Hamid Ansari releases Shashi Tharoor’s new book


New Delhi : Vice President Hamid Ansari Wednesday released a book on India’s foreign affairs, “Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century” by member of parliament Shashi Tharoor, an award-winning non-fiction writer.

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Launching the book, Ansari said it was a timely and thought-provoking work on a subject “that is very much in the public domain”.

The book, which explores India’s role in the new world order and the concept of multi-alignment seeks to connect foreign affairs with domestic transformation, a reality that has been largely ignored in the dust and tumble of politics on the home turf.

It tries to drives home the point that India, the rising elephant, no longer lives in isolation in an increasing multi-polar world.

Commenting on the significance of the book, Ansari analysed the import of three key words of the jacket of the book – “elephant”, “pax” and “21st century”.

The vice president said the elephant was a noble creature that had an important place in the Indian faith and culture and had been honoured down the ages. But since ancient times, it had been used as a symbol of war, Ansari said.

He said “Pax” raised questions of durability and the 21st century was characterised by “fluidity and impermanence”. The vice president added that “multi-polarity was a reality” which needed to be debated along with non-alignment.

The star-studded launch at the Taj Palace hotel was attended by politicians, intellectuals and foreign service veterans.

A eminent panel of Karan Singh, president of Indian Council for Cultueral Relations and the head of AICC Foreign Affairs’ Department, Jaswant Singh former external affairs minister, Salman Khurshid, the union law minister, foreign affairs analyst C. Rajamohan and journalist Siddharth Varadrajan discussed the book.

Addressing the discussion, Karan Singh said India had always been interested in foreign policy since Arthashashtra, in which Chanakya explained how to deal with foreign policy – the Greek invasion.

Pointing to the importance of cultural diplomacy and people-to-people contact in a transforming India, he said “a tremendous cultural efflorescence was taking place in India since Independence”.

Writer Shahsi Tharoor, a former foreign service veteran and the author of seven non-fictions, said the book was aimed at readers like his “wife Sunanda, to whom he has dedicated the book, for a informed view of the world” and lively discussions in living rooms.

The book published by Penguin India is priced at Rs 799.