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Power and Diplomacy: India’s Foreign Policies During The Cold War

15 February 2019
Power and Diplomacy: India’s Foreign Policies During The Cold War


The notion that a monolithic idea of ‘nonalignment’ shaped India’s foreign policy since its inception is a popular view. In his new book Power and Diplomacy: India’s Foreign Policies During The Cold War, Zorawar Daulet Singh challenges conventional wisdom by unveiling another layer of India’s strategic culture. In a richly detailed narrative using new archival material, the author not only reconstructs the worldviews and strategies that underlay geopolitics during the Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi years, he also illuminates the significant transformation in Indian statecraft as policymakers redefined some of their fundamental precepts on India’s role in in the subcontinent and beyond. His contention is that those exertions of Indian policymakers are equally apposite and relevant today.

Whether it is about crafting a sustainable set of equations with competing great powers, formulating an intelligent Pakistan policy, managing India’s ties with its smaller neighbours, dealing with China’s rise and Sino-American tensions, or developing a sustainable Indian role in Asia, Power and Diplomacy strikes at the heart of contemporary debates on India’s unfolding foreign policies.

Reviews of the book can be found below:

  • Sandeep Dixit: ‘Foreign policy model in the Cold War era’, The Tribune:

‘The alternative explanations for each of the foreign policy events and the Indian reaction are the book’s most tantalisingly portions, making Zorawar, the Yuval Noah Hariri of Indian foreign policy during the Cold War years, because of his dissection of every possible motive.’

  • Ambassador Shyam Saran: ‘Eyes On Offshore Lights’, Outlook:

‘It is not often that a young scholar of international relations takes the plunge to offer original insights, based on extensive research, on the evolution of India’s foreign policy, with particular reference to the Cold War period. In Power and Diplomacy, Zorawar Daulet Singh has not hesitated to question the analysis and assessments of prominent Indian and foreign scholars and has come up with some persuasive interpretations. He deserves commendation…’

‘This work would be valuable to strategic analysts for studying the contours of India’s foreign policy choices in the Cold War period. It would be a useful input for practitioners and experts grappling with India’s possible response to the Cold War-II emerging between USA and China right on India’s periphery.’

‘The author throws light on the ways in which the competing ideas of Indian officials, their reactions to regional and world events — and the personalities of both prime ministers — shaped India’s diplomacy.’

Power and Diplomacy is a piece of outstanding historical and evidence-based scholarship that makes a timely contribution to today’s policy debates on the direction and degree of India’s multiple alignments.

‘The book throws new light on India’s foreign policy, including a full account of the internal debates on policy options within the foreign policy establishment.’

‘Power and Diplomacy is an enriching (read) for the serious student of foreign policy.’

‘Power and Diplomacy is an intellectual tour de force, impressive on many counts.’

‘…an interesting read in the evolution of India’s foreign policy.’

Daulet Singh adds depth to the otherwise oversimplified description of Indian foreign policy as a procession from Jawaharlal Nehru’s idealism to Indira Gandhi’s realism‘.

‘It is a carefully researched, cogently argued, and well-organised work.’

Carnegie India hosted a discussion on the book featuring Zorawar Daulet Singh, Suhasini Haidar, Srinath Raghavan and Rudra Chaudhuri. Details of the discussion can be accessed here.

More information about the book can be found here.

An excerpt of the book was featured in ThePrint. It can be read here.