The Reluctant Superpower; Understanding India and its Aspirations

Rarely before, in contemporary times, has so much global attention been focused on India. India’s economic growth, its growing military might, the overwhelming  demographic dividend, its hugely successful diaspora, the resilience of its noisy democracy, and the attractiveness of India’s “soft power” are only a few of the reasons that the civilisational-state has invited so much attention in the last decade.

Yet there has always been a kind of awkwardness behind India’s rise as a super power. Not only because India’s greatness only thinly disguises vast pockets of deprivation and is steeped in multiple contradictions, but also because there is a reluctance that seems to define India’s coming of age.

The essays in this volume, edited by Professor Amitabh Mattoo, seek to demystify India and the debates in contemporary India for  a wider audience. They are essential reading as an introduction to India today. They cover a wide canvas, focusing on India’s foreign policy and the complex world of India’s society and politics. 

They include chapters on the evolution of India’s foreign policy since independence, the salient features of its diplomacy in the international system, New Delhi’s relationship with great and emerging powers, the fractured relationship with Pakistan, India’s linguistic dilemmas, and the debates around religion, secularism and multiculturalism. 

These essays may not provide a straightforward answer to  the conundrum implicit in the term, Reluctant Superpower, but they will provide readers with food for thought about a country that will, one way or the other, have a profound impact on Asia and the rest of the world.

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Table of Contents

  1. India's Foreign Policy: From Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh MANI SHANKAR AIYAR
  2. Differentiated citizenship: Secularism and public life in India SWAPAN DAS GUPTA
  3. 'Ab mera number hai': The many lives of English in India ALOK RAI
  4. Contemporary Buddhism and the challenge of multiculturalism in India PETER FRIEDLANDER
  5. The historical roots of public diplomacy and their significance for India DAVID LOWE
  6. India's Pakistan conundrum: Past, present and future SURANJAN DAS
  7. India and China, past, present and future: Beyond competitive coexistence RORY MEDCALF
  8. India-US strategic engagement: Can two wounded giants help each other? MARIKA VICZIANY
  9. India and the future of South Asia RAJESH RAJAGOPALAN
  10. India and the nuclear regime KC SINGH
  11. Interpreting the 'rise of India': India-US relations in an age of power transition PRIYA CHACKO
  12. India's economic story: From Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh ISHER JUDGE AHLUWALIA