The Asia Society is helping to fill a gap in publications on contemporary India with a new series of annual briefings. The first contains seven chapters of uniformly high quality by thoughtful specialists. The opening chapter, Myron Weiner's midterm assessment of Rajiv Gandhi, is a somber appraisal. Weiner says that Gandhi assumed office at a time when the capacity of the Indian state to maintain law and order, facilitate economic growth and cope with an uncertain security environment had all seriously eroded. He concludes that halfway through his five-year term as prime minister, Gandhi has faltered in each of his major initiatives designed to deal with these problems.