Synopses & Reviews
Diplomacy is conventionally understood as a European invention that gained international traction through the spread of colonialism. Consequently, scholars believe the moment of India's colonial liberation was in fact a false dawn, for the liberated, having internalized a European logic, mimicked Western practice. Postcolonial Indians are therefore anything but free.
Abandoning this Eurocentric model, Deep K. Datta-Ray investigates what actually happens inside a foreign ministry, based on unique participant observation within India's bureaucracy. His findings reveal practices deeply confounding to Western diplomats and academics, because they defy the parameters of known models. To explain these practices, Datta-Ray develops a framework for understanding the ideas within which Indian diplomacy operates. He traces the transformation of diplomacy from Mughal times to the present, outlining the concepts underpinning Indian foreign policy, which disclose abiding continuities within Indian diplomacy from the days of the Mahabharata to nuclear policy. In doing so, he not only challenges the received wisdom on diplomacy but also reframes common conceptions of the Indian state.