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Why India Matters, Maya Chadda

Reviewed by John Echeverri-Gent

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This provocative book declares that India’s ascendance will have an impact on the global scene not only through its accumulation of power resources but also because it incites us to “think differently about prosperity, power and history” (p. 264). India matters most, Maya Chadda asserts, because of its distinctive processes of state formation, political economy, and foreign policymaking. In elaborating these arguments, Chadda surveys Indian history, contemporary political economy, and foreign policy. Generalists will find that her eloquent prose provides a lucid account of the Indian experience, while specialists will be provoked by Chadda’s counterintuitive contentions.

Chadda rejects realist approaches emphasizing India’s accumulation of power resources in favor of a constructivist perspective. She points out that realism cannot explain the coincidence of India’s ascendance at a time when its central government’s authority is in decline. In a dynamic post–Cold War world in which a new order is yet to emerge, Chadda prefers Eric

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