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 1472465237, 9781472465238

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Theorizing Indian Foreign Policy

Examined from a non-Western lens, the standard international relations (IR) and foreign policy analysis (FPA) approaches are ill-adapted because of some Eurocentric and conceptual biases. These biases partly stem from, first, the dearth of analyses focusing on non-Western cases; and second, the primacy of Western-born concepts and methods in the two disciplines. That is what this book seeks to redress. Theorizing Indian Foreign Policy draws together the study of contemporary Indian foreign policy and the methods and theories used by FPA and IR, while simultaneously contributing to a growing reflection on how to theorise a non-Western case. Its chapters offer a refreshing perspective by combining different sets of theories, empirical analyses, historical perspectives and insights from area studies. Empirically, chapters deal with different issues as well as varied bilateral relations and institutional settings. Conceptually, they ask similar questions about what is unique about Indian foreign policy and how to study it. The chapters also compel us to reconsider the meaning and boundary conditions of concepts (e.g. coalition government, strategic culture and sovereignty) in a non-Western context. This book will appeal to both specialists and students of Indian foreign policy and international relations theory. Mischa Hansel is an Assistant Professor (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at the RWTH Aachen University. Previously, he worked at the Justus Liebig University Giessen and the University of Cologne where he obtained his PhD in 2012. Several of his works deal with the question of whether liberal and constructivist FPA approaches are suitable to the study of Indian foreign policy. Recent articles appeared in Global Change, Peace and Security and Asian Politics and Policy. Other research interests include the norms and discourses guiding decisions on military interventions, Western and non-Western military transformation processes, arms control regimes and German foreign policy. Raphaëlle Khan is a PhD candidate in History/International Politics at King’s College London. Her work focuses on India’s emergence as an international sovereign actor between the 1920s and the 1960s, through an analysis of Indian understandings of sovereignty. She holds a Double Master’s Degree in European Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). Her research interests include India’s diplomacy in multilateral forums, international organisations, international politics of South Asia, rising powers and EuropeIndia relations. Mélissa Levaillant is a Researcher at the Institute of Strategic Research (IRSEM) of the French Ministry of Defence. She obtained her PhD from Sciences Po Paris in 2016, where she teaches World Politics and South Asian Security. Her dissertation was on the institutionalisation of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, from 1947 to 2015. Her other main research interests include India’s foreign policy towards the Middle East and security issues in the Indian Ocean. In 2012, she published a book on India’s foreign policy towards Iran.

Rethinking Asia and International Relations Series Editor - Emilian Kavalski, Australian Catholic University (Sydney)

This series seeks to provide thoughtful consideration both of the growing prominence of Asian actors on the global stage and the changes in the study and practice of world affairs that they provoke. It intends to offer a comprehensive parallel assessment of the full spectrum of Asian states, organisations, and regions and their impact on the dynamics of global politics. The series seeks to encourage conversation on: • • • •

what rules, norms, and strategic cultures are likely to dominate international life in the ‘Asian Century’; how will global problems be reframed and addressed by a ‘rising Asia’; which institutions, actors, and states are likely to provide leadership during such ‘shifts to the East’; whether there is something distinctly ‘Asian’ about the emerging patterns of global politics.

Such comprehensive engagement not only aims to offer a critical assessment of the actual and prospective roles of Asian actors, but also seeks to rethink the concepts, practices, and frameworks of analysis of world politics. This series invites proposals for interdisciplinary research monographs undertaking comparative studies of Asian actors and their impact on the current patterns and likely future trajectories of international relations. Furthermore, it offers a platform for pioneering explorations of the ongoing transformations in global politics as a result of Asia’s increasing centrality to the patterns and practices of world affairs.

Titles Uncertainty, Threat and International Security Implications for Southeast Asia Zachary C. Shirkey and Ivan Savic Theorizing Indian Foreign Policy Edited by Mischa Hansel, Raphaëlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant Russia’s Geoeconomic Strategy for a Greater Eurasia Glenn Diesen

Theorizing Indian Foreign Policy

Edited by Mischa Hansel, Raphaëlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant

First published 2017 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2017 selection and editorial matter, Mischa Hansel, Raphaëlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Mischa Hansel, Raphaëlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Names: Hansel, Mischa, editor. | Khan, Raphaëlle, editor. | Levaillant, Mélissa, editor. Title: Theorizing Indian foreign policy/edited by Misha Hansel, Raphaëlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant. Description: Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge, [2017] | Series: Rethinking Asia and international relations Identifiers: LCCN 2016043499 | ISBN 9781472465238 (hardback) | ISBN 9781315551197 (e-book) Subjects: LCSH: India–Foreign relations. | India–Foreign relations–Philosophy. Classification: LCC JZ1737 .T54 2017 | DDC 327.54001–dc23 LC record available at ISBN: 978-1-4724-6523-8 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-55119-7 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Deanta Global Publishing Services, Chennai, India


List of Contributors 

Introduction: Theorizing Indian Foreign Policy

vii 1

mischa hansel, raphaёlle khan and mélissa levaillant

Part I

Disciplinary and Methodological Challenges




Historiography of South Asia’s International Relations pallavi raghavan


International Relations and Foreign Policy in India: Policy-Oriented Works between Discipline and State


audrey alejandro

Part II

Ideas, Norms and Perceptions




More than a Rule Taker: The Indian Way of Multilateralism tobias debiel and herbert wulf


India as a Norm Claimer: Normative Struggles and the Assertion of Sovereignty at the San Francisco Conference (1945)


raphaëlle khan


Theorising Indian Strategic Culture(s): Taking Stock of a Controversial Debate bernhard beitelmair-berini


vi Contents   6 In Modi’s Might? Maintenance Processes and Prospects for De-Escalation in the India–Pakistan Rivalry, 1997–2015


hannes ebert

Part III

Actors and Institutions 


  7 India and Liberal International Relations Theory: What Role for Public Opinion?


mischa hansel

  8 The Contribution of Neo-Institutionalism to the Analysis of India’s Diplomacy in the Making


mélissa levaillant

  9 India’s Taliban Dilemma: To Contain or to Engage?


avinash paliwal

10 Inside Out? Assessing the Domestic Determinants of India’s External Behaviour


nicolas blarel


List of Contributors

Audrey Alejandro holds a PhD in Political Science from Sciences Po Bordeaux, France. She is currently Associate Researcher with the Centre Emile Durkheim, Sciences Po Bordeaux, and Fellow of the London School of Economics, where she pursues her research on eurocentrism and academic diversity. Her work mainly focuses on the relations between the production and circulation of knowledge and social relations, especially power relations and relations of discrimination. She is co-editor of a new Palgrave series, Trends in European IR Theory. Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini is a PhD candidate, Lecturer and Research Fellow on International Relations at the South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelberg. Previously, he graduated from the University of Salzburg. His research interests include IR theory, strategic culture, grand strategy, perception and identity in the making of foreign policy, as well as the South Asian security complex. Nicolas Blarel is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Science of Leiden University. His research interests are in foreign policy analysis and international security, primarily in South Asia. His most recent book, The Evolution of India’s Israel Policy: Continuity, Change, and Compromise since 1922, was published in 2015 by Oxford University Press. Tobias Debiel is Professor for International Relations and Development Policy at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Apart from that, he is Director of the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) and the Centre for Global Cooperation Research. He is also engaged in other well-known German institutes such as the Centre for Development Research (ZEF) and the Development and Peace Foundation (SEF). He was a Visiting Lecturer at the Fudan University in China and the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center in Tel Aviv. His research interests are: state failure and global governance; responsibility to protect; India’s role in international politics; development policy in war-torn societies; aid regimes and practices of development cooperation; and violence prevention and peacebuilding.

viii  List of Contributors Hannes Ebert works as a research fellow at the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, where he focuses on international politics in South Asia. He previously analysed armed conflicts and governance in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for think tanks in Berlin, Delhi, London and Islamabad. Hannes has also worked as an external advisor for the Federal Foreign Office and as a research associate at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies. His research has been published by journals such as International Politics, Third World Quarterly and the Chinese Journal of International Politics. Hannes holds a Master’s in International Relations Theory from the London School of Economics. He has received scholarships from the Volkswagen Foundation, German National Academic Foundation, Theodor Pfizer Foundation and the Swiss Government. Mischa Hansel is an Assistant Professor (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at the RWTH Aachen University. Previously, he worked at the Justus Liebig University Giessen and the University of Cologne where he obtained his PhD in 2012. Several of his works deal with the question of whether liberal and constructivist FPA approaches are suitable to the study of Indian foreign policy. Recent articles appeared in Global Change, Peace and Security and Asian Politics and Policy. Other research interests include the norms and discourses guiding decisions on military interventions, Western and non-Western military transformation processes, arms control regimes and German foreign policy. Raphaëlle Khan is a PhD candidate in History/International Politics at King’s College London. Her work focuses on India’s emergence as an international sovereign actor between the 1920s and the 1960s, through an analysis of Indian understandings of sovereignty. She holds a Double Master’s Degree in European Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). Her research interests include India’s diplomacy in multilateral forums, international organisations, international politics of South Asia, rising powers and Europe-India relations. Mélissa Levaillant is a Researcher at the Institute of Strategic Research (IRSEM) of the French Ministry of Defence. She obtained her PhD from Sciences Po Paris in 2016, where she teaches World Politics and South Asian Security. Her dissertation was on the institutionalisation of India’s Ministry of External Affairs from 1947 to 2015. Her other main research interests include India’s foreign policy towards the Middle East and security issues in the Indian Ocean. In 2012, she published a book on India’s foreign policy towards Iran. Avinash Paliwal is Lecturer in Defence Studies at King’s College London. He specialises in the international relations and strategic affairs of South Asia, Afghanistan and Myanmar. He has authored a book on India’s approach towards Afghanistan from the Soviet intervention to the ongoing US withdrawal, which will be out in early 2017.

List of Contributors   ix Pallavi Raghavan is an Assistant Professor at the Jindal Global Law School where she is completing a book manuscript on the history of the India–Pakistan relationship. She completed her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2012, and researches questions relating to the history of India’s foreign policies and the continuities between colonial and post-colonial international positioning in the subcontinent, as well as the early history of the foreign policy establishments of India and Pakistan. Herbert Wulf is founder and senior fellow of the Bonn International Center of Conversion (BICC) in Bonn, Germany. His experience encompasses research in international relations, specifically in arms control, arms transfers, conversion, peacekeeping and state-building, as well as research and practical experiences in development cooperation. He is presently a Senior Fellow at BICC, an Adjunct Senior Researcher at the Institute for Development and Peace, University of Duisburg-Essen and co-chair of a study group on the ‘Monopoly of the Use of Force 2.0’ of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. He researches Indian foreign policy in a research project at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

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Introduction Theorizing Indian Foreign Policy Mischa Hansel, Raphaёlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant

This book seeks to bring the study of contemporary Indian foreign policy and the concepts, methods and theories used by the disciplines of foreign policy analysis (FPA) and international relations (IR) closer together. In doing so, we want to tackle two deficiencies of IR and FPA studies. First, these have thus far mostly focused on the cases of Western countries, while little attention has been paid to ways of theorizing Indian foreign policy. Second, there has been a primacy of Western-born concepts and methods in the two disciplines. Only a few notable works have focused on FPA or diplomatic studies in the context of developing countries (Brummer and Hudson 2015; Robertson 2005; Braveboy-Wagner 2003; Korany 1986; Clapham 1977). While adopting different perspectives, these works have criticized the lack of attention paid to the Global South in classical theories of IR and made a case for modifying existing approaches. The contributions to this volume aim at redressing these inadequacies in several ways. Empirically, chapters deal with various foreign policy issues, ranging from security policies to economic and environmental policies. Moreover, their focus is on different modes of decision-making (strategic planning, routinized interactions, crisis decision-making) as well as different bilateral relations and institutional settings (the United Nations Security Council, the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and others). Case selection in all these instances was based on methodological criteria and individual research strategies (see chapter summaries). However, while integrating a broad range of issues and settings, all chapters also aim at identifying methodological and conceptual challenges across particular research areas. Therefore, all of them seek to address similar questions: What is unique about Indian foreign policy and the way we study it? What is similar in the context of foreign policy decision-making in other countries, Western and non-Western? What kind of theories and methods are needed accordingly? Does the Indian case require us to reconsider axioms and boundary conditions of predominantly Western concepts, theories and approaches? As the last question in particular indicates, reconsidering the analysis of Indian foreign policy is a two-way street: On the one hand, we acknowledge that our subject area has been under-theorized and that we need to explore fruitful linkages to mainstream FPA and IR scholarship. If we assume that Indian politics in general,

2  Mischa Hansel, Raphaёlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant and Indian foreign policy in particular, deviates from standard political science predictions, such reasoning requires theoretical discussion and empirical testing in cooperation with the larger social science community. On the other hand, it can be argued that, in several ways, the Indian case challenges the concepts and methodological tools with which both IR and FPA scholars used to work. Accordingly, combining theory, empirical analyses, historical perspectives and insights from area studies can help identify hidden assumptions and values as well as conceptual or discursive boundaries. A number of scholars have criticised the Eurocentrism of mainstream IR theory (Buzan and Little 1994; Tickner 2003). This criticism has led to calls to decolonise IR (Jones 2006) and to retrieve the historical context of IR and nonWestern thought (Shilliam 2010). The post-colonial critique has also underpinned attempts to reflect upon the possibility of ‘non-Western IR’ (Acharya and Buzan 2009) and ‘post-Western IR’ theory (Shani 2008; Vasilaki 2012). At the same time, efforts to develop IR in an Indian context by drawing on traditions of thinking and political thought (Behera 2010; Mallavarapu 2009) and by theorising IR from an Indian perspective (Bajpai and Mallavarapu 2005a) have crystallised. However, Acharya (2011) and Mallavarapu (2014) have also warned of the risks of ontological essentialism, methodological nationalism and intellectual isolation in this regard. This book does not aim to help establish an epistemologically or ontologically distinct ‘Indian’ IR theory but rather seeks to contribute to the development of a scholarship including post-Western IR and FPA theory (Shahi and Ascione 2016; Behera 2010). The latter recognises non-Western experiences without denying the possibility of comparative analysis and universal concepts.

The study of Indian foreign policy Before we assess the status of social scientific theories within the study of Indian foreign policy, some clarifications about our understanding of theory and theorising is in order. This book adopts a broad understanding of theorising because it primarily seeks to understand which theoretical and methodological tools are adequate for studying Indian foreign policy. Therefore, it presents a broad range of variables and methods. We assume a minimum degree of regularity and predictability of social behaviour. Theorising, therefore, is about discovering patterns (Dougherty and Pfaltzgraff 1997: 15). It essentially equals systematic and intersubjectively understandable generalisation. Generalisation, however, is not confined to assumptions about cause and effect or constitutive relationships. It also comprises the description and clustering of empirical phenomena using general concepts. As James Rosenau once said, ‘to think theoretically one must be predisposed to ask about every event, every situation, or every observed phenomenon, “of what is it an instance?”’ (Rosenau 1999: 33). We might ask, for example, whether the US–Indian relationship is an example of the so-called ‘democratic peace’ (see Ungerer 2012; Hayes 2012). Accordingly, some chapters question the applicability of causal theories to the Indian case (for example, theories of strategic rivalry in the chapter by Hannes Ebert), while some others use general

Introduction  3 concepts to categorize aspects of Indian foreign policy-making (for example, multilateralism in the chapter by Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf). However, research should not overlook historical contingencies and idiosyncrasies. One might argue that social scientists tend to be biased towards overgeneralization and over-determination because they gain gratification from the discovery and confirmation of regularities and patterns (see Lebow 2010). To compliment the aforementioned approaches, we have, therefore, on purpose, included a chapter on the sociology of IR in India (by Audrey Alejandro), as well as two chapters discussing the usefulness of historiographical and historical research for understanding Indian foreign policy (by Pallavi Raghavan and Raphaёlle Khan respectively). This broad, theoretically informed, approach differentiates this book from attempts to discover Indian schools of thought or Indian Grand Strategies (see Bajpai et al. 2014) but also other studies on Indian foreign policy, where theorization does not figure prominently. The majority of books in the field connect to theoretical models in a rather non-systematic and a-theoretical way (Mallavaparu 2015). Even those who offer profound insights into the social and political forces that shape Indian foreign policy-making do not explicitly and systematically consider FPA and IR theories (see, for example, Ogden 2014; Sikri 2013; Bajpai and Pant 2013; Malone 2012; Ghosh et al. 2009; Pant 2008; Kapur 2006; Mohan 2004; Cohen 2001). A few notable exceptions exist but their analyses are restricted to the study of India’s bilateral relations or a single field of Indian foreign policy (Blarel 2015; Chaudhuri 2014; Raghavan 2010). In addition, many works on Indian foreign policy tend to provide policy-oriented analyses rather than theoretical ones (Tharoor 2012; Khilnani et al. 2012; Mukherjee and Malone 2011; Mohan 2011; Malone 2011; Sinha and Mohta 2007; Chiriyankandath 2007; Abraham 2007). This tendency partly results from the social and academic setting in which Indian IR and FPA scholarship evolves. Theory-oriented works can be seen as deviation from practical problem-solving and from the requirement to gain academic reputation (see Ganguly and Pardesi 2015: 59–60; and the chapter by Audrey Alejandro). Nevertheless, new Indian work on post-Western IR theory, such as that by Deepshikha Shahi and Gennaro Ascione (2016), has emerged in the past few years. Yet, theory-oriented works remain the exception rather than the rule. Another reason for that might be a more or less tacit assumption of a highly volatile and therefore unpredictable policy-making process that generally escapes theorizing attempts. Indian foreign policy-making is often said to lack strategic vision and to be characterized by individual leaders, pragmatism, inconsistency and ad-hocism (see, for example, Mukherjee and Malone 2011: 102; The Economist 2013). However, the purported non-existence or irrelevance of strategic planning or the absence of grand debates also need to be explained. The latter, in turn, can be derived from theoretical models that highlight structural (i.e. lasting) conditions (because otherwise Indian foreign policy-making would not be pragmatic or inconsistent all the time). Among those few books that attempt to cross over into this theoretical terrain is an edited volume by Sumit Ganguly (2012) in which several contributors

4  Mischa Hansel, Raphaёlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant make use of the well-known levels of analysis framework (systemic-domestic/ societal-individual). However, the said volume is primarily concerned with describing the evolution of India’s policies vis-à-vis individual countries, such as Russia or the US, and refers scarcely to theories or variables. Another edited volume, International Relations in India. Theorizing the Region and the Nation by Kanti Bajpai and Siddharth Mallavarapu (2005b), only marginally touches upon IR and FPA theories as it strives to connect with much broader concepts and debates in political science and sociology. Some other works appear wedded to single analytical approaches or applying a single theoretical perspective without comparing with other paradigms (see, for example, Narlikar 2014; Narang and Staniland 2012; Chacko 2011; Muni 2009). Finally, Klaus Brummer and Valerie Hudson’s Foreign Policy Analysis beyond North America, includes a chapter on ‘Foreign Policy Analysis in India’ by Ganguly and Pardesi (2015), yet the central concept of that edited volume as a whole is different from ours, as it endeavours to summarize FPA and related research done in non-Western academic communities. On what account then does (the study of) Indian foreign policy differ from other cases? There are at least three dimensions to consider. The first one relates to conceptual issues as Indian foreign policy-making and politics often seem to challenge established categories. As a result, categories might need to be recalibrated and redefined. Take, for example, the conditions for stable majority rule according to standard political science approaches and the different way in which a majority is achieved in Indian politics (see the chapter by Nicolas Blarel). From this perspective, a historical approach seems one crucial way to retrieve an empirical reality that helps us rethink our analytical tools. A second dimension subsumes methodological problems and issues of data availability. Research on Indian public opinion and the media, for instance, is still hampered by a shortage of public opinion polls, although, in that case, conditions have improved since the late 1990s, with the proliferation of news channels and online media (see the chapter by Hansel). Third, and finally, the explanatory power of standard FPA or IR approaches might vary significantly between Indian foreign policy and other cases from Western Europe and North America. It might be argued, for example, that liberal approaches do not explain foreign policy decisions in India well (probably with the exception of trade policies) because private actors have few opportunities to gain access to decision-making processes (Baru 2009; Kumar 2015). All three dimensions are present in the individual chapters.

Structure and chapters This volume is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on disciplinary and methodological challenges to studying Indian foreign policy. The second part deals with the role played by ideas, norms and perceptions, whether belief systems or strategic concepts, and the way in which they influence Indian foreign policymaking. The third part shifts analysis to actors and institutions both within India’s external, as well as domestic, environments.

Introduction  5 In the first chapter, Pallavi Raghavan makes the case for studying India’s international history to develop a more sophisticated understanding of India’s contemporary foreign relations. Discussing Nehruvian foreign policy and the frontier policy, she shows how the contextualization of circumstances helps us understand the evolution of Indian foreign policy. First, contextualization provides precedents of negotiations and debates on policy alternatives that shed light on the future of policy questions that are still relevant today. Second, the past shows the complex nature of policy dilemmas and the contingency of policy choices. Consequently, history’s input is crucial on two accounts: it reminds us of the risk of overgeneralizing based on the present, while also providing material to theorize Indian foreign policy based on specific facts. Audrey Alejandro sheds light on the qualitative sociology of social sciences in India. She shows the specificities of the Indian academic system and think tank setting and the way it shaped the country’s IR discipline. Contrary to assumptions often made in the post-colonial literature, she argues that the marginalization of IR in Indian foreign policy is, to a large extent, due to the dependence of researchers on state support and mainstream thinking. This, in turn, is partly explained by the historical legacy of decolonization and the centralization of the foreign policy-making process in Delhi. She also underlines the lack of economic and academic resources as another important variable that relates to the way in which the discipline is structured and to the constraints faced by Indian researchers. These deficits have contributed to a narrowing of research on policy-oriented work at the expense of the development of critical and theoretically innovative IR perspectives. Moving to the impact of ideas, Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf sketch out an Indian understanding of multilateralism. First, they show that India has developed a distinct variant of multilateralism that strives to strike a delicate balance between the norms of sovereignty and non-interference on the one hand and pursue a quest for global justice and fairness on the other. Second, they emphasize India’s rather incoherent mix of multi- and bilateral thinking in its overall approach to foreign policy. In contrast to European states, India also tends to see global and regional affairs as distinct playing fields with different logics. In order to support their claims, Debiel and Wulf offer a tour d’horizon through various issue areas. Their most-different case design shows that ambiguity offers India the possibility to react flexibly in various regional and global settings. Thus, India pursues bilateralism within the region and with strategic partners, whereas in international institutions, it seems to promote multilateral modes of decisionmaking. This seemingly conflicting foreign policy contributes to the perception of a rather incoherent foreign policy strategy. On closer inspection, however, they might reflect a ‘problem-oriented’ rather than ‘paradigm-driven’ foreign policymaking approach. Raphaëlle Khan’s chapter shows how the integration of historical perspectives with IR can help illuminate how India emerged as an international actor in multilateral arenas. Through the case of Indian involvement at the San Francisco Conference (1945), Khan argues that a nationalist India, represented there by an

6  Mischa Hansel, Raphaёlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant unofficial delegation, can be seen as a norm claimer (rather than a norm taker, norm maker or norm breaker). It expressed a claim to sovereignty by competing with an official delegation and successfully asserting an alternative worldview in the international arena. In this case, the concept of norm claimer allows for India’s gradual insertion in the normative field of international society as an ambiguously recognized non-Western actor. From a methodological point of view, this chapter illustrates the importance of examining historical developments, such as the emergence of a post-World War international society, to analyse the meanings of IR ideas and concepts in non-Western cases. In the case of India, it also highlights the need to recover the views and strategies of pre-independence foreign policy elites. The chapter by Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini takes issue with the popular notion of a strategic culture deficit in India. Starting from an extensive literature review and offering a modified version of Alastair Johnston’ concept of strategic culture, Beitelmair-Berini argues that at least four strategic subcultures compete with each other in Indian foreign policy discourses: Nehruvian, Liberal Globalist, Leftists and Hindu Revivalist. These schools of thinking originate from, (re)interpret and/ or mix a vast array of ancient, pre- and post-independence intellectual sources. Politically, this very richness of Indian strategic thought may have fostered the image of a confused and inconsistent foreign policy approach. Methodologically, the challenge is to systematically integrate and analyse very different data sources when operationalizing the concept of strategic culture(s) in India. This chapter ultimately highlights the need to foster a discussion between the social sciences and the humanities, particularly literature and language studies, in order to theorize traditions of strategic thought in India. Hannes Ebert’s chapter focuses on perception and other factors that might explain the enduring rivalry between India and Pakistan. More specifically, he is interested in understanding the failure of conflict settlement in the periods 1997–1999 and 2003–2008. To that purpose, he assesses the capability of two different models or theoretical frameworks to explain failed de-escalation attempts. The first one, developed by David Dreyer, assumes that territorial and positional conflicts will be particularly hard to overcome for several, including psychological, reasons. Moreover, interconnected issues will pose further obstacles to negotiated conflict resolutions rather than facilitating package deals. Ebert finds this model useful to examine the longer-term historical evolution of territorial disputes, but less able to shed light on the difficulties of restarting or sustaining a bilateral dialogue during specific episodes. The other model, a dynamic twolevel pressure theory by Michael Colaresi, resembles Putnam’s two-level game by integrating both international constraints and domestic pressures. Ebert’s empirical analysis on those cases where de-escalation seemed most likely shows that outbidding by domestic political rivals very much contributed to the eventual failure of peace-making attempts and to their replacement by more hawkish foreign policies, particularly, but not exclusively, on the Pakistani side. Turning to the third part of the book, the analysis shifts to specific domestic and international actors and institutions. Starting with liberal IR theory, Mischa Hansel questions the impact of public opinion on foreign policy decision-making

Introduction  7 in India. While drawing extensively on the existing literature on public opinion in FPA, the author focuses on the specifics of the Indian case to assess the values and limits of liberal theory. His case-selection strategy is primarily based on data availability. Thus, he focuses on three foreign policy cases that have been sufficiently covered by public opinion surveys in India: the US–Indian nuclear deal, climate change and the Kashmir issue. He shows that because of other structural factors, public opinion remains a marginal factor in Indian foreign policy decision-making. In particular, the consensus existing between the main political elites as well as the low levels of foreign policy issue salience restrict the influence of public opinion. As a result, the explanatory power of liberal approaches that limit themselves to media analyses and public opinion polls remains low in the case of India. This calls for the development of multifactorial studies that would also take into account the analysis of other societal drivers of foreign policy decision-making. Mélissa Levaillant examines the evolution of Indian foreign policy from a sociological perspective. She focuses on the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) as the one agency with the greatest say in the implementation of Indian foreign policy. Focusing on its implementation stage, she uses sociology of institutions to analyse interviews carried out with Indian retired ambassadors and serving diplomats. Through this lens, she questions the state’s institutional capacity to conduct foreign policy and the practical toing and froing between available means and the definition of national interests. She shows how the institutionalization of the MEA in 1947, and after the Cold War, contributed to shape diplomatic discourses and practices in India. For example, her sociological approach explains how a weakly institutionalized authority system and overtasked regional divisions fostered adhocism and incoherence in many ways. At the same time the MEA’s esprit de corps favoured risk-avoidance and prudent decision-making at the expense of radical innovation and bold foreign policy initiatives. Drawing on FPA literature, two chapters explore the scientific value of applying domestic theories of foreign policy-making, and especially institutional and bureaucratic approaches, to the case of India. Opening the black box of governmental institutions holds particular promise in cases where policy-makers are confronted with new decision problems and ambivalent information. Under these conditions, institutional inertia (standard operating routines, organizational culture, etc.) or political advocacy are decisive in shaping the selection among competing foreign policy options. Avinash Paliwal’s chapter on India’s Afghanistan policy in the 1990s, when India confronted a complex situation and strategic dilemmas, offers an opportunity to understand the influence of advocacy coalitions on foreign policy decision-making in India. The application of the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) to the case of Indian foreign policy towards Afghanistan, combined with the collection of solid empirical data, allows him to develop a nuanced understanding of India’s perception of the Taliban in the 1990s. By operationalizing concepts that originated in the public policy literature, this chapter also exemplifies how FPA scholars can benefit from mutual exchanges with other political science sub-disciplines.

8  Mischa Hansel, Raphaёlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant Lastly, Nicolas Blarel’s chapter fills an important gap in the literature on Indian foreign policy by questioning the link between the emergence of coalition governments in India and the evolution of the role played by regional actors in the foreign policy-making process. At the conceptual level, he borrows from the comparative policy literature and shows how the specific mechanisms of coalition-making in India contribute to explain the ‘nature and extent of foreign policy change’. Blarel then focuses on those, still exceptional, cases when coalition politics were influenced by the politicization of foreign policy issues. The author argues that learning processes generated by successive coalition governments have led decision-makers to set up coordination mechanisms with their coalition partners and to reshape foreign policy. While reflecting on coalitions and foreign policy-making, this chapter also shows that the specific case of India contradicts some of the existing Western literature on the topic. For example, despite the emergence of multiparty coalitions since the 1980s, the Indian case differs from many Western political systems in which junior coalition partners tend to have considerable influence on foreign-policy making (Oppermann and Brummer 2014; Kaarbo 1996). In India, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have remained the two main actors responsible for the definition and implementation of Indian foreign policy. The exception is the case of border-state parties that have had a growing influence over India’s policy towards its neighbours. These case studies present several ways in which different conceptual tools, approaches and disciplines can be used to assess Indian foreign policy and theorize it. They do not invalidate the idea that, despite their ‘culture bound’ dimension, theories, assumptions and methods crafted in Western contexts helps us question and analyse the nature of foreign policy in India. However, they hopefully demonstrate that the specifics of the Indian case call for opening up the toolbox of analytical methods available to scholars. Theorization of the case of India will entail reconsidering the use of mainstream IR. Conversely, analysing India’s specificity can enrich IR theories and historical analysis can, in particular, help develop theory further. This, arguably, can only be done through rigorous qualitative research, constant questioning on the pertinence and limitations of theories and sensitivity to the contingencies at the heart of foreign policy-making.

Perspective for future research New ways to develop conceptually strong and innovative analysis of Indian foreign policy are not without pitfalls for several reasons. First, the empirical grounding that this involves requires an access to sources sometimes hard to secure. In India, in particular, researchers still face comparatively higher hurdles to access archival material, while the media, another source of information, still exhibits a relative lack of interest in foreign policy. Second, to a certain extent, such work requires a multidisciplinary background, notably a double familiarity with India and with IR theory. Acquiring this background is sometimes hard to reconcile with the needs of career planning in many university systems.

Introduction  9 That said, several avenues of investigation would be very interesting to pursue. One would be a more detailed discussion of the peculiarities of the Indian political system and how it influences foreign-policy making. As Nicolas Blarel shows in his chapter, works within the field of comparative politics offer an important potential in this regard. More research could take into account, and draw insights from, development studies, sociology and political economy to identify regularities and patterns applicable to foreign policy-making. For instance, we might ask whether and how the opening up of India’s economy affected lobbying of industrial associations with respect to the foreign policy agenda. Second, it is important not to overlook precolonial times as well as India’s external affairs during the British Raj. Both Raphaëlle Khan’s chapter, focusing on norm claiming by the unofficial Indian delegation at the San Francisco Conference, and Bernhard Beitelmaier-Berini’s chapter, exploring ways to conceptualize the influence of classical Indian literature on strategic cultures, pointed in this direction for theoretical development. Third, Indian foreign policy may indeed be guided by ambivalent strategic understandings and diverging, perhaps even, irreconcilable, foreign policy norms. However, too often it is taken for granted that this should result in suboptimal foreign policy outcomes. New research could be done to support, or refute, the claim that ‘Indian foreign policy-makers would have been able to achieve more if they followed a clear strategy’. As Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf show in their chapter, an ambivalent foreign policy orientation is not without advantages. Whether such a pragmatic approach is ultimately successful and sustainable can, of course, be questioned. This leads to a more general argument. The study of Indian foreign policy does not stop with the identification of causes and an understanding of processes and decisions (foreign-policy output). It should also extent to analysing the impact of those decisions, not the least because doing so could enhance its political relevance, and thereby increase its visibility within the foreign policy community in India. This book contributes to diversifying research questions and exploring new linkages between research literature and traditions in the study of Indian foreign policy – and, hopefully, will encourage future research in this direction.

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10  Mischa Hansel, Raphaёlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant Bajpai, Kanti, Saira Basit and V. Krishnappa. eds. 2014. India’s Grand Strategy: History, Theory, Cases. New Delhi: Routledge. Baru, Sanjaya. 2009. ‘The influence of business and media on Indian foreign policy’. India Review 8 (3): 266–85. Behera, Navnita Chadha. 2010. ‘Re-imagining IR in India’. In Non-Western International Relations Theory: Perspectives on and Beyond Asia, edited by Amitav Acharya and Barry Buzan, pp. 92–116. New York: Routledge. Blarel, Nicolas. 2015. The Evolution of India’s Israel Policy. Continuity, Change, and Compromise since 1922. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Braveboy-Wagner, Jacqueline. 2003. The Foreign Policies of the Global South: Rethinking Conceptual Frameworks. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Brummer, Klaus and Valerie Hudson. eds. 2015. Foreign Policy Analysis beyond North America. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Buzan, Barry and Richard Little. 1994. ‘The idea of “international system”: Theory meets history’. International Political Science Review/Revue International de Science Politique 15 (3): 234–5. Chacko, Priya. 2011. Indian Foreign Policy: The Politics of Postcolonial Identity from 1947 to 2004. London: Routledge. Chaudhuri, Rudra. 2014. Forged in Crisis. India and the United States Since 1947. London: Hurst & Co. Chiriyankandath, James. 2007. ‘Realigning India: Indian foreign policy after the Cold War’. The Roundtable 93 (374): 199–211. Clapham, Christopher. ed. 1977. Foreign Policy Making in Developing States: A Comparative Approach. New York: Praeger. Cohen, Stephen P. 2001. India: Emerging Power. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Dougherty, James E. and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff. 1997. Contending Theories of International Relations: A Comprehensive Survey, 4th Edn. New York: Addison-Wesley Longman. Ganguly, Sumit. ed. 2012. India’s Foreign Policy: Retrospect and Prospect. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ganguly, Sumit and Manjeet S. Pardesi. 2015. ‘Foreign policy analysis in India’. In Foreign Policy Analysis beyond North America, edited by Klaus Brummer and Valerie Hudson, pp. 57–76. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Ghosh, Anjali, Tridib Chakraborti, Anindyo Majumdar and Shibashis Chatterjee. 2009. India’s Foreign Policy. Delhi: Pierson. Hayes, Jared. 2012. ‘The democratic peace and the evolution of an old idea’. European Journal of International Relations 18 (4): 767–91. Jones, Branwen Gruffydd. ed. 2006. Decolonising International Relations. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Kaarbo, Juliet. 1996. ‘Power and influence in foreign policy decision making: the role of junior coalition partners in German and Israel foreign policy’. International Studies Quarterly 40 (4): 501–30. Kapur, Ashok. 2006. India: From Regional to World Power. London: Routledge. Khilnani, Sunil, Rajiv Kumar, Pratip Bhanu Metha, Prakash Menon, Nandan Nilekani, Srinath Raghavan, Shyam Saran, and Siddarth Varadarajan. 2012. Nonalignment 2.0: A Foreign and Strategic Policy for India in the Twenty-First Century. Delhi: Centre for Policy Research. Korany, Bahgat. 1986. How Foreign Policy Decisions Are Made in the Third World: A Comparative Analysis. Boulder, CO: Westview.

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12  Mischa Hansel, Raphaёlle Khan and Mélissa Levaillant Shilliam, Robbie. ed. 2001. International Relations and Non-Western Thought – Imperialism, Colonialism and Investigations of Global Modernity. London: Routledge. Sikri, Rajiv. 2013. Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy. New Delhi: Sage. Sinha, Atish and Madhup Motah. eds. 2007. Indian Foreign Policy: Challenges and Opportunities. New Delhi: Foreign Service Institute. Tharoor, Shashi. 2012. Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century. London: Penguin Books. The Economist. 2013. ‘Can India become a Great Power?’, 30 March 2013. Available online at (accessed 2 December 2015). Tickner, Arlene. 2003. ‘Seeing IR differently: Notes from the Third World’. Millennium 32 (2): 295–324. Ungerer, Jameson L. 2012. ‘Assessing the progress of the Democratic Peace Research Program’. International Studies Review 14 (1): 1–31. Vasilaki, Rosa. 2012. ‘Provincialising IR? Deadlocks and prospects in post-Western IR theory’. Millennium 41 (1): 3–22.

Part I

Disciplinary and Methodological Challenges

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1  Historiography of South Asia’s International Relations Pallavi Raghavan

‘The further backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see …’ (Winston Churchill, House of Commons, March 1944) ‘We look into history from motives of two kinds: There is the curiosity about the past, what happened, who did what, and why; and there is the hope to understand the present, how to place and interpret our own times, experiences, and hopes for the future’. (Jasper Griffin, New York Review of Books, 18 December 2013)

Introduction Historians make a compelling case for the ownership of the study of India’s international relations. They point out that their works do not simply catalogue the circumstances of South Asia’s present security dilemmas, but rather highlight how contemporary dilemmas have frequently been rehearsed in the past, and show how their causes are inextricably linked with historical factors. They underline how solutions to the subcontinent’s security dilemmas are best understood with a rigorous grasp on the past. Therefore, this essay will engage with the following question: How does the discipline of history add to a more complex understanding of international relations and how does a historicised approach lead to differentiated conclusions about the international status of a nation state? Partly to illustrate these concerns, and partly due to a recent proliferation of writings in this area, this essay will focus on the historiography of Nehruvian foreign policy and then attempt to understand what this tells us about the nature of analysis of India’s international relations. An overarching theme in many works relating to India’s foreign policy is the search for a unifying logic in its decision-making process, a systematised explanation which can shed light on the motivations that govern its international positioning. Sunil Khilnani, for instance, rightly asks that any rigorous analysis of India’s foreign policy should answer the critical question: ‘What is the story of India’s foreign policy the story of ’ (Khilnani 2015: 682). Yet, what several studies of Nehru’s foreign policy also make clear (Guruswamy and Singh 2009; Raghavan 2010; Abraham 2014), is that a pre-determined strategy, which governed all of India’s foreign policy decisions, was more absent than present. Several works

16  Pallavi Raghavan on India’s initial relations with Pakistan, or China, for instance, demonstrate the demands of its foreign relations were never necessarily self-evident, on the basis of having a clearly defined set of principles about the interests of the nation state: the precise contours, responsibilities and its components of the nation state itself was far from self-evident. Given this unclear setting, the search for a unifying theme, an all-encompassing ‘Grand Strategy’ becomes an even more difficult task. Kanti Bajpai, for instance, has pointed out that, over the 70-odd years since independence, India’s international relations displays the hallmarks of not just one all-encompassing ‘grand strategy’, but three (Bajpai 2002). In particular, Bajpai argues three dominant strands on strategic thinking in India are Nehruvian, neo-liberal and hyper-real. The Nehruvian approach would be to convince India’s neighbours of the benefits in allying more closely with its own interests. What all three schools of grand strategy would agree upon, however, is the ultimate objective of India’s foreign policy: India’s, as well as South Asia’s, prosperity, stability and international political prowess lies in a stabilised neighbourhood. They differ on the prescriptions of how threats to India’s security are to be addressed, as well as in their diagnosis of how these threats arose (Bajpai 2002). The means to achieve these aims, however, are, by all accounts, complicated, as well as contentious. Eswaran Sridharan (2001), for instance, points out that if the assumption of a similar set of values and similarity of interests are to be the governing principle behind alliance making, then South Asia is conspicuous in its failure to adhere to the pattern. The principles governing decision making about alliances in South Asia do not necessarily adhere to the reasoning behind the traditional Cold War alliances such as NATO. Sridharan argues that this is to do with the failure of these principles to take into account internal threats, ethnic, perhaps ideological, and even more problematically, when there may be a realistic threat of internal dangers allied to external actors. [A] democracy which inherits territorial and ideological conflicts as initial conditions, as in South Asia after Independence and Partition in 1947, may not be conducive to the compromises necessary for peace-building as it gives free play to competitive patriotism and hard line parties. The role of interests as opposed to merely threat ought to be given a greater prominence in South Asia (Sridharan 2011: 26). Furthermore, many who study this question are also implicitly making a critique about the state of contemporary international relations theory, which, they point out, is insufficiently cognisant of South Asia’s approaches to inter-state relations. Analysis drawn from precedents established by the Westphalian method, they point out, are not wholly suited to the patterns of inter-state relations in South Asia. (Sridharan 2001; Bajpai 2002) These frameworks do not adequately consider the potency of the historical circumstances that accompanied the making of foreign policy decisions, or the specific dilemmas that recently post-colonial, anti-imperialist and ‘new’ entrants into the international system faced. The study of India’s international relations, therefore, necessitates ‘entirely rewriting the

South Asia’s International Relations  17 histories and geographies of states and people in international space’ (Abraham 2015). What many scholars engaged in this field are also calling for, therefore, is an alternative, but equally consistent set of overarching principles that can explain inter-state relations. Yet, this also brings us back to exactly which interests are to be prioritised in the decision-making process in Indian foreign policy. An adequate contextualising of the circumstances around India’s independence, the compulsions these gave rise to with regard to actually defining what the nation state was to constitute, as well as the methods that were adopted to give shape to the policies devised out of such requirements, is therefore essential for understanding the evolution of Indian foreign policy. Itty Abraham argues that given India’s heterogeneous and diverse population, the necessity of the nation state needing to be unified around the ownership of its territory redoubled. This, he points out, gives the fact of uncertainties of the boundaries inherited between India and her neighbours, especially threatening implications. While boundary disputes between neighbours are certainly not an uncommon occurrence, for India, they represented the questioning of the heart of the nation-making process. This would necessitate the search for an alternative set of criterion than those that governed inter-state relations in post-war Europe which plausibly explain India’s international pursuits and the creation of a differentiated set of principles (Abraham 2014: 1–21). Nehru, the leader of the Congress Party during the Second World War, as well as Prime Minister of India during the interim government, would have clearly grasped that opinion about India’s foreign policy was pulling in different directions. Yet, many of his decisions on foreign policy do present the following question: Were they dictated by an internally consistent and coherent set of beliefs or were they simply devised as a stop-gap solution to a knotty problem? Put differently, was foreign policy conducted on a plane that was separate to the petty calculations of different factions in his government or was it a result of these manoeuvres? Most historians concur that the factors that influence the making of foreign policy do not operate in a vacuum, and, more often than not, are, in fact, at the beating heart of the domestic politics of the nation state, deeply mired in its inherited prejudices, its own account of its history and the political contingencies accompanying the benefits of a particular decision at a certain time. This essay will attempt to illustrate these points.

Nehru’s foreign policy: Old or new? Although Nehru undoubtedly left a strong impression on the shaping of foreign policy in modern India, historians of this project are also grappling with a deeper question: how much was Nehruvian foreign policy driven by Nehru or by the logic of a colonial inheritance, attempts to overthrow it and hemmed in by a sense of continuity of the forces already set in place in the decades that preceded the first prime minister. Put simply, was Nehru’s foreign policy just to do with Nehru or were there other ingredients that it encapsulated which might offer a more lasting explanation about India’s international behaviour? Was it based simply on instinct

18  Pallavi Raghavan or can it be slotted into a verifiable theory about the state’s behaviours? Did the sum of India’s interactions of the world under Nehru represent the narrative of a newly post- colonial state seeking to throw off the priorities of the empire of the Raj? Was it one of a leader attempting to put in place structures that promoted world peace and a sense of egalitarianism? Or, as others have argued, did it represent the blundering, and mostly naïve, attempts at finding an international identity at all? All agree, however, that the trends exhibited in Nehru’s era are representative: the dilemmas they represented were not confined to that period; they recurred throughout the modern history of the subcontinent. Several historians of Nehru’s foreign policy have argued that the continuities before and after the transfer of power must be properly factored into any discussion of the new prime minister’s decision making on this issue (Mohan 2013; Thakur 2014; Brobst 2005; Ray 2007). This is a particularly engaging field of study, as its fruits tell us as much about the ideology and temperament of the Nehruvian state, and about the foundations of the strategic assumptions of India’s international relations. In part, they are made possible by an increase in the available archival material around this period,1 but also out of a recognition that many aspects of India’s foreign relations have striking parallels with the questions grappled with in the past. Patterns for India’s relations with the rest of the world emerged, not just after the transfer of power, or with the arrival of a particular leadership in modern India, but rather in the century that preceded these events. Through these studies, we get a better appreciation of the contours of the government of India’s present day foreign policy dilemmas, as well as clearer understanding of the different options which can be used to confront them. That the shaping of Nehru’s foreign policy must be firmly contextualised against the legacies of two world wars (in which the government of India played a critical, and only recently appreciated part), the calculations of the British Raj on how best to defend the Indian subcontinent and the rapid reconfiguration of power in the international system in the aftermath of the Second World War is axiomatic. In this essay, however, I will also attempt to highlight how trends set in motion during this period are still in play today, and must be adequately accounted for in any analysis of India’s contemporary foreign policy. Furthermore, I will show how the attempt to bridge the divide between the analysis of ‘domestic’ political concerns and the making of decisions with regard to foreign policy is increasingly being carried out in a great deal of the literature on the Nehruvian period. I will argue that these arguments present the beginnings of the attempt to find a distinctive reasoning behind the making of India’s foreign policy, and that their implications require a radical rethinking of many presentist assumptions in the writing of India’s international relations and foreign policy. The circularity of these trends, moreover, are in evidence most particularly when considering India’s relations with countries in its immediate neighbourhood: China and Pakistan; its dealings with the two power blocs during the Cold War, as well as with the unequal hierarchies of the international system eventually manifested in the United Nations. The frontier policy formed a critical set of precedents in the shaping of both India’s and Pakistan’s foreign policy, which, in the decades that followed the

South Asia’s International Relations  19 transfer of power, exhibited several strong patterns of continuity in the thinking on the conduct of its external relations. But, the more this is studied, the more it becomes evident that there was not, in fact, an ‘Indian’ foreign policy, that was fashioned at the turn of the midnight hour. Patterns of continuity from the external relations of the subcontinent in the centuries prior to the transfer of power hold the key to understanding much of the foreign policy of South Asia. Both India and Pakistan adopted the assumptions of the Great Game in Afghanistan as continuation of a Frontier Policy which had been defined, honed and adapted over many decades across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Indeed, the mindset of the Great Game, honed and developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, is a palpable presence in the foreign policy establishments of both India and Pakistan (Guruswamy and Singh 2009; Mehra 2007). Very broadly, the pursuit of the Great Game demanded a mutual understanding between the Russian, Chinese and Indian empires that a ‘buffer zone’ territory lay between their formal empires that no empire could penetrate. The subcontinent’s best defence was thought to lie in a looser style of administration on territories along its perimeter, which would deliberately lay out of the formal control of either rival imperial power. Thus, areas lying along the edges of the Indian subcontinent – stretching from Tibet to the North West Frontier Province were conceptualised primarily in terms of being bleak, inhospitable and inaccessible climes that would not be penetrated by a rival empire. The rules of the delicate balancing game, moreover, were largely adhered to by all concerned parties in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, and the strategic defence of the subcontinent was carried out with these assumptions in place. One side of the debate, in the nineteenth century, was embodied in the arguments of Lord Curzon, who was one of the foremost proponents of the making of a strong frontier policy. In a lecture series to the Oxford Romanus Society in 1907, Curzon described this as ‘the razors edge on which hand the modern issues of war and peace, of life or death, of nations’. Curzon, along with many other officials in Whitehall, as well as in the government of India, argued that the best approach to the frontier would be to establish a clear and concrete presence of the government of India in these regions. A more aggressive policy, designed to ensure the recognition of the government of India, and an adherence to its requirements for security, thus, was, in Curzon’s view, the best approach to guaranteeing the empire’s safety. Peter Brobst (2005) has shown how the doctrine of the defence of frontiers was honed and shaped several decades prior to the transfer of power, and implemented by individuals who continued to remain highly influential in the governments of independent India and Pakistan. One of the most influential and persuasive advocates of a Great Game theory, Sir Olaf Caroe, had been foreign secretary to the government of India before the transfer of power, and subsequently became a key spokesperson for the integration of Pakistan into the geo-political struggle against the Communist bloc. Less than a decade before the signing of the military defence pact, CENTO, between the United States, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, Caore had called for a greater American presence in the region, citing its proximity to the

20  Pallavi Raghavan Soviet sphere of influence. Caroe consistently argued that the best defence of India lay in a strong military presence in Persia, Afghanistan and the belt of territory along the perimeter of the subcontinent (Brobst 2005). By 1947, the status of the unclear boundary lines along the McMahon Line and the Askai Chin frontier were inherited in their entirety by the legal entities of the government of India and Pakistan. They were partly created due to a policy of keeping the surrounding regions of the Indian subcontinent nebulously defined. A. G. Noorani (2011), for instance, has argued: ‘If the boundary was undefined in the colonial times or if a no-man’s land existed, the successor claim cannot assert that a boundary did exist’. The government of India and Pakistan thus accepted the treaties conducted by the British, including even those conducted by the East India Company. This fact presented both the governments of India and Pakistan with a conundrum: the validity of neither the Durand Line, nor the McMahon Line, for all their problems, could be challenged without calling into question the legality of the transfer of power to the two successor states. For India, the boundaries inherited with China, therefore, would have to stand, for all their blurriness. Indeed, several critical precedents were established in the early decades of the twentieth century during the British Empire. The infrastructure that the government of India developed for dealing with the frontier regions, assumed from the beginning that this concerned the Raj’s external relations (Thakur 2014). By 1936, the Department of External Affairs was established under the 1935 Act, providing for greater devolution of powers to the government of India. In 1936, Olaf Caroe, a man widely acknowledged to be amongst the most prescient thinkers of the contemporary challenges of Indian foreign policy, dispatched the following note to London, warning of the dangers of carrying on with a badly defined boundary line with Tibet: ‘It was discovered that both the Assam government and the Political Officer in Sikkim were ignorant of the position of the frontier’ (Noorani 2011: 200). Caroe’s advice contained a broader argument: for the Indian subcontinent to be truly impregnable, then its peripheral areas had to be systematically protected by the government. This line of thinking, moreover, had important precedents, as well as successors, in the tradition of strategic thinking about the subcontinent, and presented, indeed, the heart of the matter of the dispute between India and China in 1962. The question of how to demarcate (and thereby defend) the subcontinent’s frontiers had preoccupied the best strategic minds of the government of India for nearly two centuries. Yet, the critical question in these demarcations was often not the outright annexation of potentially sensitive regions for the subcontinent’s defence – but rather how the trouble and expense for this might even be avoided (Lamb 1966). In 1873, for example, the ‘inner line’ was created under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, empowering the governor of this province to draw a line along the province, beyond which the government did not exercise formal jurisdiction. This was intended as a device to avoid disturbances from the tribal populations who populated the region. This thinking was manifested in several ways on the shaping of the post-colonial nation state. During the 1950s, for instance, the administration of the north-eastern frontier necessitated

South Asia’s International Relations  21 a philosophy which, argues Bérénice Guyot-Réchard (2012), ‘relied—both in its implementation and underlying rationale—on the construction of the state’s idea and apparatus as the go-between the tribal and the nation at large’. Thus, for instance, for many years after independence, India’s north east was categorised in strategic terms in the administrative hierarchy. The rationale of its administration had been to promote its usefulness as a barrier to hostile invasion. The region continued to be conceptualised as bleak, inhospitable, remote and peripheral, even when the argument for its robust integration into the subcontinent’s polity was voiced from both within and without it. Accepting the sanctity of the boundaries of the modern nation state, therefore, is, in many ways, a short-sighted interpretation of history. The most significant deciders of India’s foreign policy, therefore, arose most crucially out of this set of anxieties about frontiers, boundaries and demonstrating the sanctity of the outlines of the nation. Yet, they could also be characterised as an attempt at willing the nation into existence, as opposed to proceeding with a pre-existing set of rules about what could serve its interests best. As Itty Abraham argues, the shaping of foreign policy must be placed firmly within political concerns about ethnicity, territory, citizenship and representation. Far from representing a unifying aspect of the nation state, thus, Abraham argues the shaping of India’s foreign relations further reinforced exclusivist definitions of citizenship, belonging and the territorialisation of identity. The study of the history of foreign policy thus serves as illuminator of, rather than obscure, the hierarchy of the political communities constituting the nation state. Furthermore, what they also reveal is a more significant fact, which also needs to be further woven into many analysis of India’s contemporary foreign relations: the territory of the nation state was not, at any time, self-evident: it was stitched together and fought over and contingently won by a series of actors. Indeed, the connections between the making of the political map of India, and its foreign policy, cannot be avoided in any discussion. Looking at these connections moreover, help to shake up some of the seemingly pre-set notions of contemporary analysis of foreign policy. The security threats to India, for instance, or the phenomenon of ‘cross border infiltration’ acquire entirely different connotations when viewed from the points of view of India’s history, rather than from a presentist analysis about India’s security.

