The world has experienced divergent polarisations in different phases. After the fall of the Soviet Union, it briefly remained unipolar before becoming bipolar, and it is currently transitioning to multipolarity. China has officially entered the world stage, and everyone can see it. Unexpectedly, a non-Western power has supplanted a number of other world powers and is now almost in charge of the Western-led international system. The author S. Jaishankar, who is currently in charge of the Ministry of External Affairs, provides readers with insights into how New Delhi formulates its foreign policy and examines various issues from the past and present and how they will affect global politics in the future.
The book begins with China's place in the global order and how it used a variety of strategies to overcome obstacles and advance to its current position. He continues by comparing where India falls behind the rest of the world. India and China were sailing in the same boat at the time of their independence, but due to delayed economic development and reforms that couldn’t happen at a set time and disruptions like the 1972 Bangladesh war, 1991 economic reforms, the 1998 nuclear test, and the 2005 nuclear deal, India couldn’t quite focus on it. On the other hand, China persevered and began economic reforms 15 years after the protracted use of the nuclear option. The book further explains India’s position and diplomatic approach to world politics. If it joined dialogues like the Quad, the Indo-Pacific, or the BRICS, it also joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
For the past 40 years, the US-China relationship has drawn interest from throughout the world, China's close neighbour and the focus of American interest is India. America has engaged in unfair trade, excessive immigration, and unreceptive ally behaviour during its time as the dominant global power, and China is doing the same to maintain its position at the top. The US-China dynamic alliance is a big question now, and with effective Indian policy-making and a mix of multiple approaches, India can find a way that’ll benefit it.
Jaishankar uses historical instances such as the Mahabharata, Kautilyan politics, and many others to illustrate how rule-based behaviour and national objectives might have been amicably resolved in the past. He uses the post-1991 economic reform strategy, which utterly went wrong, as an example. As a result, the current trade conflicts and post-corona recovery are crucial obligations to lay out a more modern strategy. The choices we make on the economic front will have a direct impact on our overall national power. Additionally, Jaishankar's history of these reforms will demonstrate how our nation has both overprotected and underprotected different industries.
The author goes on to analyse how to formulate a good international relations policy. India must try to repair its sociological and economic ties and play the diplomatic game by cooperating with the United States, controlling China, developing Europe, insuring Russia, and including Japan. We must manage our national security and integrity while learning vital lessons from China to advance. India might have also been able to find some good in the Corona pandemic. This catastrophe could have been used to make India the pharmacy of the world and promote yoga and Indian culture. Indian politicians and policies must approach international relations with realism.
One can grasp a lot from the precedents and strategies of foreign policymaking narrated in the book. The book's eight chapters provide readers with insight into various nations and their approaches to international politics. It offers pertinent insights and considerations on the most appropriate model for India to use in its international strategy.