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Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  744 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
A definitive account of Indias international relations from an expert in the field.

Indian diplomacy, a veteran told Shashi Tharoor many years ago, is like the love-making of an elephant: it is conducted at a very high level, accompanied by much bellowing, and the results are not known for two years. In this lively, informative and insightful work, the award-winning author
Hardcover, 449 pages
Published July 2012 by Allen Lane (first published January 1st 2012)
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Riku Sayuj
Nov 12, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it really liked it

Joe Nye aka “Mr. Soft Power” in 'The Future of Power' has argued that, in today's information age, it is the side with the better story that wins. This book is Tharoor’s conscious or unconscious attempt to ensure that India is the party with the better story (of course to one’s own eyes one always has the better story). To Tharoor, India is gentle and reasonable and completely justified in all its actions; where they cant be justified, they can be explained away with the excuse that a functionin
Sep 07, 2012 Meetu rated it liked it
Ever since I read The Great Indian Novel, I have been unshakingly admiring of the writer, Shashi Tharoor. That remains the most impactful book on modern India that I have ever read. By merging the epic tale of the Mahabharata with modern Indian history, Tharoor gave a truly “incisive” perspective on India and the people who wrote its destiny. His love of Nehru and disdain for Indira Gandhi were perspectives that I adopted and till date have found no reason to change. The reason I bring up that w ...more
Sep 02, 2012 Harini rated it really liked it
Shelves: india, non-fiction
The DNA has carried a slightly shorter version of my review of Shashi Tharoor' s book Pax Indica

Pax Romana or the Roman Peace is a Latin Term used to describe the, slightly over two hundred year period, when the Roman Empire saw relative peace and prosperity. It was a period when the Republic made way for the Emperor (Augustus); various warring factions within Rome were brought to heel; the Empire was kept safe from invasion and the military expansion was kept to a minimum. It was a time whe
Sagar Vibhute
An educational read. I have been ignorant of India's policies and roles in the international arena, barring a few newspaper articles once in a while, but those in most of India's major publications are China-obsessed these days.

It is refreshing to read about India's role in helping developing and emerging economies, especially Africa, and how we are pursuing inclusive growth in contrast with the policies pursued by some other major world powers. Shashi Tharoor is sincere in his praise as well as
Aug 04, 2014 Adarsh rated it liked it
Pax Indica is largely about modern India and its relationships with various other countries, as well as its role in multi-lateral organizations. Shashi Tharoor keeps stressing that in the 21st century, foreign affairs directly impact domestic affairs, and hence they are extremely important. Tharoor has an excellent vocabulary, which enables him to keep making the same arguments worded differently. He is largely supportive of the UPA government, and while referring to the flaws of India, he is ca ...more
Anant Mittal
Jul 29, 2012 Anant Mittal rated it it was amazing
Lovely book this. Mr. Tharoor has certainly penned down the thoughts for India and its future specially for its foreign relations. What makes it even better is the fact that he has tried to evaluate nearly all relationships that India has globally and gives feedback and even suggestions to improve the same.

His fresh takes on not only India-Pakistan, but also India-China and even India-US are quite good and give one much food for thought, albeit there are some sentences that become used and abuse
Vivekanand Pandey
Currently gazing through the pages of ‘Pax Indica’, latest commentary on Indian foreign policy by someone as well-established authority on the subject matter as Mr. Shashi Tharoor, from Allen Lane (an imprint of Penguin Books). Still at page 158 (the book contains 450 pages), but I have already formed my opinion – interesting, lucid, informative, well-crafted, common-reader friendly language and a must read, though a little bit expensive (Rs. 799). The most important thing about the book is that ...more
Siddharth Nishar
Oct 13, 2015 Siddharth Nishar rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I picked up this book with the intention to address my ignorance on India's foreign policy; this book has gone over and above my expectations in educating me.

Having said that, I went through the Five Stages of Grief with this book's writing. Tharoor's rhetoric, eloquence and wit become irritating very quickly when every point is repeated five times in different guises. The segues between logical ideas are torturously slow and even then disjointed.

Foreign Policy is, by the sheer nature of the top
Sep 07, 2015 Nitya rated it liked it
It only took me three months to finish this book (in my feeble defense, work had taken over my life). Coincidentally, a small but significant portion of this book was consumed while standing in lines in my many visits to the Regional Passport Office.

The first half (maybe, even two-thirds) of it was a slow, dry read. At points it felt like a trade journal, with all the stats and numbers it reeled off.

Maybe I'm just spoiled by non-fiction content that's written in a more accessible manner, layin
Shrey Goyal
Sep 09, 2013 Shrey Goyal rated it it was amazing
Shashi Tharoor’s most recent book, Pax Indica, explains why foreign policy matters for a country like India, and outlines how it could very well be a powerful instrument for her own domestic transformation. Beautifully written, Pax Indica is evocative of an engaging and exciting conversation which, while dotted with tongue-in-cheek anecdotes, misses neither the historical context nor the intricacies of the topic at hand.

