A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Ahmedabad (Express photo)

It is not often that books live up to their effusive blurbs, but the volume under review is an exception to this general thumb-rule. Introduced to the reader as “a marvel of historical erudition” and “a magisterial tour d’horizon” as also one that provides a “clear-eyed geopolitical analysis” by three of India’s most credible voices (Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Shyam Saran and Srinath Raghavan) the 370-plus pages are more than rewarding.

Author Shivshankar Menon is counted among India’s most accomplished diplomats and has the distinction of having served both as the foreign secretary and national security adviser. Post retirement from government service, Menon donned the hat of a teacher at Ashoka University where he introduced his students to Indian foreign policy and, as he notes in his introduction, their enthusiasm…

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