Shibashis Chatterjee, India’s Spatial Imaginations of South Asia: Power, Commerce, and Community

Date01 July 2020
Published date01 July 2020
AuthorDhananjay Tripathi
Subject MatterBook Reviews
322 Book Reviews
certain aid mechanisms. In the sixth chapter, for example, Swedlund maintains
that her argument of commitment issues as drivers of paradigm shifts applies to
budget support as well. This has implications for the association of budget support
to ownership promotion. It is usually maintained that budget support became
popular after donors and recipients agreed on the need to enhance the latter’s
ownership, as established in the Paris Convention (2005). Quite the opposite,
Swedlund’s analysis suggests that what brought donors to adopt budget support
was arguably the will to strengthen their own control over the development
process, rather than giving room to recipients’ autonomy. As such, while primarily
useful to those who work on aid design and delivery, the book also provides some
food for thought for the debate on the ‘politics of aid’.
Silvia Tieri
Silvia Tieri
PhD Student, India Institute
King’s College London
London, UK
Shibashis Chatterjee, India’s Spatial Imaginations of South Asia:
Power, Commerce, and Community (New Delhi: Oxford University
Press, 2019), 225 pp. `995, ISBN: 9780199489886.
DOI: 10.1177/0020881720926738
One issue that always draws the attention of scholars of South Asian studies is the
lack of political and economic coordination in the region. Experts have engaged
with varied themes to get an appropriate answer for problems related to regional
integration in South Asia. Interestingly, South Asia, on sociocultural parameters
despite being diversified is regarded as a cohesive region. There are sociocultural
links between people across the borders, but it hardly influenced the State-
controlled regionalism. What explains this dichotomy? This book offers some
relevant insights. Deconstructing the dominant narratives, the book presents an
alternative lens for studying South Asia. It discusses India’s outlook towards the
region, which is critical considering its political and economic clout in the region.
The book examines the spatial imagination of India and its influence on the Indian
foreign policy that is guiding its neighbourhood policy.
The opening chapter discusses South Asia and the politics of space. Defining
space, the author differentiates it with the place. Space is abstract, whereas ‘spaces
became places when human filled it with meaning and purposes’ (p. 2). Explaining
it further, he adds, ‘spatial vision of a state is a discursive subtext that provides
meaning and substance to the state’s foreign policy vis a vis its neighbours’ (p. 2).

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