In fact, it is important to point out the shades which the author has painte
Vadassery Thaiparambil Rakesh
“We should wipe out that enemy nation”, is a knee jerk reaction of all those coffee table revolutionaries from the great Indian middle class, whenever there is an atrocity in India , engineered from the foreign soil. Shashi Tharoor has pragmatically highlighted the fallacy of such an action. A war which will erase at least two decades of our hard earned development. By doing so we fall prey to the evil designs of the enemy nation’s power hungry military leaders, a foe who has nothing to lose.
Sep 30, 2012 Vivian rated it really liked it
Raison d'être

Tharoor an insider and outsider (been a diplomat in UN and a minister in external affairs )knows about it more than anybody else, i also believe nobody in India at least matches his wits.
Tharoor has mentioned in the beginning this book is unlike Pax Romana or Pax Britannica. India's importance in the world order is depicted in his writing.
The foreign policy matters because its not merely forign but affects the people living in the country.
The author has strong views on the policy
Anil Swarup
Jan 12, 2013 Anil Swarup rated it it was amazing
The manner in which this book enmeshes brilliant narration with meticulous research is quite remarkable. This is Shashi Tharoor at his best providing interesting insights into how the Indian Foreign Office works. The analyses is immaculate and a the prescription "do-able". The advocacy for "soft power" is very convincingly articulated.
Palash Bansal
Dec 13, 2014 Palash Bansal rated it really liked it
Shelves: india-general
Excellent book for those who want to understand the foreign policy issues faced by the government and how it affects the life of an ordinary citizen. From the master (can be read minister) of foreign affairs himself !!
William Joseph
Apr 08, 2016 William Joseph rated it liked it
Shelves: indian
Good book. Give me an insight of Foreign policy of India in 21st century.Simple language easy to understand.
Sudhakar Gupta
Feb 14, 2014 Sudhakar Gupta rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
Drawn from Dr. Tharoor's considerable experience, first as a career official at United Nations, and then as Minister of State for External Affairs in India, Pax Indica is a well researched, critical analysis of India's foreign policies. It looks into India's relationship with each of its neighbours, with entire chapters dedicated to the estranged brother on the western border and the looming dragon over to the north, before moving on to other distant parts of the globe.

The second half focuses o
Jun 16, 2013 Abhishek rated it really liked it
Shashi Tharoor in his all wisdom and an exhaustive knowledge of India, has kept the contents of this book limited to only India's foreign policies and its possible effects. Having an international exposure of almost three decades, it is highly unfortunate, for the ministry of Indian government that they are not able to harvest this knowledge for the greater good of our nation.

As is his words always been, all the essays reflect his thoughts which are crisp and is supported by data points wherever
Pratibha Suku
Nov 02, 2015 Pratibha Suku rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Indians. People Interested in Indian Foreign Relations
Shelves: re-readable, desi
Book talks about India's foreign relation(s) and how it shapes the stability and can bring prosperity to country, Pax India (Peaceful Stable India). Dr Tharoor went to the whole length and breath of world map to explain his point. The importance of friendly neighbors the need to maintain centuries old friendship and the vital need to maintain the Integrity was well emphasized.

The chapters of "The hard challenges of soft power and public diplomacy" and "Multi-alignment': Towards a Grand Strategy
Vikas Datta
Aug 31, 2013 Vikas Datta rated it really liked it
A magisterial but terse account of India's relations with its neighbours and the countries that matter and the way ahead... Tharoor is at his most readable and persuasive as he writes on the shortfalls in Indian diplomacy - the mistakes (earlier and now), the nature and shortage of diplomatic personnel, the domestic underpinnings of foreign policy, and most important, his perception of the way ahead. Liberally interspersed with anecdotes - personal and received, the work is a most charming read. ...more
Dec 16, 2012 Ingrid rated it liked it
Rife with platitudes and cliches, this dissertation on India's role in the world - past, present and future - seesaws between lauding India's Nehruvian foreign policy heyday and disavowing it for a more pragmatic approach. It is a somewhat tedious and repetitive compendium of India's relationships with its neighbours in South Asia and somewhat beyond and with the major powers. Beyond the occasional telling quote e.g. the description of India's approach as "talking loudly and carrying a small sti ...more
Ashish Shukla
Jan 02, 2015 Ashish Shukla rated it liked it
Shashi Tharoor is an extremely fine and nuanced writer who once aimed to be United National Secretary General and has decades of experience in working at the world’s headquarters. He also had a stint in India’s external (foreign) affairs ministry; reasons good enough to give this book a try.
Those steeped into geo-politics and trends would struggle to suppress a yawn but from an Indian perspective it as as good as it gets. There is hardly any worthwhile publication or book on India’s foreign pol
Kaustubh Kirti
As Mr Ramachandra Guha correctly puts it: "Yet the truth is that India is in no position to become a superpower. It is not a rising power, nor even an emerging power. It is merely a fascinating, complex, and perhaps unique experiment in nationhood and democracy, whose leaders need still to attend to the fault lines within, rather than presume to take on the world without." For the outside world India is an experiment it a country as great and huge (geographically) like the United States & Ch ...more
Abhinav Shrivastava
Dec 24, 2012 Abhinav Shrivastava rated it it was amazing
The book is nothing short of sheer brilliance and class. I have never read a complete book on Foreign Policy but a few articles here and there and some editorials but the way the author explains the Foreign Policy and its nuances is brilliant. I could never have thought that Foreign Policy could be presented in such an interesting manner.
Complete review on my blog:
Rohan Dixit
Jul 06, 2014 Rohan Dixit rated it liked it
Typical Tharoor .Observations and anecdotes thrown in.His usual attachment to a particular word or phrase ..this time its 'bedevil' and its subsequent derivatives strewn across the pages of this book that seeks to be apolitical in the Foreign Policy analyses of India since independence .

