Book Review: Amit Shovon Ray, Manmohan Agarwal and M. Parameswaran, What is Economic Development? A Comparative Performance of Indian States

Date01 April 2019
Published date01 April 2019
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 203
advocacy of multilateralism and supranational institutions is diametrically opposed
to India’s emphasis on bilateralism and sovereign rights; as a result, India is more
at ease with the USA and individual EU member states than with the Union in the
pursuit of its national security interests (p. 26). It is true that not everybody is
negative, though. Even the looming Brexit makes some authors optimistic:
according to one, the India–EU relationship suddenly looks more promising than
ever. Brexit gives New Delhi an opportunity to forge a truly strategic partnership
with the post-Brexit EU and gives India options to refashion its traditionally
strong ties with the UK (p. 80).
Precisely for this critical attitude, bird’s eye perspective on Europe, and
external view, I would genuinely recommend this book, not only to academics,
but, more importantly, also to European politicians and opinion-makers. It could
be an eye-opener to many Europeans, who still look at their continent from an
inward angle and reflect far too little on how Europe is being perceived in India
and other parts of the world. This volume may serve as a mirror for many
European readers.
The future, obviously, is not covered in the book, which more or less stops in
December 2017. Marrakech (migration), Katowice (climate), Salisbury (Russia),
etc. are not covered. Neither are, obviously, the elections that will be held both in
India and in Europe in May 2019 that may dramatically change the situation in
both regions and, accordingly, their mutual relationship. Whatever the outcome,
one may therefore argue that a sequel to the book will be necessary soon and hope
that this brilliant team will proceed working on those important topics.
Idesbald Goddeeris
Faculty of Arts
University of Leuven (KU Leuven),
Amit Shovon Ray, Manmohan Agarwal and M. Parameswaran, What is
Economic Development? A Comparative Performance of Indian States.
London and New York, NY: Routledge (Global Edition), £115.00 and
Delhi: Social Science Press/Orient Blackswan (South Asia Edition),
2019, 157 pp., `495.00.
DOI: 10.1177/0020881719848244
‘Development’—mentioned in isolation without specific contexts—usually
alludes to processes or evolutions in mostly pathological sense. Once prefixed by
‘economic’, development assumes far-reaching and significant connotations. The
significance is substantial to the extent of being either misinterpreted or remain-
ing incomprehensible. Nothing symbolizes the limitations of prominent and influ-
ential opinions in understanding development more than the backlash encountered
by globalization in modern times. Confining economic globalization to

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