Book Review: Gulshan Sachdeva (Ed.), Challenges in Europe: Indian Perspectives

Date01 April 2019
Published date01 April 2019
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews
Gulshan Sachdeva (Ed.), Challenges in Europe: Indian Perspectives
Singapore: Palgrave McMillan, 2019, pp. xix +376, US$109.99 (hard-
cover), $84.99 (e-Book).
Gulshan Sachdeva, economist, professor at the School of International Studies of
the Jawaharlal Nehru University, and one of India’s greatest experts on contempo-
rary Europe, edited a fascinating volume on the Indian perception of present-day
Europe. He brought together about 20 Indian scholars who wrote 17 chapters on
a plethora of topics, from foreign policy to multiculturalism and migration, from
economics to energy and climate, from ostensibly internal European issues such
as Brexit and Catalonia to more transnational fields, such as regional integration
and development policy. Moreover, several themes are covered in numerous
chapters (e.g., the relation with Russia). In addition, plenty of other topics, from
maritime security to environment, are touched upon in chapters on different but
related subjects.
This does not mean that all aspects are discussed. Being a historian myself, it
strikes me how little attention the authors spend to colonial history and postcolo-
nial Europe. This angle is still important in India, as can be illustrated with the
recent writings by key authors such as Pankaj Mishra or Shashi Tharoor, or with
European and British concepts such as Boris Johnson’s Global Britain. Perception,
more generally, is also absent in the book, in spite of the fact that this has recently
been researched quite extensively. The same applies to Europe’s soft diplomacy
or to academic collaboration. The EU has invested a lot in, inter alia, Erasmus
Mundus or Horizon 2020. It would have been useful to read how these pro-
grammes are being received in India, both by scholars who participate in them and
by others.
Most of the chapters are structured in a similar way. They first convincingly
and lucidly introduce the reader to the topic from a European angle, and then
discuss the implications for, perception in or relations with India. Not all of the
chapters expand that much on the second part, though: the one on the EU and
Russia, for instance, has only one paragraph on the impact on India (p. 209).
Other chapters, on the other hand, go further. The one on migration and refugees,
for instance, also elaborates on the South Asian diaspora in Europe.
Comparisons are made on different levels, and this may sometimes lead to
unequal conclusions. Some chapters put India on the same level as the European
Union (EU), for instance in international relations. Other chapters compare India
to individual European countries, and bracket the EU together with SAARC.
International Studies
56(2–3) 201–213, 2019
2019 Jawaharlal Nehru University
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/0020881719845188

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