Diplomacy is conventionally understood as an authentic European invention which was internationalised during colonialism. For Indians, the moment of colonial liberation was a false dawn because the colonised had internalised a European logic and performed European practices. Implicit in such a reading is the enduring centrality of Europe to understanding Indian diplomacy. This Eurocentric discourse renders two possibilities impossible: that diplomacy may have Indian origins and that they offer un-theorised potentialities.
Abandoning this Eurocentric model of diplomacy, Deep Datta-Ray recognises the legitimacy of independent Indian diplomacy and brings new practices He creates a conceptual space for Indian diplomacy to exist, forefronting civilisational analysis and its focus on continuities, but refraining from devaluing transformational change.
"The strength of the book is its in-depth discussion of the complexities of a major Third World foreign ministry outside the 'Western triad of anarchy-modernity-civilization'. . . what sets it apart from most other studies is the way in which the voices of Indian Foreign Service officers interviewed as part of the author's research bring the discussion to life. . . A rich, subtle and instructive study."-- William Maley, Director, Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy School of Regulation, Justice and Diplomacy, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific Australian National University
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