I just finished reading this book, published earlier this year, about contemporary India. It is written by Edward Luce, a British journalist who spent much time in India and appears to have a keen insight into the problems and potential of India.
I found it to be a fascinating read. I was amazed by the breadth and depth of the topics covered in the book. While it is a very readable introduction to the politics, culture and economy of modern India, it does not dumb down the subject for western readers as books of this sort sometimes do. It also gives a more realistic view of things compared to the portrayal in the Indian media where it is hard to tell the truth apart from the hype.
The book argues persuasively that a "triangular dance" between the United States, China and India will shape the twenty-first century economy. It is also blunt about the many serious obstacles that remain before India can be a true economic power. I recommend it for anyone interested in the current state of things in India.