Important relationships, recurring themes Rather than dealing with their analysis of the specifics of the major foreign policy decisions made during Nehru’s tenure, this section will dwell on the arguments they espouse relating to the relevance of history to the understanding of international relations. This is a rewarding area of study, as its findings frequently call into question several dominant assumptions underpinning the study of international relations. They provide insights into how the conventional wisdom of the present was by no means a foregone conclusion in the past: its merits and demerits were often fiercely debated, and the adoption of a particular decision was merely

22  Pallavi Raghavan one possible outcome from a series of equally plausible alternatives. Analysing the institutional inheritances in the infrastructure of India’s foreign policy, thus, calls into question the certainty of the ‘common sense’ of the present and highlights how specific sets of circumstances, and shaky, frequently contested choices made with regard to an international issue, frequently form the seemingly incontrovertible basis upon which present day concerns about international positioning are voiced. India’s relationships with China and Pakistan, neighbours with whom a contested boundary line is shared, has certainly witnessed many highs and lows. Nehru’s relations with the superpowers, as well as with the United Nations, was certainly impacted by India’s equations with its neighbouring countries. At the same time, however, it is also worth remembering that none of these equations were set in stone: decisions and policies on all these subjects was also a matter of expediency of the moment, rather than definitively defined by an overall strategy. In the following pages, I analyse the historiography around India’s most important relationship during the Nehruvian era, and explore how such equations were conditioned by the conjunction of deeply inscribed historical legacies with the demands of shaping a seemingly universal consensus within a nation state. Should the calculations of an empire that had governed the territory for a century be accepted, or, was it time to change them? In 1959, Nehru dispatched his trusted advisor and biographer, the historian, Sarvepalli Gopal, to research in the British Library, a question which had occupied the best strategic minds of colonial India: where exactly was the boundary between India and China? The fruits of Gopal’s labours included a famous note titled ‘The Northern Boundary of India’, upon which the Government of India’s White Paper on the India-China boundary was based. Gopal flatly argued that every inch of Chinese expansion past the McMahon Line, and into the western sector, was nothing less than illegal. His research showed, for instance: A regular sequence of official records, stretching over many years, provides testimony on such matters as revenue assessment, police jurisdiction, public works projects, census returns, control of trade routes and survey and mapping operations. (Gopal 1976: 203) Manjari Miller has also argued that the legacy of imperialism and colonialism needs to be understood in a more complex way: it was harnessed in a way as to shape the early foreign policies of India and Pakistan very closely. Miller argues that ‘The PII (Post Imperial Ideology) of maximizing international status, by which India and Pakistan seek prestige in the international system is also driven by the goal of establishing victimhood’ (Miller 2009). She argues that the postcolonial elite of both countries sought to selectively appropriate the legacy of colonialism and fashion this into a key legitimiser for the pursuit of their international objectives. Miller argues that one of the reasons that existing frameworks for the analysis of inter-state relations, based on the Westphalian model of treaty

South Asia’s International Relations  23 and commonality, is that it fails to consider the force of the legacy of colonialism in the shaping of international relations. A particularly stark illustration of this ideology at work was in the making of the Sino-Indian border dispute of 1962. At heart, this was an exercise in demonstrating the legitimacy of the argument of sovereignty and the determination to prove an absolute basis of self-determination. So, Miller argues, ‘after decolonization, both countries harboured bitter resentment for the territorial damage done to them by imperialist states, and they were determined not to give way on traditional territorial boundaries crucial to their national identity’. These motivations, she points out, prompted Nehru to declare that ‘Asian countries needed to find a way of relating as equals to the richer powers of the western world’ (Miller 2009). Srinath Raghavan, in his War and Peace in Modern India, has also argued that the seemingly chaotic trends in Nehru’s relations with Pakistan and China also reveal a pattern. Warfare and amity were not whimsical, or just a matter of chance, but a clear attempt at manoeuvring towards India’s strengths. A limited amount of warfare might yield greater room for an amicable relationship which accommodated India’s interests. Nehru’s foreign policies were not naive, but rather a realistic attempt at building upon India’s advantages based on the situation of the time. Raghavan outlines, for instance, how the making of war and peace in Nehru’s India were actually very deeply intertwined: the scope of one could in fact broaden the possibilities of the other. Thus, Raghavan argues, ‘Nehru’s method implied a preference for measures that demonstrated resolve without recklessness, for coupling military moves to pressurize the adversary with diplomatic ones to explore opportunities for settlement’ (Raghavan 2010: 19). Thus, Raghavan argues that rather than seeing Nehru as a naive practitioner of international relations based on an insufficiently developed nation state, he viewed both options in tandem: his attempts at pushing through his objectives required the pushing of both levers, which need to be evaluated cohesively (Raghavan 2010). On Pakistan, these entailed policies that did not necessarily adhere only to a hostile state of warfare: these stages were entered into with the intention of achieving better results through diplomacy. The relationship with Pakistan, therefore, ought not to be seen merely as an explosion of one instance of warfare after another, but rather, in terms of what these episodes helped in securing in their aftermath. Indeed, Nehru’s, as well as his successors, overtures to Pakistan, encompassed both hostility as well as overtures for settlement, in equal measure (Raghavan 2012). Many attempts by Nehru at stabilising the relationship with Pakistan, thus, were not just limited to his tenure, but were repeatedly manifested in different versions in the future. Despite the overblown rhetoric surrounding a great deal of the analysis of India’s relationship with Pakistan, a closer examination of the decision-making process with this country also reveals the prevalence of a fairly pragmatic set of principles guiding the responses of both sides. Crucially, this rested on the recognition that neither government could afford to actually undo the fact of the partition – either by reunification, or, on the other hand, by forcible reabsorption of one country by another. Apart from the destruction of the legal entities of India and Pakistan, and the international obligations of both

24  Pallavi Raghavan governments based on this understanding, both governments, once in possession of separated states based on a delineated boundary line, chose to cling quite firmly to this principle. It was important for India and Pakistan to repeatedly assert that they recognised the basis of each other’s existence – also as a means of bolstering their own claims to independent statehood. What is also becoming apparent to many scholars of Nehru’s foreign policy is that the prime minister was not an omnipotent figure in the making of foreign policy. Nehru contended with a great deal of dissent, disagreement and scepticism in his approaches to international relations. Indeed, many of India’s foreign policies under Nehru’s tenure did not necessarily originate with his own ideas about international relations, but rather owed to the innovations and directions of his officials. The spirit behind Nehru’s rhetoric, and the way in which his policies were implemented, were separated by the guidelines and approaches of many officers in the foreign ministry. Furthermore, the making of ‘Nehru’s foreign policy’, with regard to neighbouring countries such as Pakistan also covers a far wider canvas than has often been explored. Petty district officials, and politicians of the provincial governments of bordering regions, frequently had a far more substantial, if not even more important, role (Raghavan 2012). Their innovations, often intended merely as ‘stop gap’ arrangements, the contingencies of how and when they were put in motion and the vagaries of their institutional baggage, have to be explored in far greater detail. Indeed, at heart, the argument that many analyses of Nehru’s foreign policies make is that it is also important to view these approaches as a removal from the person of the prime minister. While many decisions of India’s international positioning undoubtedly stemmed from Nehru’s experiences of international politics of the 1920s and 1930s, others were also explainable in terms of a continuation of policies already put in place by the government of India prior to the transfer of power. The resonances of the institutional inheritances of the Raj were often more insistent than Nehru’s own insistence on a completely new direction of foreign policy. It is also worth noting that many of his officials in the Ministry of External Affairs, from G.S. Bajpai, K.N. Pannikar, K.P.S. Menon and Subimal Dutt, all represented a tradition of thinking about foreign policy that had been created during the 1920s and 1930s, in the heart of Whitehall and the Viceroy’s council. During the first half of the century, although there was undoubtedly a strong tradition of a separate, and ‘independent’ foreign policy for India, that may or may not have coincided with Whitehall’s priorities, it nonetheless represented a basis of thinking that was often distinguishable from Nehru’s own ideas about the ideal behaviour of nations. This balance – between the strains of a ‘new’ foreign policy after 1947 and the continuation of an ‘older’ pattern of thinking – is what is repeatedly found in many studies of the period. As such, then, the study of the history of India’s international relations sits between two fraught disciplines: the search for a systematised explanation for India’s international behaviour and the necessity of showing the contingencies of the nation state in-the-making, and without a systematic map determining all its decisions. If Nehru’s international pursuits demonstrated anything, they were

South Asia’s International Relations  25 about the attempts at blending in ideology, pragmatism and making a virtue out of necessity. As Rudra Chaudhuri (2014) also outlines in his compelling account of the history of India’s relationship with the United States, the role of ideology also must be given adequate weightage in any evaluation of foreign policy making. In the case of the India-United States relationship, for instance, it would be unfair simply to brush aside the Non-Aligned Movement as a garb from which a closer relationship with the superpower could be safely forged. At the same time, however, Chaudhuri also argues that the rhetoric of non-alignment did not stop Nehru’s officials from exploring what they could gain from this country. What Chaudhuri therefore is arguing for is a restoration of choice and agency to the Indian Government in being able to craft a relationship with the United States on its own terms. Indeed, Chaudhuri also makes the point that the very discrepancies on India’s position on non-alignment: the differences between what Nehru chose to stress and what his officials pursued, needs to be explored further. For instance, Bajpai had, on several occasions, met with the state department to inform officials that in the event of a world war, India would not side with the Soviet Union. At the same time, Nehru repeatedly cautioned the world that India would remain ‘perfectly clear of entanglements’ (with power blocs). Rather than viewing these dialogues as simply miscommunications, or confusions of a nascent state struggling to find a footing in the world, Chaudhuri argues that these displayed, in fact, the marks of a strategy: non-alignment was not a method by which India-US could be avoided; it was a means to further hone it (Chaudhuri 2014). The non-alignment policy was certainly not merely a declaration of altruistic principles. John Lewis Gaddis pointed out in his masterful account of the Cold War, the principle of non-alignment was, at heart, about pragmatism: ‘Non-Alignment’ provided a way in which the leaders of the ‘third world’ states could tilt without toppling: the idea was to commit to neither side in the Cold War, but to leave open the possibility of such commitment. That way, if pressure from one superpower became too great, a smaller power could defend itself by threatening to align with the other superpower. (Gaddis 2005: 124) While non-alignment was, very much, a deeply held principle that backed a clear set of actions, the United States, as well as India, nonetheless, consistently attempted to find a means to work together even within this basis. What cannot, however be doubted is that Nehru’s own ideological preference on foreign policy lay in a universalised and egalitarian framework for international relations. If the 1940s and 1950s saw the zenith of the absolute authority of the sovereign state, then the 1920s and 1930s witnessed the hour of the most determined critiques of its legitimacy. As Benjamin Zachariah and Ali Raza (Raza et al. 2014) have also shown, Nehru was amongst the forefront figures in the global dialogue about a socialistic, internationalist and anti-imperialist movement. These experiences, moreover, and the contacts he developed while in Paris in 1923 and 1924, had a significant impact on the links that he established with

26  Pallavi Raghavan other world leaders after independence. The rationale for a universal framework of appeal for human rights that superseded the authority of the nation state was also developed during this stage. The period was characterised by a series of iconic events, declarations and speeches, which seemed to embody the hopes for a new beginning: a firmly held belief in the capacity of non-alignment to bring about greater peace; a sense of affinity with other newly post-colonial nations, and, above all, a commitment to a greater peace. Nehru’s subsequent attempts with the United Nations Human Rights Charter can also be contextualised in his experiences during this period. Nehru’s writings and speeches on the Human Rights Charter went to the heart of the contradiction between the confines of the nation state and the applicability of a universal framework of justice which could supersede the authority of a state structure. Indeed, many historians of India’s foreign policy are also implicitly making a critique of the assumption that there was no ‘system’ to the decision making on external relations. In a variety of ways, they confront the following question: was Nehruvian foreign policy a matter of instinct or ideology? Manu Bhagavan (2012) argues that his attempts at the United Nations were an attempt to bridge this gap – for all. Bhagavan shows how Nehru skilfully forwarded this agenda of a universal framework for human rights, while at the same time, adhering to other, less equitable arrangements in the United Nations, such as the exclusive membership to the Security Council. Nehru had to confront this contradiction – where could the states’ authority be superseded? – in many variations. In his negotiations with the Princes Council, for instance, he countered their concerns about the domination of the nation state over princely states by arguing that they also had recourse to appeal to the United Nations. Bhagavan argues that the ideals of a universal framework of human rights, thus, was incorporated every step of the way into the Indian constitution as part of an effort to make India a part of an international society. Bhagavan attempts to elaborate this critique further, finding, in Nehru’s (and Gandhi’s) approaches, the following sense: Both felt that the nation state—the dominant form of world organization since the seventeenth century Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War and established modern notions of state sovereignty in Europe—was pernicious and oppressive, and they jointly imagined a future, One World, that would move past this old violence prone arrangement. (Bhagavan 2012: 85) The charge most often levelled at Nehru was that non-alignment was an instinct, rather than a coherent set of principles that governed India’s international relations. An emphasis on an all-encompassing ideology driving a coherent foreign policy is also emphasised in Manu Bhagavan’s account of India’s activities in the United Nations during the last years of the Second World War. Throughout the late 1940s, Nehru’s engagements with the United Nations were geared at an attempt to ‘build a global parliament, one that could bring all the world together’.

South Asia’s International Relations  27 His intention, moreover, was to have the United Nations become responsible for the protection of dispersed persons. Strikingly, before the partition of the subcontinent, his manoeuvrings in the United Nations were aimed at: ‘The guarantor of equality and justice was not a competing state or a country of origin. Rather, it was the United Nations, which would now serve as a meta- constitutional authority’ (Bhagavan 2012: 85). The object of Nehru’s foreign policy, therefore, was to aid in the construction of a platform that gave voice to the powerless and which could call nation states to account for their lapses. In doing so, Bhagavan argues, Nehru was attempting to strike a balance between the interests of newly established nation states and older ones, between the aligned and the non-aligned and between the decolonised and decolonises. Indeed, Bhagavan goes so far as to say that ‘Nehru’s Non Alignment, in fact, was one element of his larger goal, which was One World’ (Bhagavan 2012: xi). The writing history of international relations is a cautionary exercise: its purpose is to highlight the uncertainties of progress, not its guarantees. Their job is to dwell on the accidental, the counter-factual, rather than merely circumstances of the present; to demonstrate that the rationale for the choices of the past were compelling enough to hold force in the present. They highlight that the central assumptions of the present are not self-evident: they are the product of contingency, accident and choice. At its most useful, however, the historian’s craft also acts as a corrective to the tendency to overgeneralise based on the present. Much of the history of India’s foreign policy is peculiar, in terms of having been written by the participants themselves. To a peculiar extent, the history of India’s international relations has been charted over, not by scholars and academics themselves (although this has begun to change), but by practitioners of India’s foreign policy. This is, in fact, an interesting trend. What it tells us is that the past of India’s foreign policy is a relevant, indeed, practical concern. The reason why many practitioners have turned to dusty files and archival material is because of the past: precedents in previous negotiations, the reasons why they took the shape they did, the twists and turns of various policy dilemmas relating to the subcontinent’s foreign relations, can, it is realised, shed enormous and critical light on the future of these questions. For many questions in India’s international relations, it is not the novelty of new insights that is important, it is the experience from older ones.

Note 1 These include, for instance, recently declassified archival records of the MI5 pertaining to the period, records relating to the Bandung Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement from the Cold War International History Project at the Wilson Centre, The FRUS Series, as well as the available material at the Public Records Office in London.

References Abraham, Itty. 2014. How India Became Territorial: Foreign Policy, Diaspora, Geopolitics. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

28  Pallavi Raghavan Bajpai, Kanti. 2002. ‘Indian strategic culture’. In South Asia in 2020: Future Strategic Balances and Alliances, 1st edn. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, US Army College. Bhagavan, Manu. 2012. The Peacemakers: India and the Quest for One World. New Delhi: Harper Collins. Brobst, Peter. 2005. The Future of the Great Game: Sir Olaf Caroe, India’s Independence and the Defence of Asia. Akron, OH: University of Akron Press. Chaudhuri, Rudra. 2014. Forged in Crisis: India and the United States Since 1947. London: Hurst. Gaddis, John L. 2005. The Cold War: A New History. London: Allen Lane. Gopal, Sarvepalli. 1976. Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography, Vol. 3. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Guruswamy, Mohan and Zorawar Daulet Singh. 2009. India-China Relations: The Border Issue and Beyond. New Delhi: Viva Books. Guyot-Réchard, Bérénice. 2012. Nation Building on a Forgotten Frontier. PhD Dissertation. Cambridge: University of Cambridge. Khilnani, Sunil. 2015. ‘India’s Rise: The Search for Wealth and Power in the Twenty First Century’. In The Oxford Handbook Of Indian Foreign Policy, 1st edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lamb, Alastair. 1966. The McMahon Line: A Study in the Relations Between India, China and Tibet, 1904–1914. London: Routledge. Mehra, Parshotam. 2007. Essays in Frontier History. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Miller, Manjari Chatterjee. 2009. ‘Re-collecting empire: “Victimhood” and the 1962 Sino-Indian War’. Asian Security 5 (3): 216–41. Mohan, C. Raja. 2013. India’s Regional Security Cooperation: The Nehru Raj Legacy. Singapore: Institute for South Asian Studies, NUS Working Paper. Noorani, Abdul Gafoor Abdul Majeed. 2011. India-China Boundary Problem, 1846–1947. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Raghavan, Pallavi. 2012. The Finality of Partition: Bilateral Relations Between India and Pakistan, 1947–1957. PhD Dissertation. Cambridge: University of Cambridge. Raghavan, Srinath. 2010. War and Peace in Modern India: A Strategic History of the Nehru Years. New Delhi: Permanent Black. Ray, Jayanta Kumar. 2007. Aspects of India’s International Relations, 1700 to 2000. New Delhi: Pearson Longman. Raza, Ali, Franziska Roy and Benjamin Zachariah. 2014. The Internationalist Moment: South Asia, Worlds, and World Views 1917–39. New Delhi: Sage. Sridharan, Eswaran. 2011. International Relations Theory and South Asia. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Thakur, Vineet. 2014. ‘Colonial origins of Indian foreign policymaking’. Economic and Political Weekly XLIX (32): 20–45.

2  International Relations and Foreign Policy in India Policy-Oriented Works between Discipline and State Audrey Alejandro For the last 20 years, criticisms have emerged in International Relations (IR) to denounce the overwhelming dominance of ‘Western’ theories (Tickner and Waever 2009; Hobson 2012). To counteract this tendency, authors promote the use of the literature produced ‘beyond the West’1 (Grovogui 2007: 229) in order to better take into account the ‘non-Western voices’ (Acharya and Buzan 2007: 286). A need for a greater acknowledgement of what is written globally is undeniable. Still, the way the situation is described seems to represent an issue for the implementation of an alternative. By opposing ‘mainstream’ IR to what is produced ‘locally’ (Vasilaki 2012: 6; Knutsen 2014: 448), the literature implicitly essentialises IR ‘outside the West’ by assuming its ‘critical’ character due to its ‘non-Western’ localisation. Contrary to ‘Western’ cases, the way local variables shape the impact of IR production – such as the national construction of the discipline or its relation to the state – is barely considered.2 The problems faced by IR researchers since the 2000s in India represent an enlightening case for this situation. With the transformation of India’s international position, Indian IR scholars underline the need to address ‘a problem-solving or policy-agenda […] which is more immediate than is the research agenda defined by a problematique’ (Bajpai 2009: 115).3 Researchers however lament the fact that IR has not been able to take up this challenge in India (Harshe 1997; Mahajan 2010: 59). Rather than a ‘Western dependence’, it is the lack of distance of IR discourse towards the state and the government that appears to represent the problem pointed out by IR scholars in India (Alagappa 2009: 29; Rana and Misra 2005: 79). This article will explore the reasons that can explain the perceived failure of IR discourses in India regarding the policy-oriented ambitions of the literature. Taking as a starting point the ambitions and constraints expressed by Indian researchers will enable us to question the distinction made by the literature between ‘mainstream’ discourses and ‘local’ discourses, presumed to be more ‘critical’. In order to do so, this article relies on sociological fieldwork undertaken in 2012. This investigation focused on the practices and perceptions of Indian IR scholars dealing with the internationalisation of their publication. It is composed of 46 interviews with scholars, PhD students, executives of the University Grants Commission (the UGC: the main funding body for science in India), newspapers and academic editors. Following the considerations mentioned previously,

30  Audrey Alejandro it also draws upon Indian IR literature and institutional documents that help to contextualise the dynamics mentioned in the interviews.4 Three reasons that can explain the ‘marginalization’ of IR ‘in the making of Indian foreign policy’ (Mohan 2009: 148) will be investigated. First, we will evaluate the arguments of Indian scholars dealing with the traditional lack of independence of IR towards the Indian State. After questioning the role of such external conditions, we will investigate factors more directly linked with the organisation of the discipline itself. Second, we will thus assess whether the scope of IR in India is really favourable for policy-oriented studies. Third, we will conclude by underlying how academic and funding weaknesses may make it difficult for Indian IR to take some critical perspective from the Indian context.

A discipline stuck in a ‘post-colonial hangover’? As highlighted in the introduction, Indian scholars tend to designate the relationship between IR and the Indian State as the main factor explaining the incapacity of IR in India to produce a discourse that efficiently addresses the new challenges experienced by this country. This hypothesis enables us to empirically understand the context that created such a situation. However, it does not seem to fully grasp its complexity. A Delhi-centred institutional base mainly dedicated to expertise discourses In India, the institutionalisation of IR addressed the needs of developing foreign policy expertise. Before independence, the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) was inaugurated in 1943, to counterbalance the views of the British Chatham House (Batabyal 2011: 332). In 1955, another ‘Nehruvian brainchild’ was created: The International School of International Studies (ISIS) (Sahni 2009: 50). Finally, in 1965, the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) – funded by the Ministry of Defence – was founded in the same building as the ICWA and the ISIS (Subrahmanyam 2005). Sixty years later, the ISIS has become the School of International Studies (SIS). It has been part of Jawaharlal Nehru University since its creation in 1970. Following this political impulse, IR courses started being offered at the postgraduate level at university. This format enabled the training of people that would later offer their expertise on international relations. The SIS today offers three post-graduate programmes in IR: MPhil and Master’s in International Politics (created in 1971 and 1973) and Master’s in International Economics (created in 1995). Since the 1980s, other institutions have offered IR post-graduate programmes such as Mahatma Gandhi University (Kottayam), Jadavpur University (Calcutta), Pondicherry University (Pondicherry) and, more recently, Jamia Millia Islamia in 2006 (New Delhi) and South Asian University in 2011 (New Delhi). To our knowledge, there are no IR undergraduate programmes in the country. Most IR institutions, both in and outside academia, are located in Delhi, leading scholars to mention the ‘Delhi-centrism’ of the discipline (Mallavarapu

IR and Foreign Policy in India  31 2005: 4), and it is in Delhi that most scholars are concentrated. The SIS is unanimously considered as the biggest centre of the country with its 75 faculty members (Rajan 2005) and 13 research centres.5 Delhi is also where the most think tanks and IR institutions are found. This situation leads to an opposition between institutions of the capital and those designated as ‘regional’ and allegedly lacking resources (Mattoo 2009: 39; Paul 2009: 135; Behera 2007: 344). It is also in Delhi that the training programmes are the most competitive. In 2001, 1,416 candidates competed nationally for the 69 places offered by the Master’s degree in ‘Politics, International Studies’ of the SIS, 748 for the 20 places offered by the Master’s degree in international economics and 901 for the 139 places available for the Mphil/PhD course (Mattoo 2009: 39–40). Publications are also very Delhicentred. As shown by Sharma in her survey of the most famous IR Indian journals, less than 10 per cent of the articles published are written by scholars based outside Delhi (Sharma 2009: 82). The development of think tanks confirmed the Delhi-centrism of the discipline as they are mainly located in the capital. Among the most important IR think tanks, we can take as examples the Centre for Policy Research (1973), the Observer Research Foundation (1990), the Institute for China Studies (1990) and the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies (1996). The creation in 1998 of the National Security Advisory Board aiming at making recommendations to the National Security Council is also worth mentioning. The presence of think tanks also facilitates the access to other kinds of policy-oriented projects such as those now commonly called ‘track II diplomacy’, coordinated by these institutions (Mohan 2009).6 According to the interviewees, the concentration of IR in Delhi enables researchers to be better familiarised with the political arena, and offers an exposure considered essential by the researchers working on national policies. But the concentration of IR in Delhi as well as its ties with the political milieu there makes detachment from the political sphere difficult in the capital as the experience of several interviewees suggest: That’s not the case in provincial universities because there you cannot get close to the power centre, so they don’t have the temptation of security institutions and the government, they don’t have the projects and the affiliations the government can give here from time to time. So their mood and their thinking is different, and that’s my experience, in Delhi you’re very close and you tend to be persuaded by the power centre, and your thinking tends to be influenced by that particular theoretical tradition. At least that’s my personal experience.7 Post-colonial professional involvement makes it difficult for IR researchers to be critical of the state According to the interviews, it is in the context of professionalisation of the first few generations of IR Indian scholars that this relationship has emerged between IR researchers and the Indian State. Indeed, criticism of Indian politics was

32  Audrey Alejandro difficult in the post-colonial context, because of the need for the newly formed state to gain legitimacy both domestically and internationally. Mallavarapu evocates the very singular ‘anxiety’ of the states recently decolonised (Mallavarapu 2009: 167). Alagappa describes the ‘distinctive trajectories’ of IR in Asia relative to the fact that some of those countries achieved sovereignty more recently than other colonised states (Alagappa 2011: 193). If, in Europe, IR was created in order to avoid the repetition of the disaster caused by the First World War, in the ‘Asian’ context, IR researchers were rather concerned ‘with national and regime survival, and their relationship to a highly polarized and confrontational world still dominated by Western powers’ (Alagappa 2011: 196). This author therefore defends the idea that insecurity and lack of identity required the construction of a strong image of the state among the elites (Alagappa 2011: 211–12). The discourses of the interviewees also emphasise the importance of militant activities in the 1970s. However, the resistance of the intellectuals towards the government at that time does not appear to have shifted the representations of the Indian State that IR researchers acquired in the formative moments of the discipline. Thus, the ‘symbolic role of international politics’ for the construction of the Indian State and the way intellectuals had to position themselves with respect to this discourse needs to be considered (Mitra 2002). The fact that Nehru exerted an expertise on international issues might have interfered with the development of a non-governmental discourse distant from the government views. Interviewees express the fact that creating a debate around doctrines such as non-alignment or non-violence could have appeared as a non-patriotic stance in the decades following independence. Still, some contemporary scholars today severely criticise the position of scholars of the firsts generations. Mohan qualifies them as ‘good cheer leaders’8 and Bajpai considers that through this mentality, independence has taken the form of parochialism in academia (Bajpai 2009: 123). As a consequence, it was at that time that ‘policy-relevant’ or ‘policy-oriented’ research started becoming so popular in India (Mohan 2009: 153). For Bajpai, India remained during this period largely disconnected from the importance that was given to more ‘scientific’ methods in other parts of the world (Bajpai 2005: 26). Accordingly, interviewees have expressed the need for the current generation to emancipate themselves from this image of the state in order to acquire a more critical position. According to Rana and Misra, contemporary researchers are still ‘overly impressed and influenced by state practice’ (Rana and Misra 2005: 79). Behera underlines the incorporation of implicit professional models such as ‘the infallibility of the Indian state modelled after the Westphalian nation-state’ (Behera 2007: 348). An expression used by an interviewee seems to perfectly fit the situation. He talks about a ‘postcolonial hangover’ from which Indian scholars have not managed to detach themselves: The conclusion that I have come to is that the postcolonial hangover is part of the fact of being postcolonial, because no matter how rigid the State maybe be, it’s our State, it’s the State we won from the colonial masters, after a great deal of struggle; that State, by being sovereign, we have a status in the

IR and Foreign Policy in India  33 international system, otherwise, we didn’t have as a colony. So what we have is that the notion of the State as an oppressor which is very powerful in Indian social sciences generally in fact, but when it comes to International Relations, that image of the State as oppressor seems to fade away and we have the notion of the State as protector.9 This ‘hangover’ takes the form of academic nationalism in the IR arena. The common statement that IR in India is dominated by realism can be interpreted as a euphemist way to describe its nationalism (Batabyal 2011). Contrary to the general assumption, if we look more closely at the field, very few scholars actually define themselves as working in a realist framework. In fact, during the interviews, the scholars that had been explicitly identified as realists by their peers expressed their feeling of being isolated in India. A few interviewees also explained that this nationalism is stronger in an international context, where Indian researchers tend to get closer to the views of their governments, as illustrated in the following abstract: For example, I realized that a lot of people in IR in India, they tend to become ambassadors of India’s foreign policy positions when they go outside the country. They tend to take a very uncritical approach towards Indian foreign policy. It’s like they feel it’s their own responsibility to defend Indian foreign policy. And I saw that you could actually engage in a very fruitful manner with being nationalistic. That’s the first place I saw that. It’s really funny you know because you see Indian policy seminars in India where only Indians are present and then you see a seminar where half are Indian and half are foreigners. The same people they’ll say different things. There’s very little example about India’s nuclear policy in a big scattering.10 Continued influence of the state over IR? Finally, a last argument put forward by IR researchers explaining the lack of independence of IR in India refers to the direct control of the state over the discipline. Srivastava talks about a ‘despotic’ influence of the state over intellectual production in India (Srivastava 2011: 19). Paul describes the role of the state in academic research as following a ‘soviet model’ (Paul 2009: 142). Quoting Nehru, Behera states that the prime minister was uninterested in the development of an autonomous discourse in IR as he considered himself as the main producer of this expertise and would rather ask economists for their advice on the direction to take to best build a modern and industrialised India (Behera 2007: 351). Indian analysts were expected to justify and operationalise non-alignment (Bajpai 2005: 22), and not to explore regions or topics in which Nehru was not interested (Tharoor 2003: 182). These elements need to be understood in the more general context of the academic attitude of Indian scholars towards international influence under Nehru’s government. By the 1950s, the number of political science scholars going abroad started to diminish (Bajpai 2005: 110). By the end of the 1960s, the funding

34  Audrey Alejandro of the ISIS by international philanthropic foundations started to raise political resistances. Nehru was suspicious regarding the capacity of foundations to extend the American foreign policy sphere of influence in the context of the Vietnam War (Batabyal 2011: 333). By 1973, the Rockefeller Foundation had ceased its actions in the country and the Ford Foundation had limited its activities, focusing mainly on non-governmental organisations (Srivastava 2011: 14). This situation continued in the following period. Paul underlines the existence of restrictions of incoming and outgoing visas for researchers working on national security and foreign policy issues. According to him, such policies followed the deterioration of relations between the US and India after the 1971 war under Indira Gandhi’s term of office (Paul 2009: 142). In the case of political science and IR, it became even more difficult for researchers to address a critical discourse to the government given the 30 years archival policy for official documents (Paul 2009: 142). Paul considers that even after this period, much material is still kept under wraps and access is usually provided to a few with proper ‘connections’. Consequently, it is understandable that some researchers note that politicians are not expecting to learn anything new from the discourse produced outside the government (Bajpai 2009: 126–7). Other channels can also enable state control over policy-oriented discourse such as laws dealing with think tank regulation (Srivastava 2011: 19). The Seventh National Plan considers think tanks only as far as they act as intermediaries facilitating the implementation of its policies, not as cooperative entities (Srivastava 2011: 16). Srivastava also underlines other means of influence such as ‘government donations of land or sales of land at concessional rates for the construction of think tank offices, income tax exemptions and the granting of deemed university status’ (Srivastava 2011: 19). The rising possibility for the private sector to fund research institutions since the 1990s could have represented a means to counterbalance the presence of the state. Srivastava mentions the involvement of the important Indian groups such as Tata Sons, Maruti Udyog Ltd, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, HDFC Bank, ACC Ltd, Reliance, Kotak Mahindra and Infosys. But research financed by industry does not appear to be more independent as it ended up being ‘motivated by commercial concerns and partisan interests’ (Srivastava 2011: 18). In any case, Alagappa estimates that philanthropy remains low and private funding is ‘virtually impossible’ for topics dealing with foreign policy and security (Alagappa 2011: 219). He also designates the ‘bureaucratic control of UGC’ (the main scientific funding agency) as ‘what went wrong’ with the development of IR (Alagappa 2009: 41). However, several elements tend to counterbalance these perspectives. First, the fact that some important private think tanks rely heavily on international funding needs to be taken into account. This is, for example, the case for institutions such as the Observer Research Foundation, the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and the Centre for Policy Research (CPR).11 Second, interviewees tended to question the interest of policy makers and diplomats regarding Indian IR discourses. Rather than denouncing the control of the state over the discipline, it is rather the lack of

IR and Foreign Policy in India  35 concern of policy makers for what IR produces that trouble the interviewees (Paul 2009: 135–7). The existence of a vicious circle is put forward to explain the situation. Bajpai underlines IR lack of legitimacy relative to policy makers in India (Bajpai 2009: 126–7). According to some interviewees, this lack of legitimacy relies on the fact that IR in India has not proved itself capable of offering enough alternative critical insights to national policies. In that case, it could be the lack of criticality of IR that explains its marginalisation from policy-making. These conclusions invite us to question the aspects of the problem that deal more specifically with the professional orientations of IR in India: Is IR India really as inclined to policy-oriented studies as suggested by the literature? If the post-colonial context cannot solely explain the uncritical character of IR towards the Indian State, what else could explain such a situation?

Is Indian IR disciplinary and institutionally prone to policy-oriented studies? Could the perceived failure of IR in India be caused by an inadequacy of the discipline relative to the framework required by policy-oriented works? Two elements tend to affirm this hypothesis. The organisation of IR in India appears to be highly compatible with policy-oriented works both in terms of formats of publication and of traditional areas of specialisation. Indian IR researchers favour national publications Indian IR scholars tend to favour easily accessible non-peer-reviewed formats to the detriment of academic publications in peer-reviewed journals. This situation enables the potential circulation of discourses between social groups necessary to policy-oriented research. In the interviews, three reasons have been brought forward explaining this situation. First, Indian scholars tend to perceive national intellectual and political elites, as well as students, as their main target audience. Considering that those groups have hardly access to academic publications, it is understandable that researchers tend to give priority to more accessible supports. When interviewed about the reasons why they were not publishing in international journals, a few scholars explicitly replied: ‘Because nobody reads them’. The following excerpt of an interview of a scholar in her thirties illustrates this position: I have worked all my life in a research organisation, it’s the first time I’m working in a university and [among] everything I have published, my journal pieces are not easily read but everything other than that has been much more easily … and people read them because they can access them much more easily because it’s a pdf file on that organisation website. So that senior colleague of mine in Delhi University said that: ‘Why the hell publishing in those journals if nobody is gonna read them?’. So eventually, you actually do it for yourself because nobody in India, the vast majority, is not gonna be able to do it. So if you’re doing it for your own community of people, you know

36  Audrey Alejandro the IR community will read you because they have access – the top people […] And I realized what is ‘the vast majority’ now because I teach in a central institution, access is really really poor, JNU is like Ivy league colleague university in India to say in comparison to Delhi University.12 Academic journals are hardly available in small universities in India (Mattoo 2009: 39). Even in Delhi, the huge number of students taking the courses in Delhi University or Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) makes it difficult for them to have access to the paper versions of the journals or to the university computers. Accordingly, press articles and online policy briefs are described as the most accessible media of diffusion. Second, the national market of publication offers various appealing options (Mattoo 2009: 39). Mattoo puts forward that around 500 journals/newspapers dealing with international issues are registered at the Registrar of Indian Newspapers, and estimates that less than 10 per cent of them are peer-reviewed (Mattoo 2009: 39). Numerous book publishers are available nationally and are keen on publishing policy-oriented research. The main international book publishers, such as Routledge, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Sage or Palgrave, have regional offices in Delhi and they have book series specialising in national and regional issues. National offices publish books at a very affordable price, which is considered better adapted to the targeted audience of IR scholars in India. Third, local non-peer-reviewed publications are seen as the easiest opportunities regarding the working conditions of researchers. The ‘career advancement scheme’ (CAS) was established in 200913 and it shows the points needed for academic promotion. If we analyse the document, we notice that the difference of points granted between international/national and peer-reviewed/non-peerreviewed publications is negligible. To take an example a publication in ‘Refereed Journals’ is worth up to 15 points per item. A publication in ‘Non-refereed but recognized and reputable journals and periodicals, having ISBN/ISSN numbers’ is worth up to 10 points per publication. And a publication in ‘Conference proceedings as full papers, etc.’ is worth up to 10 points per publication. As a consequence, the amount of investment needed to publish in an academic refereed journal is considered not worth the results. In this context, other publication formats are perceived as a better investment by the researchers. The fact that book chapters and press articles can be remunerated has often been mentioned by the interviewees as an appealing incentive. Rapidity of publication is considered as an important criterion especially for young scholars eager on quickly building their resume. Following this, local publishers are often chosen because they are quicker, and online publications are valued. Researchers often directly publish as the result of conferences organised in think tanks. Research centres organise the publications of collective volumes for which scholars are invited to contribute with a chapter. Such publications are described as ‘easy’, as scholars are asked by people they know to write

IR and Foreign Policy in India  37 articles on topics they specialise in. For those working in think tanks, they can be made compulsory, as a certain number of such publications is required by their contracts. The role of think tanks has also been mentioned in the interviews regarding the training they offer to young scholars in terms of policy-oriented ways of writing. Because the professional competition and requirements are less arduous for think tanks than for university, most scholars start working for think tanks at the beginning of their career. Think-tank contracts represent one of the main sources of funding for PhD students and young researchers. Few are the scholars in the university system who have not worked in think tanks at some point in their career. They socialise researchers to policy-oriented formats of thinking and writing. Following the expression of an interviewee, the influence of think tanks seems to impose a ‘diktat of the market’ in favour of policy-oriented works. This influence can better be understood in the context of a disciplinary field that already tends to promote topics linked to Indian affairs. A focus on area studies and topics relevant for policy-oriented studies Through the policy-oriented character of area studies, IR scope in India tends to provide a context enabling the production of discourses of expertise on foreign policy. Indeed, area studies are an important part of the original design of IR in India. In 1955, Delhi University created the first department of area studies (African Studies). SIS was hosting nine centres of area studies when it was created. Nowadays, area studies still represent an essential component of the discipline. The literature highlights the fact that it might be more suitable in India to designate International Relations as International Studies comprising both international relations per se and area studies (Alagappa 2009: 14; Sharma 2009: 71). In 2005, the structure of the SIS was reorganised and confirmed the importance given to area studies (8 out of 12 centres). In 2009, Sahni estimated that up to 54 universities offered programmes in area studies (Sahni 2009: 52). Similarly, in her 2008 survey of the main IR journals in South Asia, Behera highlighted the dominance of area studies works in the journal International Studies, the main IR journal in India, published by the SIS. She underlined that between 1959 and 2006, 474 articles have dealt with area studies and 271 with other IR sub-areas (Behera 2008: 138). The analysis made by Sharma of the 520 PhDs defended at the SIS between 1996 and 2007 shows that more than half of them are related to area studies (Sharma 2009: 78). Area studies benefit from state funding according to their policy-oriented purpose. It is considered that both the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) and UGC have privileged the funding of area studies over the other subfields of IR over the last 40 years (Behera 2007: 343). In 1963, the UGC – the main organisation funding and coordinating Indian academic activities – ensured the promotion of area studies by establishing 27 new area studies programmes through its ‘Special assistance program’ (Sharma 2009: 73). The objective given

38  Audrey Alejandro by the UGC to those centres is to study ‘various aspects of different countries and regions of the world, particularly of those with which India had a close and direct contact’ as in the 2007 statement of the institution (Sharma 2009: 74). In its 2009 statement, the UGC confirmed its supports for the expansion of area studies in the country. Area studies are still funded in order to provide an expertise discourse as the UGC insists on their need to address policy-making issues: Funding through planning with a strong incentive on area studies and policyoriented research: The results of the studies in these Centres should be useful in the formulation of our national policies in foreign affairs, defence and culture and in the spheres of bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation. There should be close interaction between the Area Study Centres and the relevant Ministry. (UGC 2009) Echoing the weight of area studies in India, IR traditional topics of inquiry in the country have also supported policy-oriented analysis. Notwithstanding a relative diversification, there is a consensus that Indian foreign policy and bilateral relations seem to remain Indian IR scholars’ privileged topics of inquiry (Sharma 2009; Sahni 2009). In 2012, Oxford University Press published a state of the literature dedicated to political science in India, the fourth volume of which focused on IR. In the introduction of this book, Behera maps the contemporary ‘research agenda’ and concludes that bilateral relations (mainly with Pakistan and the US) represent the main topic of inquiry in India (Behera 2013). Interestingly, works specialising on other parts of the world also often deal with India’s bilateral relations. In his study of the 350 PhDs theses defended at JNU between 1996 and 2007, Sahni shows that 65 theses dealt with Indian foreign policy and bilateral relations between India and another country (Sahni 2009: 56–7). The organisation of IR in India – both in terms of content and of modes of publication – favours policy-oriented work. However, other disciplinary constrains dealing more specifically with how IR is taught and its lack of internationalisation highlight other dimensions of the problem.

Academic and economic weaknesses disconnect researchers from sources of criticality Theoretical and methodological skills are not favoured in IR training. The internationalisation of research is not promoted, neither in terms of publication incentives nor funding. This situation appears detrimental to the formation of a critical mindset towards the state on two levels. On the one hand, it does not provide academically trained people with the specific tools that could represent a clear added value to policy-makers’ perspectives. On the other hand, it prevents IR researchers from gaining exposure on the international circuits of academic publication skills

IR and Foreign Policy in India  39 are required the go through the gatekeepers of academic internationalisation. By doing so, it does not help them connect to other foreign academic networks that could expose them to alternative perspectives (Paul 2009: 130). Theory and methodology are not promoted in IR academic socialisation IR methodological training is considered poor by the interviewees. Methodology is understood in its extended meaning. Researchers lament the incapacity of PhD students to grasp the ‘basics of scientific activity’. Alagappa states that ‘students are seldom asked to investigate and analyse research puzzles’ (Alagappa 2009: 10). The main problem appears to be that researchers themselves have not been trained in methodology. Scholars explain that they have not been familiarised with the criteria of scientific research during their curricula. As explained by an interviewee, they had to learn on the job ‘hypothesis, questionnaires, conclusions, and archives …’. Consequently, what is produced often results in being very descriptive and chronological. In the words of an interviewee: But [IR Indian scholars] didn’t have the basic training in IR, not only the theories, the methodological skills so what we are producing is chronological narratives, India-Russia from this year to this year, what happened, foreign policy, so you know in terms of guiding students’ questions.14 A 30-year-old interviewee explains how she considers her training in a small institution to have lacked basic academic pluralism. For example, she describes how she had to recite her lesson without formulating a personal opinion for her exams. She admitted to being surprised when she went for a year abroad to Uppsala as she realised that conformity to the authoritative figure was interpreted there as a lack of intellectual achievement. Several interviewees put forward that they did not need methodological skills to obtain a job. This argument is even more relevant in the case of college teachers as only Master’s level is needed to access these positions. Bajpai notes that, contrary to what is required by JNU, the SIS has not implemented methodology classes in their Master’s degree as nobody was qualified to offer it (Bajpai 2009: 117). The situation is quite similar in relation to theory. Scholars perceive the use of theory as poor in IR in India (Mallavarapu 2009: 168; Rana and Misra 2005: 77; Bajpai 2009). In his study of the 350 PhDs defended in the SIS in area studies between 1996 and 2007, Sahni explains that only 7 can be considered as theoretical and 12 have some elements of theory (Sahni 2009: 58–9). In her article focusing on the 520 PhDs defended in the SIS between 1997 and 2007, Sharma considers that only 4 of them deal with theoretical questions (Sharma 2009: 79). Finally, Behera’s analysis of the articles published in International Studies between 1959 and 2006 shows that only 7.41 per cent can be qualified as ‘theoretical’ and 17.34 per cent were ‘theoretically informed’; 75.24 per cent were devoid of theoretical elements (Behera 2009: 141).

40  Audrey Alejandro Researchers using theories describe themselves as self-trained. For those who already have a professional position, exposure to theory is scarce as few seminars and workshops are focused on those questions. As a consequence, theory is barely taught (Alagappa 2011: 215). Ambitions are revised downwards for the scholars aiming at teaching theories: Today I find, my minimal target I would say, if students were trained in a good theoretical traditions and they went to work in think tanks and then they produced policy-related work, at least they are informed, so it’s ok, you know, but that is an issue.15 The use of theory in classes is considered as a personal choice, as explained by this interviewee: Therefore, there is need for focussing on theory and in my teaching I always focus on theory. Even if I work on, India-France relations or India-US relations. I will not simply tell about the history, I will tell which theoretical framework will be appropriate for explaining conflict or cooperation or convergences or divergences, and come out with some theoretical approach, conceptual analysis framework, and then apply it to the empirical analysis, and then I am trying to tell the students that we have to focus on theory. This is very strong weakness of Indian scholars.16 Bajpai considers that programmes have experienced a rapid modernisation in terms of curricula (Bajpai 2009: 111). However, Sharma shows in her comparative analysis of Master’s programmes that only the course in Goa has a class in methodology (Sharma 2009: 77). In JNU, the PhD training offers methodology classes. Nevertheless, the PhD candidates interviewed considered them as insufficient as they are left to different teachers over a few months. Once again, such courses are perceived as very descriptive.17 In comparison to methodology, the value of theory represents an explicit debate among IR researchers in India. Resistance to IR theory is not a recent phenomenon in India and is closely linked to the formative years of IR. On the one hand, theoretical works were considered at the early years of independence as ‘anti-national’ and ‘inappropriate for a developing country, a diversion of the best and brightest from problem-solving into abstruse and speculative endeavour’ (Bajpai 2005: 29). It was considered a luxury that took IR scholars away from their responsibilities towards the problems raised by the new condition of Indian foreign policy (Batabyal 2011: 327). Bajpai defends the existence of a ‘cult of relevance’ at that time (Bajpai 2005: 28). On the other hand, the existence of a resistance towards the ‘Western’ character of IR theory needs to be taken into account. Theory was considered as a ‘product of the West’, a ‘neo-colonial trap’ that was not relevant to addressing national issues (Bajpai 2005: 25, 28). For some, doing theory may not solely have appeared as incompatible with the Indian situation but also as being an ‘accomplice to the

IR and Foreign Policy in India  41 imperial project’ (Mallavarapu 2009). From then on, refusing the use of theory could be a mean to ‘distance India from the West and to be self-sufficient and autarkic’. This position represents the symbol of an anti-neocolonial position as ‘theory is resisted as a neo-colonial trap’ (Bajpai 2005: 25). Lack of funding for internationalisation In the trajectory of the interviewees, international socialisation represents an opportunity to take a step back from the socialisation offered by the Indian field and gain some critical perspective towards its relation to the Indian State. It is first an opportunity to acquire new methodological training and theoretical insights. This can be the result of visiting scholars’ programmes or even the attendance of international conferences. The two following abstracts illustrate the perception of two interviewees regarding those two kinds of events: Q. And what did you think of the results of this research? A. Well those fellowships were very important, for a research fellowship in a university or a research fellowship in a policy think tank, it basically gives you important impulse. Number one it teaches you the framework of analysis there, the person is trained to systematic analysis within a scope of methodology.18 Q. So it was a good experience in Porto? [WISC Conference 2011] A. Oh it was a wonderful experience. Not only in terms of the conference it gave me, in terms of presenting papers, but also in terms of receiving, learning from others. You know the German fellow, he had a SUPER paper, it was like some kind of simulation model [laughs] it was simply excellent. You know it had it almost like a machine the way it had his diagrams and charts, and its statistics, so you do also learn from other papers and you know the whole fact of exchanging ideas from scholars from other universities and other regions. Scholars or nationals from different countries, but studying in different universities. You know, this Russian girl studying in the university of Cambridge, you know so it is multi-level, multi-cultural. People from all across the world and you know the feedback. How they put up questions, relating to my own paper, how I put up questions relating to theirs, so it certainly was, the exposure was tremendous experience.19 Second, in relation to the nationalist and parochial tendency of Indian IR already exposed, some interviewees have expressed their interest in going abroad to have access to a space where they can express their opinions more freely about Indian politics. Some interviewees value confronting their arguments before a more diverse audience to the point of travelling regularly to expand their research. The next excerpt is an example of an interviewee working on military issues and applying regularly for visiting fellowships in the United States for those reasons: Number one you get a lot of freedom of research. The first thing is the agenda of research is free and open-ended. The researcher, the academic researcher

42  Audrey Alejandro has a great freedom to choose the area or the sub-area of research and then he can pursue it. Secondly, you have what you call an alternative discourse, which is a very important element of research. You don’t need to be mainstream, you can always have an alternative discourse, which is very important aspect of research. Thirdly, there is an input in what is called critical research. You can critique a particular project; you can critique a particular project research there. Whereas in India, people do research on very strong establishment positions there. Because there are always pro-establishment in India whereas in the United States and in Europe you can take a critical point in your research and work actually there. Fourthly, you have resources to support your research there. For example the kind of research you are doing, International Relations in India and Brazil, I don’t have that kind of resources to do research about India and China. […] So being in this kind of institution creates more obstacles than working there. […] That’s the reason I prefer to do the research outside the institution, and that’s why I prefer to do the research outside the country rather than inside the country. That is why the freedom of research is better in international settings than in India.20 Finally, internationalisation has a cumulative effect as it redirects publication to a more academic and international audience. Going to international conferences provides opportunities to establish new networks. Those networks later provide opportunities for new publications. International conferences are also considered to be a good way to improve the level of the publications and to adapt them to international standards of publications. But financial resources to support the internationalisation of research are considered to be scarce and inappropriate in India. The UGC and the universities represent the main providers of funding. They are criticised for the out-dated character of their procedure. At the time of the interview, the UGC was funding one trip every three years. The applications are described as endless and unreliable. An interviewee gives the example of a conference in Europe for which her institution agreed to finance her, but cancelled its support the week before the departure. The detail of the justifications required discourages some scholars from even applying: Here, nobody will bother whether what work you have done or not but they will bother how many biscuits you have eaten … Why seven? You should have taken only four biscuits. […] Whatever the clerks will write, the final authority will also sign on that, very few Vice Chancellors are there who are over ruling the clerks, the ‘clerk-Raj’ is there. One has to constantly, teachers are feeling, genuine scholars are feeling so much harassed. Therefore in UGC, I also told ‘don’t ask how many chapattis I have eaten, you ask that what work you have done’.21 The same way, public funding is rarely available for internationalisation even when it deals with expertise on area studies. Rajan puts forward the notion that

IR and Foreign Policy in India  43 IR expertise relative even to India’s neighbours is insufficient (Rajan 2005: 201). In spite of the UGC’s encouragements to develop language skills among IR scholars, few courses are available. Researchers lament the lack of training in strategic languages for Asian politics such as Mandarin, Japanese or Russian as well as regional languages (Dari, Bengali, Urdu, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi, etc.). The UGC’s instructions dealing with fieldwork illustrate the scarcity of means available as it ‘should be a minimum of two weeks and may not exceed 60 days’ (UGC 2009).22 At the SIS, PhD students are authorised to go on their fieldwork when it is considered that 80 per cent of the work of the PhD has been accomplished, which can result in a complicated intellectual and logistics dilemma. The lack of funding has been put forward in the interviews as a reason in explaining the choice of domestic topics. Funding also depends on the status of the researcher, and the budget may vary considerably between institutions. This favours the reproduction of an internationalised elite in IR participating in a ‘loop’ of international exposure creating a double-standard system. A researcher who has increased responsibilities admitted he now tries to share the opportunities he receives with younger scholars: For my part I don’t celebrate. It is the weakness of our system. […] I recommend a young scholar instead of doing it myself because you know you want to spread some stuff around, this is important.

Conclusion This article aimed at explaining the perceived marginalisation of IR in India regarding foreign policy making. We conclude that the lack of autonomy of the discipline of IR makes it difficult for IR scholars to adopt a decentred perspective regarding the state, and therefore fully offer an independent and innovative discourse. IR in India is mainly policy-oriented, Delhi-centred and focusing on area studies, but this specialisation is double-edged. Its nationalistic origins aimed at helping India in forging an independent position at the international level. It eventually stuck IR discourses in what we have designated as a ‘post-colonial hangover’. On the one hand, the image of the state, as well as it actual involvement in the discipline, has made it difficult for Indian scholars to find a space to develop a critical perspective. On the other hand, this situation, as well as the scarcity of adapted training and funding, created a parochialism that cut Indian scholars from their international counterparts, preventing them from opportunities to develop independent positions. However, the fact Indian scholars make explicit those problems show the existence of a vibrant professional discussion on those topics as shown by the specialised literature and the interviews. By focusing on ‘international mainstream IR’ dependence, IR ‘critical’ literature fails to consider other dimensions induced by post-colonial contexts. This article shows that IR in India may not be as critical as the discourse on ‘nonWestern’ IR may suggest. On the contrary, taking into account the local contexts and perspectives of IR researchers shows that the same elements that represent

44  Audrey Alejandro comparative advantages produce a more locally grounded perspective, which result in a constraint on other aspects.

Notes   1 In reference of the Routledge collection Worlding Beyond the West currently edited by Arlene B. Tickner, David Blaney, Christian Bueger, Inanna Hamati-Ataya and Ole Wæver.  2 For comprehensive examples of such endeavour, see, for instance, Our Enemies and US: America’s Rivalries and the Making of Political Science (Oren 2003) and International Relations in France: Writing between Discipline and State (Breitenbauch 2013), to which the title of this chapter makes a reference.   3 Our use of the term ‘IR in India’ encompasses both IR discourses produced in think tanks and in academia. It reflects the definition of the discipline used by Indian scholars relative to the topic under scrutiny as witnessed both in interviews and in the literature (Mattoo 2009; Alagappa 2009; Basrur 2009: 104).   4 The excerpts used in this article are anonymised. However, in the cases where interviews and publications were overlapping, we have selected the use of publications.   5 For more information, see the website of the SIS: Available online at (accessed on 2 August 2015).   6 ‘By “Track Two”, we mean policy-related discussions that are non-governmental, informal and unofficial in nature but which are close to governmental agendas and often involve the participation of government officials in their private capacities, with the explicit intention of influencing or informing public policy’ (Behera 2013).   7 Date of the interview: 18 July 2012.   8 ‘Although there was space for independent research and critical studies of Indian foreign policy, there was no incentive in academia or the media for such an approach. […] They were good as cheer leaders for their preferred political leaders, but not as generators of new ideas or new stratagems for the conduct of foreign policy’ (Mohan 2009: 153).   9 Date of the interview: 12 August 2012. 10 Date of the interview: 1 August 2012. 11 See the websites of the institutions for more information: Available online at www. and (accessed 2 August 2015). 12 Date of the interview: 19 August 2012. 13 The document is available online at pdf (accessed 2 August 2015). 14 Date of the interview: 31 August 2012. 15 Date of the interview: 9 July 2012. 16 Date of the interview: 9 July 2012. 17 ‘Most syllabi consist of an amalgam of diplomatic histories of major powers (read Europe) during the First and Second World Wars followed by the Cold War, and India’s foreign relations with little attention devoted to fundamental concepts and theoretical debates in IR’ (Behera 2007: 343). 18 Date of the interview: 25 July 2012. 19 Date of the interview: 2 July 2012. 20 Date of the interview: 25 July 2012. 21 Date of the interview: 21 July 2012. 22 ‘The scholar working in an Area Study Centre should have a real working knowledge of the Area being studied […] as field trips connected with the research programmes of an Area Study Centre are an essential part of their programmes, leave of absence for this purpose should be treated as “on duty”. Younger scholars should be encouraged to go for field-work’ (UGC 2009).

IR and Foreign Policy in India  45

References Acharya, Amitav and Barry Buzan. 2007. ‘Preface: Why is there no non-Western IR theory: Reflections on and from Asia’. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 7 (3): 285–6. Alagappa, M. 2011. ‘International Relations studies in Asia: Distinctive trajectories’. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 11 (2): 193–230. Alagappa, M. 2009. ‘Strengthening international studies in India: Vision and Recommendations’. International Studies 46 (1–2): 7–35. Bajpai, Kanti. 2005. ‘International studies in India: Bringing theory (back) home’. In International Relations in India: Bringing Theory Back Home, edited by K. Bajpai and S. Mallavarapu, pp. 17–38. New Delhi: Orient Longman. Bajpai, Kanti. 2009. ‘Obstacles to good work in Indian international relations’. International Studies 46 (1–2): 109–28. Basrur, Rajesh M. 2009. ‘Scholarship on India’s international relations: Some disciplinary shortcomings’. International Studies 46 (1–2): 89–108. Batabyal, Rajib. 2011. ‘Area studies: Trajectories of disciplinary discourse’. International Studies 48 (3–4): 325–36. Behera, Navnita. 2007. ‘Re-imagining IR in India’. International Relations of the AsiaPacific 7 (3): 341–68. Behera, Navnita. 2008. ‘International relations in South Asia: State of the art’. In International Relations in South Asia: Search for an Alternative Paradigm, pp. 1–50. New Delhi, Thousand Oaks, London, Singapore: Sage. Behera, Navnita. 2013. ‘Introduction’. In Political Science Vol. 4: India Engages the World, edited by Navnita Chadha Behera and Achin Vanaik. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Breitenbauch, Henrik. Ø. 2013. International Relations in France: Writing between Discipline and State. Abingdon: Routledge. Grovogui, Siba N’Zatioula. 2007. ‘Post-Colonialism’. In International Relations Theory: Discipline and Diversity, edited by Milja Kurki, Steve Smith and Timothy Dunne, pp. 203–29. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Harshe, Rajen. 1997. ‘The status of international relations studies: An agenda for the future’. In International and Area Studies in India, edited by Mannaraswamighala Sreeranga Rajan, pp. 68–90. New Delhi: Lancers Books. Hobson, John M. 2012. ‘Orientalism and the poverty of theory three decades on: Bringing eastern and subaltern agency back into critical IR theory’. In Critical Theory in International Relations and Security Studies, edited by Shannon Brincat, Laura Lima and João Nunes, pp. 129–39. London: Routledge. Knutsen, Torbjorn L. 2014. ‘Western approaches’. Millennium – Journal of International Studies 42 (2): 448–455. Mahajan, Sneh. 2010. ‘International studies in India: Some comments’. International Studies 47 (1): 59–72. Mallavarapu, Siddarth. 2005. ‘Introduction’. In International Relations in India: Bringing Theory Back Home, edited by S. Mallavarapu and K. Bajpai, pp. 1–16. New Delhi: Orient Longman. Mallavarapu, Siddarth. 2009. ‘Development of international relations theory in India: Traditions, contemporary perspectives and trajectories’. International Studies 46 (1–2): 165–83. Mattoo, Amitabh. 2009. ‘The state of international studies in India’. International Studies 46 (1–2): 37–48.

46  Audrey Alejandro Mitra, Subrata Kumar. 2002. ‘Emerging Major Powers and the International System: Significance of the Indian View’. Heidelberg: Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative South Asia Institute, Department of Political Science. Mohan, Raja C. 2009. ‘The re-making of Indian foreign policy: Ending the marginalization of international relations community’. International Studies 46 (1–2): 147–63. Oren, Ido. 2003. Our Enemies and US: America’s Rivalries and the Making of Political Science. Ithaca: Cornell Press. Paul, Thazha Varkey. 2009. ‘Integrating international relations studies in India to global scholarship’. International Studies 46 (1–2): 129–45. Rajan, M.S. 2005. ‘Golden Jubilee of the School of International Studies: An assessment’. International Studies 42 (3–4): 195–204. Rana, A.P. and Kamla P. Misra. 2005. ‘Communicative discourse and community in international relations studies in India: A critique’. International Relations in India: Bringing Theory Back Home, edited by S. Mallavarapu and K. Bajpai, pp. 71–122. New Delhi: Orient Longman. Sahni, Varun. 2009. ‘The fallacies and flaws of area studies in India’. International Studies 46 (1–2): 49–68. Sharma, Devika. 2009. ‘Mapping international relations teaching and research in Indian universities’. International Studies 46 (1): 69–88. Srivastava, Jayati. 2011. Think Tanks in South Asia Analysing the Knowledge – Power Interface. London: Overseas Development Institute. Subrahmanyam, Krishnaswamy. 2005. ‘The birth of IDSA and the early years’. In Selected Articles from IDSA Journals, Vol. 1, Strategic Thought: The Formative Years, edited by N.S. Sisodia and Sujit Dutta. New Delhi: Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Tharoor, Shashi. 2003. Nehru. The Invention of India. New Delhi: Penguin Books. Tickner, Arlene B. and Ole Waever. 2009. International Relations Scholarship around the World. New York: Routledge. UGC. 2009. ‘Guidelines for Area Studies Centres in Universities’. Working document. Vasilaki, Rosa. 2012. ‘Provincialising IR? Deadlocks and prospects in post-Western IR theory’. Millennium – Journal of International Studies 41 (1): 3–22.

Websites Center For Policy Research. Fiscal Year 2015 Grants. Available online at www.cprindia. org/sites/default/files/CPR_Grants_FY15.pdf (accessed 2 August 2015). Guidelines for Promotion of Teachers/Other Academic Staffs under Career Advancement Scheme (CAS). Available online at pdf (accessed 2 August 2015). Indian Council of World Affair (ICWA). Available online at (accessed 2 August 2015). Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. About Us. Available online at about-us/ (accessed 2 August 2015). School of International Studies. Available online at (accessed 2 August 2015).