Had the mention of IIFT (my alma mater ) in one of the chapters on Africa.So I will hereby be liberal in its review .

Covers the major countries in detail and depth..although introduces a unnecessary lengthy discu
Vishal Saraswat
Mar 11, 2016 Vishal Saraswat rated it it was amazing
a must read.
mr. tharoor as always impressed me with his in depth knowledge and this time the topic on which he wrote was helped by his experience of UN.
He basically discussed in this book India's foreign relation and outlined broad challenges that India would face if and when it becomes a super power. He has showcased that in this interconnected world every possible region however aloof, geography however far, power however small is essential in meeting the future challenges of GLOBAL COMMONS na
Unnikrishnan Sreedharan
Dec 13, 2013 Unnikrishnan Sreedharan rated it really liked it
by this book sashi tharoor proves that his grasp on international politics is as sharp as ever...its still poignant from the days he published his first book 'reasons of state'in 1977 when he was a ph.d student....and he brillaiantly lays out the development as well as changed trends in indian diplomacy and india's approach towards international arena from the time of publishing his first book up to the present one...but still we can see the partialty doned by him in narrating this book as a con ...more
Shariq Ahamad
Nov 10, 2015 Shariq Ahamad rated it it was amazing
One area where the author Shashi Tharoor has an unquestionable authority is his understanding of foreign policy, and this book corroborates that fact. A definitive work on India's foreign policy, it's principles,objectives, facts, achievements(or lack thereof), anomalies among others. The book gives an overview of India's foreign policy so far and the long arduous and perilous journey that India has to travel to achieve the 'superpower' status it craves for!
The book divides the priorities in se
Abhishek Rao
Feb 19, 2014 Abhishek Rao rated it it was amazing
Exceptionally lucid analysis of the esoteric "Indian Foreign Policy".This is the first book I've read by the author and I must say I am thoroughly impressed with the clarity of ideas and equally eloquent expression of language. The book has some(very few) dull moments, but Tharoor more than makes up for it by perking it up with his personal experiences both as UN Diplomat as well as Minister of State in MEA. One thing that makes this book even more interesting is Tharoor's unsparing criticism to ...more
Abhijeet Borkar
Jan 03, 2016 Abhijeet Borkar rated it really liked it
In this book, Shashi Tharoor gives a very comprehensive analysis of India's foreign policy history, India's relations with countries all over the world. He also talks about the challenges of Indian foreign policy and the shortcomings of the Indian Governments in history, and how they have failed to take advantage of India's soft and hard power in advancing its relations & presence over the world, and provides guidelines to how the situation can be improved.

Though he is critical at times of t
Ashish Sharma
Jan 24, 2015 Ashish Sharma rated it it was amazing
Found good, Tharoor is clear cut in our foreign policies with all world. Well framed, well detailed, with the pinch of humor. Must read.
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Shashi Tharoor is a member of the Indian Parliament from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in Kerala. He previously served as the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information and as the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs.

He is also a prolific author, columnist, journalist and a human rights advocate.

He has served on the Board of Overseers of the Fle
More about Shashi Tharoor...

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“We must not be deluded into making concessions, whether on Kashmir or any other issue, in the naive expectation that these would end the hostility of the ISI and its cohorts. We must understand that Pakistan’s fragile sense of self-worth rests on its claim to be superior to India, stronger and more valiant than India, richer and more capable than India. This is why the killers of 26/11 struck the places they did, because their objective was not only to kill and destroy, but also to pull down India’s growth, tarnish its success story and darken its lustre in the world. The more we grow and flourish in the world, the more difficult we make it for the Pakistani military to sustain its myth of superiority or even parity. There are malignant forces in Islamabad who see their future resting upon India’s failure. These are not motives we can easily overcome.” 1 likes
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