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Challenge and Strategy

Challenge and Strategy
Rethinking India's Foreign Policy

First Edition
  • Rajiv Sikri - Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, India

June 2018 | 344 pages | SAGE India
The book examines India’s current and looming foreign policy challenges from a strategic and policy-oriented perspective. It analyzes the long-term factors and trends that should determine the country’s foreign policy formulation. The author urges a reappraisal of India’s approach if it is to become a major player in the complex and rapidly evolving 21st century world.

Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy focuses on India’s immediate and strategic neighbourhood. It also looks at important issues like energy security, economic diplomacy, the interaction between defence and diplomacy, and foreign policy institutions. A unique feature of the book is that it combines the perspectives of a historian, a diplomat and a scholar. With many new out-of-the-box ideas and policy suggestions, it makes a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate on foreign policy within India’s strategic community.

This lucid and succinct book is a must-read for policy-makers, diplomats and foreign policy analysts. The corporate and business community too will find it professionally relevant. It is also an important knowledge resource for students of Indian politics, international relations, and defence and strategic studies, and others who are interested in India’s foreign policy.
Foreword Chinmaya R Gharekhan
The 21st Century World
India and South Asia
Pakistan and Afghanistan
Bangladesh, Myanmar and Northeast Region
Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan
Tibet and China
'Look East' Policy
Persian Gulf, Palestine and Israel
Russia and Eurasia
United States and Nuclear Issues
Energy Security
Economic Diplomacy
Defence and Diplomacy
Traditions and Institutions
India's Strategic Choices
India Rising?

The book under review is a good exposition of India’s foreign policy and its evolution in terms of political, economic and strategic depth…It is beautifully structured in thematic forms in dealing with India’s relations with individual countries. Important issues such as energy security, economic diplomacy, defence and diplomacy and India’s strategic choices are given separate treatment….The bibliography listed at the end of the book is impressive. In terms of production, compliments are due to SAGE. The language used in the book is devoid of jargon and makes for lucid reading. The book will be a valuable addition to knowledge.

India Quarterly

Rajiv Sikri’s book on Indian foreign policy is a comprehensive and thoughtful analysis of the challenges facing Indian foreign policy…The strongest part of the book is the author’s analysis of India’s relationships with different countries, particularly the constraints that New Delhi faces in pursuing these relationships and in the lost opportunities to develop new paradigms…Sikri’s coverage of different countries, regions, and issues makes the book a valuable text book for someone seeking to understand the compulsions of Indian foreign policy…. [The book is] well researched, well written, and persuasively argued.

Peace and Conflict Studies

With many out-of-the-box ideas and policy suggestions, the book makes a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate on foreign policy with India as the strategic country…the book can serve as an important source material for students of Indian politics, international relations and defence and strategic studies and for others interested in India’s foreign policy.

The Organiser

The book…issues a clarion call to “Rethink” our country’s foreign policy…. Sikri’s spirited analysis is a welcome addition to the growing literature on our foreign policy and relations. Coming from someone so closely and intimately involved with the making and implementation of our country’s foreign policy for long years and especially someone who quit the sanctuary in protest, the book is particularly enlightening to those who are familiar with the scene.

Freedom First

Sikri’s book is a reminder of what has gone wrong with India’s foreign policy as well as what needs to be set right at the level of the MEA and other policymaking institutions in the country. The book is written lucidly and should be essential reading for those interested in understanding the current foreign policy of India.


By any standards, this book is indeed a valuable addition to the many books on the basics, the evolution and the myriads nuances of India’s foreign policy since independence…. Written in excellent prose, this book is a must-read for the strategic community both inside and outside the government.

USI Journals

Sikri presents us with a lucid and analytical narrative on India’s foreign policy. It is deeply reflective study which lays emphasis on ‘should’ and ‘must’ of the policy than it’s ‘what and why aspects. It will be welcomed both by the policy-makers and analysts of the subject.


A pleasant read…Rajiv Sikri’s Challenge and Strategy serve as a very useful guide for…people interested in gong deeper into India’s foreign policy challenges today… [The author] provides an interesting insight into what is going on in India’s neighbourhood and beyond. He gives meaningful ideas about how India should conduct itself for successfully safeguarding the country’s interests.

The Tribune

Rajiv Sikri has written a very fine  survey of India’s current relations with the outside world, peppered throughout with critique and counsel….a searching volume which expertly combines thoroughness and vision.

Asian Affairs

Rajiv Sikri’s book provides an interesting addition to the existing literature. Written by a retired diplomat who spent close to four decades in India’s Ministry of External Affairs, the book is a…comprehensive account of India’s foreign policy debates…. well worth reading.

The International Spectator

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