Part II

Ideas, Norms and Perceptions

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3  More than a Rule Taker The Indian Way of Multilateralism Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf

Introduction During the previous 15 years, India has frequently been criticised for being a rule taker or even a rule breaker rather than a rule maker or rule shaper in global governance (Sidhu et al. 2013). Traditionally, its protective stance vis-à-vis state sovereignty with an emphasis on non-interference in internal matters, as well as its behaviour in selected international negotiations, have contributed to a reputation of being reluctant to fully engage in global cooperation and act as a responsible rule maker. In particular, its principled positioning, lined with moral rhetoric, which has consistently been used, has emerged into a style in international negotiations, which critical observers have described as ‘an unrealistic combination of arrogance and poverty’ (Cohen 2001: 66). India’s stress of its exceptionalism, due to its history and moral standing since the early Nehru years, has contributed to critical assessments of India’s global role. Even if such a label may be exaggerated, the country has certainly gained a reputation as ‘the India that can’t say yes’ (Cohen 2001: 66) – an image, which (from a certain Western perspective) is detrimental for a profile as a future ‘new global player’. Given this background, Western policy-makers, but also academics from the West and from Asia, have increasingly demanded that India, along with other BRICS1 countries, should become a responsible stakeholder in the international system. This quest for international responsibility, among others, is reflected in the foreign policy concept of the German Foreign Office from 2012, which identifies India as one of the world’s ‘Gestaltungsmächte’ (‘players shaping globalisation’). In addition, the United States have, after 2005, become increasingly aware of India’s large economy and role in Asia and regard US-India relations as highly relevant for regional and global affairs – a fact that was reflected in President Obama’s preparedness to accept Prime Minister Modi’s invitation to visit India in January 2015. The two countries have coined their relations as a strategic partnership, in which both countries have an interest in hedging an ‘assertive’ China (Thakur 2014: 1792). Scholars such as Amrita Narlikar have stressed that India could be specifically well-positioned for being a preferred partner for the West as shared democratic values might create a sense of ‘like-mindedness’. Actually, the idea of a

50  Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf shared normative background is also one of the underpinning discourses of the EU-India strategic partnership, established in 2004. However, it never got beyond rhetoric and it has lost importance after 2009 (Directorate-General for External Policies 2015). A second argument claims that the widespread use of English would facilitate cooperation (Narlikar 2013: 595), as it provides a shared base for communication and also makes Indian foreign policy debates globally accessible. Still, India has been perceived as a rather tough and sometimes difficult partner in international negotiations. These interpretations have a certain basis, given, for example, India’s strategy during the Geneva talks within WTO’s Doha Round (2008), during the Climate Summit in Copenhagen (2009) and in nuclear arms control negotiations for many decades. Although India’s constructive engagement in the 2015 Climate Change Summit and WTO ministerial meetings have somewhat changed this picture. At the same time, however, critical commentators tend to neglect that India brings in a perspective on multilateralism and global issues, which should not prematurely be dismissed as being uncooperative or irresponsible. Instead, India’s perspectives on global cooperation are shaped by a particular mixture of a conservative understanding of norms and principles within the ‘Westphalian’ tradition, such as sovereignty and non-interference on the one hand, and a rather moralistic leaning towards ‘progressive values’ such as protection of human rights, justice and equity. Furthermore, and in contrast to European states for example, India regards global and regional affairs as rather distinct playing fields with different logics – a perspective that stresses trade-offs between the two levels and allows for a mismatch between global multilateralism and regional bilateralism (Shahi 2013). India from the early days of its independence has rejected bi- or unipolar notions of world order and regards genuine multilateralism as a means to counterweigh dominance or hegemony. This chapter discusses whether India’s global engagement is as defensive as many observers claim. Our aim is to provide a more nuanced picture and argue that India is much more than a veto-player and rule taker in international negotiations. First, we argue that India has developed a rather distinct variant of multilateralism that combines the norms of sovereignty and non-interference with a quest for global justice and fairness. Although such an understanding collides from time to time with Western notions, it still enables cooperative behaviour – although linked to certain normative prerequisites. Second, we stress that India’s domestic challenges and its failure to mobilise acceptance for a pro-active and leading role in Southern Asia has led to a rather incoherent mixture of multi- and bilateral thinking in its overall approach to foreign policy. Nevertheless, this ambiguity (or the lack of a clear-cut and articulated strategy) gives India’s government flexibility in pursuing its perceived national interest. Third, we analyse how India managed to form and contribute to counter-hegemonic groupings of states, first the inclusive Group of 77, which has increasingly been replaced by the BRICS as a club of so-called emerging economies. But, at the same time, the country manages to establish good working relations with the two main major powers, China and USA. These seemingly conflicting foreign policy trends have led to the claim, both by Indian as well as foreign observers, that the country has no consistent

More than a Rule Taker  51 foreign policy concept, let alone a foreign policy strategy (Mennon and Kumar 2010; Mohan 2012; Gupta 2010; Venkatshamy and George 2012). This might be a premature judgement. The foreign policy mix might instead be understood as ‘problem-oriented’ (stressing India’s economic and political interests) rather than ‘paradigm-driven’ based on a grand strategy or theoretical concept. The resulting ambivalence and ambiguity allow for flexible partnerships and might be an asset in a world of patchwork governance. Still, we argue that the current strategy neglects India’s potential to shape the international agenda and could be enriched by a more coherent as well as a more pro-active normative stance.

India’s perspectives on global multilateralism Multilateralism can be defined as the ‘practice of coordinating national policies in a group of three or more states’ through institutions that are ‘persistent and connected sets of rules (formal and informal) that prescribe behavioural roles, constrain activities and shape expectations’ (Keohane 1989: 3). It is based on the assumption that the principles of conduct are valid to the same extent for each member of a collectivity and that reciprocity in the mid-term leads to benefits for all parties involved (Shahi 2013: 52). India’s foreign policy (and with it its view on multilateralism) has experienced several phases since the country gained independence in 1947. Four broad concepts of foreign policy approaches and/or periods can be distinguished (Wulf 2013: 14-29; Shahi 2013; Sagar 2009 analyses four types: moralists, Hindu nationalists, strategists and liberals). First, the idealistic period, most prominently represented by India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, with an emphasis on India’s independence and non-alignment and its willingness to constructively cooperate in international forums, for example, complete nuclear disarmament. Nehru’s role as an idealist or moralist has been debated in India and certain strands in his thoughts have traces of realism, for example, his emphasis of non-alignment as a counter-example to the West in international affairs or his rejection of Gandhi’s concept of non-violence. Raghavan (2010) points out that Nehru also pursued policies regarding the various conflicts with Pakistan and China of assessing the utility of force and weighing the risks of war. The idealists emphasise the uniqueness of India and want the Indian government to perform foreign policy on a moral basis, in a principled fashion, and to set an example. Second, the realists that have been prominent in government at different times strongly emphasise geopolitics and want to increase India’s economic and military weight in the region, and more recently, at the global level. Not surprisingly, security and conflict are the issue par excellence of realism. At the same time, the realists emphasise the need for accepted international norms. Third, the Hindu nationalists governed from 1998 to 2004 and have formed the government since 2014. Their ideology is much older and predates Indian independence. They yearn to make India strong in military and economic terms to defend and be proud of the Hindu civilisation. Hindu nationalists do not shy away

52  Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf from alienating non-Hindu communities in India and in neighbouring countries. At the same time, and despite its nationalistic ideology, the nationalistic governments see a need for friendly relations within the neighbourhood and for global cooperation. Fourth, the internationalists and liberals (or more precisely, neo-liberals who focus on economics both domestically and in their foreign policy approach) started to dominate politically in India with the economic liberalisation at the beginning of the 1990s. Economic liberalisation emphasises the need for rulebased multilateral cooperation. The Modi government is upholding this concept. Their emphasis is on strengthening India’s global role in the concert of nations, and at the same time, its military power. None of these concepts constitutes a homogenous school of thought. A common denominator of all these four foreign policy notions (including Hindu nationalism), and the various Indian governments implementing them, is that they are state-centric. The strategic worldview with a remarkable continuity over decades of the small Indian foreign policy elite ‘emphasizes autonomy, flexibility, and a desire to avoid dependence on stronger powers’ (Narang and Staniland 2012: 76). During the most recent era of Indian foreign policy, non-state economic actors (business, trade and investors) have played a role in Indian foreign policy considerations as well. In parallel to the expansion of actors, the agenda of issues is gradually being widened, in as far as economics plays an increasing role in Indian foreign policy. Despite extensive variations in these broad concepts and notwithstanding widely fluctuating relations with big powers (for example, phases of anti-Americanism, Indo-Soviet friendship, strained and conflictive relations with China), Indian foreign policy has consistently emphasised its own multilateral approach, especially regarding the support for multilateral institutions. India was a member of the League of Nations and became an active member of the United Nations and other international organisations. In a way, it immediately socialised into the liberal world order and India’s constitution and its public institutions were strongly shaped according to the Westminster model (Mitra 2012). The acceptance of the core global institutions, however, was not unconditional. Instead, India from early on lobbied for a more equitable representation and the fair and just implementation of norms and principles, underlining its concept of non-alignment. In particular, India emphasised the necessity of a multipolar world and invested substantial energy in organising counterweights with respect to the established Western powers. Based on its colonial history and normatively embedded in Gandhi’s concept of non-violence and Nehru’s aversion of nuclear weapons (Basur 2012: 129), India was an ardent promoter of peaceful settlements of conflict and an early promoter of complete nuclear disarmament. It sponsored in the UN, for example, a nuclear test ban treaty already in 1952 (Ganguly and Pardesi 2009: 6). Although, in practice, the idealistic and moralistic concepts of peaceful settlements of conflicts were shoved aside when deemed necessary, as India’s military interventions in Goa (1961), in the Bangladesh war (1971), in the civil war in Sri Lanka (1987–8) and in the Maldives coup (1988) illustrate.

More than a Rule Taker  53 India’s consistent refusal to join a military bloc or be part of a military alliance is the foundation of its multipolar approach. One of Nehru’s central foreign policy concepts was non-alignment. More recently, instead of joining one of the camps, it has sought to overcome the injustice of the current voting and power distribution in important forums of world politics by reforming them – such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the UN Security Council. Here again, both the moral argument (unfair power relations), as well as India’s self-interest (to play a more influential role at the political ‘high table’), are reflected in concrete and current Indian initiatives. Besides reforms in quotas and voting rights in the Bretton Woods institutions, various Indian governments have long been demanding a permanent seat in the Security Council. Accordingly, India was one of the main sponsors of respective initiatives in the United Nations General Assembly in 1979 and in 1991/1992. India subscribed to the core institutions of the post-World War II order. It was not only a founding member of the United Nations, but also belonged to the first contracting parties of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). India did not only accept the norms underpinning these frameworks (sovereignty, collective security, human rights – and with some reservations – free trade and so on), but also emphasised the common destiny for all people in the world. Nehru was an ardent supporter of the concept of human rights; he wanted to bridge the world divided by two antagonistic ideologies (Bhagavan 2013). Consequently, the government added elements of socialism to its social and economic concept during the Nehru years and pursued its own or ‘middle way’. On the global level, India more or less consistently advocated sovereignty and non-interference (while there were important exceptions with regard to its neighbourhood, such as the 1971 Bangladesh war). Today’s insistence on the concepts of sovereignty and non-interference has limited its possibilities as a reformer and to act as a liberal norm promoter that the country was at the time of independence. From a Western perspective, it is particularly remarkable that a long-standing, established democracy consistently maintains reservations to make democracy or the rule of law a prime foreign policy issue (Sidhu et al. 2013: 6–7). Although India has substantially contributed to the UN’s Democracy Fund, it rarely integrated liberal norms as guiding principles into its foreign policy but critically assessed issues related to interventions. This has led to contradictory behaviour in recent years regarding neighbouring countries: while the Indian government, for example, supported criticism on Sri Lanka’s human rights record in the Human Rights Council, it reacted rather cautiously and even sympathetically to the military regime in Myanmar. India wants to practice democracy and is proud of being the largest democracy in the world but does not want to promote it in other countries (Jaffrelot and Sidhu 2013: 335; Wagner 2010: 336). Insofar, the Indian understanding of the relation between democracy and foreign policy differs from liberal ideas in the West that regard the spread of democracy as core interest of market-based democracies. Does India contribute to global problem solving and the provision of global public goods? The track record is rather mixed and differs among various policy fields and issues. On the one hand, a particular understanding of global cooperation

54  Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf that stresses consensus and the recognition of sovereignty as major achievement of post-colonial states, in general, can explain the differences. On the other hand, India has developed a rather inflexible policy style and static framework, in which norms and national interests are interpreted rather narrowly. This fact is reflected in the predominance of realist thinking in the strategic community and, to a lesser degree, also in international relations (IR) scholarship (Hansel and Möller 2015; Mallavarapu 2009: 172).2 In recent years, India openly opposed far-reaching liberalisation of world trade as well as legally binding obligations in the field of climate change. Though some observers have claimed that its behaviour came close to being a rule breaker, it might be more appropriate to state that India extensively used its veto position to maintain existing norms and rules that were regarded as favourable to its national interests and domestic concerns than changes in norms and principles. ‘India does not seek dramatically to alter the international order’ (Malone and Mukherjee 2013: 166) but instead tries to realise its great-power ambitions largely within the existing international system. Furthermore, its resolute stance on national sovereignty favours multilateral frameworks that facilitate voluntary action rather than binding obligations (Destradi and Jakobeit 2015: 64). There is wide agreement that India played a crucial role in the breakdown of the WTO summit in Geneva in July 2008. Being heavily under pressure from domestic lobbying groups and facing elections in April 2009, the government was not willing to accept the liberalisation of food imports without extensive ‘special safeguard mechanisms’ (Sidhu et al. 2013: 8). At the same time, the government managed to present itself as representing the interests of the G33, a coalition of developing countries pressing for the protection of small-scale farmers and limited market opening in agriculture. In other words, the domestic concerns and national interests could be reconciled with a universalistic rhetoric as advocate of the marginalised – a position that even put it in contrast to Brazil, with whom it had coordinated its strategy in the BRICS context. In a similar vein, India was the most vocal representative of a group of 46 developing countries who wanted to include exemption clauses with regard to food security in the Bali Package – even as BRICS countries such as China and South Africa began to change their positions (Destradi and Jakobeit 2015: 66). During the Climate Summit in Copenhagen in 2009, India together with Brazil and South Africa (BASIC) prevented far-reaching obligations and marginalised members of the European Union with their demands and expectations. Again, however, it would be misleading to regard India as norm eroding or as a norm blocker. As Destradi and Jakobeit (2015) point out, it was Brazil, China and India who decisively contributed to the establishment of the principle of ‘common but differential responsibilities’. In other words, India, together with other emerging economies, acted as defender of the status quo against ‘revisionist’ demands by Western countries – although these revisions might reflect realities and necessities more appropriately than resolutions from 1992 (Destradi and Jakobeit 2015: 66). Climate change is an exemplary field where India favours voluntary action (Destradi and Jakobeit 2015: 64). The Minister of Environmental Affairs,

More than a Rule Taker  55 Jairam Ramesh, for example, declared in 2009, that India intended to reduce its CO2 emissions by 20 to 25 per cent (based on 2005 data) by 2020 (Dröge and Wagner 2015: 4). At the same time, it remains unclear how these commitments can be monitored. And Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative will most probably further extend India’s emissions (Dröge and Wagner 2015: 1–2). Given the fact that India already is the world’s third largest emitter of CO2, sticking to conventional interpretations of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, plus extensive growth strategies, indicates that India’s variant of multilateralism in this field is not able to substantially contribute to global problem-solving. India’s track record regarding the field of peace and security differs remarkably from world trade and climate change, but the record is also somewhat mixed. Over the past more than 60 years, India has substantially and reliably been engaged in peacekeeping (Krishnasamy 2010: 227). More than 155,000 Indian soldiers and more than 1,000 police officers served in 43 of the overall 61 UN missions between 1948 and 2010 (Bhatnagar 2011). India is well represented in the ranks and files of the Department for Peacekeeping Operation (DPKO) in New York. India is aware of reputational gains and sees its peacekeeping engagement as clear asset with regard to its aspirations for a permanent seat in the UNSC. Furthermore, India (like other developing countries) benefits from the UN’s scheme of reimbursing the costs, although this should not be regarded as a crucial motivational factor. At the same time, however, India stands for a distinct concept of peacekeeping and cannot be regarded as only passively contributing personnel. First, it very much favours a clear distinction between consensus-based and ‘coercive’ peacekeeping (Krishnasamy 2010: 228) and claims to have implemented a ‘soft’ approach that takes into account the needs of the respective communities in war-torn societies. Although this claim has been overshadowed by allegations of severe misconduct in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it still forms a cornerstone of India’s overall policy. The country has not only sent soldiers, but also election supervisors, humanitarian aid workers, civil experts and so on to the different missions. Second, India follows the principle of collective leadership in peacekeeping and does not accept the concept of ‘lead nations’. Third, India took a firm stance regarding UN leaderships – and accordingly abstained from participating in UNPROFOR in 1992 because it regarded NATO involvement as too high. A critique by Gowan and Singh (2013: 178) draws the attention to the fact that India has been one of the most important contributors to peacekeeping but that Indian policymakers have not made major conceptual inputs to discussions about peacekeeping strategies. And, unlike Brazil and South Africa, India has not concentrated its primary peacekeeping efforts in its own neighbourhood. Indeed, it is deeply ambivalent about the UN’s role in South Asia (Gowan and Singh 2013: 183). Over the last 15 years, a litmus test of global engagement in the field of peace and security has been how states position themselves regarding the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Given its strong inclination for sovereignty and non-interference, it is not surprising that India voted against the Rome Statute of the ICC in 1998. It deplored that it was forced

56  Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf to oppose the statute because its insistence on state consent had not been taken into account and because it criticised the far-reaching authority of the UNSC with regard to the Court. Furthermore, India was concerned that the ICC would acquire the authority to assess whether the Indian judicial system functions appropriately regarding ‘war crimes’. Given the fact that the statute explicitly included ‘armed conflict not of an international character’ (Article 8), the government feared that allegations of war crimes in Punjab, Kashmir and so on could be brought before the Court (Ramanathan 2005). Concerning R2P, India supports pillars one and two (national responsibility and external support), but has strong reservations regarding the third pillar that allows for intervention (Hansel and Möller 2015: 89–92). In R2P, India takes a middle path between acceptance, implementation and rejection (Pai 2013: 304–5). India’s critique did not put the norm as such into question, but rather focused on its implementation. In some regards, India’s scepticism was reinforced by the intervention in Libya. Together with China, Russia and Brazil (and Germany among others), it had abstained regarding UNSCR 1973 (2011), which authorised intervention, but had to realise later on that the mandate was extremely stretched by the warring parties and that its reservations were justified (Destradi and Jakobeit 2015: 63). India’s Representative to the United Nations, Hardeep Singh Puri, said the following during the Libya crisis in 2012 about R2P: [It] cannot turn out to be a tool legitimizing big power intervention on the pretext of protecting populations from the violations of human rights and humanitarian law. It cannot be seen as codifying a system of coercion, providing a tool in the hands of powerful governments to judge weaker states, and encourage regime change primarily on political considerations. (quoted by The Hindu 2012) The tendency to a rule-breaker approach is also evident about various nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear arms control issues. India has consistently criticised the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as an unfair treaty allowing the ‘haves’ to bully the ‘have-nots’. India promoted nuclear disarmament and arms control, but when the big powers refused to go for complete nuclear disarmament, India sought to establish its exceptionalism by challenging the norm and by seeking recognition as a nuclear weapon state (Sidhu et al. 2013: 8). India’s position is similar with regard to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Already in 1954, Prime Minister Nehru took an unsuccessful initiative for a complete ban on all nuclear explosions. As this was not accepted during the Cold War, India engaged decades later in nuclear testing itself and changed its policy. The CTBT, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996, cannot enter into force due to the non-ratification of eight states, including India (and China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, the USA, North Korea and Pakistan). India’s crossing the nuclear Rubicon (Ganguly and Pardesi 2009: 14) was exacerbated by its perception of China (and their nuclear weapons) as a security threat, particularly given China’s military cooperation with Pakistan. ‘Fearful that

More than a Rule Taker  57 the passage of the test ban treaty was all but inevitable, Indian policymakers chose to exercise the nuclear option’ (Ganguly and Pardesi 2009: 15). The 1998 Indian tests made India somewhat of an outcast, but the ‘nuclear deal’ of 2005 between the USA and India ended a three-decade nuclear trade moratorium, giving India access to non-military nuclear technology and resulting in unprecedented progress of US–Indian foreign relations (Bajoria and Plan 2010). This Indo-US rapprochement was possible despite the continued push for advancing India’s nuclear weapon programme. The US government under President George W. Bush viewed India as a rising power that could help to shape the balance of power in Asia. In the small strategic community in New Delhi, this agreement and the autonomous developments in nuclear technology are seen as a stepping-stone for India’s enhanced global role and a strong partnership with the United States, particularly regarding its security concerns in the region (Mohan 2012: 46). The pursuit of India’s nuclear posture is part of its goal for strategic autonomy and Indian diplomats are requested to ‘ensure that India’s de facto nuclear weapon status is reflected in future adjustments to the global non-proliferation and strategic arms control systems to enable India to ultimately acquire rule-making powers as a de jure partner in the global nuclear system’ (Singh 2010: 62). Some observers in India believe that the nuclear policy, with emphasis on minimal deterrence and arms control, even ‘has the potential to become the benchmark for the world’s nuclear powers’ (Basur 2012: 129). While India, thus, has shown some flexibility regarding humanitarian norms and their implementation, it has acted as a rule evader and as rule eroding in the field of nuclear weapons. To summarise, India’s approach to global cooperation can best be described as conservative about the notion of sovereignty but in general in favour of international norms and institutions as long as they cannot serve as tools for powerful states to interfere into the domestic affairs of weaker ones. The nuclear arena, as compared with other global issues, as, for example, the reforms of the international financial institutions, UN peacekeeping or R2P, can be regarded as an extreme case where India actually got close to the position of a rule breaker.

Domestic challenges and the South Asian neighbourhood: The Achilles’ heel of India’s foreign policy India’s multilateral (though occasionally rather idiosyncratic) concepts for global governance contrast with several of India’s unresolved domestic challenges as well as its distinctive bilateralism vis-à-vis the countries in the South Asian region. Besides India’s complicated relations with China (characterised by conflict and competition as well as cooperation) and the ups and downs in its relations with the US (presently based on a mutually beneficial rapprochement), India’s foreign policy is constrained by both domestic challenges as well as its problematical neighbourhood. There are at least three domestic issues that the central government faces in its foreign policy approach (Narlikar 2011; Wulf 2014). First, India’s economic ambitions are held back by an over-bureaucratised administration and by rampant

58  Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf corruption, as well as a weak infrastructure – impediments for both domestic and foreign investment and hampering global ambitions (Sibal 2012). Despite major economic reforms and the elimination of some outdated and debilitating practices, particularly reforms of the bureaucratic licence system, nicknamed ‘license raj’, India still faces numerous problems at home, particularly about social and economic inequality. Its greatest challenge is to improve the livelihood of many millions of people currently living in appalling poverty. The persistent divisions along caste lines will continue to constitute a major obstacle to development. In addition, there is still a clear urban-rural divide. Economic reform has actually exacerbated income-inequality and has primarily benefited India’s urban elite, indicating growth that is skewed and unequal (Vakulabharanam and Motiram 2012). Second, India also faces several security concerns at home in the shape of Naxalite (Maoist-inspired) insurgency, Islamist extremism and terror – partly linked to Pakistan and ethnically and religiously based political fundamentalism and militancy (Kumar and Kumar 2010: 17). The reasons for this internal unrest are manifold. The issue of extremism relates to specific unresolved issues of state boundaries in different regions, the failure of the state to provide basic services, state abuse of human rights and brutal suppression of unrest and the nature of the counter-strategies employed by the state to address contentious issues (Khilnani et al. 2012: 43–9). Some of the threats to India’s security stem from the conflicting political and economic developments within society, which have created the ‘two Indias’ of rich and poor, developed and underdeveloped. These act as de-stabilisers, producing enormous friction and triggering resistance and conflict (Sahni 2012: 2). Third, Delhi’s foreign policy is occasionally strained by parochial interests of federal states such as Tamil Nadu, Punjab and West Bengal (Bhattacharjee 2012). Indian politics, often dependent on coalition building, is largely based on patronage. Regionally based, cast-oriented parties can influence central government policies (Maihack and Plagemann 2013). Federal states’ governments have repeatedly threatened reconciliation with Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In 2011, for instance, an agreement between India and Bangladesh on the use of the Teesta River failed because the chief minister of West Bengal objected and effectively vetoed the agreement. Now, however, the BJP government is less dependent in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament) on regionally based parties than the shaky coalition of the previous government. States are sometimes the solution to India’s policy dilemmas, but also the problem. When India’s central government is unwilling or unable to act on policy reform, its states are often heralded as the solution to gridlock or ‘policy paralysis’ because Indian federalism gives the states considerable space for policy innovation (Vaishnav 2012). This constructive role of the states in domestic policy is, however, hardly reflected in foreign policy. India is located in a complicated neighbourhood (Behuria et al. 2012; Dahiya and Behuria 2012). Divergent foreign policy strategies could be attributed to the fact that the country is embedded in a difficult environment, as six countries immediately neighbouring India (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) were categorised as ‘failed states’ in 2012 (Foreign Policy and Fund for Peace 2012).

More than a Rule Taker  59 Under these circumstances, Indian perceptions on the convergence and compatibility of multilateral approaches on the global and regional level differ from European ones. As Shahi (2013: 53) stated: Unlike the western scholars, who suggest that regional organisations like the European Union (EU) have multilateralism in their DNA, and who sense continuity rather than contradiction between the forces of regionalism and multilateralism, the Indian scholars consider regionalism as an obstacle in the move towards multilateralism. Although, at the same time, he emphasises that Indian multilateralism is more regionally than universally oriented, calling it a ‘spatially contingent concept’. While, for European countries, regional integration can serve as a laboratory and stepping stone for global cooperation, India stresses possible trade-offs and sometimes seems to be rather entrapped in its environment. Political aims for regional cooperation and practical possibilities do not really match. This is not least due to a lack of ability for regional integration projects in a stricter sense. India aligned itself over the last two decades more towards its neighbours in Asia – with the ‘Look East’ policy (Gaur 2011; Mohan 2012: 26) and the orientation towards Asian countries (ASEAN and the Middle East) – an attempt to avoid vulnerabilities in a world order shaped by the United States, but also to counteract the feared expansion of a belligerent China in South and Southeast Asia. Its attempts, however, to cooperate constructively in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) have largely failed. This is due, to a great extent, to the complicated and strained dyadic relationship with Pakistan and the violent Islamism, which has arisen there as a destabilisation factor. The smaller neighbours view India with strong distrust. India clearly dominates the region: three-quarters of the population of South Asia, 70 per cent of its territory, 79 per cent of its gross domestic product, 81 per cent of the military expenditure and 55 per cent of the soldiers of the region, as well as the possession of nuclear weapons (Destradi 2012: 59; SIPRI 2013). Just because of its sheer size, neighbouring countries sometimes see India as a regional hegemon and as an uninterested large neighbour (Basur 2010). The present government as well as the previous one emphasised the ‘benevolent hegemon’ by also making asymmetric concessions.3 Other initiatives, such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the BangladeshChina-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor, are recent attempts to engage more strongly in the neighbourhood through regional forums. Still, implementation of these initiatives is not well on track, and how deeply mistrust towards India is rooted in the region was reflected by the fact that Nepal and Sri Lanka spoke in favour of a Chinese membership in SAARC – which is simply a no-go for India’s regional policies (Betz et al. 2015: 6). The clear divide between multilateral approaches on the global and bilateral approaches on the regional level, plus the lack of acceptance in its core region, are

60  Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf a severe restraint for India’s more pro-active engagement in global cooperation. It does not only absorb substantial attention and energy, but also aggravates the formulation of a consistent foreign policy doctrine. In particular, claims for a multipolar and just world order based on the sovereignty of states are not entirely convincing as long as India tries to maintain regional hegemony and interferes into its neighbours’ affairs. Furthermore, India, although frequently acting as an advocate for the underprivileged, is not able to act as a representative for its sub-region.

Coalitions of choice: Counter-balancing Western hegemony India sees the global multilateral framework as an opportunity to counter-balance hegemony in the global system. After its independence, India, under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, became a promoter and focal point for organising and steering the Non-Aligned Movement as well as the G-77. Although it would be a mistake to discount national interest as a driving force behind this posture, the country obviously acted as a credible advocate for creating a universalist sense of multilateral cooperation among the disadvantaged, post-colonial states (Bajpai 2012). India’s major social and reputational capital was the combination of morally grounded, principled positions for example with regard notably to decolonisation and, later, the New International Economic Order. This allowed the country to decisively contribute to building ‘coalitions’ in the UN General Assembly or the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), while it distanced itself from the idea of military alliances around ideological blocks. This principled position has given way during the last decade to more realpolitik based notions and participation in flexible coalitions of choice, for example, the rapprochement between India and the United States versus the engagement in BRICS. India’s phenomenal economic boom since the liberalisation measures of the early 1990s, however, implied a new recognition as an emerging economy. It was its entry ticket into the BRICS club. Many observers have pointed at the normative, economic and political heterogeneity of this grouping (Thakur 2014). A primarily sceptical view of BRICS neglects the crucial importance of the club for the respective foreign policy strategies of its members. For India, in particular, BRICS has become a de facto ‘powerful successor’ of the Group of 77 as a counter-model to the Western-dominated world order and strives for global justice and fairness reforms. This does not mean that India considers groupings within the UN as irrelevant. On the contrary, but at the same time, its outlook has shifted to a ‘club-oriented’ perspective outside the UN. For example, the debates on voting rights within the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) mainly focussed on India and China rather than on the ‘third world’ as a whole. India has moved from a promoter of a development worldview to assertions of its self-interest (Malone and Mukherjee 2013: 168). The context of BRICS has, in fact, led to a new level of harmonisation, which also extends to security-related issues, for instance, on the conflict in Syria and on the peace process in the Middle East (Government of India 2013) or on R2P – occasionally in order to distance itself together with likeminded governments from the Western-dominated mainstream.

More than a Rule Taker  61 With the establishment of the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) in 2014 (Jayan 2012; Schablitzki 2014), BRICS actually launched a coup. Though the operational impact of the New Development Bank will be limited, it challenges the World Bank and the regional development banks. The CRA reflects the growing political dissatisfaction with the delay in implementing IMF reforms, which had been agreed upon in the G20 context and has still not been ratified by the US senate. It also mirrors asymmetries among the BRICS countries. While China is contributing USD 41 billion of the total amount, the shares of the Russian Federation, Brazil and India are limited to USD 18 billion each, while South Africa only pays USD 5 billion. The new financial institutions created by BRICS offer new opportunities for the Indian Government. If it manages to prevent a ‘take over’ by China, it would be an excellent opportunity to shape the policy of a global institution on an equal footing with its partner countries. In that regard, the New Development Bank and the CRA would not only differ from the Bretton Woods institutions but also from regional institutions such as the Asian Development Bank where India does not match the influence of Japan and the US. Furthermore, the New Development Bank is attractive for India on the operative level as it opens up new options for loans on the basis of conditions that the government could influence (Saran et al. 2013).

India at the ‘high table’ of global politics: Beyond ‘strategic autonomy’? While India’s self-perception has been that of a potential global player since the Nehru period, this role could not be fully occupied, among other reasons – due to its image as a ‘basket case’. This perception has changed fundamentally and India is generally perceived now as a potential global player. Over the last two decades, India’s foreign policy elites have tried to get to grips with the new reality (Destradi 2013). The adjustment was a necessity as the antagonistic bilateral world order, with India closely related to the Soviet Union, disappeared. Debates in Delhi are instead centred on the concept of ‘strategic autonomy’. This paradigmatically favours the formation of temporary, adaptable and flexible coalitions, or coalitions of choice, which are specific to particular political and economic fields. While this might be a problem oriented approach, it runs the risk of equating calculated tactical actions with strategic orientation. Although the debate on India’s reorientation alludes to the tradition of Indian non-alignment, most noticeably in the suggestion of ‘Nonalignment 2.0’ (Khilnani et al. 2012), India de facto has largely left the policy of non-alignment behind and emphasises geopolitical interest and relies on the realist strand that has always been influential in Indian foreign policy circles. Although it still attempts to avoid falling into the ambit or one-sided dependencies on the established superpowers, since the 1990s, this policy has no longer been tied to broader groupings, as was the case for example in the discussion of the New International Economic Order in coordination with the Group of 77. Based on our analysis of India’s foreign policy elites’ notions,4 we draw five conclusions on key issues of Indian foreign policy:

62  Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf First: The concept of ‘strategic autonomy’ is applied to allow flexibility in foreign policy. It is meant to create sufficient power resources for India to be able to articulate its own interests in foreign policy and in the shaping of world order (Khilnani et al. 2012: 8). Internally, ‘strategic autonomy’ is used to pursue India’s own development model and to implement this in a world economically dominated by the West and increasingly by China. For that purpose, three different foreign policy approaches are combined: emphasising an institutionalised, classic multilateralism on a global level, practising marked bilateralism with its neighbours and selected strategic partners, and finally, increasing participation in informal clubs or in selective coalitions. These foreign policy goals are not seen as potential contradictions, but as different tunes that can be played on the foreign policy keyboard in any order. India looks for coalitions of interest or partnerships, which vary and sometimes even diverge depending on context, rather than formal alignments or traditional alliances. Second: This selectiveness or ambiguity is a crucial element of the Indian variant of multilateralism, which includes the idea of counterweighing hegemonic tendencies and insisting on sovereignty and principled approaches. ‘Strategic autonomy’, thus, can be seen as key to maintaining de facto sovereignty in a multipolar world. At the same time, its stress on ‘strategic autonomy’ has inhibited a clear understanding of the role of different partnerships. Its rather ambiguous style implies that it deliberately or coincidentally accepts obvious contradictions and incoherencies and does not clearly spell out trade-offs, for example, between an intensification of the BRICS club partnership and its relations with the United States and the EU or between its decided bilateralism in South Asia and multilateralism on the global level. This ambiguity also makes it difficult to relate the different and sometimes conflicting role models of India’s foreign policy to each other: Will it primarily work as ‘regional integrator’ or as ‘advocate of developing nations’? Will it capitalise on its normative advantage, being a democracy, or rather act as self-interested ‘great power’? Will it extend its links to Western countries such as the United States or the EU – or will it coordinate crucial foreign policy issues with China and Russia in the BRICS context? (Hansel and Möller 2015: 83). The government of Narendra Modi tries to do all of this at the same time. Third: India’s foreign policy ambitions at the ‘high table’ of global politics require a less ambiguous concept and to spell out a clear-cut strategy. The BJP government, in office since 2014, seems willing to take up these challenges. Prime Minister Narenda Modi, to the surprise of many observers, has developed a rather visible and distinct foreign policy profile. It rests on three pillars: prioritising improvement of the relations with neighbouring countries, the strategic partnership with the USA and improvement of relations with other important countries such as Japan and Germany, as well as linking foreign policy and domestic issues. Not all of this has worked out well so far. Relations to many countries have been improved, but China, the assertive power in Asia, continues to be a challenge that India will have to content with (Sajjanhar 2016). Similarly,

More than a Rule Taker  63 while the ‘Neighbourhood First’ concept has worked out well in many cases, some of the relationships within the region (Pakistan, Nepal) are complicated and have experienced ups and downs. Whether results of creating a close nexus between foreign policy and domestic transformation in attracting foreign capital and technology for the flagship programmes such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Smart Cities’ and ‘Clean Ganga’ (Sajjanhar 2016) are sustainable remains to be seen. Some of the programmes sound a bit like show cases rather than well planned major development programmes. India will have to decide whether it maintains its reservation with respect to Western oriented liberal norms, in the name of ‘strategic autonomy’, and whether it wants to continue avoiding leaning on the West and continuing to underline its exceptionalism, despite the fact that its political and now its economic systems as well as the underlying norms are similar. It is already evident that the de facto US–Indian economic and military cooperation is seen bilaterally as one of the best insurances against the PR China, which is perceived as unpredictable and sometimes as aggressive. But at the same time, it is clear that the big neighbour, China, is too important to be ignored, either by India or the United States. This by no means entails commonality on all foreign policy issues. On the contrary, the Indian government carefully tries to guard its policy autonomy. Fourth: Is ‘strategic autonomy’ a strength or a weakness? India tries to retain this ambiguity precisely to be able to fashion its foreign policy according to perceived national interests. A certain ambiguity can be a strength. For instance, India was able to have friendly relations with both Israel and Iran in the Middle East. At the same time, ambiguity also implies constraints as it precludes strategic choices regarding partnerships and normative issues and thus facilitates contradictions. Thus, the tensions between the Indo-US rapprochement after 2005 and the intensification of Indo-Chinese relations in the BRICS context have never been resolved – neither conceptually nor publicly. Another tension exists between the rather moralistic rhetoric in international negotiations and India’s refusal to promote norms and to tap on its own normative attractiveness, being the largest democracy in the world with an astonishing repertoire to cope with regional, ethnic and religious diversity. Fifth: Is India interested in becoming a rule maker and a normative power? Most probably, India – unlike the European Union in the 1990s – will not define itself as ‘normative power’, that is, as a promoter of normative principles that are practised within the domestic field and, at the same time, are regarded as attractive and persuasive for others (Manners 2002). Accordingly, expectations that India should become a rule maker are not an option within a multipolar world. Still, India has so far neglected the opportunities to shape the international agenda. As a prerequisite, it would have to be able to build coalitions for normative shifts and not only to act as counter-weight (as witnessed, among others, in the WTO). It might thus be desirable ‘for India to be a rule “shaper” – one of a small number of powers with the ability to play a major role in shaping the evolution of rules of the road’ (Sidhu et al. 2013: 12).

64  Tobias Debiel and Herbert Wulf Becoming a norm entrepreneur, however, requires a less ambiguous stance on the role of partnerships and coalitions and rather the ability to mobilise support by managing these different groupings.5 ‘Non-alignment’ will certainly no longer suffice as a guideline on how to position itself in a world of patchwork governance, of contested world order and increasingly conflictive multipolarity. Whether ‘strategic autonomy’ and the emphasis of national interests and the power of India to occasionally block agreements in international forums will pave the way to the global role India aspires is an open question. A reflection on its normative basis and long-term interests to shape the international agenda might lead India to go beyond these concepts and to enrich its variant of multilateralism by a strategy that defines more pro-actively the normative ingredients of its foreign policy and its respective aspirations within a multipolar world order.

Notes 1 Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. 2 See also Shahi and Ascione (2015), who recently explored possible sources for postWestern IR theory in India that would transcend the ontological positions of realism and constructivism. 3 The so-called Gujral doctrine, which provided for non-reciprocal relations with neighbouring countries, suggested in 1996/1997 by the Foreign Minister and later Prime Minister, Gujral, had no long-lasting effect (see Gujral 2013). 4 This article and our conclusions are strongly influenced by interviews conducted in New Delhi with foreign policy experts in October 2013. 5 Brazil with its proposal to transform the R2P into an RwP (responsibility while protecting) is an excellent example of how emerging countries can provide intellectual leadership and bridge different camps.

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4  India as a Norm Claimer Normative Struggles and the Assertion of Sovereignty at the San Francisco Conference (1945) Raphaëlle Khan Introduction1 In the 2000s, understanding India’s foreign policy acquired a new political relevance for Western policy-makers. India’s growing economic weight, matched with political claims of reformed governance, fuelled an increasing interest in the country’s behaviour and views on the international scene. Like other emerging powers, India has become a key foreign policy actor for analysis. Consequently, literature on its foreign policy has been on the rise, both in Indian and Western academia, and the introduction of this volume provides an overview of new publications.2 Yet, reflections on how International Relations (IR), an analytical tool crafted on Western scholarship and the experience of Western states, can and should account for the specificity of non-Western post-colonial cases, are at a nascent stage. To some extent, the question of historical contingency is valid for all cases, Western or otherwise. However, of relevance for non-Western postcolonial cases is the added question of ‘imperialism of categories’ (Nandy 2002: 61). As Ashis Nandy, a famous Indian sociologist, reminds us, ‘the original domain’ of a concept created in the West ‘vanishes from awareness’ (2002: 61). In a similar critical perspective, historian Dipesh Chakrabarty (2000: 16) has argued that ‘European thought is at once indispensable and inadequate in helping us to think through the experiences of political modernity in non-Western nations’. The Eurocentric and ahistorical character of mainstream IR obfuscates both the phenomena that emerge in non-Western post-colonial contexts and the historical conditions that, if analysed, would help enrich its conceptual categories. From this perspective, recovering the historical dimension of international relations is of central importance for the advancement of theory and the understanding of Indian foreign policy. This chapter aims to contribute to this endeavour by showing that the integration of historical perspectives with IR can help illuminate how India emerged as an international actor in multilateral arenas. It will show that this emergence entailed a certain relation to international norms and the international system, which I depict in the term ‘norm claimer’. In that sense, this chapter challenges the Eurocentrism of categories on the one hand, whilst adopting what could be described as Eurocentric social science conceptions elsewhere (e.g. social constructivism and

70  Raphaëlle Khan norms). It does not tackle the concern with the cultural contingencies associated with how knowledge is acquired or the bounds of acceptable knowledge. This chapter will be divided into two parts: the first part will give an overview of the theoretical questions that inform my research. The second part will focus on India’s involvement at the United Nations Conference on International Organisation (UNCIO), or the San Francisco Conference as it was commonly called. I take the case of India’s double involvement at the San Francisco Conference, held in April to June 1945, because it represents a milestone in the development of a new world order after the Second World War and it illustrates the concrete developments of India’s emergence as an international actor. The San Francisco Conference was convened by the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China to establish the foundations of the United Nations. British India had an anomalous legal position, allowing it to be represented by an official Indian delegation in some multilateral forums, even as a colony. In parallel with this delegation, subordinate to the Empire and led by Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar, Indian nationalist leaders from the Congress party claimed to represent a genuine nationalist India, for which they presented a new vision of the international order. They formed an alternative unofficial delegation. I will argue that the evolution of India’s insertion in international society, as illustrated by its double participation at the UNCIO, and its leaders’ understanding of sovereignty in this international society, were closely related. Furthermore, sovereignty had several implications for Indian nationalists, precisely because they were at the margins of a (hierarchical) international society. The idea of sovereignty was not only expressed in terms of their preferences in larger normative debates but also appeared as the very capacity for articulating and voicing worldviews at the international level. While sovereignty appears at first sight linked to territoriality, it is also linked to struggles over norms. My approach therefore goes against a tendency in recent debates on India to understand the norm of sovereignty solely through the prism of intervention/nonintervention debates, a tendency that easily leads to the conflation of India’s story about sovereignty with the question of its non-interventionism. Studies on India’s understanding of Responsibility to Protect, which illustrate this scholarship (Hall 2013; Virk 2013; Jaganathan and Kurtz 2014; Mohan 2014), also shows that these debates inscribe themselves in a larger effort to grasp how non-Western states have understood international norms in an already constituted playing field. There, these states can either be norm takers, norm shapers or norm breakers, as supports of the status quo or as revisionists, vis-à-vis a set of post-Cold War (liberal) norms. In contrast, this chapter revisits the narrative of the expansion of international society and suggests that India represents a fourth category: ‘norm claimer’. While the terms norm breaker and shaper can be used in an ahistorical contemporary context, the expression ‘claimer’ allows us to account for a historical perspective. The latter is key to grasp India’s understanding of sovereignty. The term will be discussed in more detail in this chapter. The case of the San Francisco Conference moves the puzzle away from whether India has been for or against intervention and interference in domestic affairs,

India as a Norm Claimer  71 a debate in which India can be a norm taker, a norm shaper or a norm breaker (for a discussion on India’s behaviour in institutions and regime, see, for instance, Jones et al. 2013). Rather, the conference helps focus on a more comprehensive picture rich in conceptual implications: India’s initial quest for sovereignty as a non-Western actor and colony within international society. It challenges the common assumption that, as an independent state, India assimilated an already formed norm of sovereignty. Following Hedley Bull’s work, it is often assumed that newly decolonised states merely incorporated international norms upon independence, as the original European state system underwent gradual expansion. Rather, India had gradually entered international society before independence, challenging norms defined by Western states and some nationalists saw the country’s participation in the international arena as key to the struggle for independence. This specificity comes from the fact that Indian nationalists (here taken as the Congress unofficial delegation) fought for independence at two inter-related levels: the imperial and international levels. Their involvement at the San Francisco Conference coincided with the burning question of what would be the future of India, the shape of the Empire and the evolution of the international order. In this context, acutely aware of the significance of an international outlook, Indian nationalist leaders aspired to catalyse India’s emergence as an independent country at the same time as they strived to turn it into a normative actor3 on the international scene. Both were related. In this respect, an important dimension of struggle and attempt at independence was expressed by stating normative preferences regarding the future world order. The unofficial nationalist delegation attempted to outbid the official Indian delegation and sought visibility and voice in the UNCIO in order to posit alternative normative preferences from the ones defended by the official delegation. Ultimately, it tried to redefine international legitimacy. In that sense, nationalist India became a norm claimer, that is, an actor that claims the capacity to express certain normative preferences about the world order as it tries to become a legitimate actor within international society. This attitude expressed an aspiration to both change the norm of sovereignty at stake during debates and to enact a dimension of sovereignty by asserting a normative capacity even while seeking international recognition. This very claim and assertion of normative capacity made on behalf of India by the nationalists can be seen in this case as a dimension of the idea of sovereignty.4 Becoming a norm claimer at the international level becomes here part of the effort to become sovereign as much as it symbolically epitomises an assertion of sovereignty. A norm claimer represents an aspiring state. The specific historical situation of political transition in which a norm claimer appears, and the specific dimension of sovereignty that it carries, differentiate it from a norm breaker, maker or shaper (which will be an already constituted state in international society). Because what is at stake is the emergence of a state, this capacity to articulate an alternative worldview also differs in nature from the activism of non-governmental organisations. Given these historical processes, the idea of sovereignty needs to be considered here from a double perspective: first, as defined by the official and unofficial

72  Raphaëlle Khan delegations during sovereignty-related debates at the UNCIO; second, as the capacity to assert normative preferences. In this second sense for nationalists, it precedes international recognition and the control of a territory. Sovereignty is also understood relationally and in a historical dynamic, insofar as expressing normative capacity aims at bringing India on an equal foothold with other (recognised) states.

Theoretical background This part of the chapter discusses the conceptual background of my argument. First, it discusses the relation between history and IR in non-Western contexts. Then, it highlights the tools that mainstream IR, as a discipline, provides for the study of sovereignty, along with their limits. It ends with considering the importance of studying international society from a historical perspective. IR and history The importance of history in the study of non-Western cases partly stems from the shortcomings of mainstream IR perspectives. It was famously argued that, owing to its American roots, this discipline remained dominated by an American positivist tradition, involving certain epistemic and methodological assumptions (Hoffmann 1977; Smith 2000: 399). In reaction, constructivism, post-colonialism and Marxism stressed the need for alternative perspectives and methodologies. John Hobson (2012) has argued and shown that Western international theory was underpinned by Eurocentric metanarratives. Barry Buzan and Richard Little (1994: 234–5) have highlighted that IR’s limitations stemmed from its originally Eurocentric outlook (this Eurocentric dimension of IR is discussed by Tickner [2003]). Eurocentrism itself was due to the ‘cultural biases’ of writers and ahistorical construction of the world order that led to the conflation of modern European history with contemporary global history (Buzan and Little 1994: 232). However: There is … the undeniable fact that the European international system emerged from the obscure and backward corner of its feudal period to conquer or dominate the whole planet … When they withdrew, the Europeans left behind them a world remade, often badly, in their own image. (Buzan and Little 1994: 234–5) IR’s Eurocentrism as well as ahistoricism and anarchophilia5 convey why the historical dimension of the international system in non-Western countries has received little attention (Buzan and Little 1996: 231). The realist approach has notably marginalised the study of non-Western countries at the same time as it has overlooked the period of the empire. Darby observes that ‘the colonial experience is a … neglected archive for theorists of the international’ (Darby 2003: 154). As a result, Sanjay Seth argues, mainstream IR ‘has misdescribed the origins and character of the contemporary international order’, while ‘an accurate understanding of the

India as a Norm Claimer  73 “expansion of the international system” [requires] attention to its colonial origins’ (Seth 2011: 168). In the same line of argument, Tarak Barkawi and Mark Laffey noted that ‘IR’s central categories of sovereignty and the states-system generate a systematic occlusion of the imperial and global character of world politics, past and present’ (Barkawi and Laffey 2002: 110). Yet a ‘sustained attempt to explore the workings of nineteenth-century imperialism … might have led to rethinking the international politics of the Third World’ (Darby and Paolini 1994: 379). Examining the period of the empire would be useful to theorise the ‘international’ as a ‘space within which processes of mutual constitution are productive of the entities which populate the international system’ (Barkawi and Laffey 2002: 111).6 At another level, the Eurocentrism and ahistoricism of mainstream IR have led some authors to examine the possible conditions of emergence of non-Western IR (Acharya and Buzan 2007; Behera 2007). Faced by a lack of indigenous perspectives on the theorisation of sovereignty, scholars such as Amitav Acharya, Navnita Behera and Atul Mishra have called for further study on the concept of sovereignty in an Asian context. Behera sees the lack of conceptualisation of nonWestern IR as a reason to ‘[re-imagine] IR in India’ (Behera 2007: 351). Mishra stresses that the constructed dimension of sovereignty led to the development of different meanings for the term in post-colonial states, despite the imposition of a ‘Westphalian universality’ (Mishra 2008: 68). Partly responding to Phillip Darby’s observation that ‘much of the theorizing about the state system and sovereignty suffers from the neglect of extra-European factors’ (Darby 2003: 147), Acharya argues that Asia is, in fact, key to understanding the concept of sovereignty. Whereas academics generally neglected early post-war Asian conferences and their normative impact, Asia was actually ‘a crucial region at a crucial period in the evolution of the sovereign states-system’ (Acharya 2005: 15). He explains that ‘in post-war Asia, the meaning of what constituted sovereign status, what was the true meaning of non-intervention, what sort of behaviour (including alignment policy) enhanced or undermined it, were concepts actively constructed through a process of contestation and compromise’ (Acharya 2005: 10). The same issues and possibilities of conceptual exploration apply to India’s specific understanding and relation to sovereignty. Critics suggest that both the idea of sovereignty and, in conjunction, the expansion of international society, should be reconsidered in light of specific national histories and experiences and the influence of colonialism. A more dynamic and intricate approach to sovereignty would thus entail a historical perspective. A historical perspective of international society International society, embodied in international multilateral forums, has also often been seen as a non-problematic frame of analysis. However, this outlook prevents us from analysing how non-Western countries came to understand international norms such as the norm of sovereignty. As the international society is assumed to have already been formed, the underlying dynamics of its evolution and the process through which newcomers negotiate their entry is easily

74  Raphaëlle Khan overlooked. The second phase of evolution of the international society started when the once-colonised regions began ‘[taking] their places as member states of the international society’ with decolonisation (Bull 2012: 20). The system became an international worldwide society: European states and the various independent political communities with which they were involved in a common international system came to perceive common interests in a structure of coexistence and co-operation, and tacitly or explicitly to consent to common rules and institutions. (Bull 1985: 120) In this respect, a common claim among Western scholars has been that ‘imperial recession led to independence of colonies across the globe and the newly sovereign states got appropriated into the logic of the Westphalian system of sovereign states’ (Mishra 2008: 67). Yet, in the foreword to The Anarchical Society, Stanley Hoffmann indicates that Hedley Bull ‘did not tell us enough about the formation of international society’ (Bull 1985: x). Neither did a subsequent collection of essays entitled The Expansion of International Society, edited by Bull and Adam Watson, make up for a rigorous study of the way in which non-Western countries inserted themselves into this society. Moreover, as Edward Keene (2004) argued, Bull’s account of international society did not accurately reflect the reality of the time. It understated the existence of a European and an extra-European order, each with their own principles (the former centred on the recognition of sovereignty, the latter organised by varieties of divided sovereignty). Sovereignty in IR The concept of sovereignty developed in IR illustrates the larger issues stressed previously. While being seen as a pillar of international politics and a structuring principle of the international system,7 sovereignty has often been taken as an unproblematic backdrop of analysis. However, a lack of historical awareness has often prevented scholars from appraising the limits of this conceptualisation in non-Western contexts. From the perspective of IR, at one level, sovereignty as a legal reality inscribed in the structure of the international order is a given that non-Western states have accepted through their very formation. Realism, constructivism and liberalism have developed ways to conceptually unpack the idea of sovereignty (thus linking it to a cluster of related concepts and analysing its different meanings) and to place it in the context of hierarchical inter-state relations. Stephen Krasner identifies four dimensions of sovereignty: domestic, Westphalian, interdependence and international legal. As a realist, he sees sovereignty as a convention on which the powerful can trample. Great powers can make exceptions to its principle, as the sovereignty-based legal order never completely constrains them (Krasner 1999, 2001). Sovereignty is thus divided between legal recognition and

India as a Norm Claimer  75 objective control/independence, which echoes the broader distinction between the external and the internal dimensions of sovereignty. While sovereignty can indeed be seen as a convention, constructivist scholars remind us that state sovereignty is a social construct – ‘an inherently social concept’ (Biersteker and Weber 1996: 1). At another level, therefore, sovereignty seen as a construction of meanings is shaped alongside discussion of its sub-concepts. Thomas Biersteker and Cynthia Weber argue that a focus on the social construction of sovereignty allows us to analyse not only how sovereignty is constructed but also through which practices and on whose behalf it is constructed. This line of argument echoes James Caporaso’s view that sovereignty can be seen as ‘a set of ongoing norms and practices’ and constituted of several elements: ‘autonomy, control, legitimacy’ (Caporaso 2000: 8). Lastly, Wouter G. Werner and Jaap H. de Wilde argue that it is therefore more interesting to study sovereignty in a relational context rather than through a general essentialist definition. Instead of asking ‘what is sovereignty?’, one should ask ‘to whom a claim of sovereignty is intended and when?’ (and, one should add, for what purpose). The real question is: ‘In what context is a claim of sovereignty likely to occur? To whom is a sovereignty claim addressed? What normative structures are used to determine the legitimacy of a claim to sovereignty?’ (Kalmo and Skinner 2010: 7). From this viewpoint, defining sovereignty also involves confronting the question of who, when and where one has the legitimacy, authority and power – which implies defining what exactly these entail in a given context. F.H. Hinsley argues that ‘sovereignty is not a fact. It is a concept which men in certain circumstances have applied – a quality they have attributed or a claim they have counterpoised – to the political power which they or other men were exercising’ (mentioned in Nelson 2010: 136). This vision seems to echo Martti Koskenniemi’s vision of sovereignty as embedded in a power dynamic: ‘Sovereignty was surely born out of a desire to understand and explain power, but also to claim, legitimize and challenge power, a tool of analysis and polemics simultaneously’ (Koskenniemi 2010: 223). From this perspective, sovereignty can be seen as constructing or negotiating authority and legitimacy. Sovereignty appears here as a claim. This understanding of sovereignty not as a condition but as a claim – a claim to sovereignty (Werner and De Wilde 2001) in a relational context – contrasts with the understanding of sovereignty as an indivisible and unquantifiable absolute (cited in Kalmo and Skinner 2010: 2). Overall, different IR perspectives suggest at least two different visions and levels of sovereignty that analysts need to consider. In an international context, India faces these two dimensions of sovereignty in a relational manner. In a relational context, practice through negotiations and argumentation gives substance to this sovereignty. However, the ahistoricity of mainstream IR reflects an amnesia of the historical dimension of the Westphalian idea of sovereignty. In its classical sense, the latter was devised by nineteenth century jurists of international law, who were fixed upon the idea that sovereignty was associated with the principle of non-intervention

76  Raphaëlle Khan and the idea of territorial integrity. This historically rooted, yet often ahistorical definition of sovereignty, has formed a generalised and limited template to understand sovereignty. It does not leave space to study the specific integration, experience and viewpoint of non-Western actors in international society.

