Thanks to the hero portrayals by film and media – the collectors and the commissioners – now the Indian society has at least vague idea about the top government services like Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS). But that’s not the case with Indian Foreign Service (IFS). There are thousands of aspirants in the country who prepare for ‘IAS exam’ without even realising that the official name of the exam is UPSC Civil Services Exam and IAS is just one of the 24 top services to which UPSC recruits candidates based on the preference expressed and rank secured by them in the same. Even candidates who wish to be future diplomats are unsure about the scope, life, roles and responsibilities of the officers in Indian Foreign Service (IFS). It is in this context, the book “Applied Diplomacy” by former ambassador TP Sreenivasan gains special importance.
Applied Diplomacy: Through the Prism of Mythology
The book under review – “Applied Diplomacy: Through the prism of mythology” is written by Ex-IFS officer TP Sreenivasan who served at ambassadorial level in many cities. The book is a collection of the writings of TPS, curated from a bunch of essays, commentaries and speeches delivered over the course of the last decade. The book has 49 essays, grouped in sevens and imaginatively classified, by editor Dr. Divya Iyer – under the name of one of the sapta chiranjeevis – linking diplomacy to mythology. Even without the link to mythology, the each of these essays is a treat to the readers, but the flavour of mythology helps the reader to understand that diplomacy is nothing new or strange but is as old as the hills. In the foreword, Jagdish Bhagwati notes that this is a feast that almost paralyses the reader with indecision as to what to savour first; it is hard to pick and choose.
What is “Applied Diplomacy” all about?
Diplomacy plays a major role in national and international affairs. The book is mostly a commentary on important events, both national and global, seen through the frame of diplomacy. The essays also deal with the charms and challenges of being an Indian diplomat.
The book contains essays not only about India’s tough neighbourhood, India-Japan relations, United States, United Nations, nuclear energy etc. but also about Malayalee mindset, social reforms, higher education and climate change. The experience and exposure of TP Sreenivasan unravel the complexities of India’s foreign policy as well as international relations. The book also helps to get insider views about issues like ‘Permanent membership to the United Nations’.
Privileges of an IFS officer
‘To drive past the imperial palace in Tokyo, the Kremlin in Moscow, the White House in Washington, the Empire State Building in New York, the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, the Golden Pagoda in Yangon for work every day for years, as I have done, has an excitement of its own, when millions from all over the world squander their lives’savings to spend a few days in these cities’ TPS says in his book. But he says that diplomatic life is not just about material privileges. Being able to represent the nation and often fight for its rights, albeit diplomatically, is part of its charm.
A highly motivational book for IFS aspirants
“Imagine a boy, born in a village with no electricity, whose playgrounds were paddy fields … whose toys were made out of coconut leaves and used bicycle tyres”; now picture him as ‘ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary’ authorised to speak at the most exalted global forums on behalf of a billion countrymen, working in offices near some of the most “glamorous places on the political, cultural and tourist maps of the world”. TP Sreenivasan is an evangelist of the Foreign Service and this book is a highly motivational one for IFS aspirants. Even those candidates inclined to IAS or IPS might think twice about their service preference if they go through this book.
How to buy the book ‘Applied Diplomacy’ by T.P Sreenivasan?
APPLIED DIPLOMACY — Through the Prism of Mythology: Writings of T.P. Sreenivasan: Edited by Divya S. Iyer (Wisdom Tree, 4779/23, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002) is available for purchase at discounted price in online bookstores like Flipkart or Amazon.
- Click to buy the book ‘Applied Diplomacy’ – from Amazon.in.
- Click to buy the book ‘Applied Diplomacy’ – from Flipkart.com.
About the Author: T. P. Sreenivasan
- Former Ambassador; thirty-seven years of experience as a diplomat in different parts of the globe.
- He set up a foreign-affairs think tank, helped the IAEA set up the plan for 2020, served on the national security advisory board, participated in an election campaign, worked at the Brookings institution in Washington, set up the NSS academy of civil services, produced a weekly television show on international affairs, taught at the central university and advised government of Kerala on education policy.
- TP Sreenivasan is currently serving the position of executive vice-chairman of Kerala State Higher Education Council.
- He published three books and has delivered a large number of lectures on a variety of subjects.
- Today, he is one of the most sought-after commentators and speakers across the country.
About the Editor: Dr. Divya S. Iyer
- Dr. Divya S. Iyer, an officer of the Indian administrative service, currently undergoing training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri national academy of administration, is a medical graduate from Christian medical college, Vellore.
- She has edited and co-edited three books. Her book ‘Pathfinder’ gives direction to Civil Services aspirants as per the new syllabus for mains exam.