Perhaps more than any other nation, India presents itself to the world as a paradox. On the one hand, it’s a secular democracy shaped by many creeds and castes. India is the cradle of yoga and home to a robust tech sector. But India also hosts religious violence, desperate poverty, endemic corruption and comically gridlocked roads. In this elegantly written, insightful study, American expert Alyssa Ayres addresses India’s duality head-on. She argues why the old stereotypes about India as an impoverished country seeking handouts are outdated and explores how modern-day India is rewriting its story. It’s now a donor to international aid, and poised to become the world’s most populous nation and its third-largest economy. Ayres also argues for deeper ties between the United States and India, both of whom, she claims, could benefit from closer association. Skeptical readers might call the likelihood of this final point into question, given America’s current political climate, but Ayres’s proposals remain compelling.
About the Author
Alyssa Ayres is senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. She was deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia from 2010 to 2013.