India at San Francisco: Attempts at outbidding and claims of sovereignty This second half of the chapter examines how, in a global context of multilateral discussions prompted by the Allies’ desire for the world order to evolve, two strategies of participation emerged in the forum of the UNCIO in the shape of two Indian diplomatic tracks. One was represented by the official delegation of the Government of India; the other led by a nationalist leader from the Indian National Congress acting from the margins. Although converging on some points, their views largely expressed and premised different visions of the world order to come. Crucially, the nationalist delegation posited an alternative India as a norm claimer in the international arena, thus affirming its sovereign normative capacity. We will first examine the context of the Conference, before focusing on the nationalists’ strategy to outbid the official delegation and assert their own vision of India and the future world order. The context: India’s anomalous international position in a changing order and nationalist aspirations The international context: Settling a new world order The San Francisco Conference occurred at the time when ‘[h]ow to make a new world body work was one of the most debated questions of the Second World War’ (Hilderbrand 1990: 2). Discussions on collective security were held in several phases, with various levels of inclusion. Representatives of the Great Powers (the USA, the USSR, Britain and China) first met at Dumbarton Oaks (Washington, DC) during the Summer of 1944, in order to release ‘Proposals for the Establishment of a General International Organization’ the following October. Voting procedures were discussed at Yalta where Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill met in February 1945. Finally, between 25 April and 26 June, UNCIO discussed these proposals between the delegates of 50 states. The Dumbarton Oaks proposals had sketched the vision of an inclusive but unequal order. Even if they conceded a role to smaller states, they consecrated the special role of great powers, clearly manifested through the image of the ‘Four Policemen’ (Hilderbrand 1990: 3). Inequality found another expression in an important omission: although China raised the issue of the right to self-determination (Lauren 2011: 181), the Dumbarton Oaks proposals did not mention any colonies (Nash 1945: 13; Sherwood 1996: 427). The secret proceedings of the Yalta Conference of February 1945 stated subsequently that ‘no

India as a Norm Claimer  77 discussion of actual territories [was] contemplated at the forthcoming United Nations conference or in the preliminary consultations’, discussions would instead be general. Earlier, Prime Minister Winston Churchill had insisted that the Atlantic Charter, signed in 1941 with American President Franklin Roosevelt, would not apply to India (Raghavan 2014: 144–5) – thus, refusing to consider the claim for self-determination by India. India’s ambiguous and anomalous position An exception among British colonies, India was officially involved in international gatherings before independence. Its inclusion as a non-sovereign member at the San Francisco Conference and the modalities of this inclusion (including its status and the British discourse around it) reflected the British government’s complex relations with India. This also led to the creation of a very ambiguous position internationally for India (Poulose 1970). That the British conceded an Indian delegation at the San Francisco Conference from April to June 1945 was the result of earlier negotiations, the outcome of which had been to allow official Indian representation at the League of Nations. Moreover, India had been an original signatory to the 1942 Declaration by the United Nations (Rajan 1973: 430). At the same time, the British were well aware of the mounting pressure that the Second Word War had created on their relations with India – negotiations on the latter’s status could only go forward. This pressure had led to the release of nationalist leaders from imprisonment in June 1945, which, in turn, weakened the already undermined legitimacy of the official Indian delegation at San Francisco. India and the Dominions’ contribution to the war effort increased pressure to grant them greater recognition and an equal say in post-war discussions. Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s speech on 17 April 1945 in the House of Commons illustrated this (‘Raising standard of life in Colonies: Mr. Attlee on need for world body’ 1945). As regards the San Francisco Conference, the British remained ambiguous vis-à-vis the symbolic position that they gave to India. The colony had its delegation, which allowed it to appear as a unified international actor. Publicly, British officials emphasised that all the delegations, that is, the White Dominions and India, would be on an equal footing at the UNCIO. Attlee declared on 17 April 1945: ‘We are absolutely equal in the British Commonwealth. Everyone goes to San Francisco absolutely unbounded’ (ibid.). Earlier, on 20 March, at the Central Assembly in New Delhi, External Affairs Secretary Sir Olaf Caroe had claimed that ‘[t]he status of the Government of India’s delegation to the San Francisco Conference [would] be identical with that of the delegation of any other of the United Nations’ (‘Indian delegation to San Francisco: “Status identical with others”’ 1945). However, the Indian delegation kept an anomalous legal character – India was represented but not recognised as independent, a situation that expressed the deadlock in which domestic negotiations laid in 1945. Thus, as at the League of Nations, India’s particular position as a non-sovereign member gave its delegation a certain but limited leeway to define an Indian position on the norms discussed. While stressing the equality of the delegations from the

78  Raphaëlle Khan British Empire, the British Government integrated the delegation into imperial politics. While key nationalist leaders were in prison, the official delegates of the Government of India8 were given a brief, a situation which made it easy for the jurist, M.C. Setavald, to refute the claim of Sir Firoz Khan Noon (from the official Indian delegation) that India was going to San Francisco as a ‘sovereign nation’ (‘Political status of India: Sir C. Setalvad on Sir F. K. Noon’s view’ 1945). The Indian delegation turned out to be ‘small, almost the smallest at San Francisco’ (Menon 1972: 109). The nationalist ambitions at the San Francisco Conference On the other side of the political spectrum, from a nationalist perspective, the interest in multilateral forums and international politics was not new. Prominent politicians, in particular, Jawaharlal Nehru, had developed a strong internationalist outlook since the 1920s, an awareness of the world that was shared by many nationalist leaders throughout the colonial world (Manela 2007). Supported by the long-standing activism of Indians abroad and their associations (on their role, see Rao [1945]), the nationalist interest in UNCIO was more immediately an answer to the domestic deadlock reached in negotiations with the British government following the rejection in April 1942 of the Cripps’ Declaration and the subsequent ‘Quit India’ resolution (Sherwood 1996: 407). The beginning of the 1940s had seen the development of important debates and negotiations between British and Indian leaders on India’s political fate. The subsequent upheaval of the Second World War catalysed fresh negotiations on the political status of India within the Empire and on the shape of the international system – with the two processes running in parallel. This simultaneity implied that Indian nationalists had much to focus on at the domestic level. However, the UNCIO also appeared as an alternative political space in which it was possible to publicise the independence struggle and make India’s nationalist voice audible to the world. The involvement of Indian nationalists in the San Francisco Conference contributed to a broader effort in promoting the cause of India’s independence. This attested once again the way in which domestic concerns and international ambitions were intertwined. P.S. Lokanathan, the executive secretary of the Congress-friendly Indian Council of World Affairs, stated the following: There are many, many ways of securing freedom; it is not right to ignore international avenues when they lead you on to the right roads. India has not, in my judgment, given sufficient thought to the cultivation of world opinion and influencing and being influenced by progressive world forces. (Lokanathan 1945: 120) There was a clear awareness of global power dynamics, which required from India a real intellectual engagement with the world.9 Thus, as Marika Sherwood

India as a Norm Claimer  79 notes, ‘[n]aturally Indian activists including Menon and V.D. Savarkar attempted to use the promise held by the Atlantic Charter … to push the Government to recognize their claims for independence for the colonies’ (Sherwood 1996: 419). ‘[Pushing] the Indian independence issue to the fore’ was also the aim of the leader of the unofficial Indian delegation, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (Menon 1972: 109), also sister to Nehru, the man who would go on to become India’s first prime minister. Beyond that, this nationalist goal cannot be delinked from a larger goal, which was to place India as a normative actor on the international scene, the logical outcome of long reflections on India’s place in the world. Indian leaders, intellectuals and policy-makers had indeed already been thinking about sovereignty issues and developed views on what the international system ought to look like (see Prasad 2013). At San Francisco, Pandit aimed at positioning nationalist leaders as competing Indian representatives and conveyors of alternative preferences for the future world order on behalf of a nationalist India. This bigger aspiration appeared in her speeches, for instance on 23 April 1945, in New York: A military victory without a moral victory does not have very much meaning. I am on my way to San Francisco as one who is interested in the establishment of better relations in the world. (‘“India not willing participant in war”: Mrs. V. Pandit’s criticism’ 1945) Beyond the struggle for independence, then, the San Francisco Conference arguably represented an opportunity for the emergence of nationalist India as a recognised normative claim-maker in a multilateral arena, within international society. We will see how Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit attempted to assert an alternative India as norm claimer in the debates by outbidding the official delegation and expressing an alternative vision of India in a new world order. Nationalist India’s attempt at asserting itself in the field of norms: A strategy of outbidding Nationalist Indians were not the only group that attempted to promote and advertise their cause, thus setting up a normative battlefield at San Francisco from the fringes. Several unofficial groups took the opportunity of the UNCIO to strive to influence the conference outcome, promote their agenda and convey their vision of a certain order from the margins. At a macro-level, this grouping created an additional dynamic within a larger forum of normative struggles at the periphery of the official channels of debate. It created a new group of actors within debates already divided by tensions between the great powers themselves (a prefiguration of the beginning of the Cold War)10 and between the great powers and smaller states, notably around the issues of the veto power and the powers of the Assembly. As Marika Sherwood notes, ‘[u]ndoubtedly most of the politically oriented organizations would have taken cognizance of the possibilities offered by the calling of the UN conference’ and ‘every person and organization which

80  Raphaëlle Khan sought to have its wrongs redressed, sent lobbyists to the city’ (Sherwood 1996: 419–21). As a journalist observed: [There was] a large company of other national groups interested in gaining publicity for their cause. The scene will be somewhat similar to that at Versailles after the last war where the Irish and many others strove, mostly unsuccessfully, for recognition of their problems. (‘Indian question & San Francisco: No discussion likely’ 1945) These ‘fringes groups’ included ‘Koreans, Spanish Republicans, Jewish nationalists and representatives of some of the newly formed and highly hopeful “World Congress of Dominated Nations”’ (ibid). However, the Indian group was particularly successful at gaining media coverage and overshadowing the official Indian delegation. It was also the only parallel delegation. Reuters noted revealingly that [T]he only delegation whose credentials have been publicly challenged – outside the conference walls – [was] that from India. Indian organisations and speakers opposing the government of India have been campaigning with the utmost vigor at San Francisco against [the] recognition [of] the Indian delegation led by Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar, on the grounds that its members are ‘merely British nominees’. (Reuters 1945) Mrs Pandit’s non-official strategy of outbidding and ultimately overshadowing the official delegation took several forms, through deligitimisation of the latter by her presence and visibility, and through her competing nationalist claim on norms debated at San Francisco. Following lecture tours in the U.S. and interventions on American radios where she had discussed ‘India and World Order’ (Sherwood 1996: 414), Nehru’s sister became ‘the powerhouse of the massive effort to make San Francisco “India conscious”’ (ibid.: 423) – a key role which is stressed in the way a newspaper defines her work as a ‘one woman campaign’ (See ‘One woman campaign by Mrs. Pandit: Seven days’ work in a week’ 1945). She launched a series of speeches and press conferences, some of which were widely advertised in the city of San Francisco with posters and invitations,11 and widely attended by journalists and Press representatives from many countries.12 Beyond Gandhi’s support,13 she relied on the wider network of the American India League, prominent American supporters and the diaspora to help publicise her events and raise awareness of the Indian issue.14 The India League ostensibly made its presence clear by putting its headquarters in front of the San Francisco City Hall and a ‘striking banner across the front of the building clearly [outlining] the League’s purpose’ (‘Status of dependent nations: M. Molotov on equality’ 1945). Another form of her strategy, and part of a broader struggle for legitimacy, entailed criticising the Indian delegation on account of its unaccountability and unrepresentativeness. In this line of argument, Gandhi had already claimed in a press statement that: ‘Either India at San Francisco is represented by an elected

India as a Norm Claimer  81 representative or represented not at all’ (‘“India’s freedom indispensable”: Mr. Gandhi on peace’ 1945). Presenting herself as ‘spokesman for India’ (‘“Declare India independent at once”: Mrs. Pandit’s plea at San Francisco’ 1945), Mrs Pandit tried to delegitimise the delegation by contesting their representativeness vis-à-vis the Indian people15 – a point that, as K.P.S. Menon (adviser of the official delegation) was aware, became increasingly defensible as the convening of the Simla conference in June and July 1945 gave nationalist leaders British recognition.16 K.P.S. Menon admitted that this strategy arguably worked insofar as the official delegation was finally ‘eclipsed in the public eye by the presence of Vijayalakshmi Pandit’ (Menon 1981: 216–7). A journalist observed that Mrs Pandit’s publicity ensured that: [T]he San Francisco Conference [was] the cause of raising the future of India virtually to the status of an international question in view of sympathetic observers in this country … The skilful timing and unremitting energy of Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit and her supporters in the United States have ensured a floodlight of publicity for India’s claims at a time when the peoples of the world are looking anxiously to the conference for formulation of principles and policies which are intended to shape their destinies. (‘“Declare India independent at once”: Mrs. Pandit’s plea at San Francisco’ 1945) The success of this outbidding allowed the nationalist delegation to gain visibility, which it used to express normative preferences vis-à-vis the official debates running in parallel. Debates at San Francisco: Defining an alternative Indian vision of the world order The nationalist success led to the creation of a double Indian diplomatic track. This section examines the different positioning of the two delegations vis-à-vis norms related to sovereignty and the normative vision they defined and asserted. Sir Firoz Khan Noon (from the official delegation) argued that he was ‘as keen on Indian independence as Mrs Pandit. Our only difference is over the system of obtaining independence’ (‘British policy in India: Mrs. V. Pandit’s criticism’ 1945). As we will see, the two sides shared some common views: both of them believed in India’s importance and greatness. However, while the official delegation mostly retained the moderate discourse it had developed at the League of Nations,17 nationalist leaders posited an alternative vision of peace, of India’s role in the world and of the trusteeship question.18 On the structure of the new order and India’s status as a power both the nationalist and official discourses seem to have promoted the idea that India was potentially a great power, but a power of a specific kind: non-aggressive and benevolent. In a style reminiscent of speeches at the League of Nations, Sir Mudaliar (head of the official delegation) insisted on both India’s non-aggressive character and

82  Raphaëlle Khan on its numerical importance during the war – India had the strongest army after the big four powers (‘Indian Army’s worthy contribution in war against Axis: Sir Ramaswami’ 1945). Generally speaking, the official delegation supported the idea of a strong Security Council with a veto power for great powers which, unlike many small and medium powers, it saw as a ‘necessary evil’ – a stance shared by Nehru because, as he explained in March 1948 to the Constituent Assembly, ‘if that veto was removed by a vote or decision of the United Nations, there was little doubt that the United Nations would cease to be that very instant’ (Appadorai 1985: 528). The official delegation noted however that ‘no single State should have the power to prevent or obstruct the pace of settlement of the disputes under Chapter VIII (A) whether it is a party to a dispute or not’ (Secret telegram 4341 1945). Ultimately, it voted in favour of the Yalta voting formula on the grounds that ‘the fate of the Charter itself was at stake’, but ‘on the express understanding that the Charter would be subject to revision in say, ten years without the intervention of veto’ (‘Future of dependent peoples brighter: India Delegation on new charter’ 1945). The delegation identified the demand of a seat at the Security Council, whether as elected or permanent member, as its ‘most direct concern’, along with the goal of having India elected at the Economic and Social Council and an Indian representative at the International Court of Justice (ibid.). One of the three amendments submitted by the Indian delegation at San Francisco concerned the issue of criteria in the election of non-permanent members of the Security Council, which in their view, would ensure that India received a seat. They therefore proposed to rewrite section A of Chapter 6.19 This desire to see India have a seat at the Security Council stemmed from the perception that India was entitled to a position similar to that of China (‘India may demand seat in Council: Plea of size & influence’ 1945). The delegation also compared India to a middle power such as Canada,20 ‘which had made and [was] capable of making an effective contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security’ in the future. This founded its ‘special right to be represented in the Security Council’ (‘Future of dependent peoples brighter: India Delegation on new charter’ 1945). Nehru, who shaped the overall outlook of the nationalist lobby, also accepted the idea of a great power veto and shared the idea that India was a certain kind of power. Other thinkers, such as A. Appadorai, did not oppose the pre-eminence of great powers, but criticised the risk that the status quo in the interests of the great powers would be maintained (Appadorai 1945: 150). This led him to advocate a revision of voting procedures, a periodical revision of the list of permanent members of the Council and a broadly regional composition of the Council (ibid.: 143–5). Appadorai also considered that ‘India, as she [is] today, would not care for a seat on the Council’ but that ‘the right of a free India to that place must not be prejudiced by the fact that she is not a foundation Great-Power’ and therefore advocated the periodical revision of the list of permanent members of the Council (ibid.: 144–5).

India as a Norm Claimer  83 On visions of India in the world: Peace, imperialism and India’s independence The official delegation was hoping that the conference would ensure peace, not only in Europe but also in Asia, which nationalists also wished for (‘“Peace in Asia essential”: Sir R. Mudaliar on world security’ 1945). However, Sir Firoz Khan Noon imagined the future of India as ‘free, independent and equal within the British Commonwealth of Nations’: ‘the days of the small countries, like the days of the small shopkeepers, are over and we must join the big political corporation’ he argued, and ‘India may ally herself with some big political corporation, and the British Commonwealth is obviously the simplest one with which to ally ourselves’ (‘“Pandit Nehru should supersede Mr. Gandhi”: Sir F. Khan Noon’s views’ 1945). For the nationalists, India was to be fully independent. Although the question of creating trusteeships was very controversial, the official delegation made no proposal to the Committee 4, Commission II on Trusteeship (see Gilchrist 1945), but contented itself with privately expressing some cautious opinions. Regarding a debate on ‘whether self-Government or independence should be the goal of colonial policy’, for instance, it expressed in a telegram the following: [that it could not] help thinking that in a general statement of policy there is little point in drawing a distinction between self-Government and independence and little objection to putting them as alternative objectives whose ultimate application is dependent on varying circumstances of each territory. (Secret telegram 4201 1945) This attitude was mild compared with the position of other states, such as the Philippines, the representatives of which ‘made an impassioned speech pointing out that the word “independence” had a definite significance while selfgovernment might mean almost nothing’ and ‘stigmatized the statement on general Colonial policy as vague and uninspiring as compared with Declaration in Atlantic Charter’. In the same spirit, the delegate of Iraq, during the debates, had ‘observed that right of self-determination was a fundamental human right’ (Secret telegram 4629 1945), and China had pressed for ‘the equality of all races and their right to self-determination’ and found many supporters (Lauren 2011: 181). This restraint visible in the delegation’s demands showed official India’s limited leeway. In contrast, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit reiterated the necessary link between peace, the end of imperialism and India’s independence, thus conceptually linking a free India to a new world order: Without India’s freedom there can be no assurance of lasting peace in Asia. India is the pivot of the whole system of imperialism and colonialism which always breed war. (‘British policy in India: Mrs. V. Pandit’s criticism’ 1945)

84  Raphaëlle Khan Nehru and Gandhi had already made the conceptual move of framing India as a world problem as early as the 1920s.21 At the Institute for Pacific Relations Conference in January 1945, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit pleaded for an international consciousness, which linked India’s fate to the future of the international system: ‘In the future we need a wider vision, and international rather than national perspectives’ (quoted in Bhagavan 2012: 34). Ultimately, Lokanathan noted, there was ‘the wide recognition that Indian independence was perhaps the most liberalizing force that could effectively promote colonial freedom’ (Lokanathan 1945: 119). Other nationalist leaders had also been critical of the Dumbarton Oaks proposal because the main issue had not been tackled (Rajan 1973: 431). The memorandum that Mrs Pandit presented to the Secretary-General of the UNCIO on 4 May 1945 on behalf of the India League of America and the National Committee for India’s Freedom shows, however, that nationalist India’s assertion on the international scene was accompanied by a plea. Assertion of normative capacity coexisted with the need to be internationally recognised – another facet of sovereignty. Thus, the memorandum ‘[called] for immediate independence for India and the abolition of the imperialist system’ (Sherwood 1996: 424). Finally, the memorandum was not distributed by the Conference Secretariat to the delegations but received media coverage (‘Mrs. V. Pandit’s memorandum: Likely rejection’ 1945). At stake was the recognition of the cause of an alternative nationalist India that was diverse but united, without representation, a ‘dependency’, that was in a ‘situation … irreconcilable alike with the concepts that inspired the United Nations’ Conference and with the new world order which, it [was] hoped, [would] be ushered in as a result of its concrete decisions’ (‘“Declare India independent at once”: Mrs. Pandit’s plea at San Francisco’ 1945). Pandit argued that imperialism ‘should be renounced in principle and abandoned in practice by an unequivocal acknowledgment and declaration of a free India’.22

Conclusion The complex institutional relations that developed between the British government and British India, combined with a lasting domestic political deadlock, led to the crystallisation of a unique Indian double track diplomacy at the San Francisco Conference in 1945. The nationalist strategy of outbidding the official Indian delegation linked the struggle for independence at the domestic level to the struggle for normative capacity at the international level. Nationalist leaders strived simultaneously to have (nationalist) India recognised as a sovereign state and to assert it as a normative actor in post-war debates on sovereignty. Put differently, they strove for independence as well as equality in the international system. In doing so, they turned the India they represented into a norm claimer. By the very act of claiming norms at a time when they could not shape, take or break norms, they illustrated an important dimension of sovereignty that reflected their position at the margins of the international society but also their gradual evolution in it. This situation leads us to reflect on the different dimensions of sovereignty for a non-Western country at a transitional historical stage – when it enters the

India as a Norm Claimer  85 international arena from the margins. Certainly, the notion of two competing ‘sovereign’ bodies (or bodies that claimed sovereignty) at the San Francisco conference in some ways underscores the prevalence and relevance of divided sovereignty in India, although in the specific and transitory form of a competition between two kinds of actors with different legitimacies. But, beyond that, this case arguably shows that sovereignty should be understood both as defined through debates in the multilateral forums dedicated to it, as well as epitomised by the claims of Indian nationalists for an Indian normative capacity. The nationalists strove for sovereignty by asserting their voice in debates on international norms. For this reason, the conference appeared as a partial failure to Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit: precisely, ‘the most serious defect [was] the abandonment of the principle of independence for all colonial peoples’ in the Charter of the United Nations (‘Formation of world organisation: Interim body in London’ 1945). Both Pandit and Nehru, when released from prison, agreed that although there were some good points, that was not enough (ibid.) – a feeling shared by other nationalists in the Congress (for instance ‘“No change in world order”: Mr. B. J. Desai’s view’ 1945). ‘[T]he basic problems which can ensure world peace have not been tackled by the San Francisco Conference’ Nehru argued in June 1945 (‘World peace & San Francisco talks: Mr. Nehru’s criticism’ 1945). At the same time, the Indian nationalist involvement at the San Francisco Conference could also be seen as a partially successful endeavour, in its very attempt at pushing India as a normative actor on to the international scene. Claiming an alternative worldview in a major multilateral arena was already enacting a dimension of sovereignty in a normative capacity. Lastly, this chapter has also attempted to show how empirical historical data can help enrich our understanding of the relationship between a non-Western state’s integration in international society and the concept of sovereignty in the larger world order.

Notes 1 I am grateful to Professor Khilnani, Arshima Dost and Martin Bayly for their comments. 2 By Western, I mean here the United States and Europe. 3 Normative actor is here understood as a visible actor that has the capacity to express normative preferences in the international arena. 4 Normative capacity is defined as the capacity to prescribe preferred norms/make normative claims on the international scene. Here, it is expressed by the ability of aspirant representatives (nationalist leaders) to project themselves on the international scene to claim and assert norm preferences and a vision of world order on behalf of India. 5 Buzan and Little (1994: 236) describe ‘anarchophilia’ as ‘the disposition to assume that the structure of the international system has always been anarchic, that this is natural, and (more selectively) that this is a good thing’. 6 Continuing the discussion, Darby (2003: 147) explains that not studying the empire has meant that ‘the narrowness of the construction of the political … ill-equips the discipline for identifying sources of change and tension’. 7 International law establishes that nation states are both independent and equal. Kurtulus (2005: 2) mentions that sovereignty is central to the structure of the discipline of international relations. 8 The composition of the official Indian delegation present at San Francisco ‘followed the usual pattern in British days’ (Menon 1981: 211). To mirror the diversity of commu-

86  Raphaëlle Khan nities in India, it included a Hindu, Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar, the head of the delegation (a former member of the delegation at the League and Supply Member of the Governor General’s Executive Council); a Muslim, Sir Firoz Khan Noon (Defence Minister of the Governor General’s Executive Council); and a representative of the Indian States, Sir V.T. Krishnamachari (former Diwan of Baroda).   9 For instance, Lokanathan (1945: 122) notes: ‘America is the pivot of Asia. If this be recognised India"s interest lies in active participation in all Conferences and meetings at which American and Asiatic problems are discussed. The Indian Council of World Affairs has not been started a day too soon. We should strengthen it and make it a powerful study and research body’. 10 K.P.S. Menon (1972: 102) made a comment on this point, which was already understood at the British Commonwealth conference: barring Smuts, ‘the other delegates seemed to feel that, as the Daily Mail put it, the San Francisco Conference might after all turn out to be a San Fiasco Conference. To this view Russia"s attitude over Poland and her decision (now graciously revised) not to send Molotov to the Conference lent colour’. 11 On 23 April 1945, a journalist reported: ‘The Nationalists have issued 1,800 invitations for Mrs. Pandit’s speech to conference delegates and other prominent people on the west coast’ (‘“India not willing participant in war”: Mrs. V. Pandit"s criticism’ 1945). 12 A journalist noted on 27 April 1945 that ‘Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit’s press conference yesterday was attended by nearly 200 newspapermen … Mrs Pandit’s press conference was comparable in size to those of M. Molotov, Mr. Stettinius and Mr. Eden. Many nations were represented, with representatives of the Chinese, British and Australian Press especially numerous’ (‘British policy in India: Mrs. V. Pandit’s criticism’ 1945). 13 In 1944, ‘Mahatma Gandhi … according to historian Gary Hess, had suggested to her that she should represent the Congress position at San Francisco’ (Sherwood 1996: 413). 14 For instance, in Washington, an article reports the following: ‘agitation in the United States for India’s freedom has gained intensity on the eve of the San Francisco conference, with many voices asserting that a solution to the Indian problem is one of the main prerequisites to a lasting peace’ (‘“India not willing participant in war”: Mrs. V. Pandit’s criticism’ 1945). 15 Already before the San Francisco conference, in Boston, ‘The fundamental message that she [Pandit] repeated at these meetings was that … the Indian delegates to the Conference were not representing the Indian people but were stooges of the British’. In addition, ‘The India League held a special executive committee meeting to discuss the issue and sent their protest to Ambassador Halifax in Washington and also to the US State Department’ (Sherwood 1996: 415–6). 16 ‘Despite the ability and eloquence of the leader of our delegation, he and his colleagues were handicapped by the fact that they represented a Government which was on its last legs … Indeed, when we were in San Francisco, news came that Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other Congress leaders had been released and that the Viceroy had invited them to Simla’ (Menon 1981: 216). 17 This included stressing at times similar points. The delegation proposed an amendment to strip a member of their right to vote in an election if they were in arrears with its contribution; it supported proposals for cultural cooperation and was in favour of having colonial powers report to an international authority. 18 A trusteeship system was to bring former territories under Mandate and territories of ‘Enemy States’ from the Second World War under the supervision of the UN. 19 ‘The General Assembly should appoint six states to fill non-permanent seats. In making these appointments General Assembly should pay due regard to the relative population, the industrial and economic capacity, the contribution in armed forces and the facilities and assistance which each state undertakes to make available in accordance with paragraph No.5 of section B of chapter 8, account also being taken of the contribution in these respects which it has made during World War II’ (Secret memorandum 1945: 50) (the additions suggested by the delegation are in italics).

India as a Norm Claimer  87 20 ‘India will at least want a place among the elected members of the Security Council as a middle power in rank not inferior to Canada, Holland or Turkey’ (‘India may demand seat in Council: Plea of size & influence’ 1945). 21 For instance, Nehru’s resolution at the Brussels Congress of Oppressed Nationalities in February 1927 stated that ‘the liberation of India from foreign domination and all kinds of exploitation is an essential step in the full emancipation of the people of the world’ (Prasad 2013: 209). In his first statement of press, he reiterated that ‘as in the past, so in the future, other countries and peoples would be vitally affected by the condition of India’ (Gopal 2012: 101). 22 ‘The memorandum describes the Indian problem as “the acid test of the principles on which the hopes of the Conference are postulated”’. It states that India’s dependent status is ‘not only a grave moral and political wrong to India, but a travesty of the claim that the United Nations’ Conference consists of representatives of sovereign nations. “The imperialist system should now be renounced in principle and abandoned in practice by the unequivocal acknowledgment and declaration of a free India,” it says’ (‘“Declare India independent at once”: Mrs. Pandit’s plea at San Francisco’ 1945).

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5  Theorising Indian Strategic Culture(s) Taking Stock of a Controversial Debate Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini

Introduction Contemporary India has often been regarded as a peculiar kind of great power. It has been seen as the manifestation of ‘an idealist inflection from the realist norm’ (Engelmeier 2009) and, because of that, to put it trenchantly in Stephen Cohen’s words, ‘India is always destined to be “emerging” but never actually arriving’ (Cohen 2001: 2). Due to this alleged deviation from the realist interpretation, mainstream international-relations theories regard post-independence India’s strategic behaviour as contradictory and incoherent (Mitra 2009). As a consequence, many analysts have attempted to come to terms with this ‘Indian exceptionalism’ (Mitra 2001; Mitra and Schoettli 2007). One such attempt, under the label of ‘Strategic Culture’, has been the introduction of culturalist explanations of strategic thought, and in particular of grand strategy in the 1990s that set out to account for India’s divergent strategic record (Paranjpe 2013). This scholarly discourse surrounding Indian strategic thought reached its first peak in 1992 after George Tanham’s landmark essay triggered what later became known as the ‘Tanham debate’. He argued that, due to ‘Hindu culture’, ‘Indian elites show little evidence of having thought coherently and systematically about national strategy’ (Tanham 1992: 50). Hence, from the early 1990s on, strategic culture became a buzzword in the strategic community as well as among the informed Indian public promising to explain this perceived aberration from realism’s path (Engelmeier 2009; Frey 2006). The idea of such a ‘strategic culture deficit’ became a much used topos that even The Economist (2013) conveyed: ‘India’s lack of a strategic culture hobbles its ambition to be a force in the world’. Many scholars equating strategic culture with a realist outlook, either argue that India has no strategic culture or attribute its diverting behaviour to Hindu culture. In what follows, this monolithic and essentialist conceptualisation of strategic culture as an independent variable is rejected. This contribution aims instead at providing a literature review that discusses the drawbacks and potentials of different approaches to strategic culture. It will in particular highlight the richness but also the limitations of a pluralist subculture approach. For several reasons, the study of Indian foreign policy would benefit from integrating the strategic culture approach. First, ideational variables in general

92  Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini received only marginal attention in research on Indian foreign and security policy prior to the end of the Cold War and they continue to be less studied compared with factors that inform conventional rational-choice models of strategic decision-making (Kim 2004). Cultural approaches thus promise to help close a still existing research gap. Second, the general application of ‘culture’ as an important variable and even as a meta-explanation is facilitated by the widespread understanding of India as not being a nation-state in the European tradition but a ‘civilisational-state’. According to this concept – ‘the state as a cultural entity’ (Das 2010) – the Indian state’s territory encompasses the whole of ‘Hindu civilisation’ and is, in consequence, shaped by this very culture despite its proclaimed secularist orientation (Cohen 2001; Paranjpe 2013; Jones 2006). Finally, the small ‘strategic enclave’ (Narang and Staniland 2012) centred in New Delhi, comparatively isolated from electoral competition, makes up for a relatively coherent research object. Therefore, subcultures are more easily discernible than that of states whose collective memory covers only a more recent past and where questions of grand strategy are impacting a far bigger share of the electorate (Narang and Staniland 2012). Some methodological obstacles remain for the research of Indian strategic thought. Determining adequate sources and artefacts (to which members of the strategic community in their majority are acquainted to) and tracing strategic traditions through the centuries is quite a difficult task. There are, for example, no established canons of texts derived from India’s history comparable to Chinese ones on strategy and statecraft (Johnston 1995; Bajpai 2003). Even more importantly, the issue of transferability, that is, the adaptation of ‘Western’ terminology to a vernacular context, poses some difficulties. Any strategic culture is a hybrid in terms of its constituting elements. In India, the intermingling of different idiosyncrasies is particularly pronounced. Hence, issues such as the deliberate re-use of the past in discourses on nation-building and identity politics (for example, the emphasis given on Hindu culture’s continuity), strongly impact grand strategy formulation (Liebig 2014). In addition, leading to contentions if a concept like ‘Kautilyan Realism’ – as a specifically Indian version of the allegedly universal concept of realism – has to be created in order to substitute Western terminology considered to be imprecise (Liebig 2013). In this chapter, I will discuss the constitution, meaning and analytical usefulness of the idea or concept of Indian strategic culture(s). To that purpose, the analysis proceeds as follows: As a first step, I will focus on definitions, starting with the actual meaning of the word ‘strategy’ in strategic culture. This will be followed by a multi-dimensional conceptualisation of culture. The applied heuristic approach will comprise a definition of culture as a lens pre-structuring perception as well as culture understood as a discursive construct. Second, a distinction between understanding culture as a practice versus culture as a system of meaning will be made. In a next step, Alistair Iain Johnston’s definition of strategic culture (Johnston 1995) will be modified in ways that enable an engagement of the Indian discourse along two conceptual lines addressing the ‘too much-continuity’ and ‘too much coherence’ problem (Bloomfield 2012). Finally, and against the

Theorising Indian Strategic Culture(s)  93 backdrop of the existing literature, the modified concept will be illustrated by four major Indian subcultures. I will therefore not join the ranks of Tanham or Subrahmanyam and others (Tanham 1992; Gordon 1995; Subrahmanyam and Malhotra 2005) who critically claim that India has a ‘strategic culture deficit’ (Pant 2011). I will rather argue that distinct strategic subcultures exist in India which have shaped Indian national security.

Definitions of strategic culture Although the concept of strategic culture is not new, it has remained loosely defined up until today. Its more recent conceptual origins can be traced to the ‘national character’ studies of the 1940s and 1950s, while cultural studies of strategy may well date back to the earliest texts on statecraft, be it in ancient Greece, China or India (Morgenthau 2006). The contemporary approach is a concept first devised by American and British scholars in the late 1970s. Jack Snyder coined the term ‘strategic culture’ in his attempt to bring culture into modern security studies by developing a theory for the interpretation of the Soviet limited nuclear war doctrine. His effort was embedded in the larger aim to overcome what was considered to be an ethno-centrist outlook on deterrence theory (Snyder 1977; Booth 1979). The notion that ‘strategic choice’ is rooted ‘in deeply historical, formative ideational legacies’ (Johnston 1995: ix) was mounted as a challenge to structural-realist assumptions about the sources and characteristics of state behaviour and to surpass the alleged ethnocentrism in strategic studies (Booth and Trood 1999). Due to their shared ontology, the proponents of so-called ‘national styles of strategy’ (Gray 1981) have been mainly subsumed under the label of constructivism (Johnston 1995: 33; Wendt 1999; Bloomfield 2012). In short, most researchers who use the term ‘strategic culture’ are inclined to argue, explicitly or implicitly, the following: [S]tates have different predominant strategic preferences that are rooted in the early or formative experiences of the state, and are influenced to some degree by the philosophical, political, cultural, and cognitive characteristics of the state and its elites. Ahistorical or ‘objective’ variables such as technology, polarity, or relative material capabilities are all of secondary importance. It is strategic culture, they argue, that gives meaning to these variables. (Johnston 1995: 34) Apart from this basic ontological consensus, a number of issues are very much disputed among proponents of the strategic culture concept. First, disagreements within the strategic culture literature start with the question of the conceptual boundaries of strategy. There is no consensus on whether strategic culture should be limited strictly to military issues, reducing it to the notion of actual war fighting, as a narrow interpretation of the term ‘strategy’ would suggest. Some authors (Poore 2004; Burgess 2009) have suggested broadening this conceptualisation to also encompass grand strategy. Equating the scope of strategic culture to grand

94  Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini strategy is a widespread approach, which also informs the definition offered by this chapter. Second, the meaning of culture as the second definitional element of strategic culture is even more contentious. Defining culture, to use Zaman’s words, is ‘as dangerous as an unmarked minefield on a dark night’ (Zaman 2006: 69). He goes on to contend that because of this difficulty of understanding culture, ‘some have gone so far as to suggest that scholars must abandon it altogether or “write against it”’ (Zaman 2006: 69). Despite its vagueness, the approach can be seen as a subset of political culture as defined by Almond and Verba in their concept of ‘civic culture’ (Almond and Verba 1963). Johnston uses the metaphor that strategic culture would be like a ‘states’ body language’ (Johnston 1995: 40), echoing Bourdieu’s ‘Habitus’ concept, as it taps semi- to subconscious elements within a state’s strategic establishment. But, as an analytical tool, it goes beyond the subliminal as it works like a lens in David Elkins and Richard Simeon’s sense, pre-structuring perception (Liebig 2014). Elkins and Simeon suggested the following: [C]ulture is unlikely to be of much help in explaining why alternative A was chosen over alternative B – but it may be of great help in understanding why A and B were considered, while no thought was given to C, D or E. (Elkins and Simeon 1979: 142; see also Poore 2004: 47) Jepperson, Wendt and Katzenstein additionally argue that ‘cultural environments affect not only the incentives for different kinds of state behavior but also the basic character of states – what we call state “identity”’ (Jepperson et al. 1996: 33). Hence, strategic culture, in all its varieties, can best be grasped by a number of heuristics. The first such element would be its hybrid character. Hybridity in the context of strategic culture refers to its composite nature, meaning that both the country’s strategic culture and its subcultures are based on assumptions that are derived from many different sources which, in turn, are selectively and partially adapted. This process can be called the re-use of the past (Mitra 2001) and has at least two implications: the first highlights the discursive character of a culture no matter how old and comprehensive it may be. The second relates to a possible instrumentalisation leading to, what Johnston calls, the ‘symbolic and the operational set’ of a strategic culture. In India, for example, the symbolic set would entail all idealist and internationalist worldviews while actual policy would nonetheless be realist with the only exception being that Indian leaders need to appeal to the structural realities of India’s post-colonial nation-building (Mitra 2002). Another distinction can be made between culture (as ideas and attitudes) and behaviour that is between culture as practice and culture as a system of meaning (Poore 2004). For prominent anthropologists, such as Geertz (1973) and Wildavsky (1985), culture can include ritual behaviour and does not remain exclusively ideational in nature. However, as applied by political scientists, culture has to be primarily an ideational category, so as to differentiate it from behaviour as the dependent variable. Yet this has not hindered many practitioners of the

Theorising Indian Strategic Culture(s)  95 strategic culture approach (Gray 1999; Kim 2004) in including behaviour in their understanding of culture. What researchers on strategic culture unequivocally share is the common conviction about the paramount importance of culture as a unit-level attribute. They can, however, be divided, starting in the 1970s and early 1980s, into several (three to four) generations or waves of scholarship (Johnston 1995) – a distinction still relevant even in the Indian context. These reflect distinct approaches on the subject matter, especially on the question of how to conceptualise strategic culture as an ideational variable: Basically, three possibilities are on offer (Johnston 1995; Poore 2004; Baylis 2007). First, strategic culture is regarded as an independent variable that integrates a wide variety of factors that directly determine policy outcomes. Second, it is devised as an intervening ideational variable that does not affect choice but helps to either uphold or weaken the status-quo of the domestic political system. The third variety agrees on its intervening character but expects it to exert at least a kind of agenda setting power and applies a clear separation between attitudes and behaviour. These positions make up for the theoretical controversy starting in the late 1970s with the first wave of scholars propagating it as a strong independent variable. So-called ‘first generationists’ such as Colin Gray (1981, 1999), Ken Booth (1979) regard strategic culture as an independent catch-all variable, which explains strategic choice as such, entailing everything from geography, technology and political as well as organisational culture, ideology, historical strategic practices, national character and even international system structure and material capabilities. Colin Gray, who is one of its most prominent representatives, has remained influential to this day. After his famous rejoinder in 1999 in the so-called ‘Johnston-Gray debate’ to Johnston’s criticism of the first generation, he regained some lost ground and has even found some eclectic followers in India (Rosen 1996; Basrur 2001). The main criticism directed at the first generation is their de facto tautological argumentation. If strategic culture is said to be the outcome of all the previously mentioned explanatory variables, then not much conceptual space is left for non-strategic culture explanations of strategic choice. Therefore, the notion of strategic culture, according to Johnston, is ‘underdetermined because strategic culture alone is held to have a strongly deterministic effect on behaviour, and over-determined because the concept of strategic culture is viewed as an amalgam of a wide range of (potentially competing) variables or inputs’ (Johnston 1995: 33). In the Indian case especially, Tanham (1992), Jones (2006) and Liebig (2013) share a monolithic and essentialist understanding of culture and based their assumptions on the same notion of an all-encompassing independent variable. The second generation, evolving in the mid-1980s, conceptualised strategic culture differently. Authors such as Bradley Klein (1988) considered strategic culture to be mainly instrumental. For them, strategic culture, in the neo-Gramscian sense, is a tool of cultural hegemony regarding organised state violence whereby state elites aim to establish or preserve their dominant position within this realm. There is, however, no evidence in the literature showing either that elites make

96  Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini a conscious decision to act instrumentally or that that their acts can at least be assumed to be semiconscious and culturally dependent. There is implicit reference in the Indian context to the heuristic of the instrumental notion of culture as it has been used in studies on identity politics and nation-building. This has been done by taking the intentional re-use of the past by the Congress elite and its opponents into account (Mitra 2002, 2004). The so-called ‘third generation’, which can be regarded as the most influential to date, emerged in the mid-1990s after the end of the Cold War and in tune with the increasing influence of constructivism in international relations theory. In his quintessential work, Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History (1995), that deals with the Seven Military Classics and their alleged impact on the Ming dynasty’s grand strategy, Alistair Iain Johnston set the rigorous parameters for a systematic research design. Drawing from organisational culture research, the third generation has conceptualised strategic culture as an ideational variable (Legro 1995; Kier 1997). Shared features include a clearcut separation of culture and behaviour and a more narrowly focused dependent variable that is behaviour in the respective studies. Examples for analysts working on India in a similar manner include Rosen (1996), Singh (1999), Basrur (2001) and Bajpai (2003). Besides the problem of devising strategic culture as an ideational variable, one encounters the problematique of the so-called ‘too much continuity and the too much coherence’ problems afflicting many models of strategic culture (Bloomfield 2012: 438). Basically, ‘continuity’ deals with the question of change while ‘coherence’ addresses the issue of essentialism and parsimony. For the too much continuity problem there are two possible answers: strategic culture is either semi-permanent with deep roots in history or it is amendable for change, hence contemporary circumstances play a conditioning role. Therefore, a differentiation between two types of strategic decision-making can be made, namely that between ‘strategic policy’ and ‘strategic behaviour’. ‘Strategic policy’ following Bloomfield (2012: 439) signifies long-term decision-making. ‘Strategic policy’ is what Snyder regards as the state of semi-permanence and which he equates to ‘culture’ ‘rather than mere policy’ (Snyder 1977: 9). So here the term ‘strategic policy’ is pointing to the immutable and semi-permanent character of many strategic culture definitions whereas the concept of ‘behaviour’ is referring to more short-term strategic choices as they are taken, for example, during a crisis. Establishing such a conceptual distinction provides a better understanding of the problem of change as some approaches tend to state ‘too much continuity’ in strategic policy, implicitly claiming that almost no change is taking place. For them ‘the weight of historical experiences and historically rooted strategic preferences tends to constrain responses to changes in the “objective” strategic environment’ (Johnston 1995: 34). Johnston contends that strategic culture permits adaptation but that it does so only slowly, and therefore, often lags behind changes in ‘objective’ conditions (Johnston 1995: 34). Concerning the sources of change, scholars are divided between those who regard strategic culture as rooted in tradition and deep history and those who ascribe change

Theorising Indian Strategic Culture(s)  97 to recent developments and crisis reaction. For the advocates of a long-standing tradition, it is an indigenous construct sometimes developed over millennia. This is the view of the proponents of the traditional (first generational) monolithic and essentialist approach, its understanding of change is linked to a very stable allencompassing notion of culture. The first who formulated such an account of Indian strategic thought in this kind of national psychology studies was Nirad Chaudhuri in his famous, The Continent of Circe: An Essay on the Peoples of India, dating back to 1965. The next in the line of providing a monolithic account of Indian strategic culture was George Tanham, a RAND Cooperation scholar, who, in his influential finding in 1992, called Indian Strategic Thought: An Interpretive Essay, posited that India lacked a strategic culture. Tanham attributed the limitations in strategic thinking to India lacking political unity historically. Additionally, he contended that the Hindu concept of time would discourage planning. Moreover, he argued that the Indians were largely kept out of strategic circles by the British; and, lastly, that there has been little interest in strategic planning in the elite ever since (Tanham 1992). Also, on behalf of the US government, Rodney Jones in 2006 compiled a study on India’s strategic culture taking a position contrary to Tanham’s. For Jones, India has a strategic culture and in the beginning of his work he contended the following: India’s strategic culture is not monolithic, rather is mosaic-like, but as a composite is more distinct and coherent than that of most contemporary nation-states. This is due to its substantial continuity with the symbolism of pre-modern Indian state systems and threads of Hindu or Vedic civilisation dating back several millennia. (Jones 2006: 3) But, despite his claim of its mosaic-like character, he proposes an essentialist label called ‘omniscient patrician’ to grasp India’s variation as a whole. In Jones’s analysis, like that of many essentialist authors, behaviour and ideas are also bound together. In his book, Nation-Building and Foreign Policy in India, Tobias Engelmeier gives another example of a monolithic approach. He describes India’s strategic culture as a whole to be characterised by an idealist inflection from the realist norm, thereby negating any possible dissenters (Engelmeier 2009). Another example is Shrikant Paranjpe’s work, who, while claiming to be a disciple of Johnston, also puts forward a monolithic account of India’s strategic culture without the rigour demanded by Johnston (Paranjpe 2013). On the other side are those who reduce the importance of history or continuity in constituting a strategic culture to more recent shock events such as India’s border war with China in 1962, which changed India’s strategic outlook substantially (Ali 2010). Another source for change for this more near term perspective is a so-called ‘strategic cultural dissonance’. Such dissonance results from situations when primary features of a distinct strategic tradition come into direct conflict with one another. Wildavsky argues that ‘cultures remain vital only if their core principles continue to generate solutions that satisfy human needs and make sense

98  Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini of the world’ (Wildavsky 1985: 69–70). For example, a country that supports democratisation and has an aversion against the use of force faces a dilemma when confronted by a challenge to democracy which necessitates a military response (Baylis 2007). Many existing theories are conceptualised too coherently because they assume that a state’s strategic culture incorporates no contradictory strands. Or they argue that the same range of schools or subcultures is present in every other country. Such models therefore typically fail to adequately explain how observed deviations could arise. Bloomfield generally contends that such models ‘tend to be stated in a manner which is too coherent, meaning they can’t account for occasional strategicbehavioural inconsistencies, and/or they suggest too much continuity and cannot thereby adequately account for changes in strategic policy over time’. As an alternative, a model is devised, which treats a singular strategic culture as containing a variety of co-existing strategic subcultures. These subcultures offer different interpretation of the country’s international context – ‘who a state’s “friends” and “foes” are – which in turn affects how that state interprets the material variables – geography, relative power, technological change, etc.’ (Bloomfield 2012: 438). According to Bloomfield: [A] strategic cultural model featuring competing subcultures enables a compromise position to be extracted from the Johnston–Gray debate. From Gray we take the notion that culture provides context; that it guides and shapes interpretation: we just have to accept that culture is a disaggregated thing with contradictory elements rather than a monolithic whole. (Bloomfield 2012: 456) With this approach, it becomes possible to delineate when a state’s strategic environment shifts or its identity changes, a subordinate subculture may add a new perspective to what can be called the ‘strategic core’ of a strategic culture or displace a dominant one as it fits the new external circumstances or that state’s ‘view of itself’ better (Bloomfield 2012: 456). In contrast to a monolithic understanding of strategic culture, which normally would entail the whole of India’s strategic community, such a pluralistic approach of different subcultures, which exist alongside a dominant strand, gains the quality of an intervening variable. Connected to the issue of subcultures is the question of instrumentality which Johnston has tried to grasp by introducing a so-called ‘operational set’ (which stands for the actual decision making behind closed doors and which is said to be basically realist in nature [Johnston 1995]) and a ‘symbolic set’, which is the discourse constituting the whole diversity of subcultures. All of these subcultures are intertwined with India’s cultural space borrowing from the same pool of language, myth and metaphor, be it in form of a reference to Lord Krishna or in being familiar with Anglo-American modes of thinking. Accordingly, the respective re-use is only guided by ideological preferences and the aim to legitimate certain policies.

Theorising Indian Strategic Culture(s)  99

Discursive plurality: Strategic culture research on India Kanti Bajpai (Bajpai 2003) was the first to introduce such a non-monolithic approach to the study of India’s strategic culture. Bajpai refers, in accordance with Johnston, to basic assumptions as making up the central strategic paradigms of three worldviews or subcultures he identified in the Indian post-Cold War context. In addition, the perspectives can, once again in terms of Johnston’s scheme, be described by their competing grand strategic prescriptions, which are answers to the respective central strategic paradigms. Since the end of the Cold War, according to Bajpai, at least three strands of thinking are vying for dominance: These three schools of thought which have distinct central strategic paradigms to use Johnston’s terminology (Johnston 1995) are called ‘Nehruvianism’, ‘neo-liberalism’ and ‘hyperrealism’. They reflect both IR (idealism versus realism) and domestic (revitalism, or more broadly, ‘elite revolts’ against Nehruvianism) cleavages but revolve around a ‘strategic core’ about the nature of the state system. Runa Das is following in his footsteps as she proposes three relatively similar labels: Nehruvianism, ‘Hindutva’ nationalism and neo-liberal Nehruvianism (Das 2010). Besides Bajpai, other authors have enriched the debate, such as Pratap Bhanu Mehta, who considers strategy formulation as being conducted along two strands: an idealist, Ashokan, and a realist, Kautilayan (Mehta 2009) as does Marcus Kim (Kim 2004) and Rashed Uz Zaman (Zaman 2006). In the same vein, Stephen Cohen uses the terms, Gandhian and Machiavellian respectively, with the Gandhian or Nehruvian perspective being credibly challenged by ‘a renascent conservative-realist perspective’ (Cohen 2001) and a more ideologically driven ‘Hindutva’ or Hindu revitalist viewpoint. Also, Cohen argues for a common ‘strategic core’ called ‘strategic restraint and autarky’. The former national security adviser, Shivshankar Menon, speaks of ‘realism-plus’ to emphasise the uniquely Indian strand of this theoretical concept by pointing to the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and their influence even on Gandhi’s thought, thereby hinting to its mixed nature (Menon 2012). Subrahmanyam likewise divides the strategic community into two types: the ‘relatively small but very vociferous “boy scouts”’ (Subrahmanyam and Malhotra 2005), who are more comfortable in seeing India as one of many other ordinary great powers that needs to cultivate its military clout and the majority that already sees India as a ‘civilizational’ great power. Jaswant Singh and Raja Mohan elaborate the distinction between realists further by introducing a ‘forward or neo-Curzion’ school of Indian strategic thought (Mohan 2003). Finally, Deepa Ollapally and Rajesh Rajagopalan delineate six schools of thought as they share a somewhat broader perception of foreign and security policy, three of which are variations of nationalists (standard-, neo-, and hyper-) the others are great power realists, liberal globalist and leftists (Ollapally and Rajagoplan 2012). All of these authors combine mainstream IR cleavages with vernacular labels in their effort to provide more precise delineations of Indian strategic thought.

100  Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini Despite this abundance of labels, there is no evidence in the literature so far on how to delineate and explain the causes for these apparent cleavages – there is no question of why two, three or six subcultures are assumed. Are these cleavages reflecting socio-economic divisions resulting from nation-building that are present in the whole polity? Or are these lines of conflict international relationsspecific expressions of elite dissent? What seems to be sure is that any of these subcultures or schools of thought has its own idiosyncrasy at their disposal encompassing different foundational texts, historical narratives and ideas about the state, organised violence and the respective threat perception, which reflect to various degrees attempts to recapture cultural heritage and to devise a kind of indigenous modernity. For the purpose of identifying these various subcultures, Corbridge’s concept of ‘elite revolts’ in Indian politics seems appropriate, which takes into account various factors such as generational change, caste quotas or regionalisation of political elites effecting foreign and security policy. Furthermore, Corbridge argues that there are different coalitions with their own worldviews that are struggling for dominance, such as Hindu-nationalism, neo-liberalism or new regional elites (Corbridge and Harriss 2000). The resulting cleavages have created a landscape of competing epistemic communities, which authors such as Kanti Bajpai or Deepa Ollapally claim to have enough cohesion to be regarded as schools of thought (Bajpai 2003; Ollapally and Rajagopalan 2012). Another possible solution to determine the likely number of subcultures would be to discuss the various propositions made in the literature and then triangulate the number of schools of thought by the quantity of respective references made by each of the authors. However, this would still not answer the question which, if any, particular subculture at a certain time enjoys a dominant or hegemonic position. Scholars, in fact, disagree about the relationship between different subcultures. Bloomfield, for instances, assumes competitive and non-negotiable ideational tenets. What he calls ‘waiting in the wings’ refers to groups with only limited latent influence but who might one day become dominant, changing that state’s strategic policy profoundly (Bloomfield 2012: 453). In contrast, Ollapally argues in line with the notion of a ‘strategic core’ that Indian perspectives on strategic affairs still ‘fall within a fairly narrow range’ (Ollapally and Rajagopalan 2012: 80), and that the different ideological position have intersecting views with plenty in common. This commonality is reflected in the consensus among scholars that all of these variations of strategic thought agree on the centrality of the sovereign state in international relations; they consider interests, power and violence as the defining characteristics of international relations. Furthermore, for them, power has a military and an economic dimension. This communality is not selfevident as the example of the European Union shows. Authors have noted that this common ground could be regarded as India’s core strategic culture, which would be modified depending on the issue at hand (Cohen 2001; Mehta 2009; Ollapally and Rajagopalan 2012). The interpretations of this ‘strategic core’, besides idealism, are now ranging from ‘deliberate ambiguity’ as a concept considering the contradictions caused by the necessities of identity politics and the deliberate

Theorising Indian Strategic Culture(s)  101 re-use of the past by the Indian elite to ‘Kautiylan realism’ and ‘strategic restraint’ (Rudolph and Rudolph 1967; Mitra 2001; Ali 2010; Gautam 2013a; Liebig 2014).

A revision of Johnston’s definition of strategic culture Before coming back to the strategic subcultures, a revised definition of Johnston’s is outlined, working as a basic tool that can be applied on each potential subculture. For Johnston, strategic culture is the following: [An integrated] system of symbols (e.g. argumentation structures, languages, analogies, metaphors) which acts to establish pervasive and long lasting strategic preferences by formulating concepts of the role and efficacy of military force in interstate political affairs, and by clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the strategic preferences seem uniquely realistic and efficacious. (Johnston 1995: 110) The issue that bothers Johnston the most is the relationship between strategic culture and behavioural choices. He contends that ‘how strategic culture affects the specific choice is an extremely complex problem’ (Johnston 1995: 46). He states that it should first be considered as an ideational milieu that limits behavioural choices. Hence, for him, the first step in strategic cultural research is to show that it limits, in some way, the options considered. Methodologically, one has to do the following: [T]race strategic culture from its sources, through the socialisation process, to the values and assumptions held by particular key decision-makers. This requires developing observable indicators for the presence of strategic culture so as to trace them through these first two stages. (Johnston 1995: 115) Strategic culture as a ‘system of symbols’ comprises two parts: [T]he first consists of basic assumptions firstly about the role of war in international relations (that means: is war aberrant or normal?), secondly about the nature of the adversary and the threat posed (is it zero-sum or variablesum?) and finally about the efficacy of the use of force (about the ability to control outcomes and to eliminate threats, and the conditions under which applied force is useful). (Johnston 1995: 39) An element to be added in the Indian case that the author proposes to include is the perception of the geo-political space by decision-makers (what should be defended or conquered? And is the territory perceived as secular or sacred?). This would give further insights if and why there is a self-imposed limitation to the

102  Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini geographical region of south Asia starting with Kautilya’s or classical India’s chakravartin or ruler of the world and post-independence India’s self-sufficiency with its British heritage. Mehta points to what he calls ‘self-contained entitlement’, thereby referring to Congress president Balgangadhar Tilak’s memorandum to George Clemenceau for the Paris Peace Conferences in 1919 to describe a self-sufficient attitude of the future civilisational-state India, an attitude which is still present in most of contemporary India’s strategic worldviews (Mehta 2009a: 214). Chatterjee-Miller has argued that India as a post-colonial state has epitomised territorial sovereignty as one of the principal manifestations of its freedom and independence (Chatterjee-Miller 2013: 30). But the exact scope and meaning of that geo-cultural space making up India is very much contested between secular and revitalist interpretations. Related to the idea of India, is the question of status and prestige of a post-colonial state turning into a great power (does a certain policy increase the status of the country or not?). Recognition to be an equal among the other great powers is a prominent aim to achieve for India’s strategic establishment. There are, of course, competing ideas about what kind of role India should play on the world stage and there is also disagreement about the policies to enhance the country’s position but there is near consensus that India is already, somewhat ‘naturally’ a great power, a status that has not to be earned (Cohen 2001; Pant 2011). Together, these comprise the central paradigm of a strategic culture and as Johnston contends, the answers to the issues raised come from deeply historical sources, not from the current environment (Johnston 1995: 32). The second part of Johnston’s definition states: [A]ssumptions at a more operational level about what strategic options are the most efficacious for dealing with the threat environment, as defined by answers to the first three questions. These lower-level assumptions should flow logically from the central paradigm. It is at this level of preferences over actions where strategic culture begins to affect behavioral choices directly. (Johnston 1995: 33) Thus, the empirical referent of a strategic culture is the following: [A] limited, ranked set of grand-strategic preferences that is consistent across the objects of analysis (e.g., textual sources for potential answers to the central paradigm) and persistent across time. This ranking is not, therefore, necessarily responsive to changes in non-cultural variables such as technology, threat, or organization. (Johnston 1995: 33) Johnston’s grand strategic preferences can also be applied on each of the subcultures. What kind of strategic preferences are available for them to choose from? First, the ones proposed by Johnston are outlined, and second, the set suggested by Pardesi for India (Pardesi 2005) are presented as an alternative echoing the

Theorising Indian Strategic Culture(s)  103 ‘strategic core’ literature (Cohen 2001; Paranjpe 2013). Johnston formulates just three ideal-types of main grand strategies: first, an ‘accomodationist’, second, a ‘defensive’ grand strategy and finally, an ‘offensive/expansionist’ one, which can be refined further by introducing different levels of elaboration. On the highest level, there are political goals or ends (status-quo versus revisionism) followed by the three ideal types of grand strategy, which, in turn, would determine respective military doctrines and operational strategies. For example, a Hindu revitalist position could be described as having a revisionist orientation, with a defensive grand strategic preference, which should be implemented by an offensive military doctrine, and at the operational level, a preference for waging swift and decisive wars (Johnston 1995: 34). One example, in an essentialist fashion however, is Pardesi’s work. He argues for the existence of five grand strategic preferences in the Indian case which he considers to be stable across five pan-Indian powers spanning over two millennia – the Mauryas, the Guptas, the Mughals, the British Raj and the Republic of India (Pardesi 2005; Pant 2011). For Pardesi, their strategic behaviour was characterised, first, by power maximisation under the veneer of morality; second, by their ambition for regional hegemony (in terms of the inner circle of the rajamandala) in the subcontinent; third, by their understanding of war as an integral part of statecraft – war was seen as natural as every king and court posed a potential threat (to behave in that way was in accordance with one’s harma), hence the use of force was one instrument in the repertoire of state behaviour as were covert operations. Fourth, a defensive strategic orientation against extraregional powers (a high priority on territorial integrity, bharat as sacred geography, and strong emphasis on status in terms of equality with outside great powers) and finally, rapid adaptation to changing military and political conditions (absolute flexibility). These preferences, according to Pardesi, can be found in the strategic behaviour of each of the aforementioned pan-Indian empires (Pardesi 2005).

