Author: Aditya Kulkarni

Shyam Saran

Book Review: How India Sees The World from Kautilya to the 21st Century

How India Sees The World from Kautilya to the 21st Century is a part memoir, a part history and a part description about India’s foreign policy that has been shaped because of this history. Written by one of India’s foremost diplomats Shyam Saran who served as the Foreign Secretary of India between 2004 and 2006, it takes a historical worldview of India and describes the tenets of foreign policy of the country. The book is basically divided into three parts. In the first part, the author gives a historical background regarding the foreign policy and statecraft in ancient India built upon ancient texts such as the Arthashastra which he describes as undoubtedly the most important Indian treatise on statecraft. Kautilya or Chanakya was the counsellor and guide to Chandragupta Maurya, one of India’s greatest ever emperors and the founder of the Maurya Empire. The author observes that the Arthashastra dedicates quite a large section in it to foreign policy and the backdrop is highly suited to the modern, multipolar or multistate world that we are …