AVTAR SINGH BHASIN (b. 1935). BA (HONS); MA in History. Initially he had short stints of service in the National Archives of India and the Ministry of Defence. In 1963 he joined   the Ministry of External Affairs where he served for three decades, retiring in 1993 as Director of the Historical Division. He was posted in Indian missions in Nepal, Bonn, Vienna, and Lagos. He traveled to several other countries in the discharge of his duties in the Ministry. Some of the countries visited were USA, China, South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, etc. He was member of several ministerial and official delegations for discussions with various countries both in India and abroad.

Since retirement he has taken to academic research. He was Senior Fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research from 1994 - 96. He was Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library from 1997 to 2001. He has edited and authored several books on South Asian affairs. He also contributed many articles in newspapers on developments in the neighbouring countries. His 75 pieces on Partition and Freedom were published in the Asian Age consecutively from June 1 to August 14, 1997 coinciding with the Golden jubilee celebrations of the Indian independence.

Interaction among sovereign countries is essentially matching of sovereign but competing interests. Reconciling these interests calls for ingenuity of the highest order. It is the outcome of these interactions that constitute foreign relations. In each country they evoke response from diverse sources - public, media, academia, business and industry etc. Public discourse on foreign relations today takes place as much in drawing rooms of the elite as in the chaupals of the villages across the country. The newspapers satisfy the needs of the curious and the sundry. But for the intellectuals and the professionals the semantics hold the key to the understanding of any issue. A scientific study requires the availability of full text of documents without much ado.

India with a population of a billion people is not only one of the largest and fastest emerging economies but also a political power to reckon with in the international arena.  The 477 documents gathered in the book offer a window to the understanding of how India looks at the world and vice a versa.  They too present a study in continuity and change in India's foreign policy - continuity in the ideals set during the Nehruvian era, and change to meet the dynamics of present day world.