International Relations Book for UPSC- Best International Relations UPSC Books

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : December 28th, 2022

International Relations Book for UPSC is an important part of the preparation of the Political Science And International Relations UPSC Syllabus. With the wide range of options, it gets tough to choose the best International Relations Book for UPSC. The questions related to international relations are thematic in nature and are based on the recent developments occurring in the diplomatic world. That’s why candidates need to choose the International Relations Book for UPSC carefully for effective preparation.

In this article, we have covered the best book for international relations for UPSC in an exhaustive manner, which will help the candidate streamline his preparation of the PSIR Optional in a more systematic manner. We have also shared some tips on how to cover the International Relations UPSC books.

Table of Content

International Relations Book for UPSC

Since International Relations is a dynamic sub-topic of the Political Science And International Relations UPSC Syllabus, following the right strategy and International Relations Book for UPSC is very much needed. International Relations deals with the Paper 2 of the PSIR Optional. Cracking the UPSC Exam requires determination, perseverance, and most importantly, discipline. The best book for international relations for UPSC broadly covers the following topics:

  • Indian Foreign Policy- Foreign Policy Architecture, Nuclear Doctrine, Soft Power, Dynamics of Foreign Policy, etc.
  • Multilateral Agreements- BRICSRCEPASEANSAARCSCO, etc.
  • Global Issues- South China Sea, Russia-Ukraine conflict, Crisis in Sri Lanka, World Trade Pattern, Japan’s Pacifism, etc.
  • India’s Bilateral Relation: India-Australia- AUSINDEX; India-China- Comparison, China’s Foreign Policy, One Belt One Road, China’s West Asia Policy; India-Pakistan- Confidence Building Measures, Nuclear India-Pak-US; India-USA- Overview; Nuclear Deal Defence Ties – DTTI, Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, Climate; FATCA-Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act; etc.

International Relations Books for UPSC cover the above topic in detail and in an exhaustive manner. For UPSC Preparation, it is very important that a candidate reads the following Books For International Relations along with Current Affairs.

Best Book For International Relations UPSC

Though the UPSC Prelims and the GS Paper 2 cover International Relations on a peripheral level, the International Relations Optional covers the topic much more in-depth with a detailed overview. International Relations Books For UPSC can be divided into four sections for a better understanding of the topic. 

  • UPSC Prelims
  • UPSC Mains GS Paper 2 
  • PSIR optional paper 2 - section A
  • PSIR optional paper 2 - Section B

International Relations Book for UPSC GS [Prelims+ Mains GS 2]

Some of the Best International Relations UPSC books are mentioned below. 

  • Usually candidates with PSIR optional refer to IR Books for UPSC as they require expertise in the subject.
  •  Candidates looking for books to cover UPSC Prelims Syllabus and UPSC Mains Syllabus can understand the basics of the topic and then prepare Current Affairs using The Hindu and the official website of Observer Research Foundation. 
  • You must pay more attention to newspaper editorials by various academics and journalists such as Suhasini Haidar, C Raja Mohan, Krishan Chander Singh, and more. You can also take help from discussions broadcast on Rajya Sabha TV and The Wire by Maya Mirchandani.

International Relations Books for UPSC PSIR- Section A

International Relations Books For UPSC for Section A include a list of books that should be complemented with specific readings as well. The complete list is given below:

  • Global Politics by Andrew Heywood.
  • Theories of Comparative Politics: The Search for a Paradigm Reconsidered by Ronald H. Chilcote.
  • The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations by John Baylis, Steve Smith and Patricia Owens.
  • India’s Foreign Policy by Shashi Tharoor
  • IGNOU notes on Comparative Politics.

Additional Essential Readings along with the basic International Relations Book for UPSC are:

  • Understanding International Relations by Chris Brown and Kirsten Ainley.
  • Theories of International Relations by Palgrave publications.
  • The Oxford Handbook of International Relations by Christian Reus-Smit and Duncan Snidal.
  • Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches by Georg Sorenson and Robert Jackson.

Best Book for International Relations for UPSC PSIR- Section B

Section B for the International Relations UPSC books deals with India and the World. The complete resource for Section B includes:

  • International Relations by Pavneet Singh
  • Indian Foreign Policy: An Overview by Harsh Pant
  • Editorials from The Hindu and The Indian Express should be followed.
  • IDSA website (The Manohar Parrikar- Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses) and MEA (Ministry of External Affairs of India) website.

How to Prepare with International Relations Book for UPSC?

Even if you have all the right International Relations UPSC books, you must follow a solid strategy inorder to make the best out of your preparation. Here we will be sharing a few tips that would help you cover the International Relations Book for UPSC in an efficient manner.

  • Mind-map the syllabus by glancing through it frequently. It will give you an idea about what exactly to read from the International Relations books.
  • Start with the basic International Relations Book for UPSC to build a strong foundation.
  • While covering the book make sure to write notes along with it. It would help you memorize and you can use it during the revision period as well.

International Relations UPSC Books PDF

Political Science and International Relations is one of the most sought Optional Subjects in the UPSC Mains exam. It is a popular optional subject as it overlaps with the GS Papers and compliments the preparation in a beneficial manner. To ensure the candidate is fully prepared for the upcoming UPSC Exam, we have provided the booklist for International Relations UPSC Books PDF.

☛ International Relations Book for UPSC


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  • International Relations Books for UPSC is the most sought resource required to prepare for the PSIR Optional. A candidate can refer to the government websites such as of MEA and IDSA, along with the prescribed books such as Global Politics by Andrew Heywood, Theories of Comparative Politics: The Search for a Paradigm Reconsidered by Ronald H. Chilcote, India's Foreign Policy by Muchkund Dubey, etc.

  • The International Relations Books for UPSC can be used for the UPSC Prelims preparation, given that the candidate focuses more on the current affairs and topics of national and international importance, rather than going in depth of the subject.

  • Yes, you can cover the International Relations Books for UPSC in 6 months. An aspiring candidate should always understand that it is crucial and important to understand the concepts rather than just mugging them up. Analyzing, interpreting and interlinking are very important for the UPSC Mains Exam.

  • With sheer dedication and a strict timetable, you can cover International Relations Books for UPSC without coaching. For International Relations for UPSC, the candidate needs to be updated with global politics and happenings. He/she should complement his preparation with the UPSC Books so that he gets a better understanding.

  • To prepare with the International Relations Books for UPSC, candidates need to build a solid foundation first. Without knowing the basic concepts it would be difficult to cover the standard PR books. Make sure to write notes from the book that can come in pretty handy during the revision period.

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