Book Review: Surendra Kumar (Ed.). 2015. India and the World: Through the Eyes of Indian Diplomats

Publication Date01 April 2016
AuthorVikas Kumar
DOI10.1177/2347797015626055
Date01 April 2016
SubjectBook Reviews
104 Book Reviews
advance notifications of military exercises and tests for advanced weapons,
developing open skies arrangements and expanding joint peace and humanitarian
operations.
Steinberg and O’Hanlon are not alone in raising such mutual accommodation
ideas in the US–China context. Charles Glaser (2015) recently called for a grand
bargain between the two great powers. He wrote, Washington can end its security
commitment to defend Taiwan, and in turn, Beijing promises to peacefully resolve
its maritime disputes with its neighbours and accept the United States’ long-term
role in East Asian security. Huge White (2013) also argued that Washington
should ‘share power’ with China as equal partners in the Pacific to avoid a great
power war and to face global challenges together.
However, as the authors articulate, ‘putting strategic reassurance into practice
is complex’ (p. 205). For example, ‘restraint runs the risk of being misperceived
as a sign of weakness’ (p. 205), thus undermining statesmen’s willingness to ‘back
down’. Efforts towards cooperation may fail, unless ‘each side is convinced that
it cannot achieve its goals unilaterally’ (p. 205). If one unilaterally seeks to
improve its position at the other’s expense, the second will take steps in response
that ultimately will make both sides worse off (p. 205) and create a zero-sum
dilemma. Both Chinese and American decision-makers should bear in mind the
main policy implications of Steinberg and O’Hanlon’s book. Statesmen can still
shape the future of US–China relations before it is too late.
References
Glaser, C.L. (2015). A U.S.–China grand bargain? The hard choice between military
competition and accommodation. International Security, 39(4), 49–90.
White, H. (2013). The China choice: Why we should share power. Oxford, UK: Oxford
University Press.
Duan Xiaolin
National University of Singapore
Singapore
E-mail: duan.xiaolin@nus.edu.sg
Surendra Kumar (Ed.). 2015. India and the World: Through the Eyes
of Indian Diplomats. New Delhi: Wisdom Tree, 459 pp. ISBN:
978-81-8328-384-7
DOI: 10.1177/2347797015626055
India and the World explores India’s foreign policy challenges through the eyes of
32 diplomats and a United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) commander,
who ‘have collectively put in over 1180 years [between 1950 and 2013] … in
India’s service’ and ‘represent three generations’ (p. xiii). The 33 chapters of the
book, of which only 2 were completed after the 2014 Parliament elections, are

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