Mapping Indian strategic subcultures All of the subcultures indicated previously, however, use India’s cultural tradition according to their ideological needs respectively. So what are the sources and objects of analysis than one must look at when trying to delineate these competing strands? ‘From which time periods should these sources be taken? Why are certain historical periods considered formative sources of strategic culture and others not? How is strategic culture transmitted through time? Does it change appreciably through its transmission?’ (Johnston 1995: 49). These are the questions to work with in order to operationalise the concept. Generally potential sources of a strategic culture can be roughly divided into three categories; namely ‘physical’ sources such as geography, climate, distribution of natural resources, generational change and technology, ‘political’ entailing the collective memory, regime type, elite beliefs and military organisation and finally, ‘social or cultural’ like myths and symbols and foundational texts and other relevant artefacts (Lantis and Howlett 2006).

104  Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini Due to India’s long history and its continuity in terms of ‘cohesion through plurality’ (Liebig 2014) the list of ingredients is impressive. Actually, one can distinguish at least four historical-cultural strands impacting strategic culture. First, the Hindu literary canon, especially the smritis (Gautam 2013b) encompassing the great epics and the Arthashastra. The rich history and tradition of Islamic statecraft (such as Delhi Sultanate, the Bahamanids and Mughal Empire) has until recently not been enjoying a comparable appreciation and has, in tune with the concept of the recovery of the self, been side-lined (Nandy 1983; Ali 2010). However, this is about to change as the work of Jayashree Vivekanandan on Mughal and pre-Mughal strategic thought gives plain evidence of a re-assessment of this period of India’s past (Vivekanandan 2012, 2014). Second, the British legacy plays an important role in Indian reasoning about strategic affairs. Lord Curzon’s strategic outlook had created a lasting gap between the geo-strategic perception of the British Raj or Akant Bharat, the undivided land, and the reduced capabilities resulting from partition (Mohan 2003). Third, the national movement has also left an imprint on Indian strategic thought, partly introducing and revoking the idealist school of thought in foreign and security policy, and even more importantly, the idea of secular modernity permeating Indian society and polity. Additionally, it asserted a very accommodating approach to the past by very aptly hybridising concepts and institutions from various sources. Finally, the last 20 years saw American ideas (international relations vocabulary) and institutional set ups (‘think tanks’) increasingly shape India’s conduct of its strategic discourse (Mohan 2003). As strategic culture is often regarded as a product of unique lessons that are internalised by successive generations of decision-makers, its hybrid nature provides plenty of sources such as the collective memory of its subcultures, comprising myths, narratives and symbols, and the interpretation of ‘physical’ sources such as geography. This occurs primarily through their education and socialisation in classic texts that embody a (national) political-military literary tradition (Johnston 1995: 48). In the Indian case, these are the great epics such as the Mahabharata, which is considered to be the most widespread and relevant, followed by the Ramayana and the Arthashastra (Datta-Ray 2014). Within the Mahabharata especially, the Bhagavad-Gita and the Bhimsa sermon are relevant artefacts of inquiry. Both major Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, deal with wars and treat rivalries as natural and normal. Even more explicitly, Kautilya’s Arthashastra addresses the use of force as an accepted means of politics. For instance, while not celebrating war, Indian culture treats it as acceptable when good fights evil (Menon 2012). Much like the West knows just war, Machiavellian thought or Kantian peace, these very same dimensions of strategic thought are evident in Indian writings on statecraft (Bajpai 2003; Liebig 2013). But also, the classic play Mudrarakshasa or the fable collection of Panchatantra, and Kamandaka’s Nitisara and later Mughal and Persian texts on statecraft (like Barani’s or Nizam al Mulk Tusi’s work), as well as British documents on strategy (Viceroy Curzon) and contemporary IR theory, should be analysed to draw upon similar thought figures in order to see if congruence in preference rankings can be established (Johnston 1995; Gautam 2013b).

Theorising Indian Strategic Culture(s)  105 So far, no one has ever tried to systemically analyse the Arthashastra or other texts from a possible strategic canon in order to look for congruence among these texts and their respective grand strategic preferences as Johnston did in the Chinese case. In the context of the strategic culture framework, these foundational works on statecraft and strategy can be regarded as ideational assets in the country’s nation-building process, or to use Ashis Nandy’s words, as political cultural resources in the struggle to ‘recover the self’ (Nandy 1983), thereby bolstering indigenous strategic mindsets by providing reference points. These different resources that the subcultures draw on raise the issue of methodology. In addition to the already mentioned diversity of a possible ‘canon of strategic thought’, a major obstacle in systematically studying these texts is the range of languages used, these entail ancient Sanskrit, contemporary South Asian idioms and English. Again, one must turn to Johnston, as methodological advice is quite rare in the observed literature. Bajpai explicitly questions the feasibility of a thorough analysis of canonical texts. (Bajpai 2003: 247). What kind of methods according to Johnston should be used to grasp the individual elements making up India’s strategic culture? The approach he proposes is fairly eclectic. Multiple methods are used to triangulate the central meanings in the texts, ascertaining if they are consistent on all levels of meaning (Johnston 1995: 49). This, at least, is the recommended proceeding of Johnston, who goes on to suggest to use two methods specifically, namely cognitive mapping and symbol analysis (Johnston 1995). These coding procedures are used to discern causal relationships in central concepts found in the selected texts. Finally, four such schools have been selected due to their repeated appearance in several publications (triangulation) and their representation of both domestic as well as IR cleavages with their combination of modern and vernacular concepts expressing indigenous modernity. Starting with the ‘founding fathers’ of modern India, this subculture sees itself as being guided by the principles of the national movement. This set of beliefs, called ‘Nehruvianism’ is still vivid in today’s India. Prime Minister Nehru developed the language and the ideas as well as the institutions shaping Indian foreign and security policy and what is known to this day as the post-independence ‘Nehruvian Consensus’. These ‘standard-nationalists’ in Ollaplay’s terms are identical with what Bajpai has coined to be ‘Nehruvians’ and would in most other cases be located between the idealist and the realist perspective. They have been closely related to the Congress party. Their Indian variation of idealism is said to be inspired by Gandhi’s concept of satyagraha and Buddha’s, Ashoka’s and even Akbar’s thoughts. But Nehru’s widespread categorisation as an idealist in terms of security policy, Jaswant Singh pointed to his ‘idealistic romanticism’ (Singh 1999) that is not shared unequivocally by Indian scholars in the field (Liebig 2014). Engelmeier’s idealist inflection (Engelmeier 2009) would also fit them as a designation, as they are rhetorically abjuring power politics, even though for them, war and conflict are integral parts of the human condition and there has been little reluctance to use of force in situations ranging from Goa to Sri Lanka and East Pakistan. Generally, strategic autonomy and territorial integrity are high

106  Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini rated values for ‘Nehruvians’ as they favour a defensive grand strategy with a preference for internal balancing and a reluctance for ‘entangling alliances’. But finding an appropriate label which fits into international relations terminology is not easy. Some describe the dominant strand of India’s strategic culture as ‘deliberate ambiguity’ (Mitra 2001), ‘strategic restraint’ (Mehta 2009) or ‘Kautiylan realism’ (Liebig 2013) to name but a few. It might be debatable if leftists representing primarily India’s two major communist parties, the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), and the more radical ‘intelligentsia’ as a very vocal element of the ‘chattering class’ are important enough in national security policy to be included in such a calculus. However, they gained a more prominent position in leading the effort against the United States-India nuclear deal in 2005 and they have been very determined in opposing closer ties with Israel (Bajpai 2003; Das 2010; Ollapally and Rajagoplan 2012). A key strand of thought related to this group of leftists is their perception of India as a developing country. They are standing in the ‘Nehruvian-Gandhian’ tradition, but unlike ‘standard-Nehruvians’, they focus more on domestic economic needs than on India’s foreign and security ambitions and are staunchly secularist and anti-militarist. This kind of Nehruvianism entails left of centre sections of the Congress, as well as the mentioned left parties, and civil society groups. They could be added to a broader leftist coalition representing the ‘Ashokan’ or Gandhian tradition with a clearly accomodationist outlook emphasising better relations with China and Third World solidarity (Bajpai 2003). They may represent the most undiluted variation of secularist and idealist thought (encompassing modern, post-modern and post-colonial approaches), but leftists predominantly share the notion of the state and the international system with the other subcultures. As the ideas of the ‘Nehruvians’ of non-alignment and disarmament became heavily contested in the 1990s due to the earlier mentioned ‘elite revolts’ against a perceived post-independence ‘Nehruvian consensus’ (Corbridge and Harriss 2006), the ‘hyper-nationalists’ or ‘revivalists’ (a more restricted understanding of indigenous modernity) as Cohen (2001) has called them (who wish to reclaim the cultural legacy of Hindu kingdoms and their ‘glorious’ past and enhance India’s militaristic or masculine attitude towards global politics) represent the most pressing milieu in Indian strategic affairs in terms of reclaiming lost heritage. Their affinity for military power and autarky and the partly revision of the regional (post-‘Partition of the British Raj’ order, implying a preference for strategic unity of South Asia compared with political unity [Pant 2011]), as well international, status quo is much stronger than the traditional Nehruvian demand. Their voice became significantly stronger in the post-Cold War era especially concerning issues of international arms control and domestic military policies, which might even remotely or potentially limit India’s capabilities (Bajpai 2003; Das 2010; Ollapally and Rajagopalan 2012: 90). Furthermore, Hindu-revitalists also began to play a more prominent role in India’s strategic discourse after the nuclear tests in 1998 due to a change in fashion favouring a more openly realist rhetoric (well-known realists in the tradition of Patel are Brahma Chellaney or Pratab Bhanu Mehta). For these realists, which can be regarded as reviving

Theorising Indian Strategic Culture(s)  107 the ‘Kautilyan’ strand in realist thought, it is not a question of whether India’s will become a great power but only when. According to the literature, however, Kautilya seems not to be outspokenly popular among Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) followers compared with Savarkar’s impact on grand strategy formulation (Liebig 2013). They believe in the responsible but comprehensive development of India’s economic and military power combined with a global outlook, which would not be confined by national or regional issues. For ‘revitalists’, with their offensive grand strategic preference, the biggest obstacle in achieving great power status is the lack of a grand strategy and the reluctance in the exercise of power (Mehta 2009; Das 2010; Ollapally and Rajagopalan 2012: 92). Whenever in power, the revitalists’ agenda has been watered down as a result of coalition politics or because of the influence of a resisting bureaucracy. It remains to be seen if Hindu revitalists will be able to influence the Modi government’s foreign policy in any palpable way. Ollapally’s ‘liberal globalists’ are again synonymous with Bajpai’s neoliberals and with Das’s ‘neo-liberal Nehruvians’, they raised their profile after the Cold War ended. Their main opponents are the so-called hyperrealists, whose autarkic orientations the neoliberals believe would minimise India’s chance of successfully participating in economic globalisation. Liberal globalists ‘pay far less attention to military power than others, and to ideology or moralism in foreign policy’ (Bajpai 2003; Ollapally and Rajagopalan 2012: 97). For them, diplomacy and trade are much more important for India’s relations with the outside world, a prominent example for this stance is India’s ‘look east’ policy at the beginning of the 1990s. They propagate a more relaxed relationship with the West, especially the United States, and are regarded as the big winners who have modified Indian strategic discourse in tune with economic liberalisation and the accompanying integration into the global economic system, seeking a new equilibrium with the Nehruvian establishment (Mohan 2003). Further research has to be conducted on whether these four subcultures have distinct reference texts and deviating narratives from one another concerning the main elements of the central strategic paradigm. Finally, how much do they have in common while striving to influence operational policy simultaneously? Raising the question of a strategic core constituted by the overlaps of the competing paradigms and the structuring imprint of the respective dominant subculture will have to be answered by future research.

Conclusion After this ‘tour d’horizon’ outlining this diverse culturalist category against contemporary India’s lively debate surrounding its strategic behaviour, the impression persists that strategic culture remains an ambitious research agenda. But in a structurally undetermined international system (Ollapally and Rajagopalan 2012), strategic culture is a rewarding analytical tool that unravels emerging India’s varied strategic vocabulary and tradition. A glimpse of the range of issues possibly covered could be gained at the beginning of this chapter. Still, the promise to

108  Bernhard Beitelmair-Berini explain many of India’s peculiarities from strategic vision and planning to the civil-military relationship with its cultural roots has yet to be fulfilled. Neither an in-depth study of India’s strategic culture nor of any of its constitutive elements has so far been conducted. Let alone the attempt to rigorously test for any effect strategic cultures might have had on historical, as well as on post-independence, India’s strategic decisions and policies. This chapter has shown that by extending Johnston’s approach to include each single subculture the ‘too much continuity’ and ‘too much coherence’ problem can be mended. This definition of strategic culture raises the awareness for its hybrid character. By emphasising the discursive level which thrives against the backdrop of the bigger frame of India’s cultural and civilisational space, the vernacularisation of this originally Western international relations concept helps to better grasp indigenous modernity even in the field of security studies. However, problems remain in applying Western terminology to this typology of ideological coalitions or subcultures whose worldviews are more deeply rooted in culture and history than just to be mere contemporary policy orientations. Due to their blurred lines, the many contexts of their instrumentalisation and the multilayered dimensions of meaning, especially of foundational Sanskrit sources, make the tracing of India’s strategic subcultures a challenging task.

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6 In Modi’s Might? Maintenance Processes and Prospects for De-Escalation in the India–Pakistan Rivalry, 1997–2015 Hannes Ebert Introduction Theorising Indian foreign policy towards Pakistan reveals a pattern of escalation and limited rapprochement present since both countries’ independence in 1947. The latest supposed breakthrough in bilateral relations was reached on December 2015. On the occasion of Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s participation in the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference in Islamabad, both rivals agreed to engage in a new version of the ‘Comprehensive Dialogue Process’ (CDP) (Syed 2015). The dialogue had formally been resumed in 2011, but was repeatedly interrupted and failed to produce any meaningful outcome. As the breakthrough seemed to enjoy unprecedented support by both a relatively stable Indian government under Hindunationalist Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and the all-powerful Pakistani army, it was hailed as a turning point with great potential to move the dialogue forward (Vij 2015; Shah and Nauman 2015). However, originally launched in 1997, the CDP evinced two similarly promising episodes of de-escalation between 1997 and 1999 and 2003 and 2008, which also came close to a breakthrough but ultimately failed to settle any of the multiple outstanding disputes. Evidently, powerful forces undermined recurrent efforts at rapprochement and caused the rivalry to persist. How can we explain the maintenance of the rivalry in the context of the dialogue process since 1997? And, based on the analysis of past failed attempts of de-escalation within this period, what prospects for de-escalation can we expect for the most recent initiative? These questions invariably lead to a well-established body of research on strategic rivalries. Rivalry research, a distinct school of thinking about causes and consequences of war within the wider field of international relations theory, broadly defines a strategic rivalry as a dyadic interstate relationship in which both parties perceive the other side as competitive and threatening and are therefore likely to engage in militarised conflict (Colaresi et al. 2008: 3–4, 25). Numerous studies explored why such rivalries emerge and end.1 Historical analyses demonstrated that most rivalries, in fact, tend to vanish after only a few years involving only one or two militarised interstate disputes (Goertz et al. 2005: 743).2 However, those rivalries that endure do so for a surprisingly long period of time, and are thus conceptualised as ‘enduring rivalries’. Enduring rivalries have

In Modi’s Might?  113 attracted particular attention for several reasons. Defined either as ‘long-standing militarized disputes between the same pairs of states’ (Diehl 2011: 215) or as consistent mutual perceptions as competitive and threatening enemies (Thompson 2001), they constitute a clear minority among interstate rivalries but accounted for a disproportionate amount of all arms races, bilateral crises, militarised disputes and interstate wars (Goertz and Diehl 1993; Colaresi et al. 2008; Rider 2009).3 According to empirical analyses, in the past two centuries less than 1 per cent of all existing dyads accounted for 80 per cent of interstate wars (Rasler et al. 2013: 3). In addition, maintaining a rivalry over a long period leads to severe political and economic costs, when governments are bound to invest more heavily in defence, intelligence and planning and bear higher opportunity costs related to non-cooperation than governments in non-rival pairs of states (Goertz et al. 2005: 743). To help explain this puzzle, scholars have also developed explanations on why rivalries endure. While it is beyond the scope of this chapter to review the entire literature on rivalry maintenance, it suffices here to distinguish between three broad perspectives. First, models focusing on the level of decision-makers explain the maintenance of rivalry with reference to individual leadership characteristics or belief systems which by nature or design favour the status quo to prevail (McGinnis and Williams 2001) and lead to dysfunctional learning and misperceptions (Leng 2000). Second, models on domestic politics and domestic structure examine the impact of variables such as the accumulation of particularly intractable issues (Rider 2009; Dreyer 2015), organisational failure and bureaucratic inertia (McGinnis and Williams 2001), public distrust of the rival (Bennett 1998; Colaresi 2005), economic benefits associated with the status quo (Bennett and Nordstrom 2000) and competing political identities on rivalry maintenance (Ganguly and Thompson 2011). Finally, models attentive to the impact of international politics and structure on rivalry maintenance discuss the stabilising effects of failed strategies of conflict management or coercion by the rivals or third-parties (Goertz et al. 2005), the rivalry’s linkage with other (great power) rivalries (Ganguly 2001), the recurrence of indeterminate dispute outcomes and stalemates (Maoz and Mor 2002), stabilising effects of nuclear weapons (Ganguly and Kapur 2010) and mutual mistrust and socialised hostilities (Thies 2001). The perspective of rivalry maintenance offers a particularly promising approach to exploring foreign policy behaviour in contemporary South Asia. The region’s two most populous and powerful nuclear-armed states, India and Pakistan, have been deadlocked in one of the contemporary world’s most intractable and violent rivalry whose origins lie in the movements to gain independence from the British Empire. Territorial disputes accompanied the partition of 1947 and majorly contributed to the evolving mutual perception that the other constituted the key threat to their respective security and sovereignty, but also to the ideological foundations on which each nation was built (Cohen 2001). In this environment, the two countries engaged in four wars (1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999) as well as in recurrent crises (Ganguly 2001; Chari et al. 2007). Numerous unilateral, bilateral and multilateral efforts to de-escalate tensions eventually failed to address the root

114  Hannes Ebert causes of the conflict. In particular, the original dispute over the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir endured.4 Even though the countries’ overt nuclearisation in 1998 might have ruled out full-scale war, low-intensity warfare and the exchange of military threats persisted under the nuclear umbrella (Ganguly 2008; Kapur 2007). Irrespective of the definition of ‘enduring rivalry’ one chooses to adopt, the South Asian rivalry therefore constitutes what David Dreyer conceptualised as an ‘ideal-type’ of enduring rivalry (Dreyer 2014). The rivalry persisted despite immense costs, wars, generational replacements, administration and regime changes and global transformations such as the end of the Cold War with otherwise significant repercussions for South Asia (Cohen 2013; Fair 2014). What makes the case particularly intriguing is the fact that both rivals are locked in additional, closely intertwined rivalries (India-China, Pakistan-Afghanistan).5 The chapter is divided into three sections. The following part will present two models of rivalry maintenance, namely David Dreyer’s model of issue intractability and accumulation, and Michael Colaresi’s two-level pressure model. None of these models has been adopted in a single case study in South Asia yet, and both provide multivariate analyses which are required for assessing the multiple changes that took place within the period under examination, including the election of new leaders, trade initiatives and international pressure for de-escalation.6 Subsequently, the models’ relative utility in explaining the failure of de-escalation in two episodes (1997–1999 and 2003–2008) and exploring the prospects of de-escalation in the current episode (2010 to present) will be examined. Finally, the conclusion will discuss the models’ relative strengths and weaknesses when applied to South Asia. It finds that Colaresi’s focus on the process of ‘rivalry outbidding’ is a particularly useful perspective for illustrating rivalry maintenance in South Asia and that Modi’s relative resilience against rivalry outbidding pressures improves the prospects for de-escalation. However, virtually all other impediments to rivalry termination identified in the previous two episodes prevail in the current episode, rendering the process of de-escalation highly vulnerable to bilateral crises and unreciprocated cooperation.

Explaining rivalry maintenance Conflict issue intractability and accumulation The first model to engage with is David Dreyer’s model on issue intractability and rivalry maintenance (Dreyer 2010, 2012, 2015). Dreyer focuses on the nature and the number of salient issues contested in the rivalry. Regarding the nature of contested issues, he argues that some issues are more intractable than others, and that rivalry persists as long as these remain unresolved (Dreyer 2012; 2015). He identifies four types of salient issues disputed among rivals, namely spatial issues (competition over demarcation and exclusive control of territory, maritime and river borders), positional issues (competition over relative shares of regional and global influence and prestige), regime-related issues (competition over particular political regimes) and ideological issues (competition over political belief

In Modi’s Might?  115 systems) (Dreyer 2012: 472–6). Based on a survival analysis of cases of rivalry termination between 1816 and 2000, Dreyer concludes that rivalries are most likely to endure when they are rooted in unresolved spatial and positional conflict issues (Dreyer 2012: 472). Spatial issues in which both rivals pursue overlapping claims of sovereignty to at least one territorial area are particularly prolonged for several reasons.7 There tends to be a broad domestic base of political support for sustaining territorial claims. Territorial claims appeal more immediately to the broader public than more limited regime-related issues, as they are associated not only with tangible values such as resources or strategic location, but also involve intangible values such as historical and cultural ties. While the former might be resolved through compromises, such as power sharing arrangements, territory linked to intangible values often carries symbolic and psychological significance imbrued in the broader society which makes negotiations difficult and renders territory ‘effectively indivisible’ (Dreyer 2012: 474, 486; cp. Vasquez 2009: 135–67, 355). When, for example, disputed territory becomes a symbol for national unity and identity, making concessions on territorial claims can be politically risky, and domestic pressures might even force political leaders to escalate the conflict in order to stay in power (Dreyer 2015: 199). Mutual public hostilities and mistrust deepen further when territorial disputes become gradually militarised. In addition, given that territorial claims tend to strongly resonate within the public, they are only loosely linked to specific political leaders. Consequently, rivalries rooted in unresolved territorial claims are less likely to be de-escalated or terminated through leadership changes than rivalries rooted in unresolved regime-related issues. Positional issues have an equally prolonged effect on rivalry as spatial issues because leaders tend to perceive sufficient relative influence and prestige as a necessary condition for other policy goals, most importantly, that of guaranteeing the state’s security (Dreyer 2012: 487). Competing for supremacy in the regional or global international hierarchy has become a key conflict issue in numerous rivalries, including the rivalry between Egypt, Iraq and Iran at the regional level and the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War at the global level (Dreyer 2010: 783). Dreyer’s second argument relates to the number of contested issues. He argues that the more salient issues are involved in a rivalry, the more likely the latter will persist and escalate into militarised dispute (Dreyer 2010; cp. Mitchell and Thies 2011). In contrast to scholars who contend that the presence of multiple issues contested in a rivalry might facilitate compromises and package deals, and thus, expedite rivalry termination, he finds that issue conflict accumulation rather complicates dispute resolution. An initial conflict issue gradually leads to the emergence of a resilient enemy image. Multiple issues become linked and collectively approached as security concerns, with the ‘enemy’ now perceived as the decisive impediment to settling the issues (Dreyer 2010: 779–80). In turn, one rival’s behaviour is reciprocated and undermines the effect of any past settlements in previously uncontested issues. This spiral effect of issue accumulation leads to rivalry maintenance and escalation into armed conflict when one

116  Hannes Ebert rival perceives the need to demonstrate resolve on one conflict issue to deter rising demands on other issues (Dreyer 2010: 781; cp. Diehl and Goertz 2001: 169–72). Dreyer’s model thus points to the necessity of exploring the historical evolution of strategic rivals to explain rivalry maintenance and recurrent escalation and assessing public and elite opinion regarding the most contested issues. Rivalry outbidding, leadership turnover and unreciprocated cooperation Michael Colaresi’s dynamic two-level pressure theory provides another promising approach for investigating rivalry maintenance in South Asia (Colaresi 2004, 2005). Building on an event history analysis, Colaresi illustrates how a regime’s expectations about the future level of threat within a rivalry and the domestic process of rivalry outbidding can perpetuate rivalry dynamics. His basic argument is that rivalries are maintained when leaders calculate the political costs of changing the status quo emanating from international constraints and domestic pressures as too high. The first key concept is the future expectations about the threat potential from a rival and the likelihood of escalation. Political leaders constantly calculate the costs of maintaining the rivalry. Rivalry maintenance is affordable if the threat from the rival and their own relative power position remains constant. Significant changes in either aspect render rivalry maintenance untenable, resulting in either de-escalation or escalation (Colaresi 2005: 16). Expectations on the capability balance are derived from intelligence gathering and from past interactions with the rival. Rivalry outbidding constitutes Colaresi’s second central concept. He describes the domestic political process within a rivalry as a conflict between ‘peacemakers’ and ‘outbidders’ (Colaresi 2005: 31). In an enduring rivalry context, peacemakers will likely be punished for both overcooperation and undercompetition. Outbidders, that is, leaders with vested interests in rivalry maintenance, can exploit public elite and nonelite opinion generally in favour of rivalry maintenance and force political leaders to step down or change their policy towards a more ‘hawkish’ stance.8 The public preference for rivalry maintenance usually originates from a history of hostile interactions, generating high levels of mistrust towards the rival’s intentions and creating a constituency for hard-liners. Outbidders can further increase public suspicions by exploiting information asymmetries as political leaders tend to have significantly greater access to foreign policy information than the public in rivalry contexts (Colaresi 2005: 38–9). Mobilising support for rivalry termination thus becomes politically risky (Colaresi 2004: 557). If dovish peacemakers offer cooperation such as concessions or compromises without receiving a proportionate reciprocal dividend, they can be perceived as weak and as capitulating to the enemy. Consequently, overcooperation typically triggers significant domestic pressure to maintain the rivalry and chances increase that peacemakers give in to this pressure or will be replaced.9 Leadership turnover thus tends to perpetuate maintenance processes in rivalry contexts. Tangible reciprocity is necessary to sell rivalry de-escalation to the population. Political leaders thus need to anticipate potential penalties of overcooperation and minimise the risk for unreciprocated cooperation. Third-party pressure,

In Modi’s Might?  117 a strong belief in cooperation or incomplete foresight might lead leaders to take high risks that are likely to result in their replacement. Examples of leadership turnovers following risky overcooperation include Britain’s Winston Churchill replacing Neville Chamberlain following his insistence on appeasement policy in 1940 and Israel’s Ariel Sharon taking over from Ehud Barak in 2001. Similarly, if peacemakers insufficiently compete with the rival, hawkish opposition leaders, they might outbid them in the competition over the strongest stance on defence matters by fear and warmongering to gain public support (Colaresi 2005: 20, 39). Thereby, rivalry outbidding accelerates public distrust vis-à-vis the rival, increasing the hard-line outbidders’ leverage over foreign and security policy matters as well as the pressure on the peacemakers to avoid compromise and maintain (or even escalate) the rivalry or to step down (Colaresi 2004: 567; 2005: 19). Finally, the third key concept of Colaresi’s two-level pressure theory includes the presence of a window of opportunity to alter the status quo. International and domestic pressures only lead to changes in the rivalry dynamics if the perceived benefits of moving towards rivalry escalation or de-escalation are great enough, for example, when the balance of power shifts in favour of changing the status quo in either direction (Colaresi 2005: 38–42).

Maintenance processes in the India–Pakistan rivalry This part briefly traces the developments of the India–Pakistan rivalry since the initiation of the CDP in 1997. The time period comprises of two episodes of failed de-escalation (1997 to 1999 and 2003 to 2008), and one ongoing episode (2010 to the present). Similar initiatives were taken at least on four other occasions (1962 and 1963, 1966, 1972 and 1980) (cp. Rasler et al. 2013: 125–47). What is particularly striking – and instructive – about this latest period, however, is the rivalry’s resilience amidst high costs, disruptive events and intermittent external pressure to settle outstanding disputes. Failed rivalry termination, 1997 to 1999 The period’s first attempt to de-escalate the rivalry commenced in May 1997. At the sidelines of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Male, Maldives, Indian Prime Minister, Inder Kumar Gujral, and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, agreed upon engaging in a structured comprehensive dialogue process, the CDP. The CDP sought to provide an unprecedented framework to negotiate all outstanding issues between the two rivals simultaneously, allowing for compromises and package deals.10 The prospects of effective negotiations were dampened when India’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the general elections in March 1998 and New Delhi decided to conduct its second nuclear test series in May 1998, closely followed by Pakistan’s first test series (Ahmed 1999). However, overt nuclearisation instantly drew international attention to the India–Pakistan rivalry and the

118  Hannes Ebert ongoing insurgency in Kashmir (Talbott 2006). Sanctions were imposed against both countries, which, in part, led them to engage in bilateral talks in late 1998. As a result, a symbolic bus service between New Delhi and Lahore was initiated and a bilateral agreement signed in Lahore in February 1999. The ‘Lahore Declaration’ outlined a joint framework for confidence building measures to avoid conflict between the two nuclearised states. Both leaders also commissioned secret back-channel talks by special emissaries. Numerous observers perceived the Lahore summit outcome as a breakthrough (Kux 2006: 60). The peace process was, however, rapidly derailed when under its new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani army launched an operation in the Kargil heights of the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir in May 1999 (Lavoy 2009). The operation led to a three-month limited war, the world’s first direct conflict between states possessing nuclear weapons since Sino-Soviet border clashes in 1969 (Hoyt 2009: 144). Eventually mediated through US intervention, the crisis ended the initial peace process. In its aftermath, Pakistan’s civilian rule that had commenced in 1988 was replaced by a military ruler, Musharraf, through a coup in October 1999. Both states entered into a ceasefire in 2000. Vajpayee’s government refused formal contacts with Musharraf until a bilateral summit in Agra in July 2001, which, however, failed to yield any agreement on outstanding disputes (BBC 2001). The rivalry escalated dramatically when a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, on 13 December 2001, by Pakistan-based militant groups who were, according to India, backed by Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), sparked a massive standoff that risked escalating into full-scale war until it was eventually defused in 2002. Failed rivalry termination, 2003 to 2008 In April 2003, Prime Minister Vajpayee initiated a second attempt to de-escalate the rivalry when he unexpectedly offered Pakistan a resumption in talks (Press Trust of India 2003). As a result, India and Pakistan enforced a ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control (LoC) in November 2003. Musharraf’s regime reciprocated by banning terrorist groups and instructing the ISI to contain Jihadi activities in Kashmir (Abbas 2005: 226). In addition, Musharraf announced in December 2003 that he would be willing to drop Pakistan’s traditional insistence that the Kashmir dispute must be settled through a plebiscite as demanded in United Nations resolutions – a fundamental shift regarding a key conflict issue of the rivalry (Rashid 2003). These steps paved the way for both governments to jointly adopt the ‘Islamabad Declaration’ on the 12th SAARC summit in Islamabad in January 2004, in which Vajpayee recognised Kashmir as an international dispute and Musharraf promised to curb terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil (Cohen 2004: 6). Despite resistance against rapprochement from domestic hard-line constituencies, both leaders announced their intention to resume the CDP and the secret back-channel talks, and agreed upon an ambitious dialogue agenda (Coll 2009). Most importantly,

In Modi’s Might?  119 they agreed upon a preliminary roadmap outlining concrete steps towards settling the Kashmir issue (Dawn 2009). First, both militaries should reciprocally demilitarise the disputed region. Second, the central governments should grant more autonomy to their respective parts of Kashmir.11 Third, a selected number of common goods such as watersheds, glaciers and forests should be jointly managed. Finally, and most crucially, the status of the LoC should not be changed and the border should be opened for the free movement of people and goods – a vital change of Pakistan’s demand not only of holding a plebiscite, but also a compromise on India’s claim to making the LoC a formal international border. The dialogue and the back-channel talks generated considerable progress. Manmohan Singh, Vajpayee’s successor after the Indian National Congress’s (INC) victory in parliamentary elections in May 2004, made implementing the preliminary agenda a priority of his foreign policy (Taneja 2014). In 2006, Singh reiterated the goal that the LoC should be made ‘irrelevant’ (Swami 2008). By early 2007, a breakthrough on the Kashmir roadmap was within reach according to Singh and his back-channel envoy Satinder Lambah (Singh 2014; Lambah 2014). Singh’s Foreign Secretary, Shivshankar Menon, praised the negotiations as the ‘most sustained and intensive dialogue that they have ever had’ (Menon 2007). While the degree of support by the Pakistani military’s core commanders still remains disputed, some tangible indicators of de-escalation existed. In the five years following the ceasefire agreement in April 2003, barely any firing across the LoC took place, militant infiltrations from Pakistan into Jammu and Kashmir essentially stopped and a joint counter-terrorism mechanism was established. In addition, the visa regime was liberalised and cross-border train and bus services (including one linking both parts of Kashmir) were launched. Bilateral trade rose from $344.59 million in volume in 2003 and 2004 to $2.23 billion in 2007 and 2008 (Curtis 2007). Eventually, however, after four rounds of dialogue negotiations, no formal peace agreement was reached. By the first half of 2008, the back-channel negotiations collapsed. Domestic turmoil against Musharraf’s rule forced him out of his position as COAS in November 2007 and as President in August 2008. In Pakistan, a new civilian government under Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani and President Asif Zardari, both members of the Pakistan People’s Party, sought to engage with India, but was careful not to be associated too closely with Musharraf’s initiatives. The momentum was ultimately lost when militants backed by the ISI attacked the Indian embassy in Kabul in July 2008 and launched an attack against the Indian commercial centre, Mumbai, in November 2008. In the aftermath of the Mumbai crisis, while Singh’s government responded with restraint, it was compelled to end the peace process. Prospects for rivalry termination, 2010 to the present What do the assessments of the two episodes of failed de-escalation imply for the prospects of the currently ongoing episode? The episode was initiated when Prime Ministers Singh and Gilani agreed to resume the CDP, which had been stalled since the Mumbai attacks in November 2008, at the sidelines of the 16th SAARC

120  Hannes Ebert summit in Bhutan in April 2010. In July 2011, the foreign ministers formally engaged in the first ‘post-Mumbai’ round of the resumed dialogue. As a result, cross-LoC trade and travel was enhanced and nuclear and conventional CBMs strengthened (Hindustan Times 2011). In October 2011, the Pakistani government announced its willingness to grant India ‘most favoured nation’ (MFN) status, and in September 2012, both governments agreed to improve trade logistics, increase electricity and gas supplies and relax visa rules (Mehdudia 2012). Furthermore, parliamentary elections in Pakistan in May 2013 and in India in May 2014 resulted in remarkable political shifts with positive implications for the rivalry’s de-escalation (Ahmad and Ebert 2015). Both incumbent prime ministers, Modi and Sharif, made economic development their foremost priority, and promoted a rapprochement with the respective rival a central precondition for their agenda’s success. In an unprecedented initiative, Modi invited all leaders of the SAARC member states to attend his swearing-in ceremony in May 2014. Yet, as during past episodes, powerful forces of resistance against terminating rivalry occurred. Modi, desisting from any more sustained interest to engage with Pakistan, quickly shifted towards a hard-line approach favouring isolation, shaming, forceful military responses to cease-fire violations and strong conditionality to any talks (Grare 2015). Pakistan’s military demonstrated similar unwillingness to de-escalate the rivalry. Reportedly, the military had intensified its recruitment of militants to infiltrate India-controlled Kashmir since mid-2014, which also contributed to a dramatic increase of ceasefire violations and two terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in India’s north-western Gurdaspur (The New York Times 2015). In this context, scheduled talks between the respective foreign secretaries and the national security advisors (NSA) were cancelled, and the dialogue put on hold (Ganguly 2015). The dilly-dallying post-elections course continued until December 2015, when a British-mediated meeting between the two prime ministers at the sidelines of an international climate conference in Paris allowed the prime ministers to pick up the thread, paving the way for subsequent meetings between the NSAs in Bangkok and the foreign ministers in Islamabad. In Islamabad, the foreign ministers announced the launch of the ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ – a renamed structured dialogue covering all the contested issues addressed in the CDP (Syed 2015).

Engaging rivalry maintenance models in South Asia Why have these two distinct attempts of de-escalation failed and what are the prospects for de-escalation in the current episode? The following part will briefly discuss both the potential and limits of the models outlined previously for explaining the maintenance of the South Asian rivalry in this latest period. David Dreyer’s model of issue intractability and accumulation Dreyer’s model of issue intractability and accumulation offers promising insights into the maintenance processes in this period. As suggested in the model, territorial

In Modi’s Might?  121 disputes, which led to the emergence of the rivalry in 1947, and three wars and several crises, have become linked to both rivals’ national identity and unity projects and thus have contributed to the consolidation of a resilient mutual enemy image. The original territorial disputes persisted during the latest period. The fact that both rivals engaged in a comprehensive dialogue process tackling multiple issues in parallel – with the belief that solving minor issues would release sufficient momentum to tackle more intricate ones – also points to the presence of significant issue accumulation. This includes positional conflict issues within a growing asymmetric relationship in which the subordinate state’s army (Pakistan) cultivates an ideological goal of establishing ‘strategic parity’ and the stronger state (India) demonstrates a reluctance to make unilateral concessions. The model corresponds particularly well with the period’s first episode between 1997 and 1999. The Kargil operation that ended this attempt of de-escalation was predominantly driven by the Pakistani military’s persistent claims for territory in Kashmir and the BJP’s and broader Indian public’s will to defend the Indian territory. The Pakistani military continued to be dissatisfied with the status quo in Kashmir. It had sought to exploit Indian vulnerabilities in the region since an ethnonationalist insurgency had erupted in 1989, yet by the mid-1990s, New Delhi had largely brought Jammu and Kashmir under its control. Encouraged by the reassurance of nuclear weapons, Pakistan’s army engaged in the Kargil operation in order to display Indian vulnerabilities and internationalise the conflict. As anticipated in Dreyer’s model, four leadership changes during Pakistan’s period of civilian rule between 1988 and 1999 failed to mitigate the salience of territorial claims. Sustaining these territorial claims enjoyed broad political support in both countries. In Pakistan, where the nuclear tests had been welcomed across the political spectrum and the broader public, a widespread ‘Indophobia’ and a nationalist view on foreign policy served as an important link between elite and nonelite public opinions (Milam and Nelson 2013: 123; Ahmed et al. 1998: 730–2). In India, while Vajpayee made a credible effort to mobilise support for de-escalating the conflict, he faced opposition from coalition partners and his own party.12 The BJP, since its creation in 1980, had cultivated an anti-Pakistan foreign policy based on a vision of exclusionary nationalism and insisted on defending the Indian claims for Kashmir (Ganguly 2015). Moreover, Indian public opinion became considerably more hawkish and supportive of defending the claims in Kashmir following the nuclear tests (Fehrs 2008: 226). Positional disputes also – though less forcefully – contributed to the failure of de-escalation. With overt nuclearisation and a growing Indian economy, the BJP-led government more assertively expressed its perception of India as the region’s leader. The Kargil operation was thus a last attempt by the Pakistani army to militarily prevent the ultimate consolidation of the territorial status quo in a nuclearised and increasingly asymmetrical rivalry. Hence, a combination of prevalent spatial and positional conflict issues enjoying broad domestic support bases undermined considerations driving de-escalation, initially promoted by Vajpayee and Sharif, such as economic benefits of closer cooperation or the need to diminish the risks of nuclear escalation.

122  Hannes Ebert Dreyer’s model is less persuasive regarding the period’s second episode of failed de-escalation between 2003 and 2008, with positional disputes and issue accumulation playing a more forceful role than the original territorial dispute over Kashmir. While Dreyer’s model assumes long-term disputed territory fraught with ideological significance to be effectively indivisible, growing evidence suggests that a breakthrough on the Kashmir dispute and less salient territories, such as Sir Creek and Siachen, was in reach towards the end of this episode.13 Indian Prime Minister Singh’s suggestion to make the LoC ‘irrelevant’ and President Musharraf’s initiative to revise his country’s Kashmir policy revealed an unprecedented degree of flexibility on both sides. However, the strong opposition against Musharraf’s détente, including repeated assassination attempts by militant Jihadi groups and limited, if any, backing by the army’s core commanders, also demonstrates the prevailing costs of attempts to revise territorial claims. In addition, the intensification of positional conflict issues impeded the chance for a serious revision of the rivals’ territorial claims. Following Kargil, the rivalry’s theatre of contention and threat perception shifted away from territorial disputes towards more positional issues, most notably, both rivals’ influence in Afghanistan and the concomitant Pakistani fear of Indian regional hegemony. Moreover, the failure of the arduous parallel negotiations of multiple issues (reflected in the CDP’s eight baskets) at both the formal and informal back-channel levels illustrates how the accumulation of conflict issues creates spiral effects which eventually complicate settlements. Overall, however, the episode’s failure to settle any of the eight issues negotiated in the CDP was more closely linked to domestic dissent and political instability in Pakistan than to territorial, positional, regime-related or ideological issues between the rivals. Finally, Dreyer’s model again offers limited use in exploring the post-2010 episode and its prospects for de-escalation. While territorial disputes were still prevalent, the political support base for sustaining these claims without concessions became more ambivalent, rendering an assessment of future prospects from Dreyer’s perspective somewhat arbitrary. On the one hand, large majorities of both Indians and Pakistanis polled between 2012 and 2015 perceived the ‘other’ as the greatest threat for their country. On the other hand, they called for improved relations and increased trade, and ranked the resolution of the Kashmir dispute as a very important priority (Pew Research Center 2012: 18–21; 2014: 22–3; 2015: 18–21). In spring 2015, 50 per cent of Indians across the political spectrum – including BJP supporters – disapproved of Modi’s Pakistan policy, and only 25 per cent approved it (Pew Research Center 2015). The lack of a broad domestic base for maintaining territorial claims arguably contributed to the Indian prime minister’s turnaround in December 2015. In contrast, Modi’s concerted efforts to engage with India’s neighbours and consolidate regional leadership likely reinforced Pakistani anxieties and aroused positional disputes. The longer territorial and positional disputes remain unsettled and the more issues accumulate, the less likely any meaningful breakthrough in the emerging Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue becomes. Overall, Dreyer’s model offers a useful perspective on the persistent effects of spatial and positional conflict issues and the issue accumulation’s spiral effect on

In Modi’s Might?  123 the maintenance of the India–Pakistan rivalry. Particularly, both rivals continued to engage in frequent militarised disputes due to persistent overlapping territorial claims. In addition, the period illustrates how the intangible characteristics associated with the original territorial dispute became inextricably linked with various ideological, positional and regime-related conflict issues, undermining any attempt of de-escalating the rivalry (see Table 6.1). At the same time, the episode clearly displays the limits of Dreyer’s model. After almost seven decades, all of the salient issues identified by Dreyer have accumulated and been interlinked to such a degree that the single issues can hardly be understood or dealt with separately anymore, undermining the model’s descriptive and explanatory power. Variation among specific issues thus provides an insufficient explanation for rivalry maintenance in this case. Most poignantly, the Kashmir dispute is associated with ideological, positional and territorial issues. Second, the India–Pakistan rivalry demonstrates that territorial claims might not always be based on a broad domestic base of political support, despite a public majority favouring dispute settlement (even if the threat perception endures). Third, the India–Pakistan case in this recent period contradicts Dreyer’s argument that ideological issues tend to be settled upon leadership change (cp. Dreyer 2010: 784, 791). Instead, the combination of spatial and ideological conflict issues seems to contribute to rivalry maintenance. Finally, it remains unclear why some territorial disputes have more frequently escalated into conflict than others – why, for example, has India more effectively managed its territorial disputes with China (which are also of great salience) than those with Pakistan? Colaresi’s two-level pressure model Does Colaresi’s two-level pressure model provide a suitable explanation for rivalry maintenance in the first episode between 1997 and 1999, and, in particular, the more puzzling episode between 2003 and 2008? More specifically, to what extent has the interaction between future threat expectations, rivalry outbidding and windows of opportunity contributed to recurrent failures of de-escalation? During 1997 and 1999, the established threat perception and distribution of power capabilities between the rivals was invariably tested with overt nuclearisation in 1998. Both governments reassessed their future expectations regarding the radically new threat environment and the relative position in the regional hierarchy (Ganguly 1999; Ahmed 1999). An increased perception of threat from Table 6.1  Testing Colaresi’s model Drivers of rivalry maintenance Episodes

Future expectations

Rivalry outbidding

Window of opportunity

1997–1999 2003–2008 2010–present

Constant Constant Constant

Directly present Marginally present Indirectly present

Opened Opened Opened

124  Hannes Ebert Pakistan and China following the end of the Cold War contributed to the BJP’s decision to depart from the Indian post-1974 ‘nuclear option’ policy and instead test its nuclear weapons (Ganguly 1999: 149). Pakistan, confronted with diminishing US assistance following Washington’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in the late 1980s, as well as India’s overt nuclear capabilities, perceived the post-Cold War environment as equally threatening. Its successful test and the future expectation of an increasingly weak position in the regional hegemony encouraged the Pakistani army to implement its Kargil plans and escalate the rivalry to revive international attention to the Kashmir dispute. This episode also showcases the dynamics of rivalry outbidding. Vajpayee and Sharif can be understood as ‘peacemakers’, and both were confronted with significant pressures from ‘outbidders’ within their polities. Vajpayee, who lost a vote of confidence in parliament in April 1999 and served as a weakened caretaker prime minister until general elections in October 1999, faced opposition from hard-liners within the BJP, who sought to force him to revise his cooperative approach (Fehrs 2008: 223–4). While he promoted a political settlement through back-channel talks, government ministers called for an aggressive Kashmir policy. BJP hard-liners such as L. K. Advani, then-Minister of Home Affairs, stated that a political settlement of the Kashmir dispute was no longer necessary as nuclearisation had ultimately consolidated the status quo, which he warned India would be willing to defend militarily (Fehrs 2008: 211). Vajpayee’s inability to control these countervailing voices revealed governmental weaknesses that the Pakistani military (whose strategic planning was confronted with ambivalent signals from a divided BJP) sought to exploit in the Kargil operation. However, the strategy failed, as the Indian government successfully used its information advantages in this first televised war to rally mass public support behind its forceful response (Tellis et al. 2001). India’s information offensive also generated overwhelming international support. This came as a shock to the Pakistani military, which had failed to anticipate the unequivocal international condemnation of its operation and develop a media strategy to shape public opinion in its favour. Given India’s concomitant sense of betrayal of Vajpayee’s unilateral initiative to build trust in Lahore, the Indian prime minister had to abandon his rapprochement in the war’s aftermath.14 India enhanced its operational capabilities and doctrinal options to deter infiltrations across the LoC, reinforced its resolve to marginalise Pakistan on Kashmir and dealt with the Kashmir issue more forcefully as an internal issue. Vajpayee’s policy departure and his information campaign significantly bolstered the Indian enemy image towards Pakistan and increased his popularity, ensuring the BJP’s victory in the general elections in October 1999.15 Developments within the Pakistani polity illustrate rivalry outbidding even more visibly. In Sharif’s case, overcooperation significantly contributed to his ouster following the Kargil operation in 1999, as anticipated by Colaresi’s model. Pakistan’s military disapproved of Sharif’s openings. It rallied domestic support by depicting the newly elected BJP as a Hindu-extremist enemy of Pakistan and Islam as a whole, and by opposing the ‘Lahore Declaration’ as a

In Modi’s Might?  125 capitulation to the overpowering enemy (Ahmed 1999: 193). Compelled into overcooperation by mounting third-party pressure following the nuclear tests, Sharif nevertheless went ahead with rapprochement. The military seized power in a coup, which it legitimised with reference to public disapproval of Sharif’s government.16 Rivalry outbidding in Pakistan thus contributed to the closing of the window of opportunity that had opened following Vajpayee’s ‘leap of trust’ (Wheeler 2010). Colaresi’s two-level pressure model provides an equally compelling assessment of the failure of de-escalation between 2003 and 2008. Future expectations regarding both rivals’ threat perception and relative hierarchical position did not alter significantly. The theatre of contention, however, shifted from Kashmir to Afghanistan in the post-2001 era, where Pakistan sought to maintain a modicum of control, which it perceived as increasingly threatened by growing Indian influence and an allegedly ‘India-friendly’ Karzai government (Wagner 2010). Based on these future expectations, rivalry outbidding in part further undermined the prospects of terminating the rivalry. Vajpayee, and later Singh, as well as Musharraf can be seen as ‘peacemakers’ in this rivalry context. While Vajpayee’s opening was met with reciprocity by Musharraf, BJP hard-liners blamed their party’s loss in the 2004 general elections on Vajpayee’s 2003 rapprochement efforts vis-à-vis Pakistan and the Hurriyat as well as the concomitant ‘de-emphasis of Hindu nationalism’ (Hoagland 2004). While the INC and Prime Minister Singh did not engage in outbidding but continued Vajpayee’s ‘peacemaking’ efforts, Singh’s pursuit of de-escalation was not fully shared by his party or the Indian public, constraining Singh’s ability to put his full weight behind the initiatives (Mohan 2015a). In addition, his government was sceptical about the level of reciprocity it could expect from the Pakistani side, and sought to minimise risks of unreciprocated cooperation (Coll 2009). More importantly, however, is the rivalry outbidding that occurred in Pakistan. Musharraf, according to some accounts, was a ‘loner’ in his effort to revise his country’s Kashmir policy and did not enjoy support from his core commanders, parts of the civilian bureaucracy, the larger public, hard-line Kashmiri separatists and Jihadi groups and their backers.17 Musharraf had not sufficiently anticipated the risks of overcooperation, and Pakistan’s leadership across the political spectrum was deeply dissatisfied with what it perceived as a lack of political boldness by Singh’s government to deliver on their promises for a breakthrough in bilateral relations (Mohan 2014).18 However, the failure of de-escalation was ultimately due to domestic opposition to Musharraf unrelated to his India policy. Following widespread protests and upheaval against Musharraf’s alignment with the US intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, his re-election as president in October 2007, the declaration of emergency rule and the suspension of Pakistan’s chief justice, the military increasingly fell out of public favour and Musharraf had to step down as COAS in late 2007 and resigned as President in August 2008. The Mumbai attack in November 2008 demonstrated another dramatic sign of opposition against rivalry de-escalation, and eventually closed this specific window of opportunity.

126  Hannes Ebert Finally, Colaresi’s model also provides an instructive approach to exploring the period from 2010 to the present. Two-level pressures from constant threat perceptions and domestic opposition played a crucial role in derailing the initial efforts, and will likely run counter to efforts of the resumed dialogue. Indian future expectations on the emerging rivalry environment, shared by both Singh’s and Modi’s governments, were primarily driven by the terrorist threat emanating from rising extremism in Pakistan and the increasing constraints on India’s influence in Afghanistan following the US-led alliance’s partial troops withdrawal, the resurgence of the Taliban and a recurrent civil war (Mohan 2015b). The Modi government’s ambivalent signals further exacerbated Pakistan’s insecurity, and its army – concerned with the balance of power tipping towards India amidst growing Indo-US ties – showed no signs of shifting away from its India-centrism. Rivalry outbidding has also impeded the episode’s initial efforts at rivalry termination. New Delhi’s decision to resume talks in 2010 was driven by Singh’s calculation that he could win general elections in 2014 on a peace and stability agenda, but throughout the election campaign, the BJP opposition exploited the Congress manifesto’s inherent dilemma of seeking engagement with Pakistan and ensuring accountability for the Mumbai attack. BJP leaders attacked Singh on his allegedly weak response to the Mumbai crisis – or undercompetition – towards Pakistan (PTI 2014). Amidst political instability and economic recession during the last years of Singh’s tenure, Congress was politically punished and lost power. In contrast, Modi is less susceptible to being punished for undercompetition or overcooperation with Pakistan. He relentlessly fulminated against Pakistan as chief minister of Gujarat, represents a combination of Hindu-nationalist social conservatism and a powerful political change from the dynastic Congress rule and leads a relatively stable central government. His efforts to engage with Pakistan on even more mutually agreeable terms in December 2015 were therefore widely perceived as a significant breakthrough. In Pakistan, Sharif’s political destabilisation and the concomitant withdrawal from his previous deescalatory policies towards India in 2014 strikingly illustrates how overcooperation in a rivalry context enforces a policy preference shift from a ‘peacemaker’ to a more ‘hawkish’ position. As Sharif’s views on India, Afghanistan and nuclear deterrence differed from those of the military, the army intervened in politics by bolstering an opposition movement led by cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri and former cricketer Imran Khan, strongly undermining Sharif’s political authority (Almeida 2015). The military tightened its control over foreign policy by replacing Sharif’s civilian NSA with a former general. To keep his position, Sharif thus was compelled to push the Kashmir dispute back on the international agenda and blaming India for fomenting instability in Pakistan in public speeches (United Nations 2014, 2015). The army blocked Sharif’s initiative to grant MFN to India after he insisted on prosecuting former President Musharraf who had returned to Pakistan from his exile in 2013 to run in the elections. Similarly, Sharif had to compromise on his promise to promote the Mumbai trial, a central Indian demand. Pakistan continued to provide shelter to Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT)’s founder, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, and in April 2015, a Pakistani court released

In Modi’s Might?  127 Table 6.2  Testing Dreyer’s model Drivers of rivalry maintenance Episodes

Territorial dispute

Positional dispute

Issue accumulation

1997–1999 2003–2008 2010–present

Primary driver Secondary driver Secondary driver

Secondary driver Primary driver Primary driver

Strong Strong Strong

on bail the Mumbai attacks’ alleged mastermind, LeT’s operations chief, ZakiurRehman Lakhvi (Wagner 2015). From the perspective of Colaresi’s model, while Modi’s resilience against rivalry outbidding appears to be a necessary condition for rivalry de-escalation, it will likely not suffice to overcome the various impediments present in the rivalry (see Table 6.2). In particular, prospects depend on how Modi handles future bilateral crises, whether he resorts to jingoistic policies to compensate for possibly falling short on his promises for economic reforms, and to what extent he receives Pakistani reciprocity. With the military in charge of Pakistan’s India policy, the recent rapprochement might well suffer a similar fate as the period’s previous failed attempts at de-escalation. However, with the December 2015 agreement, a window of opportunity has been opened, which might offer a chance for incremental change. When analysing Modi’s ambivalent Pakistan policy, one conceptual weakness becomes apparent: whether Modi is a ‘peacemaker’ or an ‘outbidder’ (or, as Colaresi earlier framed it, a ‘hawk’ or a ‘dove’), is difficult to determine given Modi’s simultaneous approach of assertiveness and engagement, combined with a lack of a genuine interest and strategy towards Pakistan.19 This dichotomous typology fails to sufficiently depict the multiple actors and interests involved in the rivalry. From this perspective, a more nuanced typology of leaders involved in rivalries would be a valuable addition to the literature.

Conclusion When theorising Indian foreign policy towards Pakistan, rivalry research offers tantalising perspectives for understanding the processes that have led to the maintenance of the conflict over many decades.20 The examination of the two models’ explanatory power has demonstrated that each of the approaches holds particular strengths and limitations. Dreyer’s emphasis on the impact of issue intractability and accumulation proved highly relevant to the India–Pakistan rivalry in which conflict issues that arose during partition in 1947 are still looming today. It was particularly illustrative of the first episode, in which the ageold Kashmir territorial dispute escalated into war. Yet, it suffers from a degree of under-specificity for this chapter’s purpose and appears more suitable for examining the longer-term historical evolution of territorial disputes and their

128  Hannes Ebert increasing interlinkages with other conflict issues than for analysing variation within a specific period. Colaresi’s model of two-level pressures provided the more compelling explanation of rivalry maintenance throughout the entire period. This underlines the importance of domestic political processes, such as rivalry outbidding and their links to international constraints, including the perceived need to balance threats and maintain one’s power position in the South Asian rivalry. In all of the period’s three episodes, rivalry outbidding linked to a particular threat perception significantly contributed to the failure of de-escalating the rivalry. Nawaz Sharif was punished twice for his overcooperation (1999 and 2014). Accordingly, Modi’s resilience against rivalry outbidding enhances the chances for de-escalation in the future. However, virtually all factors associated by both models with rivalry maintenance prevail in the current period (see Tables 6.1 and 6.2). Future crises or a lack of reciprocity from either side can thus again derail the process. The period’s second episode, between 2003 and 2008, constitutes the most puzzling case for both models: domestic opposition within Pakistan that was mostly unrelated to India seemed to be the most powerful factor impeding rivalry termination. This suggests that future research on South Asian rivalry should also consider more vigorously the political conditions necessary for leaders to carry through bold initiatives in the face of resistance from political entities invested in rivalry maintenance. Furthermore, Dreyer’s and Colaresi’s insightful discussions on the impact of public opinion on rivalry maintenance, with the former focusing on the values publicly associated with disputed territory and the latter emphasising the public threat perception, can be fruitfully combined, as both argue that public opinion in rivalry contexts undermine factors such as leadership change that could otherwise be conducive to rivalry termination. In this endeavour, Dreyer’s and Colaresi’s rivalling research could benefit from a stronger engagement with the rich literature on issue-areas in foreign policy analysis (e.g. Potter 1980) and two-level games in international relations theory (e.g. Putnam 1988) respectively.

Notes 1 For an overview of theories of rivalry emergence, maintenance and termination, see Rasler et al. (2013: 195–227). 2 For a definition of militarised interstate disputes, see Jones et al. (1996: 163). 3 Two prominent competing definitions of enduring rivalry exist. Dispute-density approaches understand an enduring rivalry as a conflictual interstate dyad involving a high number of militarised interstate disputes or wars occurring over a relatively long time; for example, at least 6 disputes over at least 20 years (Diehl and Goertz 2001: 44–5). Perception-based approaches posit that rivalries should not be restricted to militarised disputes but viewed as dyadic relations in which the elites perceive themselves as sufficiently threatening to qualify as enemies, measured by assessing the political leaders’ intentions and statements (Thompson 2001: 557). However, these approaches are increasingly combined (Diehl and Goertz 2012). 4 Ganguly (1997) analyses the evolution of the dispute over Kashmir.

