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

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  499 ratings  ·  44 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

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
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
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
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
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
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
Shrey Goyal
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
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
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
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 !!
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.
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
Vikas Datta
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
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
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
Abhinav Shrivastava
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
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
Sudhakar Gupta
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
Unnikrishnan Sreedharan
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
Abhishek Rao
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
Ashish Sharma
Found good, Tharoor is clear cut in our foreign policies with all world. Well framed, well detailed, with the pinch of humor. Must read.
An informative insight into Indian foreign policy and I liked the way Tharoor examined India's foreign policy towards each particular region. As a greenhorn to India and South Asia in general, Tharoor's book really helped put into perspective the random facts that I knew about the region. It also really contextualised and forecasted the challenges and imperatives facing Indian diplomacy. Somewhat polemic at times, it nevertheless was a useful companion during my internship on the South Asia desk ...more
Sachin Gupta
Jun 02, 2014 Sachin Gupta marked it as to-read
Mourya Krishna
Shashi Tharoor's views on India & its relations with the rest of the world are insightful and appear pragmatic. Although I found it intriguing, there were stretches and episodes where I felt his pompous language caused disruptions in the flow of content. A decent read nevertheless.
Rohit Shinde
An extremely well written book on foreign policy by Shashi Tharoor. Going beyond traditional analysis focusing on facts and figures, he not only outlines the threats and opportunities that India faces, but also outlines what steps could be taken to undermine threats and take advantage of opportunities.

His viewpoint is balanced and he does not hesitate in criticising elements of his government's foreign policy. All in all, a very good read, engaging and informative.
Ramesh Kumar Maali
I read this book when Indian politics was changing it's course. I book written by a Congressman later and a Foreign Relation diplomat first Mr. Tharoor gives holistic picture of Indian foreign policy. Anyone aiming to be part of Indian bureaucracy at national stage ought read this book. I hope anyone in Modi lead new government reads it, it will give the government much to ponder on.

I have become fan of Tharoor's writings.
Shantanu Vishnoi
A very structured book that gives crucial insights into the various pillars of India's existing foreign policy, and that how crucial it is for India to have a sound foreign policy to sustain its economic growth in the future. Towards the end, the book suggests a policy of 'multi-alignment', wherein India should aim to have extensive trade relations with countries around the world.
Its a great read and it increases your knowledge about MEA and IFS if you are an outsider to this world.

For someone who keeps track of global politics, this book would be a smooth ride. For everyone else, a parallel reading would be required to know more about global issues and politics that surrounds it.

Overall, I loved it!
A good book which covers India's foreign policy in a very detailed manner but felt a bit too lengthy in some chapters. Overall a good read for anyone interested to now about how India's foreign policy has evolved since independence and how it should go about in future.
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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...
The Great Indian Novel India: From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond Riot The Elephant, the Tiger, and the Cell Phone: Reflections on India - the Emerging 21st-Century Power Nehru: The Invention of India

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