In this magisterial book, acclaimed diplomat Shyam Saran writes the authoritative account of the India–China relationship and how China perceives our country. Saran starts his story with the rise and fall of Buddhism and its spread through the trade routes that connected India to China and China to Europe through Central Asia. As he recounts this gripping story, he questions, too, the Chinese claim that it was the most important and influential civilization of the ancient world, arguing that it was India who played that role. As a work of history, How China Sees India and the World tells its story not just in big, bold strokes but also through entertaining nuggets such as the spread of the chopstick, or how the word ‘zen’ arose from ‘dhyan’. As a work of political analysis, especially of contemporary China and India, it is based on close readings of contemporary Chinese scholarship, CCP leadership speeches and writings, and through Saran’s own experiences as diplomat and Foreign Secretary.
About the Speaker
Shyam Saran is a former Foreign Secretary of India and has served as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Nuclear Affairs and Climate Change. After leaving government service in 2010, he headed the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, a prestigious think tank focusing on economic issues (2011-2017) and was Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board under the National Security Council (2013-15). He is currently Life Trustee of India International Centre, Member of the Governing Council/Board of the Institute of Chinese Studies and Centre for Policy Research, a Trustee at the World Wildlife Fund (India) and Member of the Executive Council of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
About the Discussant
Alka Acharya is a professor at the Centre for East Asian Studies (Chinese Studies), School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). She was the Director and Senior Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies. She was nominated by the Indian government as a member of the India-China Eminent Persons Group (2006-2008) and member of the National Security Advisory Board of the Government of India for two terms (2006-2008) and (2011-2012). She has authored a book China & India: Politics of Incremental Engagement, published in 2008. Her current research focuses on India-China-Russia Trilateral Cooperation and the Chinese strategic response to the post-cold war regional architecture, with special reference to China’s neighborhood.
About the Chair
Ashok K. Kantha has been the Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies since 2017. A career diplomat, Kantha was Ambassador of India to China until January 2016. Prior to this, he was Secretary (East) at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, with responsibility for about 65 countries in India’s extended neighbourhood. His previous assignments include High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Consul General in Hong Kong, Deputy Chief of Mission in Kathmandu (Nepal), and Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs. Earlier, Kantha served in different capacities at Indian Missions in Singapore, China and the USA, and at headquarters in New Delhi. In his diplomatic career spanning over 38 years, Kantha specialized in Asian affairs, with a particular focus on China.
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