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From January 2013, FORCE has started a Reading List. These are the books, which we may or may not review but still believe that they need to be read by those interested in issues of national security. In addition to FORCE recommended reading list, we invite readers to share with us what books they feel must be read. The books need not be new or best-sellers. You could send in your recommendations to Please make sure that your recommendations do not exceed 300 words

On the Right Track

Revival of the Silk Route The legendary Silk Route, that spanned countries and continents, was the first transnational trade route of human civilisation. It connected the East (China) to the West (Europe) commercially and culturally, and brought people from different civilisations closer — much like what globalisation is doing today.

India has been a major beneficiary of all the cultural and commercial exchanges that took place on this route as a major part of it passed through the northern region of the country. Ever since the Cold War ended, and the Soviet Union collapsed, there has been an effort to revive this route. This well-researched slim volume brings into perspective the role that this historical route played in the past and the one that it can play in the future, with a special focus on India’s foreign policy towards Central Asia.

The revival of this ancient route, as the book discusses, is drawing support from nations in the region such as Turkey, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, China, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The nations have realised that there is much to gain from each other’s ideas and help. For India, particularly, this region is of strategic and political importance, besides economic of course. It is already helping Afghanistan to rebuild its economy and is presently eyeing Central Asian states for energy resources. In the chapter ‘Growing Role of India’, the authors, Mohammad Monir Alam and Willayat Ali have discussed in detail the various interests that India has in the different regions along the Silk Route.

The book has clearly marked chapters which provide the history of the Silk Route; India’s historical links to this trade route; the new Silk Route and the countries that are key players on this road and India’s growing importance. A chapter on the various travellers who have traversed the length and breadth of this road dating back to 10th century BC (King Mu, West Chou king, a reputed Silk Road traveller) makes for an interesting read. Even the seven maps at the beginning of the book are a fascinating insight into this legendary road.

What makes the book work is that the authors haven’t packed in too much information into the book, which would otherwise have bogged down the reader. An easy read, the book enlightens and informs with its healthy balance of facts, figures and perspective. An article by the President of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akayev, used as an appendix, provides a vision of a peaceful and democratic development of the Central Asian region through mutual co-operation, thus giving a well-rounded view of the whole issue.

Mohammad Monir Alam & Willayat Ali
Lancer’s Book, Pg 178
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