Book Review: Vincenzo Bianco (Ed.), Analysis of Energy Systems: Management, Planning and Policy

Published date01 January 2019
Date01 January 2019
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 75
representation are key to understanding India’s behaviour towards its neighbours
specifically Sri Lanka, which were the product of an Indian version of the Monroe
Doctrine. In Indira Gandhi’s foreign policy discourse, ‘South Asia’ emerged as a
space of danger, which created the conditions for confrontational policies towards
the countries of the region (p. 143). Thus, Indian foreign policy towards Sri Lanka
became more explicitly interventionist during the 1980s as India increasingly
became an official mediator and peacekeeper in the civil war that proved destructive.
Chacko addresses Indira Gandhi’s politics of insecurity, which she believes was
fed by ‘narratives of backwardness that pointed to the subcontinent’s inherent disunity
and vulnerability’ (p. 163). The author has argued that the Bhartiya Janata Party’s
(BJP) foreign policy discourse and practices reveal a distinctive ethico-politic al
framework, which was an attempt to redefine India’s identity and foreign policy.
This framework was the result of a particular response to colonial modernity and
colonial narratives of India’s backwardness, and aspects of it are shared by
sections of the Indian ‘strategic elite’. The 1998 nuclear tests was an attempt to
mark a distinct break from the Nehruvian legacy in Indian foreign policy by
articulating a new, militaristic approach inspired by an aggressively modernist
Hindu nationalist ideology.
The book is a comprehensive discussion on the theorization of India’s foreign
policy in the post-colonial context. This is a scholarly work on the subject of India’s
rise by questioning the dominant notions of power and drawing on older identity
discourses that celebrate India’s civilizational restraint, wisdom and influence over
others. However, the book has not suggested measures to bring the Indo–Pak
conflict to an end as this dispute has acted as a hurdle in the rise of a more assertive
India. Nehruvian narratives on civilizational greatness, which clearly left out
Pakistan from the Indian subcontinent is exactly the dictum Chacko is supposed to
analyse. The author also does not suggest ways on how India should exercise
leadership, considering its sense of exceptionalism. Chacko does not clearly analyse
the relevance of non-alignment and Panchsheel in today’s world politics.
Nevertheless, the book would be highly useful for those scholars who have interest
in India and South Asian politics, history and post-colonialism.
Md. Abdul Gaffar
Research Fellow, Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA)
New Delhi
Vincenzo Bianco (Ed.), Analysis of Energy Systems: Management,
Planning and Policy. New York, NY: CRC Press, 2017, 310 pp.,
US$149.95 (Hardbound).
DOI: 10.1177/0020881719826719
The edited book by Vincenzo Bianco holds a great relevance in the present energy
transition scenario. It makes a unique contribution by combining technological
and economic research to study management, planning and policy—the three

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