Book Review: ‘India’s Moment’ by Mohan Kumar

Shaping Global Diplomacy with Expertise and Vision


Book Title: India’s Moment: Changing Power Equations Around The World
Author: Mohan Kumar
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Number of Pages: 292
ISBN: 978-9356999527
Date Published: Nov. 29, 2023
Price: INR 396

India’s Moment by Mohan Kumar Book Cover

Book Review

India’s Moment: Changing Power Equations Around The World” by Ambassador Mohan Kumar delves into the complex arena of international negotiations, providing a profound analysis of India’s role in global diplomacy. Drawing on his extensive career as a diplomat, Kumar addresses the dichotomy of India being praised for its negotiation skills while simultaneously being perceived as a formidable participant in multilateral talks. The book unfolds as a sincere attempt to dispel misconceptions, offering valuable insights into the factors that shape India’s negotiating positions and how they have evolved.

The central argument of the book revolves around India’s transformation from being viewed as a potential obstructionist force to emerging as a global partner in crucial multilateral negotiations. Kumar contends that this shift is indicative of India’s growing political, economic, and strategic influence on the world stage. The narrative emphasizes the need for a fuller and more substantial transformation for India to fulfill its destiny as a leading power capable of shaping global norms.

Covering an array of topics, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict, trade, climate issues, and the intricacies of war and peace, Kumar’s insights provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of India’s changing stance on international matters. The book also touches upon the challenges faced by the Indian government in arriving at negotiating positions amidst a diverse array of stakeholders. Kumar introduces the “Integrated Framework,” a theoretical model that sheds light on India’s negotiating briefs and diplomatic motivations, offering rare insight into the sophisticated decision-making process that informs the country’s foreign policy.

In addressing questions about how India advances its national interests in the face of geopolitical pressures and domestic constraints, Kumar’s narrative is both instructive and enjoyable. He navigates the victories and failures in India’s diplomatic history with nuance, challenging the unfair characterization of India in international trade negotiations. The book contextualizes India’s defensive posturing, attributing it to the need to protect domestic interests, especially concerning the welfare of millions of poor Indians. Kumar argues that India’s cautious approach is a response to the inherent biases in international trade agreements, which historically favored developed nations.

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India’s Moment” emerges as a significant contribution to the understanding of India’s evolving global role, offering a balanced and insightful exploration of the nation’s diplomatic journey, challenges, and triumphs. Ambassador Mohan Kumar’s expertise and the depth of his analysis make this book an indispensable resource for those seeking a nuanced perspective on India’s negotiation strategies and its trajectory on the world stage.

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