Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor.JPG

Shashi Tharoor is a member of Parliament from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram constituency

Becoming India

We live in a complicated world. That’s what makes it all the more interesting to discuss, as the participants of the Asian Forum on Global Governance, which concluded this week in New Delhi, discovered during nine days of deliberation and debate in the Indian capital.

The politics of energy

We live in a post-war world. Today shooting wars are the exception, and they look increasingly unlikely almost everywhere. But are we entering an era of “resource wars” instead — intense competition over the control of energy, water, even food? Many observers think so.

Nehru’s MEA

I had the privilege last week to be invited to deliver the Garran Oration in Melbourne to Australia’s Institute of Public Administration. Despite the cliché that the notion of privilege implies in such a context, privilege it indeed was, since I was treading in the footsteps of such distinguished predecessors as the last three Prime Ministers of Australia and the previous Chief Justice.

Agree to disagree

The recent storms over adverse American media reporting on the performance of our Prime Minister — notably in Time and the Washington Post — have been amply compensated for by the US President’s own considerable regard for Dr Manmohan Singh, whom Barack Obama even publicly described as the first of the three world leaders he most admired and had good relations with.

Living with the genie called social media

The nature of the era we are living in today — the era of the information revolution, the Internet, the World Wide Web — was illustrated startlingly by our own First Citizen last month. Just a day after he was sworn in as our 13th President, Pranab Mukherjee announced that he would be opening a Facebook account to receive and respond to comments and queries from the public.

India’s Arab memory

We all know the Arab world as a vital source of oil and gas for our energy security, an important trade and investment partner and home to some six million of our compatriots who send back billions of dollars of vital remittances that help fuel our growing economy.

The American desi

India has come a long way, in American eyes, from the days when I went there as a graduate student in 1975. I recall watching a three-hour NBC television special that year on “America and the World”: After long sections on the United States and the Soviet Union and the United States and Europe, a series of shorter sections on less important parts of the world followed — the US and Japan, the US and China, and so on.

External aptitude

When my new book Pax Indica was launched in New Delhi last week, a good portion of the discussion on it focused on my recommendation that the Foreign Service be strengthened, enlarged with the addition of new personnel, and reformed in significant ways. Last month, in this newspaper, I argued the case for increasing the numbers in the service. Today I’d like to turn to recruitment — what kind of diplomats do we need?

Lax India

Amongst the most over-used and poorly-understood terms in foreign policy discourse in our country are “national interests” and “national security”. It should go without saying that every country needs a foreign policy that is linked to national interest, concretely defined.

Local area networking

In my forthcoming book Pax Indica, a study of India’s place in the world of the 21st century, I argue that the principal thrust of India’s foreign policy ought to be to promote the domestic transformation, development and growth of India. Our own neighbourhood remains vital in this regard.

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I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.