In Modi’s Might?  129   5 India has been locked in a rivalry with China since the Sino-Indian war in 1962, and Pakistan has engaged in a rivalry with Afghanistan since its independence in 1947. Thus, both countries’ most pivotal bilateral relations are placed in a rivalry context.   6 Several studies adopted alternative rivalry models to South Asia (Paul 2005; Suzuki and Loizides 2011; Rasler et al. 2013; Ahmad and Ebert 2015; Sitaraman 2015).   7 For the data, see COW (2015).   8 Controlling for other factors influencing leadership tenure (demography, regime type and the state of the economy), Colaresi (2004: 562) finds substantial support for the hypothesis that ‘the more cooperative a leader’s foreign policy toward a rival, relative to the rival’s policies, the higher the risk of a leader losing power’. Extremely cooperative action includes giving up the core issue of contention in the rivalry, while extremely competitive action includes war initiation.   9 Additionally, citizens tend to support their respective political leadership in times of international conflict (‘rally-around-the-flag-effect’). 10 Eight contested issues were identified and addressed in separate, but parallel negotiations, including peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir, economic cooperation, terrorism and drug trafficking, a contested river dam project, promotion of friendly exchanges and the two additional territorial disputes over Siachen and Sir Creek (Kux 2006: 40). 11 For an opposing view by the then-foreign secretary of India, see Saran (2015). 12 Due to coalitional opposition, the BJP failed to attain fundamental goals in Kashmir, including the abolition of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir (Ganguly 2015: 6). 13 Apart from Kashmir, the rivals are engaged in two additional territorial disputes over the demarcation of a maritime border along a creek dividing the Indian state of Gujarat and the Pakistani state of Sindh (Sir Creek) and about the land border demarcation in a glacier located in the Himalayan Mountains where the LOC ends (Siachen Glacier). 14 On the impact of providing leaps of trust on rivalry maintenance, see Wheeler (2010). 15 For a first-hand account of Vajpayee’s Kashmir policy, see Dulat and Sinha (2015). 16 The military had legitimised its political role in the past ‘by stroking – or stoking – public opinion’ (Milam and Nelson 2013: 121). 17 Author’s interview with Riaz Khokhar, Pakistan’s former foreign secretary (2002– 2005), 30 April 2014, Islamabad. 18 Musharraf, in contrast, insisted he had ensured proportionate reciprocity: ‘I wasn’t just giving concessions – I was taking from India as well’ (cit. in Coll 2009). Within the INC, outspokenly ‘secular’ leaders, such as Arjun Singh and A. K. Antony, were ‘the most vociferous opponents to any reasonable accommodation with Pakistan’ (Mohan 2014). 19 For the hawk-dove-dichotomy, see Colaresi (2004) and Cox (2011). Musharraf’s foreign minister, Kurshid Kasuri, insisted in his memoir that he was ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove’ (Kasuri 2015). 20 For a recent overview of scholarship on India’s Pakistan policy, see Basrur (2015).

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Part III

Actors and Institutions

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7  India and Liberal International Relations Theory What Role for Public Opinion? Mischa Hansel

Introduction Liberal approaches to international relations (IR) and foreign policy analysis (FPA) highlight domestic politics and de-emphasise the influence of environmental conditions such as international power asymmetries or global norms and regimes. The rationalistic variant of the democratic peace thesis probably is the single most influential strand of liberal IR and FPA theories. It posits that the external behaviour of democratic regimes differs from their authoritarian counterparts due to the presence of electoral incentives and constraints facing democratic decisionmakers (Maoz and Russet 1993: 626; Fearon 1994: 577–82). In the following analysis, I do not aim to cover in depth the theoretical and empirical debates about the democratic peace (see recent overviews by Hayes 2011; Ungerer 2012; Dafoe et al. 2013). Rather, I will focus on the assumed influence of public opinion on the process and substance of foreign policies of democratic countries and the tendency of treating Indian foreign policy as an exception in this regard. Research about the situative conditions under which public opinion can be expected to work as a constraint on foreign policy decision-making in democratic countries is indeed almost exclusively preoccupied with cases of Western industrial societies (see Risse-Kappen 1991; Foyle 1997; Shiraev 2000; Aldrich et al. 2006). India as the world’s largest democracy is absent in this debate. While Eurocentric research biases might have contributed to this tendency, the fact that scholars of Indian foreign policy themselves, with few exceptions (Muni 2009), seem to agree on the insignificance of regime type variables certainly worked as a reinforcement. India, accordingly, does not engage in the promotion of democratic norms and values abroad (Mohan 2007; Wagner 2009; Destradi 2012). Also, the prime minister and his advisers are said to act without scrutiny by parliament or political parties respectively (Ghosh 1994: 815; Wagner 2006: 55–6, 70). Most importantly, public opinion is deemed so insignificant by many analysts that standard reference works on Indian foreign policy do not even mention it as possible domestic influence (see, for example, Ogden 2014: 26–32; Sikri 2009: 258–76). Inasmuch as the Indian public does not care about foreign policy issues, Indian decision-makers, just like their authoritarian counterparts, should feel unconstrained by electoral risks. As a result, they do not have to channel public preferences into international

138  Mischa Hansel negotiations and, thus, a central mechanism underlying rationalistic democratic peace theory seems to be absent in the Indian case. The assumption of a disinterested and undemanding Indian public has almost acquired axiomatic status without being systematically supported by empirical studies. One laudable exception is a sophisticated survey by Devesh Kapur (2009). While being highly relevant to the purpose of this chapter, it lacks an explicit theoretical foundation. In what follows, I offer a theoretically informed plausibility test of the assumed insignificance of Indian public opinion. First, an overview of the existing literature on public opinion in FPA is provided. My special emphasis will be on threshold criteria that equal necessary conditions for public opinion to work as a constraint on foreign policy decision-making. Second, I discuss the specifics of the Indian case and consider sceptical arguments against the applicability of liberal theories. The following three case studies cover the US–Indian nuclear deal, climate change policies and the Kashmir issue respectively. The conclusion will wrap up my results and point out implications with respect to the possibility of generalising liberal FPA on Indian foreign policy.

Public opinion and foreign policy decision-making Research on the influence of public opinion on foreign policy decision-making, particularly developed in the United States, dates back many years (Holsti 1992). At the beginning of the Cold War, public opinion was regarded by many as a dangerous factor, tentatively distorting rational policy-making. The public’s low familiarity with foreign policy issues seemed striking and worry-some (Almond 1950). Even ‘worse’, public opinion appeared unstable and inconsistent on many occasions. As late as the 1970s, and influenced by the mood of the domestic controversies about the Vietnam War, some of these assumptions were eventually reconsidered. Scholars now argued that the American public’s growing war fatigue, after all, was anything but irrational (Mueller 1973). Other research discovered rather firm and consistent attitudes to basic foreign policy questions among the American public (Page and Shapiro 1992). Still undisputed was the fact that the proverbial man on the street had very little knowledge of foreign affairs. It bears mentioning however that a lack of knowledge does not equal a lack of influence (Höse and Oppermann 2005: 388; Kapur 2009: 288). Even if people were assumed to be obviously wrong in their understanding of foreign events, their views could still matter as long as they were shared by a majority. This argument already focuses on contextual factors and specific conditions under which public opinion can be relevant (see Risse-Kappen 1991; Foyle 1997; Shiraev 2000; Aldrich et al. 2006). Höse und Oppermann (2005) identify three such conditions: First, the public salience of foreign policy issues needs to pass beyond a certain threshold (Höse and Oppermann 2005: 389–91). Salience denotes a perception of urgency and significance that is attributed to political issues relative to others (Oppermann and de Vries 2011: 3). As long as foreign policy issues do not receive a minimum of attention, particularly during electoral campaigns, decision-makers will not feel pressured to consider domestic audience costs when

India and Liberal IR Theory  139 deciding between different courses of foreign policy actions (Oppermann and Spencer 2013: 43). Second, public opinion polls must reveal unambiguous political preferences (Höse and Oppermann 2005: 391). In case of a divided public opinion, electoral costs and benefits appear to be distributed equally among available policy options from the perspective of decision-makers. There is, of course, the possibility that candidates and political parties rely on a more specific segment of the electorate as, for example, ethnic, social or religious minorities. Finally, for public opinion to wield considerable influence, a rather decentralised political system and elite dissent in terms of specific policy questions is required (Höse and Oppermann 2005: 392; see also Aldrich et al. 2006; Powlick and Katz 1998). Only if competing candidates offer a different foreign policy orientation, general or issue-wise, can voters hope to influence their country’s external affairs. If, to the contrary, all candidates agree on the basic foreign policy orientation of their country, the electoral menu offers no real choice and diverging preferences between the public and elites will not have any consequences. Some caveats apply to the framework that has been outlined. The previously mentioned criteria are plausible, yet they do not prove a causal impact of public opinion. This is due to a number of conceptual and methodological challenges: first, we need to reckon with the possibility that causality runs in the opposite direction, that is that political leaders are able to shape public opinion, most likely through using their gatekeeper positions vis-à-vis mass media (Zaller and Chiu 2000; see also Bandyopadhyaya 2003: 126). Consequently, mere correlations between public preferences and foreign policy output do not prove a causal impact of public opinion on foreign policy decision-making. As a general rule, causality is much more plausible when public opinion swings precede policy changes. Second, government officials sometimes deliberately exaggerate public opinion pressures because tying their hands domestically increases their bargaining power internationally (Putnam 1988). Public statements of decision-makers are therefore rather unreliable evidence. Third, there is also the risk of underestimating how latent public opinion confines policy spaces. Decision-makers might have feared the mobilisation of public opinion and therefore refrained from unpopular proposals in the first place (Powlick and Katz 1998: 33; Kapur 2015: 300). A case in point might be the decision of the Indian government in July 2003, after several months of uncertainty and debate, not to send thousands of Indian peacekeepers to Iraq. While it was not officially acknowledged, many assume that a highly sceptical public opinion combined with several upcoming state level elections eventually led the Bharatiya Janata Party (in English – Indian People Party) (BJP) government to resist US pressure in this regard (see, for example, Chaudhuri 2014: 192–4).

The role of public opinion in India Which idiosyncratic characteristics of the Indian polity and Indian politics in general need to be taken into account? What about data availability and other

140  Mischa Hansel methodological issues? Historically, Indian foreign policy decision-makers were able to shield themselves from any pressures of public opinion. Many would argue that this is true even today. Several reasons come to mind: First, the living standard of the broad majority of Indians was, and still is, low in comparison to most other democracies. India has even fallen behind, relative to other South Asian countries, in terms of human development indicators in recent years (Drèze and Sen 2012: 79–80). While the socially underprivileged participate in local and national elections as much as, or even more than, other social classes (Schlenker 2003: 648–9), they are primarily concerned with issues that have an impact on their basic living conditions: food prices, infrastructure, jobs and educational opportunities. Foreign policy issues do not fall into this category, as shown by the most recent National Election Study (2014: 6–7). What is more, traditional social bonds (caste, religion, ethnic and language affiliations) rather than political programmes still appear to determine voting decisions of many Indians (see National Election Study 2014: 10–11). Other structural factors have also limited the salience of foreign policy issues, at least in the past: India’s industrial and economic policy of self-reliance and import-substitution up until the 1990s arguably reduced the salience of international trade developments and thus international politics in general (Ghosh 1994: 814). Moreover, the Congress and its charismatic leaders dominated the Indian party system into the 1970s (Wagner 2006: 110–11, 124–5). Thus, there simply were no visible political alternatives. Finally, as few foreign policy competencies reside with the Indian parliament, that body has never acquired much foreign policy expertise. No wonder then that important decisions, such as the authorisation of the nuclear weapons tests of 1974 and 1998 respectively, were, in fact, taken only by the prime minister and a few of his closest advisers (Wagner 2006: 55–6, 70). More than 60 years after independence there are, however, a few factors that point to the possibility of change: First, several governments since the beginning of the 1990s have taken measures to open up the Indian economy to the world market (Wagner 2006: 208–18). As a result, India has gradually become more dependent on external economic conditions. International trade policy, for example, certainly has an impact on the daily life of Indian citizens now. Certain foreign policy issues, thus, should matter during electoral campaigns. Another factor is the enlargement of an Indian middle class, particularly in urban centres. Being less preoccupied with existential needs, these people have an interest in foreign policy issues, at least occasionally. Urbanisation might also contribute to the weakening of traditional social bonds and thereby lead to increased competition among political ideas. Third, information about foreign events has become more accessible with the advent of 24/7 cable news coverage. Also, internet-based social media enables the Indian diaspora to be an important part of the news cycle, so much so that government can no longer ignore it (Kapur 2015: 304–5). Fourth, the Indian party system has definitely become more competitive since the 1980s (Chakrabarty and Pandey 2008: 212–21). As early as from 1977 to 1979 and, again, between 1989 and 1990, coalition governments excluded the Congress. In the 1990s, it was the rise of the Hindu-nationalist, BJP, that permanently broke

India and Liberal IR Theory  141 with the Congress-dominated one-party system (Wagner 2006: 126–32). Further contributing to this pluralisation of party politics is the success of many regional parties, particularly in the last two decades. Increased party competition likely leads to more frequent policy disagreements over marginal issues, particularly if they affect prospective swing voters (Kapur 2015: 300–1). In addition, the inclusion of regional party representatives in coalition governments makes it more difficult to ignore regional public opinion, for example, about bilateral relations with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (Kapur 2015: 307). A growing middle class, increased vulnerability to global economic developments, more accessible information and a diversified electoral menu with respect to foreign policy issues – these factors justify an empirical reconsideration of the assumption that public opinion does not matter in Indian foreign policy-making. Unfortunately, quite a few methodological challenges stand in the way of empirically testing this assumption. To begin with, there is the fact that public opinion surveys, unlike in the United States or Europe, are rarely conducted in India (Kapur 2015: 301). Only the US–Indian nuclear deal, climate change issues and the issue of Kashmir have been widely covered by public opinion polls in recent years. A second challenge arises from the sampling of the surveys. Most of them have been done exclusively or disproportionally in urban areas. The education and income levels of respondents in these cases tend to be higher than average (Kapur 2015: 301). The direction of the resultant bias needs to be estimated and taken into consideration during the analysis. For reliability reasons, I marked all surveys falling into this category with the abbreviation UE (‘urban’ and ‘educated’). Larger and representative surveys without these two biases were marked with R (‘representative’). Surveys for which there was no clear indication as to the representativeness of the sample were marked with U (‘undefined’). In order to measure the existence and extent of an elite dissent, I consulted programmatic manifestos and policy statements of leading figures from those few national parties that proved able to organise electoral coalitions in the last two decades. These are the Congress, the BJP and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI (M). Methodologically more challenging was the measurement of issue salience, as the perceived urgency of political problems is not addressed by existing surveys on a continuing base (‘most important problem’ question). Therefore, the study needed to triangulate three indirect ways of operationalisation: the first makes use of election manifestos, quantifying the relative share of references to foreign policy issues (Ghosh 1994: 808). This serves as an indicator of the anticipated public salience of issues by political parties. A second indirect way of measuring issue salience is to treat the frequency of privately funded public surveys as an indicator, because anticipated newsworthiness (being similar to anticipated issue salience) can be expected to motivate the commissioning of such surveys in the first place. Third, media content analysis because of the agenda-setting role of mass media (McCombs and Shaw 1972; Brosius and Kepplinger 1990) is used as another indirect way of measuring public issue salience. Again, data availability is an issue because media outlets need to be accessible and searchable via

142  Mischa Hansel electronic databases for this method to apply. The only newspaper which met this criterion throughout a reasonable time period (2005 to 2014) was The Hindustan Times, a centrist newspaper with an estimated readership of 4.5 million (Indian Readership Survey 2014). The disadvantage of this selection is the fact that the readership of English language newspapers primarily consists of urban middle and upper classes.

Public opinion and the US–Indian nuclear deal After the end of the bipolar order in 1991, the world’s two largest democracies started a new effort to improve their complicated relationship. This process was temporarily interrupted by India’s 1998 nuclear test to which the United States responded with new sanctions. Yet, in the following years, the outline of a new Indian-American arrangement appeared on the horizon (Sikri 2009: 173–5). The nuclear agreement of 2005 is the most important stepping stone in this regard. At its core, India concurred with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of its civil nuclear facilities in exchange for a lifting of sanctions concerning trade with advanced nuclear technology. This general agreement notwithstanding, exactly how the accord should be implemented has been causing fierce debates in both countries up until today (Sikri 2009: 177–98; Pant 2011: 38–59, 79–92; Mistry 2014). Some might say that the so-called nuclear deal signifies a much deeper rapprochement between the two countries. As early as 2002, that is three years ahead of the agreement, Indians expressed positive attitudes to the US in public opinion polls. The trend continued in the following years (Pew Research Center 2010: 19, UE). In the spring of 2005 and 2006 respectively, in the autumn of 2007, in the summer of 2009 and in the autumn of 2012, the United States was perceived more favourably than Russia, Japan, China or the United Nations (Medcalf 2013: 5, R; IIPO August 2009a: 20–6, UE; IIPO January 2008: 23–4, UE; IIPO July 2007a: 20–6, UE). In a survey of 2009, the United States was considered India’s most important partner in the security policy and trade policy domains by more than half of the respondents (IIPO August 2009b: 27–8, UE). Even more telling, large majorities perceived the United States as a role model and would like to see closer bilateral ties (Medcalf 2013: 6, 11, R). A positive image of the United States, on the one hand, and considerable scepticism towards China on the other, is particularly widespread among the Indian upper class, but the answers of respondents from all social backgrounds and from all age groups did not differ very much on these matters. Even in states with large Muslim populations and in states that were ruled by leftist parties (Kerala and West Bengal), the United States are more popular than China (Kapur 2009: 297–300, R). Generally speaking, one has to differentiate between (1) the overall image of the United States, (2) the perception of the US government and (3) opinions as to specific US foreign policies. It is with respect to some of the latter that critical voices are common. For example, a large number of Indian respondents in a survey of 2003 were of the opinion that the United States carried too much influence

India and Liberal IR Theory  143 within the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They also opposed a possible US intervention in Iran (IIPO March 2003: 19–20, UE). Another factor that must be taken into consideration is the long-lasting tradition of non-alignment. It is therefore not surprising to find that only a minority of 26.8 per cent favours a comprehensive US–Indian alliance at the expense of an independent Indian foreign policy (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies 2009: 70, R). In contrast, all available surveys reveal public support for US–Indian nuclear cooperation. In February 2007, 33 per cent were in favour and only 19 per cent were against the nuclear deal, while 48 per cent declared themselves indifferent (India Today 2007: U). In another survey of the same year, which was done by the Indian Institute for Public Opinion (IIPO) in four major urban centres, more than two-thirds of those who had previously heard of the agreement, were in favour of it (IIPO March 2007: 28, UE). A majority of respondents in a November 2007 survey agreed with the way in which the issue had been negotiated by the Indian government (IIPO March 2008: 29, UE). One and a half year later, in February 2009, a large majority of 77.8 per cent supported the nuclear deal, while only 5.7 per cent were still against it. Major advantages were expected in the areas of energy supply (45.3 per cent) and trade (23.6 per cent) (IIPO October 2009a: 32, UE) respectively. Thus, the prospect of economic advantages may have been decisive in shaping public perception of the issue. Turning to the question of whether an elite dissent is discernible in this case, it is worth mentioning that India’s nuclear policy has been shaped by both Congress and BJP leadership. While representatives of conservative parties openly demanded an Indian bomb in the 1960s (with the notable exception of later Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpajee), the Congress-led government authorised India’s first underground nuclear test in 1974. In the years after this highly provocative move, no decision towards the development and deployment of a usable nuclear device was made. But in the 1990s, political circumstances had changed and the BJP, as the newly emerged national rival of the Congress party, vigorously called for a weaponisation during its electoral campaign of 1998. Three years earlier, the Congress government itself had been on the verge of ordering a new round of tests. It backed down only because of intense diplomatic pressure from the United States (Wagner 2005: 316–22). What is more, the Congress critique of the 1998 nuclear tests was lukewarm at best. It also agreed with the newly elected BJP government on the necessity of US–Indian security and economic cooperation. After both parties had changed their roles again in 2004, BJP representatives promised from the opposition benches to withdraw India’s signature of the nuclear agreement in case they would win the next election in the Lok Sabha (Hindustan Times 2006). India’s nuclear policy indeed became an issue in the BJP campaign of 2009 when the party claimed that the nuclear deal would make impossible a modernisation of India’s nuclear forces (The Indian Express 2008; see also Pant 2011: 80; Rauch 2010: 9). In private, however, BJP politicians reassured their American counterparts that the nuclear agreement would not be re-negotiated (see Pant 2011: 91; India Today 2011).

144  Mischa Hansel From 2009 to 2014, the oppositional BJP contributed to the negotiation impasse between India and the US by insisting on Indian liability laws. Yet, after eventually regaining power in 2014, the new Modi government soon hailed a breakthrough in bilateral negotiations. As the specifics of the breakthrough remain unknown, the BJP was heavily criticised for ‘double-speak’ (Daily News and Analysis 2015; The Times of India 2015). In sum, it must be doubted if there ever was a substantial elite dissent between Congress and BJP on the issue. Much more plausible is the policy disagreement between Congress and both left parties. The latter condemned the nuclear deal as a diversion from the principle of non-alignment and from India‘s commitment to global disarmament. What mattered even more from their perspective was that India once more backed down to what they understood as US imperialism (Communist Party of India [Marxist] 2009; see also Rauch 2010: 9–10). Thus, the General Secretary of the CPI (M) declared in January 2008 his party’s opposition to any alliance with the US (The Times of India 2008). In July 2008, the left parties ended their support of the Congress-led government. Even though the latter was eventually able to remain in power thanks to the newly gained support from the Samajwadi Party (in English – Socialist Party) (SP), this episode has rightfully be called a watershed in Indian politics as it had been almost unthinkable earlier that foreign policy disagreements might endanger the parliamentary support of a ruling coalition (Sikri 2009: 14; Pant 2011: 88–92). At the same time, the package deal with the SP (in which the Congress committed to support state level SP candidates) reminded of the subordination of foreign policy issues to domestic politics. In addition, the fact of a rift between coalition parties does not necessarily imply a high level of public salience of the issue in question. Some data on the electoral importance of foreign and security policy issues in general underlines this point. Many of the available surveys indicate that only a small minority (3 to 7 per cent) considers foreign policy and security policy issues while judging their government’s political performance. Even the fight against domestic terrorism is regarded as much less important than the economy’s wellbeing, jobs and the fate of the poor (IIPO October 2009b: 28–30, UE; IIPO February 2008a: 26–7, UE; IIPO January 2007: 26–7, UE). More ambiguous evidence is again provided by Devesh Kapur’s survey (2009). On the one hand, the study reveals a correlation between low socioeconomic status and low salience of foreign policy issues as well as an urban-rural divide in this regard. On the other hand, one would have expected much lower levels of foreign policy issue salience throughout the sample. After all, more than half of the urban respondents from the two uppermost socioeconomic groups declared their voting behaviour to be influenced by their attitudes to foreign policy issues and their judgement of the government’s foreign policy. Even among those from the lowest socioeconomic group, 21.1 per cent still shared this assessment (Kapur 2009: 296). While foreign policy issues are not the prime concern of Indian voters, they are far from irrelevant. Election manifestos provide an alternative indirect measurement of the public attention towards foreign policy issues in general. On the occasion of the 2014 national election, only slightly more than one page (the last) of the Congress

India and Liberal IR Theory  145 manifesto (48 pages) talked about foreign policy goals (Indian National Congress 2014). The BJP dedicated one and a half page (out of 41) to its foreign policy aims, plus an additional one to external defence and the nuclear programme (Bharatiya Janata Party 2014). In contrast, foreign policy played a much larger role in the electoral campaign of the CPI (M) with her radical criticism of the WTO and trade issues, US–Indian and US–Israeli cooperation, Western military interventions, the militarisation of cyberspace, Indian counterterrorism operations in Kashmir and so on (altogether 2.5 pages out of 40) (Communist Party of India [Marxist] 2014). Given these structural conditions, what can be said about the public salience of the nuclear deal? As judged by a frequency analysis of the coverage by the Hindustan Times, the nuclear agreement does not appear to be a marginal issue, at least not during critical negotiation stages (see Figure 7.1). To make the analysis comparable, parallel keyword searches have been done in order to make visible the coverage of domestic problems that have a history of spurring political controversies, and thus political salience, in India: caste, corruption and poverty.

Figure 7.1  Coverage of the nuclear agreement by The Hindustan Times 2005–2014.2 Source: LexisNexis Database.

Available survey data, however, leads to other conclusions. In early 2007, less than 40 per cent said they were very well or well informed about the nuclear deal (IIPO March 2007: 27, UE). In February 2009, these were still less than 60 per cent of the respondents. Almost 10 per cent had never heard of the nuclear deal before (IIPO October 2009a: UE). While interpreting these numbers, one has to consider a certain bias stemming from the disproportionally urban and well-educated sample. According to a representative survey at the occasion of the parliamentary election 2009, only 40 per cent of respondents had any knowledge of the agreement; 4.4 per cent based their voting decision exclusively on this one issue, 13.4 per cent declared to be decisively influenced by it (Centre for the

146  Mischa Hansel Study of Developing Societies 2009: 9, R). For a large majority, India’s nuclear policy turned out to be far less important than ‘classic’ issues such as water and food supply, the job market and financial aid for the poor (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies 2009: 73–8, R). More than anything else, it was the surge of food prices that mattered from the perspective of the average voter (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies 2009: 10, R). India’s foreign policy received far less attention. Summing up, these numbers cast doubt on the effectiveness of an electoral campaign that, amongst other issues, scandalised the nuclear cooperation agreement. Recently, the new leadership of the CPI (M) acknowledged the party’s failure to make the nuclear deal an election issue (The Indian Express 2015). Even voters from states with communist governments were rather unimpressed by the anti-US rhetoric of the CPI (M) and other parties of the political left. The painful loss of voter support faced by the Left Front in its West Bengal stronghold in 2009 is telling in this regard, as the poor showing was primarily the result of the public’s resentment against land dispossessions and expulsion as experienced during large infrastructure projects (Gottschlich 2009: 240–2).

Public opinion and climate change Given India’s and China’s growing energy consumption (Wojczewski and Hanif 2008: 2–3), the fate of the global climate change regime is undeniably tied to Asia’s future policies. Despite this, Indian decision-makers for many years opposed any legally binding commitment to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Indian delegates at major UN climate conferences instead referred to the historical responsibility of Western industrial countries. They also claimed a ‘right to development’ for countries of the Global South (Sinha 2011; Wagner 2010: 68–9). However, since 2009, India has become more conciliatory. For example, at the Copenhagen summit, it promised to reduce the energy intensity of the Indian economy by 20 to 25 per cent until 2020 (Wagner 2010: 73). More importantly, in February 2010, India’s environmental minister publicly moved away from India’s long-held insistence on per-capita carbon dioxide emissions (as compared with countrywide emission levels) as a baseline for a new international climate protection agreement (The Hindu 2010). Finally, India declared itself to be principally in favour of a legally binding successor treaty to the Kyoto protocol at the event of the Durban 2011 conference. According to public opinion surveys, a majority of Indians would accept higher food prices as a consequence of climate protection policies (Pew Research Center 2010: 96, UE). Yet only a minority would tolerate drastic and heavily priced countermeasures while relative majorities support gradual and less painful policy changes (World Public 2006: R). With higher income and advanced education, support for more ambitious climate protection policies grows (World Public 2006: R; World Public 2007: R). According to a newer survey that was commissioned by the World Bank, majorities (in urban areas primarily) agree to welfare losses (at least 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product) and higher energy prices in exchange for effective climate protection

India and Liberal IR Theory  147 (The World Bank 2009: 14–15, UE). Yet, India is still not a country in which climate protection policies are particularly popular. To the contrary, surveys in most other countries show higher levels of support for such policies and programmes (The World Bank 2009). This also applies to China, for instance. What the Indian surveys make clear nevertheless, is a certain societal basis for a more compromise-oriented position of the Indian government at the international level. It bears mentioning that a majority of surveyed Indians see developing countries as being co-responsible for global climate change to a certain degree (World Public 2006: R; IIPO May 2009: UE). As early as in 2006 and, again, in 2007 a relative majority was willing to trade carbon dioxide emission reductions for financial and technological aid from industrial countries (Council on Foreign Relations 2011: 49–50, U). In 2009, a relative majority of 43 per cent demanded increasing efforts of their government to limit climate change (World Public 2009: 4, U); 81 per cent of respondents in the run-up to the Copenhagen summit 2009 held the view that their country was obliged to take part in the fight against climate change (The World Bank 2009: 25, 28, UE). Thus, there is evidence that Indian public opinion does not simply pose itself as an obstacle to ambitious climate protection. One might even come to the opposite conclusion that it is, or could become, a driver of a stronger Indian engagement in this regard. Turning to elite views, a large bipartisan consensus against legally binding commitments to emission cuts has existed almost uninterrupted. In 2010, remarks by the Indian Environmental Minister, Jairam Ramesh, at the Cancun UN Climate Change Conference stirred a domestic controversy about whether or not all countries, including India, were obliged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The BJP issued a harsh critique of the apparent policy change, which arguably had damaged the alliance of developing countries and weakened, they said, India’s bargaining position. It was joined by the other side of the political spectrum, that is the CPI (M), which accused the government of selling out Indian national interests under pressure from the United States (NDTV 2010; The Times of India 2010). Both parties were probably vying for increased public support, but given the previously mentioned surveys, only a minority might have been ready to take sides with them. More importantly, neither the Congress-led government after 2010, nor the BJP government since 2014, indicated that committing to reduce Indian emissions was acceptable. Recall that the third criterion of an influential public opinion relates to the public salience of the issue in question. One of the indirect indicators, the frequency of opinion polls, is particularly discouraging in this regard as there are only few domestic surveys available. Most surveys have been commissioned by foreign institutes and media outlets, a fact that corresponds with the rather modest frequency of newspaper coverage as measured by the number of articles in the Hindustan Times (See Figure 7.2). Comparatively, the nuclear deal featured much more prominently in the newspaper than the issue of climate change, whose salience only reached a certain threshold in the years between 2007 and 2009 when the Bali roadmap raised expectations that the international community was close to agree on a predecessor agreement to Kyoto.

148  Mischa Hansel

Figure 7.2  Coverage of climate change by the Hindustan Times 2005–2014.3 Source: LexisNexis Database.

The consultation of some surveys provides a more direct indicator of public issue salience. According to a 2005 representative poll, 35 per cent of respondents had heard ‘a great deal’ about the phenomenon of climate change, 38 per cent had ‘some’ knowledge of the issue, 13 per cent regarded themselves as poorly informed (having heard ‘not very much’) and 14 per cent had heard ‘nothing at all’ about it (World Public 2006: R). Despite some media coverage in the following years, 20 per cent still had no opinion with respect to climate change in 2009 (IIPO May 2009: UE). Election manifestos did not mention the issue until 2009 (Bharatiya Janata Party 2009; Indian National Congress 2009: 18). It was definitely not a decisive issue. The National Election Study of 2009, at best, reveals only indirect references to the problems associated with climate change: 17 per cent of the respondents regarded drinking water supply as the most important political problem (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies 2009: 73, R). One can only speculate whether this is perceived as having something to do with climate change. Yet according to a World Bank survey of the same year, 59 per cent of respondents were convinced that climate change already caused major damages in their country (The World Bank 2009: 24, UE). A future politisation potential is also indicated by the Lowy Institute’s India Poll 2013. According to this representative survey, environmental issues resulting from climate change are perceived as more important future threats than terrorism, wars with Pakistan or China or Maoist insurgencies within India (Medcalf 2013: 10, R). A more recent Pew Research Center global poll (2015: 11, UE)1 corroborates these findings inasmuch as a large percentage (73 per cent) is very concerned about climate change. It should be emphasised that this figure is much higher than among German (34 per cent), French (48 per cent), American (42 per cent), Canadian (45 per cent) and British (38 per cent) respondents. Put differently, there are signs that climate change issues might someday become much more politicised

India and Liberal IR Theory  149 in developing countries such as India than in developed ones. A corollary of this process would be a much-diminished bargaining leeway of the Indian government in that particular issue area.

Public opinion and the Kashmir issue Two times, in 1948 and in 1965, India and Pakistan waged war against each other in an effort to regain control of Kashmir. More recently, in 1999, a limited military confrontation in the district of Kargil almost led to a major war. In 2002, both countries were again on the verge of invading each other’s territory (the so-called ‘war-in-sight-crisis’) (Rothermund 2002). Since then, both sides have increased their efforts to come at a negotiated settlement of the conflict. However, the terror attacks on Mumbai in 2008 have proved how fragile bilateral relations still are. As a reaction, India temporarily withdrew from bilateral negotiations for almost three years. This section is meant to take a closer look at the public perception of the issue and to gauge whether the bargaining choices of the Indian government were constrained by public opinion. The Indian public’s perception of Pakistan in general, unsurprisingly, is primarily negative across age cohorts and socioeconomic status groups (Medcalf 2013: 5, R; IIPO July 2007a: 24, UE). In the most recent survey, 78 per cent of Indians perceive Pakistan as a major threat (Medcalf 2013: 10, R). Having said that, the image of Pakistan is not a constant. According to data from the Pew Global Attitude Project, 90 per cent of Indian respondents in early 2002 had a negative or even very negative attitude to their neighbour country. In 2006, it was less than 70 per cent. Yet these numbers went higher after the events in Mumbai. In 2010, 81 per cent viewed Pakistan very negatively (62 per cent) or negatively (19 per cent); 70 per cent regarded Pakistan as a major threat (Pew Research Center 2010: 45, 138, UE). In fact, almost 60 per cent were convinced that the Pakistani leadership itself had been directly involved in the planning of the Mumbai attacks (IIPO June 2009: 26, UE). In the years preceding the attacks, in July 2007 and May 2008, almost half of the respondents characterised the bilateral relations between India and Pakistan as positive (IIPO July 2007b: 29, UE; IIPO May 2008: 21, UE). Moreover, a large majority were in favour of negotiating a peace treaty (IIPO February 2008b: 32, UE). Back in 2005 and 2006, more than 80 per cent had been of the opinion that an improvement of India–Pakistani relations was essential (IIPO December 2005: 28, 30, UE; IIPO May 2007: 30, 32, UE). This attitude had not changed even two years after the 2008 terrorist attacks (Pew Research Center 2010: 116, UE). As recently as 2012, almost 90 per cent believed that ordinary people in both India and Pakistan wanted peace. What is more, 37 per cent strongly agreed and 40 per cent somewhat agreed to the opinion that India, as the bigger country, should take the initiative in seeking peace with Pakistan (Medcalf 2013: 12, R). Hence, there is sort of a basic preparedness to support bilateral negotiation and cooperation on the side of the Indian public. This is not to say that it is willing to sacrifice larger parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir. To the contrary, a large majority does not accept any secession of parts of the Indian province of Jammu

150  Mischa Hansel and Kashmir. Relative majorities, sometimes even overwhelming majorities, oppose any redrafting of borders or the establishment of an autonomous territory even if such a process were jointly administered by India and Pakistan (IIPO February 2008b: 30–1, UE; World Public 2008: 7–9, UE). Less than 3 per cent agreed to a referendum in 2005; 27.3 per cent were willing to accept the transformation of the ceasefire line and de facto border into an official state border if this was of any help with ending the conflict (IIPO December 2005: 29, UE). Two years later, 31 per cent favoured this option, 42 per cent still regarded it unacceptable; 55 per cent were ready to grant Kashmir greater political autonomy within the Indian Union (World Public 2008: 8–9, UE). This readiness to make limited concessions is mirrored in the way in which the Indian public conceives of the underlying conflict dynamic. To two-thirds of the respondents, in a 2008 survey, it was either Pakistan’s greed for territory or the presence of foreign extremists that fuelled the low-intensity war in Kashmir (IIPO February 2008b: 29, UE). In the more recent India poll, in 2013, large majorities believed that forces within Pakistan and Islamic extremists instrumentalised the Kashmir issue. Less than half of the respondents thought that many Kashmiris did not want to be part of India and/or that Indian security forces were too harsh in Kashmir (Medcalf 2013: 13, R). Limited conciliatory steps by the Indian government towards Pakistan did receive public approval in the past. In 2006, and, again, in 2008, large majorities supported their government’s policy towards Pakistan (IIPO December 2006: 21, UE; IIPO March 2008: 28, UE). Only a minority of 30 per cent of the respondents in the latter survey accused Indian negotiators of being too soft on the issue (World Public 2008: 12, UE). Even after the terror attacks on Mumbai, in the run-up to the parliamentary elections of 2009, there was still a slight majority in favour of further peace talks (IIPO September 2009: 27, UE). In early 2010, 63 per cent wanted India to continue negotiations with Pakistan (Pew Research Center 2010: 116, UE). However, 76.8 per cent were unprepared to trade of any control over Kashmir for an improved bilateral relationship (IIPO September 2009: 27, UE). Summing up, there has always been a majority in favour of the way in which India dealt with its South Asian rival. Yet the government still had to reckon with a critical minority that wanted it to make fewer concessions. The latter group, however, has been unable to transform its preferences into foreign policies because even conservative decision-makers, once they gained power, chose not to act more hawkishly towards Pakistan. In fact, there has been a huge gap between BJP rhetoric and the policies it pursued as governing party later. For example, Premier Vajpayee in the declaration of Lahore in 1999 agreed on bilateral talks about Kashmir (Müller 2006: 110–1). These talks ended abruptly due to the Kargil War, but less than two years later, in 2001, Vajpayee was willing to start a new round of negotiations. Again, there was a breakdown of bilateral contacts after a series of terror attacks in 2001 and 2002. Yet, notwithstanding such frustrating experiences, the BJP-led government was ready to ease travel procedures in 2003. What is more, it started an institutionalised negotiation process with Pakistan. Meanwhile,

India and Liberal IR Theory  151 the Congress did not agitate against the government’s cooperative stance from the opposition benches. Thus, there simply was no major elite dissent. Even during the ‘war in sight-crisis’ of 2002, the Congress refrained from portraying the BJP as appeasers after Indian troops were eventually demobilised (Müller 2006: 214). Back in power, regular bilateral meeting with Pakistan were continued after 2004. There was a rift between government and opposition after the Mumbai 2008 terrorist attacks, as the BJP repeatedly demanded not to restart the peace process until Pakistan sufficiently cooperated with the investigation into the terror plot and the destruction of the extremists’ infrastructure (The Hindu 2009; The Times of India 2012). The Congress government, in contrast, declared that the ‘effective control’ of terrorist groups was not a precondition for resuming bilateral negotiations (Pant 2009). Three years later, in 2012, this policy disagreement ended as the government suspended bilateral talks after violence escalated at the Line of Control and Pakistani troops beheaded an Indian soldier. While many worried about the escalatory and communitarian rhetoric of some of BJP political leaders during the 2014 electoral campaign, the Modi government, after winning the election, actually explored dialogue with Pakistan. So once again, there was a huge gap between the BJP’s rhetoric and its governmental policies (Deccan Herald 2014). Thus, history repeated itself as the practical impact of a change in government on Indo-Pakistani relations turned out to be rather insignificant. Turning to issue salience, it is interesting to see that the Hindustan Times in many years reported less often about the Kahsmir issue than about domestic problems, even from 2008 to 2012, when the Congress and the BJP disagreed on their views of the Pakistani leadership (see Figure 7.3). Only in 2005 and 2006, where a comprehensive peace treaty appeared reachable, did the Kashmir issue rank higher on the agenda:

Figure 7.3  Coverage of the Kashmir issue by Hindustan Times 2005–2014.4 Source: LexisNexis Database.

152  Mischa Hansel That being said, the Kashmir issue ranks comparatively high in almost all available surveys. Thus, less than 10 per cent of the respondents of the National Election Study 2009 did not have any knowledge of the conflict (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies 2009: 68, R). Bilateral tensions between India and Pakistan were perceived as threatening by large majorities (World Public 2008: 5, UE). What is more, almost all respondents viewed a successful conflict resolution as important (40.4 per cent) or very important (53.2 per cent) (IIPO February 2008b: 28, UE). In another survey from early 2010, the situation in Kashmir was perceived as urgent by even more respondents (69 per cent) than those naming the income gap between the rich and the poor (55 per cent) or the issue of drinking water supply (51 per cent). As a caveat, one must acknowledge the disproportionally urban and educated sample in this case (Pew Research Center 2010: 55–7, UE). A majority of Indian people sees the Kashmir conflict as being responsible for the risk of terrorist attacks in their country (IIPO April 2006; 28, UE; IIPO June 2009: UE). Furthermore, there seems to be a correlation between the negative perception of Pakistan and the public’s assessment of the threat from terrorism (Pew Research Center 2010: 45, 55, UE). Therefore, references to terrorism might be understood as indirect measure of the public salience of the Kashmir issue. Yet, even under this assumption, the electoral importance of the issue ranks far behind the availability of jobs, infrastructure problems and poverty. Only 3.2 per cent of the respondents surveyed by the National Election Study point to terrorism as the most important problem facing their country and 2.6 per cent ranked it in second place (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies 2009: 73–6, R). Conversely, the National Election Study found that 64 per cent had heard of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008 and 26 per cent declared their voting behaviour to be influenced by the events; 13 per cent even claimed that it had been the only decisive issue in terms of their voting decision (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies 2009: 11, R). In comparison, the nuclear deal was known to less than 40 per cent and less than 20 per cent said their voting decision had been strongly influenced by the issue (see previous section). Thus, of all issues, only the Kashmir conflict acquired the status of an electoral issue at least once.

Conclusion To what degree, if at all, have public preferences had an impact on Indian foreign policy? Does the largest democracy on earth qualify for the separate democratic peace claimed by liberal IR scholars? Recall that a risk-averse public has been singled-out as the primary explanatory factor of democratic distinctiveness within the liberal research tradition. But can public opinion play such a role in the case of India? Poor living conditions as experienced by the large majority of Indian people, as well as the impact of traditional social bonds (caste, religion, ethnic affiliation), seem to work against this assumption. On the other hand, there is the fact of India’s place in the world economy, a growing middle class, a vast array

India and Liberal IR Theory  153 of media channels and the emergence of a competitive party system. All of these factors might combine to the effect that public opinion is no longer irrelevant to foreign policy decision-makers in India. This chapter has had an empirical take on the issue, with a focus on three issue areas (nuclear policy, climate change policies, Kashmir conflict), which are sufficiently covered by public opinion surveys. The following results stand out: (1) Public opinion in all three cases revealed unambiguous preferences. For example, it gave plenty of leeway to a substantial US–Indian rapprochement while it was much less permissive in respect of the Indian-Pakistani peace talks. (2) An elite dissent as a precondition of domestic audience costs was limited to tactical details in the cases of climate change and the Kashmir issue. The case of the US–Indian nuclear deal was characterised by a substantial elite dissent, but only between both leading national parties on one side and the left parties on the other. (3) What ultimately is responsible for a rather limited restraining impact of public opinion are low levels of foreign policy issue salience. This definitely is the case with international climate change policies, but the Kashmir conflict and the nuclear deal were also not perceived as urgent by most respondents in public surveys. Hence, this study concludes that public opinion is still likely to be only a marginal factor when it comes to Indian foreign policy decision-making. This is not to say that liberal foreign policy accounts in general do not have explanatory power in this case. Economic interdependencies, accelerated urbanisation, social media usage – all of these factors seem to encourage the analysis of societal drivers of foreign policy-making. Nor is it sure whether, and under what conditions, decision-makers have been influenced by commentaries and editorials, that is, elite opinion (Ollapally and Rajagopalan 2012: 75–7; Bandyopadhyaya 2003: 130). A caveat also relates to the possibility that latent or perceived public opinion might have impacted on the decision-making process in several cases. Taking into account latent or perceived public opinion, however, requires different methodological tools as, for example, elite surveys and interviews. And, of course, these methods face substantial validity problems given decision-maker’s tendency to ex-post rationalise their behaviour. That being said, a more comprehensive liberal research programme on Indian foreign policy, combining elite survey and media analyses (Frey 2006; Billett 2010) with studies about the activities of lobby groups, civil activists and think tanks promises to answer important questions.

Notes 1 The sample in this case is disproportionately urban, but the data are weighted to reflect the actual urban/rural distribution in India. See (accessed 22 July 2015). 2 Search terms were ’nuclear’ AND ‘US’ OR ‘United States’ OR ‘Washington’, ‘caste’, ‘corruption’ and ‘poverty’. Searches covered only the introduction of articles. In 2011, coverage of all issues probably dropped partly as result of data gaps in the Lexis Nexis data base.

154  Mischa Hansel 3 Search terms were ‘climate’, ‘caste’, ‘corruption’ and ‘poverty’. Searches covered only the introduction of articles. In 2011, coverage of all issues probably dropped partly as result of data gaps in the Lexis Nexis data base. 4 Search terms were ‘Kashmir + Pakistan’, ‘caste’, ‘corruption’ and ‘poverty’. Searches covered only the introduction of articles.

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8  The Contribution of Neo-Institutionalism to the Analysis of India’s Diplomacy in the Making Mélissa Levaillant Introduction In the post-Cold War context, scholarship has struggled to define India’s foreign policy, often seen as a combination of idealism and realism (Jaffrelot 2008a). To a large extent, this difficulty derives from the fact that the Indian policy of non-alignment, the significance of which has raised many debates among both practitioners and scholars since its elaboration (Chaudhuri 2014; Raghavan 2010), has become even more difficult to understand with the end of bipolarity. Many analysts therefore underline India’s willingness to become a great power, while at the same time acknowledging the historical tradition of non-alignment and India’s attachment to the principle of strategic autonomy. Against this specific background, this chapter tries to understand the evolution of India’s foreign policy in terms of its diplomacy, narrowly understood as the main instrument for the implementation of India’s foreign policy. In India, as in most countries, it is principally the Foreign Ministry that is in charge of the dayto-day application of foreign policy. The main aim of this chapter is to analyse the sociological characteristics of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), as well as the practices and discourses that are embedded within this institution. The questions investigated in this paper are the following: How have India’s diplomatic practices and discourses evolved through time? What do these changes reveal on the implementation of India’s foreign policy since the end of the Cold War? Historical and structural trends of the MEA, especially the smallness of the bureaucracy and the weight of the cognitive and normative template of nonalignment, have determined the prudential character of India’s foreign policymaking. At the same time, the MEA has managed to adapt to the post-Cold War era and to diversify diplomatic practices. One important change to underline is the increasing salience of the issue of economic development in the practice of Indian diplomacy. The contribution of this chapter is twofold. First, it provides a complement to the study of emerging powers’ foreign policies. Indeed, both political analysts and political economists have tended to establish a direct correlation between rapid economic growth and the decision-makers’ willingness to acquire an important role at the international level (Jaffrelot 2008b; Hurrell 2006). In addition, oppositions between ideological and material sources of emerging powers’ foreign

Neo-Institutionalism and India’s Diplomacy  161 policies often obstruct a more interesting analytical distinction between the ­definition of the goals and the implementation of the means needed to achieve these goals. Few scholars have analysed the capacities possessed by the emerging powers in the realm of foreign policy and the constant comings and goings existing between the means available to the state and the definition of its national interests. Moreover, research on the impact of domestic variables (both political and societal) on the definition of external policies, conducted particularly by neoclassical realists or Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) scholars, have mostly focused on Western case studies (Taliaferro et al. 2009; Hudson 2007). By contrast, this chapter uses analytical tools provided by the sociology of institutions and studies the evolution of discourses and practices within the Indian MEA, since its inception in 1947. Bringing the institution ‘back in’1 indeed provides a more realistic understanding of what is concretely meant by the formulation and implementation of India’s foreign policy in the context of the ‘emergence’ of the state on the international scene. The second aim of this paper is to contribute to the academic literature on diplomacy. Broadly speaking, scholarship on diplomacy is constituted of three main schools (Murray 2008). The ‘traditional’ school (Berridge 2001, 2002; Satow 1957) adopts a very classical conception of diplomacy; that is, official relations between states and merely serves as a guide for practitioners. The ‘nascent’ school (Evans et al. 1993; Riordan 2003; Mayer 1969) contests this state-centric analysis and focuses on the crisis of traditional diplomacy and the growing role played by non-state actors. Scholars from this school, for example, study alternative forms of diplomacy, such as ‘paradiplomacy’ (Soldatos 1990) or ‘guerilla diplomacy’ (Copeland 2009). Finally, the ‘innovative’ school (Melissen 1999; Sharp 1997) mainly looks at the reconfiguration of the institutions of diplomacy. For example, Brian Hocking analyses the adaptation of the Western foreign ministries to the context of globalisation and highlights, for example, the development of ‘catalytic’ diplomacy (Hocking 1999, 2002). This last school opens an interesting agenda for research and this chapter aims to contribute to this reflection. Studying diplomatic institutions offers a rare insight into one of the key aspects of diplomacy, namely, the extent to which it is determined by bureaucratic characteristics and the internal aspects of the state, and, inversely, how the interactions of the diplomats both within the bureaucracy and with their external environment contributes to the evolution of foreign policy. These topics are of the utmost importance in studying the evolution of the international system, as they raise important questions about the evolution of the state’s interactions in the context of globalisation. Nevertheless, my aim is not to explain general evolutionary trends of diplomacy, but rather to show how the singularities of one institution, the Indian MEA, has contributed to shape the evolution of singular diplomatic discourses and practices in India. Theoretically, I rely on the tools provided by the sociology of institutions and neo-institutionalism. As demonstrated in the recent work of French scholars (Smith and Petiteville 2006; Meijer 2015; Kessler 2002), I assume that there are continuities between domestic and foreign policies and that these two empirical objects

162  Mélissa Levaillant can be studied with common analytical tools. This argument is also in consonance with theoretical approaches of FPA (Snyder et al. 2002). In particular, FPA scholars include bureaucratic politics and organisational processes as determinants of foreign policy-making behaviour (Allison 1971). Nevertheless, this approach is mostly actor-oriented (Brummer and Hudson 2015); that is, it emphasises the individuals that compose the organisations and/or the way decision-makers use governmental organisations (Hudson 2007: 4, 88). Moreover, both agents and bureaucracies are treated as limited rational actors that act individually, without being linked to a larger, historical, analysis of the structures and activities of the states. This chapter by contrast to FPA, emphasises the non-economic and nonrational working of the bureaucracy. It does not postulate that agents are a priori rational, but rather that social and institutional situations influence the definition of the agents’ interests and policy outcomes. More precisely, this chapter analyses the institutionalisation of the Indian MEA since 1947 to study evolution of India’s diplomacy in the making. The institutionalisation of the MEA is understood as a relational, contingent and continuous process by which norms, beliefs, practices and discourses of diplomacy solidify (Hmed and Laurens 2011: 132). The specific issues of India’s foreign policy-making process and the role played by the successive prime ministers and other key actors in India’s foreign policy are therefore not directly addressed in this paper. In the remainder of this article, I first discuss the added value of using the sociology of institutions as a methodological tool for this study. In the following sections, I adopt a diachronic approach that combines both macro and micro perspectives. I focus on two critical junctures in the institutionalisation of India’s diplomacy: the first is the genesis of MEA in 1947, understood as a key moment for the establishment of a set of constitutive activities (Bezes and Pierru 2012); the second deals with the diversification of India’s diplomatic practices since the end of the Cold War and questions how they have been interiorised by diplomats. As it is too early to assess the changes that have been brought into foreign policy making by the recent election of the BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the scope of the paper does not go beyond 2014. Lastly, the empirical portion of this paper is based on 70 qualitative, semi-directed interviews conducted between 2013 and 2015 with Indian retired ambassadors and serving diplomats.

Three approaches to India’s Ministry of External Affairs Against the myth of the dissolution of the state, the sociology of institutions assumes that political and administrative institutions structure collective action (Evans et al. 1985). Institutions are defined as a ‘set of shared practices, particular tasks, rituals and rules of conduct, as well as beliefs and representations that concern these practices, define their signification and justify their existence’ (Lagroye et al. 2006: 141). While stability, recurrence and routines are seen as central components of an institution, that institution is not seen a priori as a factor of resistance to change, but rather as a social field that gives space to social transformations (Lagroye and Offerlé 2011: 18). Applied to the case of India’s bureaucracy, this

Neo-Institutionalism and India’s Diplomacy  163 move avoids two main pitfalls: the first would be to assume the decline of the MEA, caused by the rise of new actors in foreign policy, without questioning the adaptation of the functions and roles of diplomats within the bureaucracy (Michelmann and Soldatos 1990); the second would be to adopt a functional approach to the MEA’s adaptation and therefore overlook the resistances and conflicts that emerge from this process (Melissen 1999). Drawing on literature from the sociology of institutions and public policy, this paper combines three approaches to the Indian MEA: the contextual, the cultural and the negotiated approaches. The contextual approach to institutions The contextual approach to institutions treats them not as isolated and ahistorical entities, but rather as sociological objects determined by history as well as by the societal environment in which they evolve. This implies a double contextualisation of institutions. First, this approach questions to what extent historical trends embedded in institutions influence the production of contemporary public policies. It requires consideration of successive historical phases of the institutionalisation process, as it is not a linear process that follows a singular logic of modernisation or weakening. A particular emphasis is put on the genesis of the institution, considered as an intense moment that structures the institutional culture (Meimon 2011). Other processes contributing to stabilisation or change, such as the process of routinisation or the adoption of radical reforms, are also integrated into the analysis. This dimension thus highlights the importance of considering different temporalities in the making of public policies (Pierson 2004; Mahoney and Thelen 2009). Second, the contextual dimension of institutions integrates the interaction of the institution with its socio-political context. In the case of India’s diplomacy, this implies looking at the MEA’s role within the broader foreign policy-making process. This role might change in time and space depending on the historical periods and variations in the structure of the foreign policy environment on the one hand, and on the position of the agent within the bureaucracy on the other. The contextual approach to institutions also shows that the establishment of a bureaucracy is often influenced by the context of stiff bureaucratic competition in which it takes place, while also contributing to the creation of new conflicts. The contextual approach to institutions encourages us to nuance and clarify our understanding of adaptations and changes in foreign ministries. As also underlined by Brian Hocking in his edited book on European foreign ministries (2002), each foreign ministry adopts policies and reforms that depend on their own history, the specific roles and functions that they have been assigned, as well as the specific bureaucratic and political contexts in which they develop. The cultural approach to institutions I adopt Iver Neumann’s conception of institutional culture (2002), defined as the dynamic interplay between discourses (pre-conditions for actions) and practices

164  Mélissa Levaillant (socialised patterns of action). Institutional cultures convey shared beliefs, representations of the world and repertoires of collective action that delineate appropriate behaviours. Therefore, diplomatic institutions are not neutral but rather provide moral and cognitive frameworks that orient actions and decisions (March and Olsen 1989). Here, the meaning of ‘culture’ is close to the notions of ‘référentiel’ (Jobert and Muller 1987) and ‘policy paradigm’ (Hall 1993). This approach puts practices, defined as ‘socially recognized forms of activity done on the basis of what members learn from other and capable of being done well or badly, correctly and incorrectly’ (Neumann 2002: 627), at the centre of the analysis. The cultural dimension of institutions therefore highlights their performative aspect. In the case of Indian diplomats, this especially implies looking at the evolution of the competences and skills required to adequately perform their tasks (Neumann 2002). In addition, particular attention is paid not only to rules, procedures, routines and formal norms, but also to symbolic devices, rituals and ceremonies (Hall and Taylor 1997: 482; Meyer and Rowan 1977). Looking at the cultural dimension of an institution does not imply considering the institution as homogeneous instruments of collective action and cooperation. Ann Swidler (1986) interestingly defines institutional cultures as a ‘tool kit’ that actors use to define their strategies and orient their actions. In addition, the stabilisation of an institutional culture is a process charged with power (Mayntz and Scharpf 2001) and can always be contested and replaced. The negotiated approach to institutions Lastly, the negotiated dimension of institutions puts the emphasis on the actors who belong to the organisation and on the micro social, unorganised and informal relations and action that structure the organisation (Selznick 1949; Blau 1955; Crozier and Friedberg 1977). It looks at the dialectic existing between the objectified structures of the institutions and the multiple and informal ways agents adapt to the rules and interiorise their roles. It is assumed that the actors, depending on their individual resources, their hierarchical position and their skills, operate strategically in the institutions and therefore continually contribute to structure and restructure the institutions (Mayntz and Scharpf 2001). For example, they can play an essential role in defining the missions and functions of the institution, as well as their own roles, and in ensuring the regulation of internal conflicts within the institution (Bezes and Pierru 2012: 47). At the same time, the individuals are not totally autonomous within the institutional structures and they adjust their own actions in conformance with the inherited practices, policies and discourses (Fine 1984). In this perspective, the autonomy and the rationality of the bureaucracy are not seen as given characteristics of the institution, but as the result of social interactions. Lastly, forms of ‘informal organisation’ (Blau 1955: 2) are not seen as dysfunctions but as conditions of bureaucracy’s efficiency. Overall, each of the three approaches described can provide a partial explanation of the institutionalisation process of the MEA. The following parts of this paper will combine these three approaches in order to explain the combination

Neo-Institutionalism and India’s Diplomacy  165 of legitimate practices, roles, routines, procedures, discourses and beliefs that emerge from their complex interplay and shape India’s diplomacy in the making.

