationally; and how these processes interact within the governmental realm. It signals the documentation of the transformation of economic diplomacy in response to the advance of globalization and illustrates the growing influence of non-state actors like private businesses and civil society. The book charts the experiences of senior practitioners in economic diplomacy before and now. Globalization has increased both the heterogeneity and the stakes of bilateral economic relationships. Commercial policy and bilateral economic diplomacy are explored, and economic sanctions analysed, for example, the establishment of Team-9 as a unique grouping of India and select group of countries from West Africa as mentioned by Navdeep Suri currently heading the Public Diplomacy division in the MEA, the Japanese government's commitment to bail India out during the foreign exchange reserves crisis mentioned as a personal narrative by Arjun Asrani as well as the repeated attempts at hydro diplomacy in Nepal as discussed in detail by Jawed Ashraf. Transnational economic and commercial interests prominently confined to sovereign interests have gradually evolved to be immensely diverse with a wide cross section of entities entering the processes of international economic agenda building as explained by Som Mittal, Kishan S. Rana, S. Swaminathan ...

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