International Relations Book for UPSC – Best IR Books for UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

International Relations Book for UPSC plays an imperative part in the preparation for General Studies Paper II in the Mains exam. With the wide range of options available, it gets tough to choose the best International Relations Books 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 right International Relations Book for UPSC carefully for effective preparation.

In this article, we have covered the best International Relations Books for UPSC recommended by Toppers in an exhaustive manner, which will help the candidate streamline their preparation for International Relations in a more systematic manner.

International Relations Book for UPSC

The questions asked in International Relations can be dynamic in nature, and that’s why following the right strategy and International Relations Book for UPSC is very much needed. Keeping the IAS Exam standard in mind, candidates need to be equipped with the latest UPSC study material. The best book for International Relations for UPSC covered in-depth information along with the right statistics on India’s bilateral relations. Before discussing the right books, let’s understand the topics covered in International Relations:

  • Indian Foreign Policy – Foreign Policy Architecture, Nuclear Doctrine, Soft Power, Dynamics of Foreign Policy, etc.
  • Multilateral Agreements – BRICS, RCEP, ASEAN, SAARC, SCO, etc.
  • Global Issues – The 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 and Pakistan Relations – 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 these topics 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.

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

The list of the best book for International Relations for UPSC is mentioned below. Apart from these topics, 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.

  • International Relations (4th Rev. & Enl. Edn.)by Vinay Kumar Malhotra
  • Global Politics by Andrew Heywood
  • Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri
  • International Relations: The Key Concepts (Routledge Key Guides)by Terry O’Callaghan, Martin Griffiths, Steven C. Roach
  • The Oxford Handbook of Indian Foreign Policy” by David M. Malone, C Raja Mohan, and Srinath Raghavan
  • International Relations in the 21st Century by Pant
  • The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations by John Baylis, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens
  • “Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches” by Georg Sorenson and Robert Jackso

How to Cover Current Affairs of the International Relations Section?

Questions from the International Relations section are dynamic in nature so candidates need to follow the current events, or trending topics. The questions can be current affairs oriented, and it’s important to keep a track of updates with respect to preparation for International Relations. For this candidates need to follow the best UPSC newspapersThe Hindu, The Indian Express, and the official website of the Observer Research Foundation

International Relation Books for UPSC Optional Subject

UPSC allows candidates to choose one optional subject from 48 subjects. Candidates can choose Political Science and International Relations as their optional as well. To cover the International Relation section in the PSIR Syllabus candidates can follow the below-mentioned International Relations Books for both section-A and Section-B

International Relations Books for 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.
  • The Search for a Paradigm Reconsidered by Ronald H. Chilcote.
  • 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.

Book for International Relations for 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 in order 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 Books for UPSC to build a strong foundation. Then move to the higher-level books.
  • Don’t try to cover one topic from multiple books at a time. Finish one topic from one book, and then move to other books.
  • While covering the book make sure to note down important points along with it. It would help you memorize and you can use it during the revision period as well.
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