Permanent trends in the making of India’s diplomacy This part looks at the institutionalisation of the MEA since 1947 and at the main structural features that have emerged from this process since its inception. The cultural approach to institutions emphasises the fact that institutions are constituted of a set of constitutive administrative practices (Bezes and Join-Lambert 2010: 135) that are crucial in the definition of the institution’s functions and in shaping the roles and expectations of the agents (Meimon 2011). Constitutive administrative practices designate the mechanisms that ensure the reproduction of the institution in its different forms, such as the recruitment and the professionalisation of agents. Combining both the contextual and cultural approaches to institutions, this part highlights the complex processes of structuration of these cultural practices within the MEA. It analyses the genesis of a very elitist corps of professional diplomats, in which is embedded the discourse of non-alignment and the practice of generalist diplomacy. The last paragraph questions the negotiated order that emerged from the initial process of institutionalisation. It shows that the deficiencies of the formal structure of the MEA, mainly characterised by its smallness, have been counter-balanced by informal practices that value the individual initiatives of Indian diplomats. Two contradictory sources of prestige The context in which the Indian State developed after independence in 1947 has left a strong mark on the Indian bureaucracy. The genesis of the MEA was based on two elements, which, although contradictory, both contributed to its prestige: the transfer of knowledge and skills from the British Empire to the Indian State on the one hand, and the nationalism asserted by the first Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs, Jawaharlal Nehru, on the other hand. In India, decolonisation was facilitated by the gradual devolution of power to Indian officials since the nineteenth century, in parallel to the development of the British Empire’s governing institutions. To a large extent, this administrative strengthening of the British Raj influenced the bureaucratic structures of the Republic of India. In the field of diplomacy, the External and Political Affairs Secretariat created in 1914 was divided into two autonomous departments in 1937 (Nair 1963: 73–6): the Political Affairs Department and the External Affairs Department. The latter laid the foundations for the creation of the Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations in 1947, renamed Ministry of External Affairs in 1949. Moreover, the Indian Civil Service (ICS), which staffed the administrative Departments of British India was partly constituted of Indians.2 At the time of India’s independence, a large shortage of staff caused by the withdrawal of British officers from India and the partition with Pakistan forced the Indian Government to recruit ICS officers rapidly. Because of their previous

166  Mélissa Levaillant administrative experience and expertise, these ‘seed cadre’ occupied some of the most prestigious and powerful functions of the State’s bureaucracy during the first 20 years that followed the independence of India (Benner 1985; Potter 1996). They contributed to shape an elitist feeling within the Indian administration. The Foreign Service was, at that time, the most prestigious civil service, as the diplomats enjoyed the exclusive privilege of going abroad and mixing with the Western world (Dutt 1977; Dixit 1996: 35). The second initial source of India’s diplomatic prestige came from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was also Minister of External Affairs from 1947 until his death in 1964. Actively involved in the foreign policy of the Congress Party during the nationalist struggle for independence, he imposed himself as the key architect of India’s foreign policy, playing altogether an ideological, decisional and operational role. He defined the broad lines of India’s policy of non-alignment, which was a nationalist foreign policy that aimed at ensuring the security, independence and economic development of India (Bajpai et al. 2014). In this context, non-alignment emerged as the ‘cognitive and normative template’ of India’s foreign policy (Surel 1998), in the sense that it defined India’s visions of the world, identity mechanisms, principle of actions and prescriptive rules. Interviews conducted with Indian diplomats show that this nationalist template has played a key role in the development of India’s diplomacy for three reasons: it laid down the institutional formula of the MEA by defining common discourses and practices; it contributed to the construction of a shared feeling of community between diplomats; and it constrained the latter’s autonomy by defining the limits of what was thinkable and doable in foreign policy. In addition, Nehru played a key role in the definition of the social setting of Indian diplomacy, delineating not only the key functions of diplomats, but also other performative practices such as the way of dressing and the decoration of the missions (Dutt 1977: 19). The historical approach to the MEA therefore shows that at the initial phase of the development of the Ministry, the nationalist leadership exercised by Nehru contrasted sharply with the colonial inheritance and pro-Western feelings shared by the former ICS officers. This created a strong need for the homogenisation of practices and discourses within the newly created Indian Foreign Service (IFS). This was the establishment of professionalisation mechanisms within the MEA that contributed, to a large extent, to standardise practices and discourses and therefore ensured the relative unity of India’s diplomatic culture. The professionalisation of the diplomats and its effects The professionalisation of India’s diplomacy has been based on two complementary objectives: first, the recruitment of a bureaucratic elite, based on merit; second, the constitution of an esprit de corps among Indian Foreign Service officers. Although this process contributed to the coherence of India’s diplomatic culture, it has also had two important consequences on the functioning of India’s diplomacy: the vagueness of recruiting criteria on the one hand; and on the other hand, the rigidity of the diplomats’ training, generalist-oriented, at the detriment of specialisation.

Neo-Institutionalism and India’s Diplomacy  167 In December 1947, the establishment of an examination common to all public services,3 monitored by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), guaranteed the meritocratic and fair recruitment of all public servants. Until the 1980s, this exam mainly attracted metropolitan urban and foreign educated individuals, with a social sciences background and who put the Foreign Service as their first choice (Das 2001: 95). The adoption of reservation quotas in favour of the underprivileged and the reform of the public service exam in the 1980s, among other factors, then contributed to the diversification of the socio-economic profiles of public servants. Many of the candidates who pass the public service exam today are not young graduated students but have already five to ten years of work experience, mainly in the field of engineering and medicine.4 While this common exam is highly prestigious and guarantees that only the most talented students enter the Indian public service,5 it also has had the consequence of taking away the definition of recruitment criteria from the MEA. The possession of certain personal and academic diplomatic skills, such as curiosity or the knowledge of English,6 are not a determining benchmark to enter the Indian Foreign Service. Many symbolic devices were also set up in order to contribute to the formation of an esprit de corps among civil servants. One can mention the four months training given to both IFS and Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers in Mussoorie right after they passed their exam. In the Academy, public servants not only get training in general administration and economy, but also in social manners and elite sports such as horse riding.7 The letter sent in 2008 to the probationers of the Foreign Service by Surendra Kumar, who was then the dean of the Foreign Service Institute, is also an illustrative case. In this letter, this experienced diplomat shares with the new batch of foreign servants the ‘Ten Commandments’ of a good diplomat: proudness, adaptability, curiosity, pragmatism, knowledge of India, being a good listener, the cultivation of a mentor, having a spouse who behaves as an ‘informal and cultural envoy of India’ and the need to make friends everywhere. These two examples show the early enculturation of foreign servants, through the exchange of organisational stories, the adoption of expected behaviour and the learning of both official and tacit knowledge (Fine 1984: 250). They convey values and representations based on merit and competency and thus facilitate the construction of an ‘organisational myth’ (Meyer and Rowan 1977), contributing to the constitution of an elitist and singular profession. In addition, diplomacy’s traineeship has often been considered in India as a lesson of practical experience taught by senior diplomats to their youngest colleagues. Interviews with IFS officers reveal that the formation of the diplomatic corps has put more emphasis on how to socialise and interact within the bureaucracy than on theoretical issues of foreign policy.8 This is also manifested by the fact that diplomats did not have a centralised institution for training until 1986 and that, today, the Foreign Service Institute still lacks a permanent faculty. It is therefore the institutional learning that is experienced throughout their career that provides the foreign servants with the legitimacy to behave like ambassadors. One important consequence of these recruitment and training practices has been to homogenise the patterns of behaviour between civil servants and to make the

168  Mélissa Levaillant formation of informal networks easier, these are necessary to advance institutional and personal interests during the diplomatic career. As argued by Gary Fine (1984), the knowledge of whom to contact and how to contact them favours the development of informal inter-organisational relations and contributes to coordinated actions. This interview with a serving diplomat illustrates this point: At the beginning of the training we have 4 months training in Mussoorie, from September to December. The idea of the training is networking. If now I have to deal with railway issues it is easier to have good ties with my batch mates who are in other Ministries. It makes it easy to pick up the phone and ask anything.9 Lastly, the professionalisation of diplomats has also been paralleled with the bureaucratisation of their careers, as professional trajectories are formally based on the exam ranking and on seniority, rather than on skills and experience. The IFS is an integrated service, and the Indian embassies abroad are in charge of all political, economic, commercial and public affairs, as well as consular activities. The MEA therefore encourages the formation of generalist profiles at the expense of technical or regional specialisation: ‘At the end of the day we are journalists. We can do any work that we want to do. The exam is made to have people who can adapt to everything and can be fitted everywhere’,10 testifies an Indian diplomat. The development of individual autonomy in a weak bureaucratic structure Despite the high prestige enjoyed by India’s diplomacy at the time of independence, the MEA was initially set up with low material and human capacities (Tharoor 1982; Malone 2011). Without going into the details of India’s bureaucratic architecture, one can underline the fact that this created deficiencies in the formal bureaucratic organisation and raised coordination and communication issues. For example, the administrative head of the MEA, the Foreign Secretary, shares an equal status with the two other secretaries (East and West). This may have a negative impact on the overall supervision within the bureaucracy, which would benefit from the creation of an intermediate supervisory level, as argued by former ambassador Kishan Rana (2007: 55). However, as it has already been stated in the paper, the negotiated approach to institutions provides tools for analysing the concrete functioning of the MEA. In fact, in the context of a formal authority system that is weakly institutionalised, Indian diplomats tend to increase their individual autonomy, relying on informal and personal networks in order to implement their work: ‘For sure, there is a lot of informality, personal style and flexibility in India’s bureaucracy’.11 Besides, proximity with politicians or with highly ranked Foreign Service officers might allow a lower-ranked diplomat to bypass the traditional hierarchy and put forward his opinion. The structural weakness of the MEA thus provides the diplomat with an individual autonomy probably greater in India than in bigger

Neo-Institutionalism and India’s Diplomacy  169 foreign ministries. This argument should nevertheless be nuanced by the fact that the autonomy of the diplomats varies depending on their place in the hierarchy of the institution and on their type of postings. In addition, the autonomy of the agent also depends more broadly on the fluctuating place of the MEA in the broader foreign policy-making process. The reverse effect of this individual autonomy within the bureaucracy is that the diplomats who enjoy influence and power do not have an interest in reforms. In the absence of sufficient political clout from the political leadership at the centre, no radical reform of the existing bureaucratic structures has been implemented so far, the expansion of the Foreign Ministry initiated in 2007 being an exception. These trends have had a direct effect on the implementation of India’s foreign policy. Indeed, both bureaucratic weaknesses and individual autonomy have contributed to ad hocism of decision-making and implementation (Tharoor 1982: 33) and created discontinuities, and sometimes incoherence in India’s foreign policy (Rana 2007: 63). This will be further discussed in the following sections.

Post-Cold War adaptations: Diversified practices, tightened discourses This part questions the evolution of India’s diplomacy, the adaptation of the MEA to external and internal changes and the way different generations of Indian diplomats have perceived and interiorised these changes. It is important to underline that changes in India’s foreign policy making started to take place after Nehru’s death in 1964. Indira Gandhi’s term of office, for example, was characterised by the centralisation of the decision-making process in the area of foreign policy and the decreasing role of the MEA (Tharoor 1982). While taking these gradual changes into consideration, I will here focus on the period that followed the end of the Cold War and the progressive liberalisation of India’s economy, as these events constitute a critical juncture in India’s foreign policy. Indeed, they provided a window of opportunity for the diversification of India’s foreign policy objectives and actors, leading to endogenous adjustments in the practices and discourses of India’s diplomacy. After highlighting the gradual diversification of India’s diplomatic practices and the structural limitations faced by the MEA, it is necessary to look at these evolutions with both the cultural and the negotiated approach lens. The negotiated approach shows how individuals have adapted their work to the new requirements of international diplomacy, ensuring the maintenance of their institution, in spite of the structural limitations that they face. Cultural theories can be used to explain how the non-alignment template has served as a powerful institutional ‘façade’ (Codaccioni et al. 2012) to legitimate the diplomat’s professional practices towards the other administrative servants, while also representing a cultural ‘tool kit’ for the determination of the appropriate discourse of India’s foreign policy. The adaptation of India’s diplomacy has therefore been, to a large extent, constrained by the historical attachment of the diplomats to the non-alignment discourse.

170  Mélissa Levaillant Contributing factors of change Since the early 1990s, a series of international and domestic factors have had significant effects on the making of India’s diplomacy and have increased the necessity of adapting diplomatic practices and discourses to a new context. Four important factors of change can be mentioned. First, in June 1991, the Indian government, facing a balance of payment crisis, launched a series of reforms aiming at liberalising the economy, reforming the financial system and modernising the tax system (Mukherji 2013). The economically oriented domestic ministries have in this context acquired a more substantial role in the management of India’s external relations. Second, the creation in 1998 of a National Security Council in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) modified the mode of foreign policy-making at the executive level and channels of communications between different bureaucracies. As a result, the management of foreign policy has arguably become more complex than in the past and inter-bureaucratic competition has increased in the field of national security policies. Third, with the decreasing strength of the Congress Party and the succession of coalition governments since the 1990s, nonstate and sub-states actors have been playing an increasing role in foreign policymaking. Lastly, the IFS has lost its prestige. This is illustrated by the fact that it is no longer the first choice of the candidates who pass the public exam (Datta-Ray 2014: 54). Going abroad is not considered to be exceptional any more, and young students are now more attracted to the red lights of a police officer’s car or by the power of administering an entire domestic district. A retired Indian ambassador for example explains it as follows: The motivations of the people are power and money. This is why they do not want to enter the Foreign Service. This was not the case in our time. In addition, we are a traditional society; people want to stay in Delhi and to be able to look after their parents.12 The gradual diversification of India’s diplomatic practices In this new context, India’s diplomatic practices have evolved from the management of political matters to the administration of non-political and more ‘technical’ dimensions of diplomacy. In the early 1990s, under the impulse of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, the Indian government started to embrace the principles of economic liberalisation. Several administrative reforms were initiated from the top and relayed within the MEA by individuals who were close to the prime minister.13 As a consequence, Indian diplomats got increasingly exposed to economic work: the MEA was included in the central government consultative mechanisms dealing with economic reforms; IFS officers were encouraged to get temporary postings in the Commerce Ministry and in the Ministry of Finance; a bilateral economic and technological cooperation division and a multilateral division were created at the MEA; the economic wings of Indian missions were

Neo-Institutionalism and India’s Diplomacy  171 strengthened; interaction with private sector bodies such as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) increased. These changes have led to the reassessment of the diplomat’s working practices as well as the meaning of diplomacy by the agents themselves. Without doubt, the diplomats’ hegemony over classical functions of diplomacy, that is, negotiation, representation and information gathering, has decreased. Three new professional logics have developed: the logic of production, such as the provision of consular services; the logic of policy coordination, which aims at putting external policies conducted by domestic actors into coherent action; and the logic of marketing, as illustrated by the creation of a public diplomacy division in the MEA in 2006, which has objectives to promote a modernised image of the MEA among both the foreign and the domestic publics. As a consequence, at the beginning of her/his career, a diplomat might appear to be less important for the negotiating skills that she/he can mobilise and more for the administrative interface that she/he offers. These evolutions echo trends that are similar in other countries, as professional diplomacy is rapidly shifting from an elitist club activity to global networking (Heine 2006). In the case of India, it is generally only after 20 years of experience that a diplomat can expect to play some role at the political level of India’s foreign relations (Datta-Ray 2014: 218). The story of one diplomat from the 2000 batch is revealing: When I was posted in Argentina, I had to survey the market because we were selling the embassy there … She laughs. Diplomacy, this is it: half of the time, we do logistic and house keeping. This is not ‘pure’ diplomacy but we should not forget that we are also administrators.14 Besides, the readjustment of the MEA also implied the functional and geographic expansion of the bureaucracy, with the increase of the Indian missions’ capacities abroad and the creation of new divisions that reflected the redefinition of India’s diplomacy in the post-Cold War era. Today, India’s diplomatic system is constituted of 129 embassies, 5 permanent missions and 53 consulates, as well as MEA’s headquarters in Delhi. This has had a direct impact on the diplomats’ careers. Being posted in the West, at the UN or in an important neighbouring country such as Pakistan remains crucial for an Indian diplomat who aims at reaching the highest post in the MEA, such as the post of Foreign Secretary. Nevertheless, the careers of Indian diplomats tend to be more and more eclectic. Diplomatic missions in the extended neighbourhood (east and west Asia) have gained more popularity among younger diplomats. For many young Indian diplomats, especially those who initially wanted to become Indian Administrative Servants, being posted far away is considered as a ‘luxury’ that only the Westernised and rich officers can afford.15 Interest in economic and consular activities has also increased. Whether it is a matter of choice or a matter of chance, many Indian diplomats now tend to specialise into technical matters, such as commercial issues, climate change, disarmament or nuclear issues. Technical specialisation can also be combined with

172  Mélissa Levaillant the development of regional expertise, some diplomats attempting to spend most of their career in one specific region. Within the unity of the Foreign Service corps, one can thus notice the emergence of specialised and mobile categories, which reflect the progressive technification of diplomacy. This nevertheless remains based on an individual and informal decision, as the Ministry still does not put structural incentives for specialisation. As the negotiated approach to institutions shows, forms of ‘informal organisations’ (Blau 1955: 2) are necessary for the functioning of formal organisation. They do not represent forms of deviance in the functioning of the organisation but rather provide means of cohesion within the organisation. In the case of India’s MEA, it appears that individual initiatives might sometimes compensate for the structural weaknesses of the Ministry. This is further developed in the next section. Structural limitations to India’s diplomatic expansion Despite the expansion and diversification of India’s diplomatic activities, the IFS remains very small. Although progressive expansion of the service was decided in 2007, the size of the ‘A branch’, which gathers the diplomatic agents of the Foreign Service, has only increased from 650 in 2007 to 917 in 2014 (Ministry of External Affairs 2015). This figure is almost equal to the foreign service of a small country such as Singapore, and contrasts sharply with the figure of 4,000 Chinese diplomats. However, in order to increase its capacity, the MEA has now opened temporary recruitment for officials from other specialised agencies. It has been reported that the Development Partnership Administration (DPA) division, set up in 2012 for ‘ensuring speedy and efficient implementation of Government of India’s external economic assistance programmes’ (Ministry of External Affairs 2015: 162) also involves military and civil personnel, some of them coming from the private sector. But these changes have remained minimal and most of the Indian diplomats interviewed explained that the smallness of the MEA often constrains their daily work. Many of them complained about the pressure that they have to handle, especially when working at the headquarters in Delhi: Each of us works on more than one country; we are overworked and this has always been like this. The first few weeks you feel a lot of pressures but then you let it go. The pressure is very high especially if you get the visit of a person. In the MEA I feel like we have time bound action, there is a lot of time pressure. […] If the division is well staffed then it is easier. But in the division where I work, someone has been missing at the middle level four months. This puts a lot of pressure on me and my boss as well.16 In this context, in order to be sure to achieve their work during a minimum period of time, the foreign servants tend to privilege routines and habits. This often results in inertia or lack of innovation. ‘The lack of capacities stretches us a lot. It does affect the work because as a consequence we do the most urgent things at the detriment of important ones’.17

Neo-Institutionalism and India’s Diplomacy  173 In addition, because of this shortage of staff, very few officers can be sent for sabbaticals in universities abroad, or on deputation in other domestic ministries. The development of specialised expertise thus remains very limited, as vehemently expressed by this diplomat from the batch 2006: The ministry does not give many incentives to specialise. Diplomats are not sent somewhere else for training assignments. There are some forms of training at different levels of the career but this is nothing. There is a clear lack of infrastructure for training. We need to be encouraged to train into a specialised area, to learn new tools […] We need exposure to better institutions, better persons, otherwise we will become rats!18 These structural limitations have been counter-balanced by the fact that, as was shown in the second part of the paper, the weak structure of the bureaucracy provides diplomats with some freedom of initiative. The rapid changes in diplomatic practices and foreign policy making may encourage individuals to develop specialised skills and interact with other institutions. Two cases are particularly significant. First, the ‘classical’ case concerns the diplomats who are high in the hierarchy of the bureaucracy and are also well connected at the political level. They therefore cumulate both the bureaucratic and political resources that give them significant influence in the foreign policy-making process. This especially concerns the post of the Foreign Secretary and a few prestigious ambassadorships such as ambassadors to the US or to China. Second, the ‘non-conformist’ case is the one of Indian diplomats who are posted in regions that are not considered as a high political priority for the Indian politicians, such as missions in the Gulf, Latin America or Africa. Those who specialise on these diplomatic niches might enjoy some degree of freedom to innovate within the administration when they get an opportunity. One can mention the case of a former Indian ambassador to Oman, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, who played a crucial role in India’s rapprochement towards Saudi Arabia and in the signature of their strategic partnership in 2010.19 Nevertheless, these initiatives have been mostly ad hoc and have not reflected a general change of foreign policy. Lastly, when looking at the contextual dimension within which the MEA evolves, it appears that little official coordination mechanisms exist between the MEA and other domestic bureaucracies. While the MEA seems to remain central in the definition of the broad agenda of India’s diplomacy, regular turf battles between the MEA and other bureaucracies happen on specific international issues. These bureaucratic politics, to a large extent, derive from ‘professional ethnocentrism’ (Asobie 1980), with both the IFS and the IAS officers feeling a sense of superiority about their own service over the other. One example worth mentioning is the energy security policy. The establishment of an international cooperation division in the Ministry of Petroleum and Gas in 2005 and 2006 raised a lot of opposition from the MEA, despite the fact that this division was mainly manned by Foreign Service officers.20 The MEA’s opposition constrained the implementation of the energy security policy that had been set up by this new division and

174  Mélissa Levaillant largely contributed to its failure.21 Therefore, the repartition of functions among domestic bureaucracies and the MEA on the management of international relations, combined with the absence of institutionalised coordinating mechanisms, might have a negative impact on the whole coherence and continuity of India’s foreign policy. The increasing expansion of the role of the Prime Minister’s Office in the definition of India’s foreign policy might nevertheless weaken the risk of dilution of India’s foreign policy, while at the same time blurring the repartition of the roles between the MEA and other bureaucracies (Underdal 1987). In addition, the absence of any institutional dialogue between the MEA and both sub-state and non-state actors might also lead to disruptions in the definition of India’s foreign policy, as manifested by the cancellation of Manmohan Singh’s visit to Sri Lanka following the pressure of the State of Tamil Nadu, despite the opposition of the diplomats. The tightening of India’s diplomatic discourse Cultural approach to institutions highlights the diffusion of shared modes of thinking between the actors of institutions. The maintenance of the institution is not explained by its rational character but relates to logic that is similar to the transmission of cultural practices such as myth and ceremonies (Meyer and Rowan 1977). In this framework, the diversification of the MEA’s practices in the context of growing inter-bureaucratic competition has raised a paradox. On the one hand, the diplomats have readjusted their discourse, giving a lot of emphasis on economic growth and development through foreign policy. On the other hand, the adaptation of the MEA has remained partial and focused on innovative instruments rather than on the elaboration of new ideologies and goals, as illustrated by the term ‘non-alignment 2.0’ (Khilnani et al. 2012). The bureaucracy has therefore acted as a normative filter, a ‘discourse police’ (Neumann 2004: 641) that has shaped the new practices to make them compatible with an inherited culture. For example, most of the Indian diplomats interviewed still depict India as a ‘developing country’. Interestingly, they often link this argument to their poor conditions of work and the lack of bureaucratic capacities previously described in this paper. Processes of cultural transmission therefore favour phenomenon of reproduction and institutional inertia. In the case of India’s diplomacy, this is also reinforced by the fact that the external aims, objectives and values of India’s foreign policy have been marginalised within the MEA. In fact, the Research and Planning Division of the MEA, originally called the Historical Division, has, most of the time, been considered as being very weak and resources have rather been allocated to the redaction of notes for the Parliament, the production of ‘general brief’ and the ‘organisation of seminars’.22 As a consequence, the activity of planning in the MEA has often been left to the overtasked regional divisions. IFS officers are given large responsibilities and have very limited time to dedicate to the practices of interpretation of international relations and long-term projection of India’s interests.23 One other explanation is

Neo-Institutionalism and India’s Diplomacy  175 that thinking and decision-making on foreign policy have remained, since Nehru’s time, the exclusive domain of the Prime Minister and his Office. But while small group of elites dominate foreign policy decision-making, including a few prestigious Foreign Service officers, debates until 2014 appeared to be mostly consensual, structured around the ‘cognitive and normative’ template of non-alignment and a strategic planning structure is still lacking (Pant 2009; Miller 2014). The MEA therefore has failed to emancipate itself from the Prime Minister Cabinet. Indian diplomats have often expressed a certain lack of confidence, in the sense that they interpret the role of Indian diplomacy according to the ‘existing understanding and capabilities’ (Hudson 2007: 82) of their Ministry. This has led to a posture of prudence within the MEA, as illustrated by the following statement: Can we really take a radical position on foreign policy? Decision-making is a constant compromise … If I have to make a decision, I have to have the power to make the decision. But India is still a developing country, it does not really have the means to make any decision.24 In this prudential mindset, India’s diplomacy tends to reward risk avoidance and ad hoc responses to crises, rather than innovation. It has generally favoured the implementation of foreign policy in broad, general and consensual terms and relies on a few proactive individuals for the elaboration of boldest initiatives.

Conclusion Using the conceptual tools provided by the sociology of institutions and neo-institutionalism, this paper has analysed the evolution of India’s diplomatic practices and discourses. The combination of the three approaches to institutions and the adoption of a multifactorial analysis including history, bureaucratic structures, culture and individuals provides a more complete understanding of the functioning of the MEA. Moreover, it enables to go beyond the descriptive analyses often conducted on the issue of foreign ministries’ adaptation (Hocking 2002) and to show elements of India’s diplomacy that other theories might overlook: how the origins of the Ministry condition institutional change; the importance of individual agency in a weak bureaucratic structure; and the influence of ideological conservatism on the adoption of a prudential diplomacy. The main conclusion to be drawn is that the central infrastructure of India’s diplomacy has not yet integrated the issues of ‘major power policies’ on its agenda. This goes against the views of India as an ‘emerging power’ that has dominated the Western academic discourse for the last 15 years. It shows that while states such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) are subjected to similar dynamics, their foreign policy outputs differ depending on their national organisational traditions, bureaucratic dynamics and state capacities. Each country faces its own organisational issues and this requires

176  Mélissa Levaillant us to look at the resources that are rooted in their institutions and are slow to change. Brazil, for example, has a diplomatic service that is twice the number of India’s. Nevertheless, it faces a strong imbalance in the way its diplomatic missions are scattered around the world, favouring missions posted in Europe at the detriment of Asia and Africa (Stuenkel 2012). This questions the assumption that emerging powers increasingly favour the development of South-South relations, and calls for the development of a comparative analysis of emerging powers’ diplomacies.

Notes   1 This is a reference to Theda Skocpol (1985) ‘Bringing the state back in: Strategies of analysis in current research’. In Bringing the State Back In, edited by Peter Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer and Theda Skocpol, pp. 3–43. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   2 In particular, the establishment of a recruitment exam in India in 1922 facilitated the Indianisation of the bureaucracy.  3 The public services are divided into the Indian Central Services and the All-India Services, including the prestigious Indian Administrative Service (IAS). The Indian Foreign Service belongs to the Indian Central Services.   4 The academic background of the candidates is much more diversified than it used to be 40 years ago. In 2012, 40.1 per cent of the candidates had a social science background and the rest had a diploma in engineering, medicine or hard science (Union Public Service Commission 2014: 113).   5 The exam is highly competitive. In 2014, among the 450,000 candidates who took the preliminary exam, 17,000 were selected to take the general exam; 3,308 were then invited for interviews and 1,236 candidates were finally selected by the UPSC. The success rate was therefore 0.3 per cent.   6 In 2008, 6 of the 19 diplomats who entered the IFS took their exams in Hindi rather than in English.   7 Interview with a diplomat, batch 2001, February 2014.   8 Informal interviews conducted at the Indian Foreign Service Institute, January 2015.   9 Interview with a diplomat, batch 2001, February 2014. 10 Interview with a diplomat, batch 2001, February 2014. 11 Interview with a retired ambassador, batch 1970, December 2013. 12 Interview with a retired diplomat, batch 1962, December 2013. 13 Interview with a retired diplomat, batch 1963, November 2013. 14 Interview with an Indian diplomat, batch 2000, May 2015. 15 Interview with a retired diplomat, batch 1983, December 2013. 16 Interview with a diplomat, batch 2013, January 2015. 17 Interview with a diplomat, batch 2001, February 2014. 18 Interview with diplomat, batch 2006, December 2014. 19 Interview with a retired ambassador, batch 1974, December 2013. 20 Interview with a retired ambassador, batch 1974, January 2015. Interview with a retired ambassador, batch 1963, April 2015. 21 Interview with a retired ambassador, batch 1974, January 2015. Interview with a retired ambassador, batch 1963, April 2015. 22 Interview with a retired ambassador, batch 1970, January 2015. 23 Interview with a retired ambassador, batch 1975, January 2015. 24 Interview with a retired ambassador, batch 1979, December 2013.

Neo-Institutionalism and India’s Diplomacy  177

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9 India’s Taliban Dilemma To Contain or to Engage? Avinash Paliwal

Introduction India’s Afghanistan policy in the 1990s is often termed as a zero-sum game of influence with Pakistan (D’Souza 2013; Ganguly and Howenstein 2009; Fair 2011). India’s lack of relations with, and open aversion to, the Pakistan-supported Taliban regime are highlighted as markers of a ‘proxy war’ or ‘competition’ between New Delhi and Islamabad (Ganguly and Howenstein 2009). Adding weight to this argument is India’s political, moral and military support to the antiTaliban United Front (UF), popularly known as the Northern Alliance (NA). In order to undermine the Taliban politically and militarily, India supported antiTaliban factions in collaboration with Russia and Iran. This hostile posture against the Taliban was rooted in India’s threat perceptions in the part of Kashmir that it administers. New Delhi claimed that Pakistan was waging a covert Jihad in Kashmir via proxy militant groups such as the Harkat-ul-Ansar and the Jaish-eMohammad. These groups, India asserted, were being trained in camps across Pakistan as well as south and east Afghanistan (Swami 2013). The ‘Pakistanterrorism nexus’ became a norm in India’s security calculus, with the Afghan Taliban being viewed as a Pakistan-created entity with little independent agency (Ogden 2013). Was India necessarily averse to engaging with pro-Pakistan political factions in Afghanistan during the 1990s? This paper addresses this question by revisiting India’s internal policy debates of the early 1990s, particularly of 1996, when the Taliban took control of Kabul. Using fresh primary data that includes interviews with former Indian policymakers, media archives and official reports, the article shows that there was a policy debate in New Delhi over engagement with proPakistan factions in Afghanistan, including the Taliban. In fact, India engaged, overtly and covertly, with both pro-Pakistan and anti-Pakistan factions soon after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. Such a non-partisan approach, however, got challenged in the light of the Taliban’s rise in 1996. Condemned by large parts of the international community for human rights abuses, the Taliban was seen by many in India as an Islamist militant group sponsored by Pakistan. For others, however, it was an ethno-nationalist movement representing Pashtun interests, not necessarily under Islamabad’s control. Those Indian officials who viewed the

182  Avinash Paliwal Taliban primarily through the ‘Pakistan-terrorism’ lens advocated containment of the group by bolstering anti-Taliban factions. However, others advocated engagement with the Taliban while accepting the ‘Pakistan-terrorism nexus’ as true. The coalition of officials seeking containment of the Taliban, with military means if necessary, came to dominate policymaking in 1996. This was a departure from India’s Afghanistan policy until then. Wanting a stable and united Afghanistan, India had shied away from a partisan approach. Subject to its own political rationalities and far from being a monolith aimed against Pakistan, Indian activities in Afghanistan were nuanced in their motivations and careful in their intent. In order to provide a detailed analysis of these Indian debates, the next section briefly outlines the historical and structural context in which they took place. The following section then examines the answers to this chapter’s central question in the existing literature. It finds out that previous studies either do not deal with this history adequately, or have assumed, with credible but limited evidence, that India was necessarily averse to engaging with pro-Pakistan factions in Afghanistan. The third section explains why most studies reach this conclusion of a thriving India– Pakistan rivalry in Afghanistan. India had severed all links with Afghanistan after the arrival of the Taliban in Kabul. Emphasis on this fact contributed towards building this narrative of India–Pakistan rivalry in Afghanistan. The fourth section challenges this narrative by delving into the beliefs and advocacies of the coalition of officials that was open to the idea of engaging with pro-Pakistan factions in Afghanistan. Such a pro-engagement approach dominated India’s Afghanistan policy between 1992 and 1996. However, as articulated in the final section, the fall of Kabul in September 1996 shifted the balance of power in favour of the coalition of officials who advocated containment of pro-Pakistan factions in Afghanistan, and specifically the Taliban. Based on this analysis, the chapter argues that Indian foreign policy in Afghanistan during the 1990s was not entirely, or necessarily, averse to engaging with pro-Pakistan factions.

Setting the context India’s relations with Afghanistan since 1947 are considered friendly, ‘strong, and based on historical and cultural links’ (Ministry of External Affairs 2012). The two countries signed the Treaty of Friendship in 1950 that marked the initiation of mutually accepted diplomatic exchange and a pledge to strengthen trade and cultural links. Bilateral relations between New Delhi and Kabul remained warm and few anomalies are recorded from the 1950s until the Soviet intervention in 1979.1 In the first serious challenge to its Afghanistan policy, India reluctantly accepted Moscow’s decision to militarily intervene in Afghanistan (Dixit 1996: 108–11). Pakistan, on the other hand, with support from Washington, supported the Mujahideen groups fighting the Soviet forces and successive communist governments in Kabul after 1979 (Coll 2004). This gave Pakistan considerable influence over Afghanistan’s domestic affairs after the end of the Soviet military intervention in 1989. The end of the Cold War, Najibullah’s ouster and Pakistan’s rising influence in Kabul marginalised India

India’s Taliban Dilemma  183 politically in Afghanistan. Having lost a powerful ally in the Soviet Union (and a friendly political figure in Kabul in Najibullah), policymakers in New Delhi were still adjusting to the new realities of the post-Cold War world when Afghanistan imploded. With Najibullah gone and the Mujahideen factions in control of Kabul in 1992, India faced a fait accompli; that is, either it engaged with the various Mujahideen factions or adopted an adversarial posture and cut links with them. This dilemma was similar to the one that India faced in September 1996 when Kabul fell, once again, to the Taliban. India’s policy debate over Afghanistan in the 1990s oscillated between containment and engagement. Officials advocating engagement with pro-Pakistan factions, and the Taliban in particular after 1996, are termed as the pro-engagement coalition (PEC) in this chapter. Conversely, officials averse to pro-Pakistan factions and advocating diplomatic and military containment are termed as the anti-engagement coalition (AEC). Note on definitions and theoretical basis of policy coalitions The terms ‘containment’, ‘engagement’ and ‘anti-engagement’ are used as ideas with specific political intent in this paper. The term ‘engagement’, for instance, is understood as a process whereby two political entities are involved in noncoercive diplomacy and have existing channels of interaction, either covert or overt. Engagement here does not necessarily imply diplomatic recognition to the entity being engaged with. Nor does it imply imparting legitimacy to the ideas propounded and practices undertaken by this entity. It definitely does not mean engaging in military combat with an adversary. What it implies, simply, is dealing with a political faction without necessarily aiming at containing its rise, or even if so, then not doing that militarily or by using selective (or partisan) engagement tactics. India’s debate on whether to engage with the Taliban, from this perspective, was that of opening a political channel without giving the group diplomatic recognition. The idea of anti-engagement, conversely, implies partisan political support to one group over the other. Within the framework of such partisan support, use of coercive (military) means to communicate political intent is acceptable. The term also implies cutting diplomatic contact with the perceived adversary. However, what anti-engagement does not mean is an absence of contact with the country in question. Given the geographical proximity between Afghanistan and India, this has never been a viable strategic option for New Delhi. Even during the Taliban years, India was deeply engaged with the anti-Taliban UF rather than steering clear of the Afghan quagmire altogether. There are two reasons why the term anti-engagement is used in this paper instead of ‘containment’. First, specific to this case, India did not have the means to effectively contain any political and military force in Afghanistan on its own. Pakistan, however, given its proximity to Afghanistan, is more in a position to do so. Second, the most India has done to stop any group’s rise to power in Afghanistan is to engage with its adversaries. During the 1990s civil war phase, this was most visible. Identifying its interests as such, India, alongside Russia and Iran, decided to support the UF against the

184  Avinash Paliwal Taliban. Thus, the anti-engagement coalition had a strong containment axiom to its political intent, but limited capability to carry it out militarily. The dilemma New Delhi faced in 1992 and 1996 split New Delhi’s policy circuit in two clear coalitions. Cutting across bureaucratic, institutional and political lines, these coalitions did not represent the interests or ideas of a particular political party or any ministry per se. Their differences were based on different belief systems and were mostly tactical in nature. While some advocated broadbased engagement in Afghanistan, others advocated partisan engagement. The idea of dividing policy advocacies along the lines of belief systems has theoretical roots in public policy theory. The terms, pro- and anti-engagement coalitions, have been drawn from the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) (Shanahan et al. 2011).2 According to the NPF, policy narratives are constructs, strategically crafted using words, images and symbols to influence policy. The terminology offered by the NPF allows identification and articulation of the beliefs of the pro- and anti-engagement coalitions within India’s foreign policy subsystem. The NPF allows highlighting marginal policy advocacies and putting different ideas in context. However, how does the existing literature address the central question of this paper and what answers does it offer?

Literature review Existing studies that examine India’s approach towards Afghanistan conclude, with credible but limited evidence, that India was necessarily averse to engaging with pro-Pakistan factions in Afghanistan – particularly the Taliban. For British historian, William Dalrymple, the India–Pakistan rivalry lies at the heart of the war in Afghanistan today (Dalrymple 2013). According to Christine Fair, the Taliban’s links with anti-India outfits such as the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), Jaishe-Mohammad (JeM) and the Pakistani intelligence services, ‘underscores the salience that Afghanistan and the Taliban have for Indian national security’ (Fair 2011: 3). This was most visible in the 1999 hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight (IC 814) by Pakistan-based militants (with help from the Pakistan’s Directorate of the Inter-Services Intelligence, ISI) and the landing of that flight in Talibancontrolled Kandahar. Similarly, Harsh Pant argues that given its rising ambitions, ‘India is following a multi-pronged strategy in Afghanistan’, and the success of this proactive Afghan policy shall ascertain whether India will be able to provide security in South Asia (Pant 2010). For Pant, Afghanistan is a ‘test case’ of India’s rising power ambitions in the twenty-first century. Works by Teresita and Howard Schaffer (2011) and Sumit Ganguly and Nicholas Howenstein (2009), as well as Sandra Destradi (2014), focus on India’s ‘interests’ and ‘strategy’ in Afghanistan. They too assess that India was averse to engaging with pro-Pakistan factions and the Taliban in particular. Based on this assessment, the Schaffers suggest that the only strategic option in Afghanistan to bring regional peace and security is to go for a ‘grand bargain’, first between the US and Pakistan and then between Pakistan and India (Schaffer and Schaffer 2011). Ganguly and Howenstein argue that ‘Indian and Pakistani competition in

India’s Taliban Dilemma  185 Afghanistan long precedes the advent of the Hamid Karzai regime’ (Ganguly and Howenstein 2009: 127). Due to the close links between the Pakistani security agencies and the Taliban, India ‘did not abandon links with the Northern Alliance’. They do not see any use in engaging with the Taliban, and argue that both the US and India should work together to contain the Taliban’s rise in Afghanistan after 2014. However, Destradi argues that India has been a reluctant partner at best for Afghanistan and is averse to engaging with the Taliban. Based on her interviews with Indian experts, she argues that ‘India has over the past few years tried to build up linkages to all political forces and social groups in Afghanistan, including nonTaliban Pashtuns’ (Destradi 2014). Although not historical in nature, these works assess that India was necessarily averse to pro-Pakistan factions in Afghanistan. Other works by Shashank Joshi and Rudra Chaudhuri provide a holistic picture of India’s ‘Af-Pak’ strategy and ‘proxy’ calculus vis-à-vis Pakistan. Linking developments in Afghanistan with the politics of Indian-administered Kashmir, Chaudhuri argues that the starting point of a settlement between India and Pakistan is Kabul, not Kashmir (Chaudhuri 2010). Drawing from the contested ‘Af-Pak’ strategy propounded by the Obama administration in 2009, which focused on a regional solution to Afghanistan, Chaudhuri says that greater cooperation between India and Pakistan in Afghanistan might actually help in solving long-standing issues such as Kashmir. Joshi, however, argues that ‘the risk exists that India, like other regional actors anxious over the prospect of a security vacuum in the coming years, may adopt more independent and assertive policies in Afghanistan which diverge from those of the United States’ (Joshi 2014). He is convinced that India will adopt a partisan approach, like it did in the 1990s, towards Afghanistan after the withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan. Articulating India’s three main interests in Afghanistan as, ‘security, ambition, and energy’, Joshi assumes that New Delhi is necessarily averse to the Taliban (Joshi 2010). Most Indian activities in Afghanistan, including its aid projects are viewed from a geopolitical lens in these writings. For instance, India has prioritised Afghanistan as one of the largest recipients of formal Indian economic aid (Agarwal 2007: 5–10). This aid policy has expanded since 2001, during which time India provided more than US$2 billion worth of developmental aid to Afghanistan (Price 2013). A lot of these funds are aimed at the Pashtun-dominated southern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan, in the form of small development projects (SDPs). Such developmental support is viewed with hostility by Pakistan (Ganguly and Howenstein 2009: 130). According to Islamabad, India uses these aid projects as an intelligence cover to support Baloch separatists in Pakistan from Afghan territory. Pakistan’s persistent allegations against India (though made without providing substantial evidence) often makes observers wonder as to what India is exactly up to in Afghanistan. Critically, this narrative of India’s anti-Pakistan posture in Afghanistan has made Western powers put diplomatic pressure on New Delhi to limit its engagements with Afghanistan. Shanthie Mariot D’Souza details this diplomatic dynamic and argues that New Delhi needs to consolidate the gains it has made in Afghanistan during the past 13 years. Similar to most works mentioned previously, D’Souza takes India’s anti-Taliban stand for granted (D’Souza 2013).

186  Avinash Paliwal Finally, adding value to the mentioned works is a paper by Bhibu Prasad Routray that delineates the actors who formulate and enable India’s contemporary Afghanistan policy (Routray 2013). Routray argues that the war in Afghanistan and the ongoing withdrawal of Western forces does the following: [D]ivides the country’s [India] opinion into two clear camps: one that wants New Delhi to remain engaged in Afghanistan in spite of the threats and attacks and the other, that want it to follow the path of the international community who are on their way out of the country. Synthesising the concerns of these two contradictory, yet influential camps has not been easy. (Routray 2013: 13) Routray explicates this dilemma using three case studies ranging from ‘military footprint vs. development approach’ to the ‘reconciliation process’ and India’s possible role in the ‘transition process’. He concludes: India’s approach towards the Afghan transition has remained a combination of official thinking and initiatives by the business community. As the country explores different approaches to stay engaged in Afghanistan, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has demonstrated willingness to accommodate not just the role played by the other actors, but also the views expressed by the strategic community. (Routray 2013: 13) Nonetheless, Routray too assesses that India has historically remained averse to engaging with pro-Pakistan factions in Afghanistan, and particularly the Taliban in, and after, 1996. Though none of the literature mentioned is a piece of historical work, why do they emphasise that India was necessarily averse to engaging with pro-Pakistan factions in general and the Taliban in particular? The next section addresses this question.

Taliban: To engage or to contain? In keeping with international reaction, India’s official policy was unambiguously opposed to the Taliban’s political and social conduct in 1996. This opposition had four key aspects: first, New Delhi closed its embassy in Kabul and evacuated its personnel citing safety concerns. Officials and analysts therefore conclude that India had ‘no contacts with the Pashtuns’ between 1996 and 2001.3 Second, it endorsed the United Nations (UN) Resolution 1076 which criticised the Taliban’s violation of human and women’s rights, and decided not to recognise the Taliban regime as a legitimate government. Third, India maintained diplomatic links with the internationally recognised Rabbani government and hosted Massoud Khalili, Tajik commander Ahmad Shah Massoud and Rabbani’s political aide, as its ambassador to New Delhi.4 Finally, India provided covert military support to the UF in coalition with Russia, Iran and the Central Asian Republics (CARs).5

India’s Taliban Dilemma  187 This was done considerably, if not entirely, from the Farkhor Air Base in South Tajikistan. These facts form a credible bedrock for the emphasis of existing studies that India was averse to the pro-Pakistan Taliban. However, why did India decide on a partisan engagement with Afghanistan after 1996? Existing studies emphasise a geostrategic and human rights rationale to this approach (Pant 2011: 31–7). The Taliban was understood, and justly so, as a movement of misogynistic Islamists with a highly questionable approach to human rights. This was coupled with a peculiarly strong belief that the Taliban was Islamabad’s proxy force. Nevertheless, these arguments do not capture the inherent contradictions in India’s policymaking processes. First, if the anti-Pakistan ‘proxy thesis’, framed by the idea of realpolitik, was true, then engaging the Taliban would have been within reason (Chaudhuri 2010). Having gained effective control of more than 60 per cent of territory by 1997, the Taliban emerged as a coherent military force dominated by ethnic Pashtuns. Plus, keen on international recognition, the Taliban was cautious before taking an openly anti-India stand. There was little evidence of active Taliban involvement in Kashmir barring the training camps in east Afghanistan that hosted anti-India elements such as Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) (Schofield 2010: 191–6). Moreover, if India was necessarily averse to any group close to Pakistan, why did it recognise the Mujahideen government of Burhanuddin Rabbani in 1992 knowing well that all Mujahideen figures had links with Pakistan, and almost all were critical of Indian military operations in Kashmir? Second, there is a perception of deep historical links between India and Afghanistan in both these countries. However, if such is the case, then how was New Delhi so clear about not engaging with a Pashtun dominated force in 1996? The certainty portrayed around the ‘Islamic fundamentalist’ argument is counterintuitive given India’s historical and cultural engagement with radical Islam. Some antecedents such as New Delhi’s unhindered diplomacy with post-1979 Shiite Iran and the Wahhabi Gulf states are cases in point. Interestingly, India also accepted the presence of the radical Islamist and pro-Pakistan Hizb-e-Islami in the Afghan government in 1992. Third, given India’s active dealings with the UF after 1996, it was clear that New Delhi was not shy of engaging Afghans regardless of their ideological bent and human rights record. Neither were the warlords within the UF umbrella less Islamic nor did they have a cleaner record on human and women’s rights than the Taliban (Giustozzi 2009: 188–9; Roy and Abou-Zahab 2004). New Delhi’s acceptance in engaging with the Afghan Taliban in 2011 heightens the importance of the question as to why did India decide on partisan engagement in Afghanistan in 1996.6 As mentioned earlier, India’s foreign and security establishment faced a dilemma over whom to support in Afghanistan in 1992 and 1996, and how. This dilemma, this chapter argues, was manifest in advocacy coalitions with diametrically opposed policy beliefs on the question of engaging the Taliban. One advocated engagement, while the other was staunchly against the idea. The next section details the beliefs, advocacies, and actors of the PEC.

188  Avinash Paliwal

Pro-engagement coalition The PEC wanted India to engage with the Taliban, at least politically, if not ­diplomatically (Nanda 1997). Moreover, it concurred that a non-combative stance in Afghanistan would allow constructive engagement with Pakistan. This section shows that far from being an ‘obvious’ policy decision, not engaging with the Taliban was much in defiance of India’s policy practice vis-à-vis Afghanistan before 1996. To start with, India’s decision to close its embassy in Kabul on 26 September 1996 was not the first during the civil war. Every time fighting broke out in and around Kabul, most countries, including India, would close their embassies and remove diplomatic representatives. In fact, this was the fourth closure of India’s mission in Kabul between 1992 and 1996. The PEC’s key tenets are best enunciated in what is known as the ‘Rao Doctrine’, termed after former Indian Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao’s approach towards Afghanistan and Pakistan in 1992. First, India was to ‘deal with all Mujahideen groups without fear or favour and contact should be established with anyone and everyone willing to meet us despite the militancy of their Islamism’ (Bhadrakumar 2011). Second, India should ‘deal with whosoever was in power in Kabul and focus would be on cultivating a friendly government that was sensitive to India’s vital interests and core concerns’. Third, India should ‘deal strictly with the government in Kabul, no matter its proximity with Pakistan or its security agencies’. Fourth, India ‘would neither arm any Afghan group nor ostracise any – not even the Wahhabi group of Ittehad headed by Rasul Sayyaf’. And finally, India will ‘focus on P-2-P relations’, build goodwill among all Afghans and ‘meaningfully contribute towards Afghanistan’s economic welfare’ within its limited scope (Bhadrakumar 2011). In fact, on 30 August 1992, when Rabbani sought a re-fuelling stopover in India on his way to the Non-Alignment Movement Summit in Jakarta, Rao accepted the request. Later in mid-July 1993, the foreign ministers of India and Afghanistan – Dinesh Singh and Hedayat Amin Arsala – met in New York and consolidated ties (MEA 1996: 8–9). Unlike those who were averse to any pro-Pakistan faction in Afghanistan, the PEC had a fundamentally different policy outlook towards Afghanistan and Pakistan. This was despite both advocacies having the same core beliefs about India, politics and nationalism. The then Foreign Secretary (FS), J. N. Dixit (1991– 1994), confirms the dominance of the PEC in New Delhi before 1996. He mentions that Prime Minister Rao was categorical in his shift of approach from that of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi; that is, in light of the Soviet withdrawal, India ‘should establish contact with leaders of all groups and remain in touch with them so that eventually India could deal with whosoever came to power’ (Dixit 1996: 108). Moreover, India was to retain its diplomatic mission in Kabul as long possible despite the anarchy. Links with Russia and Iran were being given primacy to make this happen (Dixit 1996: 108). India opened covert channels with Sigbatullah Mojadedi, Rabbani, Sayyaf, Masoud and Dostum, as well as Hekmatyar (before Rabbani’s visit). Another PEC advocate, it was clear to Dixit that Islamabad was unable to secure control either over Rabbani and Massoud or over Hekmatyar.

India’s Taliban Dilemma  189 This assessment was critical in shaping the PEC’s approach towards Afghanistan and advocating engagement. While even the PEC advocates – such as Dixit and Bhadrakumar – agreed that the Taliban was being sponsored by the ISI, they did not see it from an Islamist lens. For Dixit, writing in 1996, Taliban was a student movement with primarily reflecting Pashtun interests with most of its recruits coming from the tribal areas of Pakistan (Dixit 1996: 111). While Dixit was aware of the problems associated with opening channels with the Taliban, he stated: [T]o think that India can play a direct mediatory or intervening role in this violence-ridden situation is impracticable and unfeasible … In the coming three to five years, it would be sufficient if India managed to maintain contact with all groups in Afghanistan and joined hands with other neighbouring countries which are genuinely interested in pacifying and normalising the situation in that country. (Dixit 1996: 111) Vikram Sood, former Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) from December 2000 to March 2003, India’s premier external intelligence agency, confirmed the dominance of Dixit’s PEC-led ideas regarding the impracticability of Indian intervention. Apparently, Sood, in 1994, had formulated a plan to develop Indian intelligence infrastructure in Afghanistan. While the then chief of R&AW supported his plan, Rao refused to give it political clearance.7 Not surprisingly, Sood terms Rao’s decision-making as ‘policy drift … out of indecision’. Why was Rao averse to the R&AW using coercive techniques? Fear of escalating a covert war with Pakistan and balancing domestic civil-military relations are two possible reasons (Raghavan 2012: 116–18). Moreover, Rao had come to power after a Tamil suicide bomber assassinated his predecessor, Rajiv Gandhi, a proponent of coercive diplomacy. The R&AW had played a critical role in the Sri Lankan conflict, first to train and equip the LTTE against the Sinhalese dominated Colombo government, and then to fight against them.8 Having learnt from the after-effects of employing coercive techniques for political purposes, subsequent Indian prime ministers became wary of resorting to them. Often termed derogatorily as ‘lacking political will’, aversion to covert tools of military coercion is an important tenet of the PEC. Analysis of primary sources including the MEA’s annual reports between 1991 and 1997 not only supports the existence of the PEC, but also indicates its dominance until 1996, after which India breached almost all tenets of the Rao Doctrine. In 1991 to 1992, the MEA, apart from detailing bilateral visits and Indian aid figures to Afghanistan under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, stated that: India continued to extend full support to the political settlement of the Afghan crisis based on her conviction that any such settlement should recognize

190  Avinash Paliwal the legitimate interests of all concerned and be arrived at by the Afghans t­hemselves without any external interference. (MEA 1992: 5–6) Of importance here is India’s recognition of ‘legitimate interests of all concerned’, which included the Mujahideen. Coming within the context of a strong Najibullah government at helm and the evolution of India’s own insurgency in Kashmir, the statement reflected a mood of broad-based political reconciliation. Did Najibullah’s murder and the Taliban’s entry mark the death of the PEC in September 1996? Although it is true that the event tipped the favour against the PEC, its fundamental beliefs remained robust.9 For instance, in October 1996, some Indian diplomatic officials, despite their conviction concerning Islamabad’s support to the Taliban, remained unconvinced that Pakistan could control the latter remotely. These officials assessed that Afghans have an ‘ethno-nationalist’ identity that is averse to outside domination. (Guha 1996). Disputing the consensus that the Taliban was simply an Islamist force without much regard for nationalism – much like Al Qaeda – this constituency within the MEA was wary of jumping to a conclusion on the former’s internal dynamics. Such ethnic ­understanding of the Taliban was a view that dominated American foreign bureaucracy too. The flexibility of this assessment and the PEC’s thriving existence is reflected in debates during the temporary fall of Mazar-e-Sharif on 25 May 1997. As the Taliban moved west and north from Kandahar, most factional leaders, including Hekmatyar and Herat’s Ismail Khan, fled Afghanistan. Mazar-e-Sharif’s fall initiated Dostum’s exile as well.10 The only faction actively resisting the Taliban was the Jamiat-e-Islami, marginalised to the Panjshir valley north of Kabul. India, like many other countries, momentarily faced a fait accompli; that is, either it engaged with the Taliban or remained out of Afghanistan for the foreseeable future. The situation became acute when the US received a Taliban delegation in Washington in February 1997 while Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recognised it as Afghanistan’s legitimate government.11 On 26 May 1997, the MEA came out with a cautious statement saying that the ‘new situation is entirely within the domestic sphere of Afghanistan’ and Afghans have a right to decide their future ‘free from outside influence and interference’ (Narula 1996). On 28 May, three days after Mazar’s fall, the Times of India (ToI) reported: ‘India seeks to open channel with [the] Taliban’ (Nanda 1997). According to the report, a fast emerging ‘dominant’ view in the MEA is that ‘we have to deal with the reality in Afghanistan for our long term national interest’. Officials had privately started admitting that India’s Afghanistan policy over the last year had ‘met with a setback’ (Nanda 1997). Most interestingly, information was leaked that the Taliban – similar to Rabbani in 1992 – had sent a ‘feeler’ to deal with India after its arrival in Kabul. Mullah Muttawakil sent the first feeler on 23 October 1996 in his interview to the Pakistani journalist, Rahimullah Yusufzai, which was published by Outlook magazine in India. A key member of the ruling central Shura of the Taliban, Muttawakil stated:

India’s Taliban Dilemma  191 We [Taliban] certainly can have better ties with New Delhi if India stops interfering in Afghanistan and assures us that Afghanistan’s embassy in New Delhi will not be allowed to be used against the Taliban by Rabbani’s appointees there. (Yusufzai 1996) Although wanting to engage, the Taliban’s proposal came with conditions and was far from neutral. It wanted New Delhi to cut all ties with Rabbani and throw its weight behind the Taliban. The second signal came on 11 June 1997, before the Taliban’s retreat from Mazar-e-Sharif. This time it was Mullah Abdul Jalil, deputy foreign minister of the Taliban, who wanted India to stop treating the Taliban as an enemy. Phrases used by both Muttawakil and Jalil were similar in their criticism of India’s Afghanistan policy. Talking from a position of strength, Jalil said: With our neighbours, including India, we would like to have normal relations based on the policy of non-interference. Until now, India has been interfering in Afghanistan’s affairs. We want this interference to end. In fact, we will be waiting for signs that indicate a change of heart in New Delhi. (Yusufzai 1997) Jalil underlined Taliban’s warmth for Pakistan in the same interview, leaving little space for an AEC dominated India to interpret the signal positively. Former Indian FS, K. Raghunath (July 1997 to November 1999), a staunch antiTaliban figure, confirms that India did not entertain the two ‘feelers’. The question was often put that if the Taliban makes overtures, which they did, should India talk to them? ‘And the answer is no, because we don’t get anything by talking to them’.12 Raghunath played a key role in undercutting the PEC’s advocacy in 1997 to influence policy change by mobilising opinion in wake of the Taliban’s ascendance and its signalling to New Delhi. Nonetheless, according to the ToI, multiple sources within the MEA (barring Raghunath) gave two reasons why the Taliban should be engaged. First, that the Taliban wanted international recognition and was not sure for how long non-Pashtuns would accept their domination. Second, that ‘an influential section within the Taliban is said to be deeply suspicious of Pakistan’ (Nanda 1997). Reflecting India’s understanding of ‘political nuances’ within the Taliban early in the civil war, a strong constituency within the MEA sought political recognition for the Taliban, if not diplomatic recognition. Allegedly, this was India’s ‘uniform recognition behaviour’ towards governments of ‘disputed legitimacy’ until the 1971 India–Pakistan War or the Bangladesh Liberation War. An intense dialogue between the PEC and its detractors in early 1997 is reflective in I. K. Gujral’s (the then external affairs minister [EAM] of India, and soon to be prime minister) shifting gears on the Taliban question. Having called it ‘obscurantist’ at the Lok Sabha Debate in September 1996 in his capacity as the EAM, Gujral’s response to a journalist’s question, whether the Taliban should be

192  Avinash Paliwal resisted, on 12 March 1997 was: ‘It is not for me to say so. We are neither a party in the war in Afghanistan, nor would we like to be’ (Gujral 1997). Not only this, Gujral was actively portraying India as a non-player in Afghanistan: Our policy is in conformity with the UN policy. We believe it’s their own problem and there should be no outside intervention. And the Taliban are an outside intervention – the support to the Taliban, I mean. (Gujral 1997) While the statement keenly reflects that India viewed the Taliban as a Pakistani creation, there is more to it. In the same interview, Gujral stated that India ‘will go more than half-way to make its neighbours feel secure’, including Pakistan – without expecting quid pro quo. Dixit’s June 1997 statement that India should have a ‘flexible approach towards the Taliban’ supported this stand (Dixit 1997). However, regardless of Gujral and Dixit’s convictions, India took sides. The R&AW provided active support to Rabbani and Massoud, as alleged by Muttawakil as early as October 1996 and proven in retrospect. The fact was that India’s activities in Afghanistan – particularly military support to Rabbani’s forces – did not have political clearance. Politically, India had nothing to do with the internal situation of Afghanistan. Therefore, while the PEC advocacy dominated policy output between 1992 and 1996 and later gained some momentum in the light of the Taliban’s territorial gain in north Afghanistan in 1997, it remained unsuccessful in shaping the course of actions after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in September 1996. The next section explains why.

