International Relations Books for UPSC: Booklist for International Relations

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : April 8th, 2022

International Relations Books For UPSC is an important and scoring part of the Political Science And International Relations UPSC Syllabus. The questions related to international relations are thematic in nature and are based on the recent developments occurring in the diplomatic world. The International Relations (PSIR) is one such optional subject whose syllabus majorly overlaps with the majority of the UPSC Syllabus.

In this article, we have tried to cover the Best Book For International Relations UPSC in an exhaustive manner, which will help the candidate streamline his preparation of the PSIR Optional in a more systematic manner.

Table of Content

International Relations 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 Books 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 International Relations Books For UPSC broadly cover the following topics:

  • Foreign Policy- Foreign Policy Architecture, Nuclear Doctrine, Soft Power, Dynamics of Foreign Policy, etc.
  • Multilateral Agreements- BRICS, RCEP, ASEAN, SAARC, SCO, 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 covers 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 Books for UPSC GS [Prelims+ Mains GS 2]

Some of the Best books for International Relations UPSC 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 for 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 basic UPSC International Relations Books:

  • 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 UPSC PSIR- Section B

Section B for the International Relations Books For UPSC 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.

Additional Essential Readings

  • The Oxford Handbook of Indian Foreign Policy” by David M. Malone, C Raja Mohan, and Srinath Raghvan.

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.

Download UPSC International Relations Booklist PDF


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  • International Relations Books for UPSC are 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. 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 is very important for the UPSC Mains Exam. The candidate should read the prescribed International Relations UPSC Books PDF and alongside make the notes that are short and crisp for last minute revision. Critical analysis, along with interlinking with current times makes the answer more valid.

  • With sheer dedication and a strict time-table, any optional can be prepared without coaching. For International Relations for UPSC, the candidate needs to be updated with the global politics and happenings. He/she should complement his preparation with the UPSC Books so that he gets a better understanding. Also, for last minute revision, flowcharts, infographics and short notes do come very handy.

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