This book serves as a survey of India’s international relations. Consideration of this topic is of
ever increasing interest to politicians, planners and analysts inside and outside India. The sense is
palpable that the 21st century is witnessing the ‘rise’ of India within the international system.1
There is a degree of impatience in India and a sense of surprise outside India, but it does point
to India’s emergence as a pole of power, one of the Great Powers in the making.2 India’s rise is
underpinned, but it is also a perquisite for its aspirations, ‘it is no longer a mere pawn on the
world stage; it is also a player […] it aspires to a place at the head table […] it has the ambition
and the confidence that India can be a major player in the emerging global scenario. Therein lie
the challenges’, for India and for the international system.3 In such a shift, India shares much
with the People’s Republic of China; but whereas China’s rise has attracted frequent attention,
India has attracted less, at times something that perhaps can irritate or frustrate Indian opinion.
This Handbook of India’s International Relations aims to redress this imbalance.
Consequently, two sections follow in this introductory chapter, to set the scene, as it were.
First, discussion of the structure of the Handbook, a structure that reflects the way in which India
itself talks about the structure of its foreign policy. Second, discussion of the role of International
Relations (IR) theories and paradigms, which will help shed light on and across the
varied relationships and settings within which India operates.