Anti-engagement coalition Running parallel to the PEC’s dominant policy advocacy were proponents of containment of the Taliban. Termed as the anti-engagement coalition (AEC), these officials advocated containment of the Taliban by bolstering anti-Taliban elements in Afghanistan. To be clear, the PEC and the AEC were much in agreement over facts such as Pakistan’s support to the Taliban. With the same resource and information available to advocates of both coalitions, the difference lay in approach. There were three key aspects to the AEC’s belief system. First, that the Taliban was a ‘Pakistan-raised, Pakistan-trained and equipped, new Islamist fundamentalist force’ in Afghanistan.13 Second, that the Taliban would advance Pakistan’s strategic interests instead of uniting Afghanistan under one banner. And, third, not only should the Taliban not be recognised but also active counter-measures should be taken to stop its ascent. There was consensus in India’s strategic circles that the Taliban was a ‘creation’ of the ISI. K. Subrahmanyam, a top Indian strategist, reported the Taliban’s links with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in December 1994, and noted the West’s (primarily the US) ‘tacit’ support to the student movement. Views of the Indian media, often reflective of official Indian thinking on foreign policy matters, were best seen in the ToI editorials, often harsher in tone than Subrahmanyam, at regular junctures between 1994 and 1999. For example, the

India’s Taliban Dilemma  193 ToI editorials throughout 1995 gave a blanket assessment of ISI-Taliban nexus and claimed that ‘working under the guise of bringing peace to a war-ravaged countryside through the strict implementation of the Shariat, the ISI has sought to further its own agenda’ (Dixit 1995). They also called the Hizb-e-Islami chief and Pashtun Islamist, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ created and nourished by Pakistan and overlooked by the US. Bashing the US as a destabilising actor in Afghanistan, the Indian media remained critical of the US for supporting Pakistan. In contrast, it portrayed Iran’s former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, as a ‘harbinger of hope’ and Russia a close friend.14 The ToI’s narratives shifted as the Taliban entered Kabul on 25 September 1996. On 28 September, it suggested: Neither a Balkanised nor a pro-Pakistani Afghanistan is in India’s interest and yet the North Block has remained curiously unmoved. Today, rather than rushing in to back one or the other side, India should strive to play a key role in regional diplomatic efforts aimed at bringing peace to that unfortunate country.15 Marking an end to India’s hands-off policy immediately after Taliban’s entry into Kabul, New Delhi decided to side with Iran and Russia. The AEC’s advocacy was the winner’s tale in India in 1996 to 1997. In a plot dominated by oil pipeline politics, strategic depth, ethnic tensions and territorial disputes (Durand Line and Kashmir), the Taliban, Pakistan and the US were the ‘villains’, and the Afghan government factions and other anti-Pakistani elements coupled with Iran and Russia were the ‘heroes’. Statements by officials actively engaged in policymaking at that time, the MEA’s annual reports, and debates in the Lok Sabha reflect the same. According to K. Raghunath, ‘there was nobody who was doubting this policy (of not engaging the Taliban). Nothing was to be gained, in fact, everything was to be lost by showing the slightest signs of wanting to engage (with the Taliban)’.16 Salman Haidar, Raghunath’s predecessor as the FS (March 1995 to June 1997) provides a similar assessment of the situation. Our relationship with Afghanistan, as I understand, has a lot to do with IndoPak relations … The Afghan civil war was a time when this was very visible. Pakistan was backing the Taliban, we hated the Taliban, and the Taliban was seen as a group damaging Indian interests.17 Key reason given for this emotion of ‘hate’ was the ‘unstable situation in Kashmir’ where ‘there was plenty of tinder’. When asked why India did not engage the Taliban knowing well that this could raise the Taliban’s stake of supporting the insurgency in Kashmir, Haidar stated: The logic of what you [author] are saying is absolutely correct, but the time was not right … I don’t think the situation had developed to the point where some exploration of differentiating between different types of Taliban

194  Avinash Paliwal and different types of groups within Afghanistan was possible … Terror meant Taliban.18 According to Shyam Saran, India’s FS from August 2004 to September 2006 (but who played an important role even in the 1990s) and until recently the chief of National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), the Taliban was ‘seen as trying to exclude India from Afghanistan and prove to be very hostile to India’.19 Haidar, Raghunath and Saran all concur that not only did India view the Taliban as a hostile entity but also wanted to work towards containing its rise. Lalit Mansingh, FS between December 1999 and March 2001, adds that India ‘lost all contact with Afghanistan during those six years’.20 This was despite Saran’s assertion that India’s outlook towards Pashtuns communities was not altered by the rise of the Taliban, and that ‘not all Pashtuns are Taliban or not all Pashtuns are fundamentalists’.21 Saran’s statement reflects Indian official’s historical memory with Pashtun ‘elites’ as well as people-to-people relations at a cultural level. However, Pashtun leaders that officials recall as being close to India were from the so-called ‘Settled Areas’ of the erstwhile North-West Frontier Provinces (NWFP) of Pakistan (Khosla 2011). In Afghanistan, apart from former King Zahir Shah, Indian officials idealise the period of former Presidents Najibullah and Daoud Khan, and often make this a historical reference point to advocate strong ties with Afghanistan.22 The ideological thread connecting all these leaders is their tough stand against the Durand Line border issue with Pakistan. Questioning the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan, political advocacies of all these Afghan leaders reflected a deep aversion towards the Pakistani establishment, leading Pakistani policymakers in turn to support the Afghan Islamists (Montagno 1963). India, thus, primarily engaged or associated most with elements that had outright anti-Pakistan predilections. This aspect played an important role in India’s decision to not engage with the Taliban. Although Pakistani sources were aware of the Taliban’s aversion to the idea of the Durand Line as the recognised border with Pakistan throughout its reign, New Delhi could never accurately assess whether the Taliban would actually be interested in contesting the Durand Line and attempting to attract the Pashtun population of Pakistan in a greater Pashtunistan (Roashan 2001). In addition to this lack of understanding of Taliban-Pakistan relations and the Taliban’s sovereign agency as an actor, the brutal killing of Najibullah and his brother on 27 September 1996 strengthened the AEC. This is reflected in India’s ‘strong condemnation’ of the act, and hosting of Najibullah’s wife and daughter in India ever since.23 An important primary source indicating this anti-engagement tenet of India’s Afghanistan policy is the debate in the Lok Sabha regarding the situation in Afghanistan on 27 November 1996. The then EAM Gujral, despite being a proponent of good neighbourly relations in what was called the ‘Gujral Doctrine’, bluntly criticised the Taliban and Pakistan: The pursuit of obscurantist doctrine by the Taliban leadership and the consequent denial of human rights, especially the rights of women, have been extensively condemned. The implications of these events have been assessed, especially the risk of an adverse impact on India’s security.24

India’s Taliban Dilemma  195 On the security aspect, Gujral highlighted India’s worst fears over a Taliban led Afghanistan. We have recently seen credible reports in the international media on the Taliban handing over terrorist training facilities to the Harkat-ul-Ansar. It is reported that at these training camps Pakistani and other youth are being trained for terrorist activities in Kashmir.25 As shown in the previous section, Gujral shifted gears in 1997, and attempted to portray India as a non-player in Afghanistan. These narratives emerging from the MEA and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) reflect the AEC’s dominance in 1996 and 1997. What were members of the military and intelligence agencies of India thinking? Consideration of this community’s advocacy is important given Pakistan’s claims that India covertly supports anti-Pakistan Baloch separatists from Afghan soil. In fact, it is argued that the Pakistani military establishment’s rationale for involvement in Afghanistan is rooted in its strategic outlook vis-à-vis India. According to a top military intelligence officer closely following Afghanistan after 2001: ‘Indians had nothing to do with the Taliban … and Pakistan made sure that we have no connections with the Pashtuns’.26 This was, at a minimum, one reason why India could not properly assess the possibility of collaborating, if need be, with the Taliban on the Durand Line issue. The official adds somewhat caustically: We’re fascinated by the Pashtuns but they have done nothing for us. When they have a choice to make between Pakistan and India then they may not side with us. Any intelligence agency (read R&AW) that says that they have contacts and leeway among Pashtuns – they are cheating themselves.27 Reconfirming India’s links solely with Afghan elites, the official ­categorically stated that the only reason Pashtuns would choose India over Pakistan is because they want their ‘elite status’ back in Afghanistan. Pakistan has made them Jihadis.28 Confirming that R&AW maintains links with the Taliban, the ­official also claimed that covert contacts do not last long.29 Finding the Taliban’s philosophy ‘repugnant’, the official said that engaging the Taliban openly ‘was a very difficult choice’ in 1996.30 According to Vikram Sood, former spymaster, India did not really have a ‘game-plan’ on Afghanistan pre-2001. ‘We didn’t make any concerted attempt, it was sporadic effort. If Rabbani said something then we would sit together and chat about it’ and see what could be done.31 Not expecting the Taliban to reach Kabul, Sood considers its rise coming to R&AW as ‘a shock … we were left numb for a while’.32 On the question of engaging with the Pashtuns, Sood hinted that though the R&AW tried to build networks, the killing of Najibullah was a massive blow. For the same reason, Indian intelligence had refused to engage with Hekmatyar who had sent signals to India in October 1994 when he lost support from Pakistan in the wake of the Taliban’s rise.33 Sood confirms that India’s non-engagement

196  Avinash Paliwal with the Taliban was primarily because of a weak capability in understanding the situation in depth on the ground. Haidar reiterates this point: There are two elements. One, lack of capacity, and two, more important, lack of desire … India has always been the last of the people around to accept that there can be different types of Taliban.34 Thus, it was not just the Pakistan factor or the insurgency in Kashmir that helped the AEC remain dominant domestically. A serious gap in knowledge and capacity compounded by India’s economic and political resource crunch during the 1990s added weight. The arrival of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janaya Party government in 1998 and its increasingly aggressive stance on Kashmir further strengthened the AEC. Critically, although for different reasons, Moscow, Teheran and the Central Asian Republics’ staunch anti-Taliban stand, coupled with the UN’s condemnation of the Taliban, strengthened the AEC tremendously. Constituting a negative social construct of the Taliban (and in some cases even the Pashtuns), and a sense of realpolitik to engage with anti-Pakistan elements on the Afghan landscape, the AEC’s advocacy was able to influence policy in its favour.

Conclusion This chapter revisited India’s approach towards Afghanistan and examined if New Delhi was necessarily averse to engaging with pro-Pakistan political factions during the 1990s. It showed that India engaged with, and accommodated, proPakistan factions after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 until 1996. The Taliban’s rise to power in Kabul in September 1996 challenged India’s engagement-with-all approach. Nonetheless, the decision to sever ties with the Taliban and to bolster anti-Taliban factions was highly debated in New Delhi. Many in India saw the Taliban as a militant Islamist force sponsored by Pakistan. For others, however, it was an ethno-nationalist movement representing Pashtun interests, and not necessarily under Islamabad’s control. Theoretical constructs, such as the NPF, can help conceptualise policy advocacies and unpack under-appreciated policy currents of India effectively. India’s Afghanistan policy in the 1990s was more than a negative correlate of Pakistani actions. This was despite Pakistan’s use of asymmetric warfare in Kashmir. The strategic importance of friendly relations with Afghanistan and its impact on Pakistan was not overlooked, but India’s final policy approach had at least two angles to it. Existence of the anti-engagement and the pro-engagement coalitions vis-à-vis the Taliban proves this point. Both the coalitions saw the centre of gravity for most Afghan and Indian security problems in Pakistan. However, different coalitions advocated different approaches to the problem. The PEC advocated engagement with the Taliban and all those warring factions deemed unfriendly to India and close to Pakistan. The AEC advocated partisan engagement with only those factions that had a positive predilection towards India.

India’s Taliban Dilemma  197 Marginalisation of the PEC by 1996 was apparent in India’s decision not to recognise or even unofficially engage with the Taliban. The AEC dominated the policy scene throughout the late 1990s and for most of the US-led NATO war in Afghanistan after 2001. Even at the 2001 Bonn Conference, regardless of being a marginal player, India was actively supporting the non-Pashtuns dominated UF. In addition, the key policy coup led by the AEC advocates in the mid-1990s was India’s alignment with Russia, Iran and the Central Asian Republics to support the UF morally, financially and militarily. This was a radical departure from the 1992 Rao Doctrine and squarely aimed its actions against the ‘Pakistan-supported Taliban’. Interestingly, this phase of AEC domination in Indian foreign policy experience paved the way for the narrative that the Afghanistan conflict was a by-product of the India–Pakistan rivalry. Although partially true, the shortcoming of this argument is that it mixes political interpretation and beliefs with policy outputs. It misses the historical existence of the PEC, and it is based on a stringent assumption that the India–Pakistan rivalry is cast in stone. Even if it is true that most Indian officials view Afghanistan from a security-dominated Pakistani lens, and most Pakistani officials view it from a security-dominated Indian lens, the policy outputs over time indicate political sophistication and nuance. Therefore, the argument that India and Pakistan’s Afghanistan policy is a subset of India–Pakistan relations with little independent merit to bilateral ties, does not hold true at all times.

Notes 1 Interview with Chinmaya Gharekhan, India’s former Permanent Representative to the UN, New Delhi, 6 March 2013. 2 The Narrative Policy Framework treats narratives (which can be applied both in domestic and international policy domains) as a method of ‘structuring and communicating (one’s) understanding of the world’. It proposes that a policy narrative has a setting, a plot, characters (hero, villain and victim) and is disseminated towards a preferred policy outcome (the moral of the story). Different advocacy coalitions, formed by different stakeholders within the subsystem, generate different policy narratives. 3 Interview with Vikram Sood, former Chief of R&AW (2001–2003), New Delhi, 20 March 2013, and Lalit Mansingh, former Foreign Secretary of India (1999–2001), New Delhi, 25 January 2013. 4 Interview with Aunohita Mojumdar, Indian journalist, New Delhi, 30 January 2013. Mojumdar covered India-Afghanistan relations extensively since 1997, and was based out of Afghanistan for eight years between 2003 and 2011. 5 Interview with Shyam Saran, former Foreign Secretary of India (2004–2006), New Delhi, 12 March 2013, and I. P. Khosla interviews. 6 In 2011, India signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) with Afghanistan and officially endorsed an Afghan-led reconciliation with the Taliban. IndiaAfghanistan SPA text of document is available online at Agreement%20on%20Strategic%20Partnership%20between%20Afghanistan%20 and%20India%20-%20English.pdf (accessed 30 December 2016). 7 Vikram Sood interview. 8 ‘Recruited by RAW, trained by Army: LTTE’, IBNlive, 7 July 2006. Available online at (accessed 30 December 2016).

198  Avinash Paliwal   9 Interview with Rana Banerji, former Special Secretary R&AW, New Delhi, 7 March 2013, and Vikram Sood. 10 ‘Afghan Taleban tightens grip, Dostum flees’, Reuters, 25 May 1997. Available online at (accessed 30 December 2016). 11 Staff Reporter ‘U.S. govt. to receive Taliban delegation’, Times of India, 5 February 1997. 12 K. Raghunath interview. 13 Editorial, ‘New Afghan crisis’, Times of India, 21 February 1995. 14 Editorial, ‘Reaping the whirlwind’, Times of India, 25 May 1995. 15 Editorial, ‘Turmoil in Kabul’, Times of India, 28 September 1996. 16 K. Raghunath interview. 17 Interview with Salman Haidar, former Foreign Secretary of India (1995–1997), New Delhi, 13 February 2013. 18 Interview with Salman Haidar, former Foreign Secretary of India (1995–1997), New Delhi, 13 February 2013. 19 Shyam Saran interview. 20 Lalit Mansingh interview. 21 Lalit Mansingh interview. 22 Salman Haidar, Vikram Sood, Lalit Mansingh and Chinmaya Gharekhan interviews. 23 XI Lok Sabha Debates, Session III (Winter), Wednesday, 27 November 1996/ Agrahayana 6, 1918 (Saka). Type of Debate: Statement by Minister. 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid. 26 Interview with ‘A’, a senior Indian Military Intelligence officer, identity undisclosed on official’s request. 27 Ibid. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid. 30 Ibid. 31 Vikram Sood interview. 32 Ibid. 33 Ibid. 34 Salman Haidar interview.

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200  Avinash Paliwal Raghavan, Srinath. 2012. ‘Soldiers, statesmen, and India’s security policy’. India Review 11 (2): 116–33. Rais, R. B. 1997. State, Society, and Democratic Change in Pakistan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Roashan, Roaf G. 2001. ‘The unholy Durand Line, buffering the buffer’. Institute for Afghan Studies. Routray, Bidhu. 2013. National Security Decision-Making in India, RSIS Monograph 27. Singapore: S Rajaratnam School of International Studies. Roy, Olivier and Maryam Abou-Zahab. 2004. Islamist Networks: The Afghan-Pakistan Connection. Columbia: Columbia University Press. Schaffer, Teresita C. and Howard Schaffer. 2011. ‘Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir: A grand bargain?’ The Af-Pak Channel, 20 October 2011. Schofield, Victoria. 2010. Kashmir in Conflict: India, Pakistan and the Unending War. New York: I.B. Taurus. Shanahan, Elizabeth A., Michael D. Jones and Mark K McBeth. 2011. ‘Policy narratives and policy processes’. The Policy Studies Journal 39 (3): 535–61. Shukla, Ajai. ‘Groping in the dark in Afghanistan’, Business Standard, 2 September 2013. Available online at (accessed 30 December 2016). Siddiqa, Ayesha. 2007. Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy. London: Pluto Press. Syed, Muzaffar. 2013. Indo-Afghan Relations. India: Orange Books International. Swami, Preveen. 2013. India, Pakistan and the Secret Jihad: The Covert War in Kashmir, 1947–2004. London: Routledge. Swami, Praveen. 2014. ‘India’s new language of killing’. The Hindu, 1 May 2014. Available online at article5963505.ece (accessed 30 December 2016). Yusufzai, Ramimullah. 1996. ‘We can have better ties if India stops interfering’, Outlook, 23 October 1996. Available online at (accessed 30 December 2016). Yusufzai, Ramilluzh. 1997. ‘India must not treat the Taliban as enemy’, Outlook, 11 June 1997. Available online at (accessed 30 December 2016).

Personal interviews The names of interviewees have been disclosed with their permission. Details have been withheld where permission was not granted. A, a senior Indian Military Intelligence Officer, identity undisclosed on the official’s request. Aunohita Mojumdar, Indian journalist, New Delhi, 30 January 2013. Mojumdar has covered India-Afghanistan relations extensively since 1997, and was based out of Afghanistan for eight years between 2003 and 2011. B, contemporary of A as a senior Indian Military Intelligence Officer, identity undisclosed on the official’s request. Brig. (retd) Arun Sahgal, former Director, Office of Net Assessment, Integrated Defence Staff of India, 2001–2003, New Delhi, 18 February 2013. Chinmaya Gharekhan, former Permanent Representative of India to the UN, New Delhi, 6 March 2013.

India’s Taliban Dilemma  201 David Sedney, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia: ‘Seizing success: Ignoring the media and renewing our commitment in Afghanistan’, talk by Sedney at the Afghanistan Studies Group, King’s College London, 12 May 2014. Gautam Mukhopadhaya, former Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan (2010–2013), Kabul, 11 April 2013. K. Raghunath, former Foreign Secretary of India (1997–1999), New Delhi, 19 March 2013. Lalit Mansingh, former Foreign Secretary of India (1999–2001), New Delhi, 25 January 2013. Rana Banerji, former Special Secretary R&AW, New Delhi, 7 March 2013. Salman Haidar, former Foreign Secretary of India (1995–1997), New Delhi, 13 February 2013. Shyam Saran, former Foreign Secretary of India (2004–2006), New Delhi, 12 March 2013. Vikram Sood, former Chief of the R&AW, New Delhi, 20 March 2013.

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10 Inside Out? Assessing the Domestic Determinants of India’s External Behaviour Nicolas Blarel

Introduction Despite an important theoretical literature in foreign policy analysis (FPA) on the domestic determinants of external behaviour, there have been only limited attempts to develop robust domestic theories of foreign policy making in India (Ganguly and Pardesi 2015). This is all the more surprising given that India’s foreign policies and actions have been increasingly scrutinised by external and internal observers over the last two decades. In addition, some have justly observed that existing theoretical traditions, such as realism or liberalism, are ill-suited in explaining India’s external behaviour (Bajpai and Mallavarapu 2005; Behera 2008; Mattoo 2009; Mehta 2009). Out of the many theoretical tools of the FPA tradition, the study of specific institutional set-ups (single party versus coalition governments; federal versus centralised decision-making) has until now been neglected by India scholars. Most accounts of India’s external behaviour have relied on structural variables, non-theoretical and descriptive accounts of India’s diplomatic history, and more recently, on cultural variables. As a result, there have been no real attempts to develop robust domestic theories of foreign policy making in India. The non-application of these FPA theories to the Indian context can be explained both by the difficulty of obtaining reliable data and by the assumption that foreign policy making in India is the exclusive concern of an insular elite. For instance, until 1989, India’s foreign policy decision-making structure was considered to be a decision unit limited to the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of External Affairs (Bandyopadhyaya 1970; Narang and Staniland 2012). By contrast, from 1989 to 2014, India has been governed by different coalition government cabinets. Starting in the late 1980s, India effectively moved from a one-party system with the Indian National Congress dominating all aspects of India’s political life, including foreign policy, to an era of contested and shared policy making. Despite this important political change, there has yet to be any systematic attempt to evaluate the influence of coalition-building on India’s foreign policies. The few existing studies have concentrated on the obstructive power of regional parties in border-states on India’s policy towards neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (Pattanaik 2014; Sridharan 2003;

204  Nicolas Blarel Vanaik 2011), but do all small parties present in coalitions act automatically as veto players? This chapter aims therefore to evaluate if extant theories on coalition and foreign policy making help us better understand India’s external actions. It is also important to observe how these unexploited frameworks in the Indian context can also be adapted to explain the evolution of India’s foreign policy orientation. In the remainder of this chapter, I first offer a brief critical review of the existing scholarship on India’s foreign behaviour and provide an explanation for why most FPA approaches have not yet been applied in the Indian context. Then, in a second section, I discuss insights from the existing scholarship on coalition politics and federalism and foreign policy, which could be applied to the Indian context. In a third section, I suggest how the study of evolving institutional setups in India, such as the emergence and normalisation of coalition governments, can help us understand how regional actors and factors have affected Indian foreign policy since 1989. Finally, in a fourth section, I also discuss specific features from the Indian experience with coalition politics which will need to be integrated in order to be able to measure the effective influence of such institutional variables.

The study of India’s foreign policy Many scholars have relied on system-level, individual and cultural approaches to explain India’s external behaviour.1 Some scholars have favoured systemic variables to explain Indian foreign policy dynamics during the Cold War, often making arguments corresponding to realist logic. For instance, A. P. Rana argued that India’s non-alignment policy was conceived as a balancing strategy in the particular context of the bipolar power structure of the Cold War (Rana 1976). India’s policy choices were couched as ideological ones but were, according to some, primarily governed by material capacities and geopolitics (Karnad 2005; Mehta 2009). For example, it was argued that India opted for a form of external balancing against what it perceived to be an emerging US-Pakistan-China axis in 1971 by developing a close military relationship with the USSR. Similarly, in the past 15 years, an emerging literature has emphasised India’s rise in the international system and its potential revisionist status because of its increase in relative material capacities (Cohen 2001; Kapur and Ganguly 2007; Ganguly 2010; Raja Mohan 2006; Nayar and Paul 2003). However, India’s behaviour has also regularly deviated from these international pressures and/or opportunities. Structure has made India a more constrained and prudent power but its foreign policy cannot be explained solely by these systemic variables. Another strand of the literature has focused on the role of individualities in shaping India’s foreign policy (Brecher 1968; Kapur 2009; Mansingh 1984; Tharoor 1982). As there is a consensus that the Indian foreign policy making system centralised around a limited number of personalities, this research programme promised potential. However, barring a few exceptions,2 most works were narrative and descriptive studies which were devoid of theoretical substance

Inside Out? India’s External Behaviour  205 and of any systematic analysis. These works provided important detailed accounts of key foreign policy players, decisions and events but no theoretical explanation was offered to understand why a particular leader chose to opt for a particular foreign policy orientation at a specific conjuncture. There is also a literature which has stressed the existence of an Indian strategic culture. Building on the work from Alastair Iain Johnston (1998), these scholars have identified various worldviews in India’s history which have regularly competed to shape India’s foreign policy (Bajpai 2002, 2013; Cohen 2001; Miller 2014; Narang and Staniland 2012; Ollapally and Rajagoplan 2012; Sagar 2009). For instance, some have argued that India’s foreign policy was (and is still) influenced by a Nehruvian school of thought based on Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s original ideas of a non-aligned foreign policy for India (Bajpai 2013). There are also problems and limits to these ideational arguments. While Nehruvianism is an important cultural reference point, it does not offer clear guidelines to Indian decision makers for every possible foreign policy decision. Consequently, these stylised narratives rarely fit with the realities of Indian foreign policy making.3 To most, these cultural variables act as parameters constraining Indian leaders. As a result, there still is a need for more complete and satisfactory explanations of India’s foreign policy. In spite of the existing gaps in the study of Indian foreign policy, potentially useful approaches from the FPA tradition have never been applied in a systematic and successful fashion to the Indian context. For instance, there has been no real use of the bureaucratic and organisational processes arguments or of the cognitive and social-psychological theories which were introduced, tested and refined in the FPA scholarship. Why are there so few applications of FPA models? The explanation is twofold. First, there is a difficulty in accessing the information and data behind certain foreign policy decisions. Due to a colonial legacy that privileged government secrecy on foreign policy and national security matters, the access to the private papers of key leaders and senior bureaucrats is extremely limited. Under the Public Records Act of 1993, India has adopted a 30-year rule for the declassification of important documents but the rule is applied very selectively and many documents remain unavailable, such as the Henderson-Brooks Report, which was the 1963 inquiry by the Indian army in the aftermath of India’s military debacle against China in 1962. The second explanation is that there is a consensus among Indian specialists that the control of Indian foreign policy making is concentrated in the hands of a small, insular elite, especially because of the strong security stakes and its low electoral salience (Abraham 1992; Cohen 2001; Miller 2014; Perkovich 1999). This point has been argued explicitly, for instance, by Vipin Narang and Paul Staniland, to justify their analytical focus on the perceptions and the worldviews of elites present in the foreign policy and defence bureaucracies (2012). I argue here that this focus on a centralised and restricted decision unit is increasingly outdated as new political actors have gained access to power since 1989. Therefore, how can one evaluate the extent of decentralisation and democratisation of Indian foreign policy making?

206  Nicolas Blarel

Coalition politics, federalism and foreign policy analysis For the past two decades, a scholarship observing the influence of multi-party coalition governments over foreign policy making has emerged. Initially, the focus of this literature had been on the constraining effects of coalitiongovernments on foreign policy making. In early works, coalition politics were primarily seen as an additional institutional constraint on foreign policy decisions and actions. Arguments from institutionalist theory (the role of veto players) or social psychology (group-level bargaining dynamics) demonstrated that most policies were either postponed or the result of wide compromises to satisfy all parties members of the coalition (Hagan 1993; Tsebelis 1999; Beasley and Kaarbo 2014). By contrast, more recent studies have moved away from an exclusive emphasis on constraints to the evaluation of a wider series of effects of coalition government on foreign policy making. For instance, Kaarbo (2012) and Beasley and Kaarbo (2014) found that coalition governments tend to have ‘more extreme’ foreign policies as compared to single party governments. They identify four different causal mechanisms to account for the extremity of the foreign policy of coalition cabinets. First, junior parties within a coalition can threaten to withdraw and hijack the decision-making process. Second, the domestic political weakness of certain coalitions can lead to diversionary foreign policy actions. Third, there can be a diffusion of accountability and therefore of the political risks linked to a foreign policy decision because of the shared authority among multiple parties. Finally, the presence of diverse narrow, parochial interests in a coalition leads to the ‘logrolling’ and combination of multiple policy options together, often leading to risky foreign policy behaviour. There had also been an early tendency for the scholarship to concentrate on a binary distinction between coalition and single party governments and to compare how this institutional variation leads to different foreign policy behaviours. Only recently, more attention was given to factors that might explain differences between various coalition government configurations (Clare 2010; Kaarbo and Beasley 2008; Beasley and Kaarbo 2014; Oppermann and Brummer 2014). Factors such as the number of parties in the coalition and the type of coalition (minority or majority) (Kaarbo and Beasley 2008), but also ideological composition (Clare 2010) and institutionalised ideas (Kaarbo and Cantir 2013; OzkececiTaner 2005) seem to have an influence on the foreign policy-making process. An important limitation of this literature has nevertheless been that most empirical case-studies were Western coalition governments (including Australia and Israel). Hence, the theoretical inferences come mainly from Western-based insights. As India has entered a continuous coalition era since 1989, it is an ideal case-study to evaluate some of the existing scholarly explanations as well as to derive new theoretical and empirical findings. Another emerging scholarship has studied the role of decentralisation of political power and federal arrangements on foreign policy making. Historically, scholars have focused exclusively on inter-state relations and focused on the nation state as the principal unit of analysis in foreign affairs. More recently, this

Inside Out? India’s External Behaviour  207 traditional conception of the nation state’s foreign policy has been called into question by structural changes in the international system such as the emergence of regional integration, such as the European Union, the evolving nature of what and who defines the national interest of a country and by the growing influence of non-governmental actors on international relations (Aldecoa and Keating 1999). Within this scholarship, some have studied and compared the increasing role of political sub-units within various federal systems over the external affairs of a state (Michelmann 2009). Initially, the Indian constitution had given the centre strong power over the states when it comes to foreign policy making (Mattoo and Jacob 2009). However, since the early 1990s and the liberalisation of India’s economy and the era of coalition governance, there has been an increasing discussion of foreign policy advocacy coming from the part of the Indian states (Jenkins 2003). Following the economic reforms of 1991, Indian states have had greater leeway when it came to directly dealing with external partners. Foreign policy remained an exclusive prerogative of the central government but state governments have been able to take some foreign economic policy initiatives. For instance, Indian state governments, free from the political and institutional constraints inhibiting the central government, started directly discussing with external partners to look at possible avenues of cooperation (Blarel 2015). As a result, it is important to increasingly look at state actors as not only veto players but also to evaluate their role as direct promoters or stakeholders of certain foreign policies. The interaction of these two domestic and institutional factors (coalition politics, federal structure) in the particular Indian context needs to be assessed.

The domestic determinants of Indian foreign policy The Indian case is often cited as evidence to support the claim that coalition politics have a decisive impact on foreign policy decisions. Some scholars (Chaudhuri 2012; Mazumdar 2011; Pattanaik 2014; Sasikumar and Verniers 2013; Sridharan 2003; Vanaik 2011) have emphasised the importance of this institutional variable but have stopped short of identifying clear causal mechanisms linking coalition politics to specific foreign policy outcomes. In her seminal book on coalition politics and foreign policy making, Juliet Kaarbo (2012) also quoted the Indian example but she does not directly test her causal expectations in this particular case study. Consequently, there has yet to be any systematic inquiry of the effects of India’s transition to a coalition style of governance on its external policies. It is reasonable to assume that coalition politics have increasingly shaped foreign policy making since 1989 for three reasons. First, there is a scholarly consensus that there has been a ‘fragmentation’ of India’s party system since 1989 (Chakrabarty 2005; Sridharan 2012, 2014). Unlike other parliamentary democracies, sharing authority over foreign policy making between multiple political parties has not been an enduring feature of the Indian political system which has through its first-past-the-post-system mostly been a centralised political decision unit. After the almost uninterrupted rule at the centre and in most states by India’s

208  Nicolas Blarel Indian National Congress Party (INC), there have been six consecutive hung parliaments from 1989 to 1996, and then the emergence since 1996 of very large coalitions of 9 to 12 parties.4 Second, there has been the increasing influence at the national level of a multitude of regional- and state-level political parties which now virtually perform as kingmakers in the tenuous coalition governments that were formed (Sridharan 2014; Ziegfeld 2012). The two ‘largest’ nation-wide parties (thereby NWPs), the INC and since 1998, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have had to build large coalitions which included many of these smaller parties. To some degree, the NWPs have had to agree on common political programmes (whether before or after elections) and to divide ministry portfolios and political responsibility in order to make and implement decisions. Traditionally, the authority to make foreign policy and to respond to international developments lied mainly in the hands of the cabinet and the prime minister (Bandyopadhyaya 1970: 83–96). This was mostly because past governments had been composed by a single party which had obtained a majority of the seats in parliament. Consequently, as smaller and regional parties have gained more seats in parliament and integrated governing coalitions, they have had an input, or at the least, a veto power, on foreign policies. Have these new actors disagreed over the best course of action for their country? Are there varying interpretations of India’s national interest?5 How have the eventual disagreements been bargained and resolved? This last question is particularly relevant in the Indian context where coalition-building is a recent phenomenon. Third, the beginning of the coalition era in Indian politics has also correlated with what some have defined as a revolution in India’s foreign policy orientation. In the 1990s, a series of foreign policy decisions constituted important departures from India’s traditional policies. For instance, India dramatically altered the orientation of its domestic and foreign economic policies in 1991 by abandoning its commitment to import-substituting industrialisation with its emphasis on high tariff walls (Mukherji 2013). In May 1998, a coalition government headed by the BJP officially proclaimed India a nuclear weapons state by testing a series of nuclear devices after a 24-year-long hiatus since its first ‘peaceful nuclear explosion’ (Ganguly 1999; Kaarbo 2012: 4). In spite of a growing literature on India’s post-Cold War foreign policy, there has yet to be any evaluation of how coalition politics could have shaped these radical foreign policy decisions. For example, in 1998, one could investigate if there was consensus between the BJP and its coalition partners about the vital security need to initiate a nuclear test. The decision seems to fit certain institutional and political conditions linked to coalition governments, such as the diffusion of responsibility across coalition partners, the blackmailing from junior coalition allies or diversionary behaviour, which can generate extreme foreign policy behaviour (Kaarbo and Beasley 2008). However, the rare studies assessing the role of coalition politics on Indian foreign policy making have insisted upon the institutional and political constraints of coalitions which supposedly have led to foreign policy conservatism (Mazumdar 2011; Sridharan 2003). These scholars have often invoked the virulent

Inside Out? India’s External Behaviour  209 anti-incumbency tendencies, higher electoral volatility or the parochial and local interests of regional parties as negatively affecting types of foreign policy choices Indian decision-makers could make. This emphasis on foreign policy inertia is more closely linked to the early scholarship on the moderating effect of coalition politics on foreign policy outputs (Kaarbo 2012: 9). New studies need therefore to look at the more recent insights discussed previously, which look at how coalition politics can lead to extreme behaviours. However, in order to adequately assess the effects of coalition politics on India’s foreign policy, one also needs to take into account the unique features of India’s political trajectory.

Insights from the literature on coalition politics in India While there is a limited literature on the effects of coalition-making on India’s foreign policy, there is an important scholarship on the effects of India’s experience with coalitions on its domestic politics. This literature has mostly investigated the institutional and political reasons that gave rise to political coalitions at the national level, the size of political coalitions in India, the increasing influence of (mostly regional) parties at the national level within large coalitions, the gradual learning process of coalition-making and sustaining, and to some extent, the impact on policy outputs (Adeney and Saez 2005; Chakrabarty 2005; Kailash 2014; Nooruddin 2010; Sridharan 2005, 2012, 2014; Ziegfeld 2012). One common insight from this scholarship is that India is an exception when it comes to coalition formation and durability. The objective in this section is to identify specific empirical and theoretical insights which are useful in understanding Indian foreign policy decision-making. Conceptualisation Scholars such as Eswaran Sridharan have argued that existing conceptualisations and models need to be adapted to study the Indian coalitional context (Sridharan 2012). For instance, to understand and measure coalition formation and duration in India, a distinction needs to be made between executive and legislative coalitions (Kailash 2014; Sridharan 2012, 2014). In the Indian context, an executive coalition is restricted to the parties directly allied and present in government while a legislative coalition is a broader alliance with external supporters that have committed to a pre-electoral power-sharing arrangement but have decided to opt out of government participation (Sridharan 2012). This legislative coalition is also further cemented if the NWP has also established electoral alliances at the state-level with regional/local parties. In effect, this creates ‘mutual electoral interdependencies’ (Sridharan 2012) between the NWP and smaller parties, making it difficult for either of them to withdraw backing without running the risk of losing their electoral support in national- or state-level assembly polls. This distinction helps explain why a government which would be perceived as a weak minority coalition in the Western contexts actually acts more confidently on foreign policy matters in the Indian case. As a result, it is important in the

210  Nicolas Blarel Indian case to not exclusively concentrate on the number of seats in parliament for each party present in cabinet, but to also look at the number of seats held by external supporters as well as electoral arrangements negotiated at the state/local level with regional parties. In addition, in India, many of the critical junior parties whose parliamentary support is decisive in initiating or implementing foreign policy decisions are actually not in the cabinet. By sticking to criteria such as cabinet size, number of parties or parliamentary strength, one will not be able to determine if an Indian coalition government is strong or weak. For example, five minority coalitions between 1989 and 1996 (the National Front of 1989, the two United Front governments of 1996 and 1997, the BJP-led coalitions of 1998 and 1999 and 1999 to 2004 and the INC-led coalitions from 2004 to 2014) were formed through a compromise agreement between the coalition formateur party and external supporters.6 Through this arrangement, the supporting parties are not held directly responsible for the policies implemented by the formateur party and still derive some pre-agreed policy payoffs. For instance, such a pre-electoral arrangement, labelled the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), helped parties such as the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) to check the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) foreign policy and to limit any close rapprochement with the US while staying out of the government between 2004 and 2008. To study how coalition politics can affect India’s foreign policy, one therefore needs to look at an alternative definition of a coalition government. Sridharan suggested to define governments by a change of prime minister or new elections7 and to ignore the frequent changes in support from parties if these shifts do no directly lead to government termination, provided that the coalition formateur party remains the same (Sridharan 2012). The key indicators to identify a coalition cabinet are, in the Indian case, the same prime minister and the party which leads the coalition. This definition helps to better capture the internal coalition negotiations by emphasising the ongoing manoeuvers and deals with both with internal and external coalition partners to help the coalition remain in power. Consequently, some foreign policy decisions have directly depended on the crucial bargaining skills and strategies of the prime minister and the party at the head of the coalition. Size of coalitions Another specific characteristic of the Indian political system is that very large political coalitions (averaging 9 to 12 parties) have been in power since 1996. Consequently, it is not clear that junior parties in a coalition can leverage their parliamentary support to obtain foreign policy concessions given the important number of coalition partners (or of potential allies) in the Indian parliament. Coalition governments have managed since 1998 to survive the full five years of their official electoral term despite losing the support of some of their members. While the vote of confidence has been more commonly used since 1989, the government parties do not need to demonstrate that they have a majority in support

Inside Out? India’s External Behaviour  211 of their government, just that there is no majority in opposition. Paradoxically, while coalitions have regularly lost and/or gained party members, they have also proven to be exceptionally stable since 1998. As a result, because their support is not electorally crucial or can be substituted, the smaller Indian junior parties cannot effectively veto foreign policy initiatives. At most, these parties can delay or obstruct foreign policy decisions. For instance, this situation was directly illustrated during the negotiations with the United States for the signing of a nuclear deal in 2005 to 2008. On 18 July 2005, India and the United States announced an agreement through which the United States explicitly recognised and cast itself as prepared to legitimise India’s nuclear weapons programme even though it was not a signatory of the NonProliferation Treaty (Mohan 2006). This was an attempt by some actors within the INC, including the standing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to break India out of its nuclear and technological embargo. The nuclear deal was a means to facilitate the resumption of uranium imports which had been curtailed by the sanctions which had followed India’s 1974 test (Mohan 2006). The deal would allow the sale to India of nuclear material and reactors for civilian purposes. It was also an attempt from the INC to improve bilateral relations with Washington which had been long hampered by the nuclear impasse. However, external partners within the INC-led UPA legislative coalition such as the communist parties (allied within a parliamentary group, the Left Front) expressed concerns that the rapprochement with the US could compromise India’s strategic autonomy. According to the Indian constitution, the Indian government does not need parliamentary approval to enter into international agreements or to sign treaties. However, the INC government coalition was dependent on allies inside and outside its coalition, notably two communist parties, and negotiated with them a common minimum programme before the 2004 elections. The communist parties were disappointed with the INC’s attempts to centralise the decision-making process when it came to policy towards the United States and by the fact there was originally no public debate in the parliament. While the UPA lost the external support from the Left Front in July 2008, it still managed to survive a no-confidence vote. Despite the loss of its junior allies, the INC was able to negotiate the support of another regional party, the Samajwadi Party (SP). The SP, which had no historical interest on foreign policy matters, negotiated a seat-sharing agreement in Uttar Pradesh with the Congress for the next general parliamentary elections (Sasikumar and Verniers 2013). There was no effective hijacking or decisive veto power from the external supporters of the UPA coalition. The communist parties were unable to constrain the government from signing the nuclear deal even though they withdrew their support for the INC. They could only delay the process by pushing the formateur party to reshape its legislative coalition. In the Indian context, the coalition formateur’s role is key as it can negotiate the entry and/or external support of new actors to prevent the fall of its government. As a result, it is possible for the NWPs to negotiate and renegotiate with various smaller parties on an ad hoc basis depending on the foreign policy decisions that need to be implemented.

212  Nicolas Blarel Similarly, recent scholarship has argued that the existence of large coalitions has given such governments more leeway in foreign policy making. Paradoxically, the more veto players are present in a coalition, the more ‘constraint-free’ a government becomes as the responsibility of key foreign policy decisions is diffused (Beasley and Kaarbo 2014; Hagan 1993). The tendency for risk-avoidance is attenuated because foreign policy failure can be shared among various stakeholders as part of the broad coalition. However, in the Indian context, the era of large coalitions has also led to adverse effects and the decline of the principle of collective responsibility (Beasley and Kaarbo 2014). The rise of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the INCled United Progressive Alliance (UPA) as larger institutionalised coalitions were initial attempts to put an end to the problem of lack of shared political purpose. Yet, in practice, most of the responsibility linked to foreign policy decisions (and the related task of maintaining a consensus within the coalition as seen in the previous example cited) remains ascribed to the two largest parties, which have traditionally held the roles of coalition formateurs (INC and BJP). This accountability issue is even reinforced by the fact that crucial parliamentary allies are external supporters of the executive coalition because they prefer to not be held responsible for every foreign policy decision. As a result, there has usually been one major party and an ensemble of smaller parties. In this power configuration, the initiative of most foreign policy decisions can be easily traced to the INC or the BJP. The two NWPs cannot therefore credibly diffuse the responsibility over controversial foreign policy decisions among coalition members. For example, when it considered sending troops to support the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, the BJP was highly conscious of the fact that, despite leading a large and disparate coalition, it would directly be held responsible for the decision. While prominent leaders in the BJP openly expressed their intention to contribute troops to the peacekeeping force, India decided in July 2003 against committing troops (Chaudhuri 2014: 190–209). Given the fact that the next parliamentary elections were only a year away, the BJP could ill-afford to provide peacekeeping troops to non-UN operations without explicit parliamentary approval. In fact, Indian officials reportedly told their US counterparts that electoral considerations were the reason why they had not committed troops (Chaudhuri 2014: 192). Paradoxically, at a time when the BJP was at the head of a large coalition with the possibility of diffusing the costs of a policy setback, it considered that it would be directly held responsible for the foreign policy decision. The federal component In the Indian context, one also cannot solely concentrate on national-level coalition politics. There are mutual electoral interdependencies between NWP and regional parties at both the state assembly and national parliament levels in a federal polity such as India. These mutual electoral interdependencies originate from the vote-pooling incentives of the plurality-rule system in India and thereby create new norms and strategies for the building and maintenance of coalitions

Inside Out? India’s External Behaviour  213 (Chhibber and Murali 2006). There are strong incentives for NWPs in a federal system to form pre-electoral coalitions with strong but regionally focused parties for both the parliamentary and state assembly elections. There are also incentives for regional parties to remain external supporters (so part of the broader legislative coalition), especially if the legislative arithmetic makes them a pivotal actor. As a result, what needs to be observed is not so much the relatively small number of parliamentary seats of the allied regional party but its vote share in its state of origin. For this reason, what could be considered as a minority coalition government from a formal sense should actually be observed as a surplus coalition from a behavioural perspective (Sridharan 2012). If the supporting regional parties are bound to the NWP by these pre-electoral alliances, then coalitions at the national level are actually stable surplus majority coalition governments even if their support in parliamentary seats does not seem to reflect this reality. Minority coalitions are viable due the specific institutional features of the Indian political system which create this phenomenon of mutual electoral interdependencies or ‘locked-in supporters’ (Sridharan 2012). Mutual interdependencies are particularly relevant when alliances are established between NWPs and parties present in border-states. These border-state parties usually have well-established positions vis-à-vis neighbouring countries. The role of parties in the state of Tamil Nadu in India’s relation with Sri Lanka, of parties in the north-eastern states in India’s relation with China/Bhutan and of West Bengal politicians in India’s interactions with Bangladesh are prominent examples (Sridharan 2003). In order to optimise its electoral prospects at the national level and to build larger legislative coalitions, the NWPs have to take into account the inputs from their state-level partners, even if these parties only have a limited number of seats in the national assembly. As a consequence, even if state governments have a limited say on foreign policy making from a constitutional standpoint, the particular combination of federalism and coalition politics helps explains how state politics encroach on India’s neighbourhood policy (Mattoo and Jacob 2009). For example, in the context of India’s policy towards Sri Lanka, the two major parties in Tamil Nadu, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) both competed in offering their support to the Tamil population in Sri Lanka by publicising their plight as a minority and by pressuring the Indian central government to directly take up the issue for their co-ethnics with Sri Lankan authorities (Pattanaik 2014). Coalitions and national role conceptions While there are clear distinctive national role conceptions from the two NWPs, the INC and the BJP, smaller regional parties have not explicitly contributed to the ‘grand strategic debate’ (Narang and Staniland 2012). Unlike in European cases, it is not possible to identify the location of a junior party on the ideological spectrum compared with the leading party in coalitions as multi-level oppositions at national/regional level and cross-cutting disagreements (along the caste, linguistic

214  Nicolas Blarel and economic lines) in India cannot be easily measured along one ideological spectrum (Clare 2010; Kaarbo 2012: 50–1; Rathbun 2004: 21–5). Consequently, India’s polity is not dominated by a single left-right ideological axis (which is often correlated with a dovish-hawkish foreign policy axis in European cases). In addition, party identification in India is relatively weak among both politicians and voters, with factional defections and splits, and the frequent emergence of new parties (Sridharan 2004; Ziegfeld 2012). Consequently, coalition building is often indiscriminate from an ideological perspective. Pre-electoral coalition deals between NWPs and regional parties concentrate more on vote- and seat-maximisation than on ideological connections (Kailash 2014). The only ideological differences can be seen in parties’ opposition to the BJP’s religious agenda prior to 1998. However, since then, the BJP has managed to build and to consolidate coalitions despite its religious political programme (Jaffrelot 2013). The other exception is the role of India’s communist parties which have traditionally been opposed to a rapprochement to the United States and to economic liberalisation (Narang and Staniland 2012; Sasikumar and Verniers 2013). However, their ideational input has remained limited. When foreign policy issues are debated within a coalition, such as in the case of the nuclear agreement negotiations with the United States, regional parties like the SP usually offer their support against other concessions which are not directly related to the foreign policy debate (side payments, policy benefits for their constituencies, electoral support at the local level). Experience and learning In the Indian context, it also seems necessary to historicise the effects of coalition politics on foreign policy behaviour by giving an account of the changes and the gradual learning process from the part of the two NWPs since 1989. Learning about effective coordination mechanisms to build and to sustain coalitions happened both during the existence of coalitions but also through iterated coalition games, as actors went back to the negotiating table before and after national and local elections (Kailash 2014). When coalitions formed in India in 1989 after a long period of single party rule, there was only a limited coalition experience, mostly limited to experiments at the state level. The relative decline of the electoral and parliamentary strength of the INC along with the rise of the BJP and regional or single-state-based parties have led to an evolving national party system, still in flux, in which no party has achieved a parliamentary majority in the last eight of the nine last general elections, necessitating minority and/or coalition governments. Also, all the coalitions since 1996 have been inter-state territorial coalitions. While some pre-electoral alliances or coalitions at the intra-state were ideological (the BJP-Shiv Sena agreement for instance), most were based on agreements between a regional party and the state unit of the NWP (whether Congress or BJP) in order to aggregate votes and seats at both the local and national levels. Both the NWPs have gradually learned how to cope with the loss of electoral and parliamentary power (especially the

Inside Out? India’s External Behaviour  215 INC) and adapted their coalition building and maintenance strategies accordingly, notably by consulting coalition partners on foreign policy matters. These coordination and consultation mechanisms have become more sophisticated over the last decade as both the NWPs but equally the regional parties have learned to negotiate and to build on these agreements to get concession or to bind their partners. For the INC and the BJP, it was a way to limit opportunistic behaviour and blackmailing from allies. For smaller parties, it was a way to get concessions (ministerial portfolios, favourable policies for their constituencies) from the main parties. Foreign policy debates since 1998 have led to coordination problems and intra-coalitional conflicts.8 Accordingly, coalition agreements and consultation mechanisms have increasingly taken into account the need to ensure that state-level actors become stakeholders of the existing foreign policies. The coalition game, and how it influences Indian foreign policy making, is not composed of fragmented discrete events but it is in fact a continuous process (Kailash 2014). Hence, analysts also need to consider the evolution over the last 25 years of splits and mergers of coalitions to understand the degree of change and stability in India’s foreign policy. For instance, the BJP gradually learned from its different coalition experiences and adapted the way it shaped its foreign policy. Despite heading an unstable coalition in 1998 and 1999, the BJP took some radical foreign policy initiatives such as the decision to test nuclear weapons in May 1998. In fact, some have claimed that the BJP hoped that a high-profile foreign policy decision could even divert domestic attention from their domestic political vulnerability (Ogden 2012). In spite of the nuclear tests, the BJP-led coalition was short-lived because of the AIADMK’s withdrawal of support in April 1999. This situation led the BJP to be more cautious in its foreign policy initiatives and to regularly consult with its coalition partners. When the BJP considered sending troops to join the US-led effort in Iraq in 2003 for instance, junior allies such as the Samata party in the NDA were concerned about the repercussions for their electoral constituencies (Chaudhuri 2014: 193–4). With the prospect of the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2004, the BJP could ill-afford to lose any coalition partners over a foreign policy initiative and decided to rebut the US request for troops.

Conclusion There is an important academic debate over the reasons behind the changes in India’s foreign behaviour since the early 1990s. I argue that some of the answers might come from a better understanding of the domestic sources of India’s foreign policy. More work still needs to be done to identify these sources and to analyse how these various domestic factors interplay to determine a certain foreign policy decision. Within this scholarship, unpacking the mechanisms of coalition making is essential to help account for the nature and extent of foreign policy change. Interestingly, the Indian experience shows that some of the predicted effects from the literature on coalition politics and foreign policy seem to have limited or reverse effects.

216  Nicolas Blarel Several factors can explain the varying outcomes of the foreign policy process over the last two decades. Which largest party dominated the coalition, how it formed and built its coalition, the nature of the coalition agreement and the consultation mechanisms and the international context have all influenced different foreign policy decisions or non-decisions. One first important insight from the Indian experience seems also to be that coalition formateurs (large parties which traditionally lead coalitions) learn over time how to deal with internal (and external) coalition disputes. While one could argue that this factor is particularly relevant in the specific contextual history of coalition building in India over the last 26 years, it is also possible to observe similar cases of loosely institutionalised and iterated interactions leading to ad-hoc foreign policy decisions in other countries. One other key lesson is conceptual: the existence in India of multi-party coalitions does not mean these cabinets are particularly weak and hostage to blackmailing or vetoes from junior party members on foreign policy issues. The stability of the NDA or UPA coalitions can be explained by a combination of the surplus majority of their legislative coalition and the mutual electoral interdependent nature of their electoral arrangements with regional parties. Both NWPs and regional parties are locked-in through these multi-layered alliances and cannot easily construct an alternative coalition. As a result, even minority coalitions could feel confident about obtaining parliamentary support over important foreign policy decisions. Finally, scholars will need to more closely evaluate the role that political ideology and partisanship play as sources of intra-coalition foreign policy disagreements. Narang and Staniland (2012) made the argument that there was lack of clear ideational inputs of regional parties in the grand strategic debate in India. As argued previously, this was particularly flagrant in the case of the nuclear deal negotiations of 2008 when the INC was able to implement its foreign policy agenda through a seat-sharing arrangement with the SP, which did not have a clear position on the nuclear deal per se. As a result, coalition politics in the Indian context do not apparently lead to any visible ‘battle of ideas’ (Ozkececi-Taner 2005). However, regional parties do seem to have a more substantive and positive contribution to the foreign policy debate when it comes to India’s neighbourhood policy. Because of the mutual interdependencies between NWPs and regional parties in legislative coalitions, the Indian central government therefore regularly coordinates its foreign policy with inputs from some of its regional allies situated in specific border-states.

Notes 1 This chapter will not focus on the important (albeit mainly atheoretical) literature on India’s diplomatic history. See, for instance, Prasad (1960) and Mansingh (1984). 2 Kennedy (2011) and Vertzberger (1984) have looked at Jawaharlal Nehru’s decisionmaking through the prism of psychological explanations to understand specific foreign policy decisions. Both studies help us understand why Nehru misperceived and openly challenged the international pressures that affected India in the 1960s.

Inside Out? India’s External Behaviour  217 3 An exception is Hansel and Möller (2015), who used role theory to better understand India’s foreign policy in the specific context of the Responsibility to Protect and international criminal law. 4 In May 2014, one single party (BJP) won a majority of seats in parliament for the first time since 1989. However, the BJP formed a pre-electoral coalition which was instrumental in facilitating its electoral victory. Additionally, given the particular electoral dynamics in the Indian federal context, the BJP also needs to maintain a broader political coalition to ensure a political majority both at the national and local levels (Farooqui and Sridharan 2014). 5 Differences could be due to contested national role conceptions (Kaarbo and Cantir 2013) and/or electoral calculations depending on the impact of certain foreign policies for the constituencies of smaller parties participating in a coalition (Kaarbo 2012: 4). 6 By formateur party, I refer to the leading party in the coalition which holds a majority of seats in parliament and builds and manages the coalition. Since 1998, the two NWPs have assumed this coordinating role in the Indian context. 7 This can follow the resignation of a government or the notification of fresh elections in the case that a government has not completed a full term, for instance, as a result of a motion of censure or no-confidence vote. 8 However, as mentioned in the previous sub-section, these intra-coalitional disputes had less to do with ideological disagreements about foreign policy orientations than seatsharing deals in national- and state-level elections.

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Abraham, Itty 21 Acharya, Amitav 73 Afghan ‘ethno-nationalist’ identity 190 Alejandro, Audrey 5, 29 All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) 213 Al Qaeda 190 anti-engagement coalition (AEC) 183, 192 Ascione, Gennaro 3 Asian Development Bank 61 Atlantic Charter 77, 79 Bajpai, Kanti 4, 96, 99–100 Barkawi, Tarak 73 Basrur, Rajesh M. 96 Beasley, Ryan K. 206 Behera, Navnita 73 Beitelmair-Berini, Bernhard 6, 91 Bhagavan, Manu 26 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 107, 117, 144 Biersteker, Thomas 75 Blarel, Nicolas 203 Bloomfield, Alan 98 Booth, Ken 95 Bretton Woods institutions 53 BRICS countries: as club of emerging economies 50; as de facto ‘powerful successor’ of Group of 77 60; demand of, to become stakeholder in international system 49 Brobst, Peter 19 Bull, H. 74 Bush, George W. 57 Buzan, B. 72 Cambridge University Press 36 Caporaso, James 75 Caroe, Olaf 19 Central Asian Republics (CARs) 186

Centre for Policy Research (CPR) 34 Chakrabarty, Dipesh 69 Chamberlain, Neville 117 Chaudhuri, Rudra 25, 185 Churchill, Winston 15, 77, 117 Clemenceau, George 102 climate change issues 141, 146–9 Cohen, Stephen 106 Colaresi, Michael 114, 116, 123 Cold War: power blocs during 18; public opinion at beginning of 138 Common Minimum Programme (CMP) 210 Communist Party of India (CPI) 106 Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) 106 Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue 120, 122 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) 56 Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) 61 Dalrymple, William 184 Debiel, Tobias 5, 49 ‘democratic peace’ 2 Department for Peacekeeping Operation (DPKO) 55 Destradi, Sandra 54, 185 Dixit, J. N. 188–9, 192 domestic determinants of India’s external behaviour, assessment of 203–16; ‘battle of ideas’ 216; coalition politics, federalism and foreign policy analysis 206–7; coalitions and national role conceptions 213–14; domestic determinants of Indian foreign policy 207–9; executive coalition 209; experience and learning 214–15;

222 Index federal component 212–13; insights from the literature on coalition politics in India 209–15; legislative coalition 209; size of coalitions 210–12; study of India’s foreign policy 204–5; United Progressive Alliance foreign policy 210 Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) 213 Dreyer, David 114, 120 D’Souza, Shanthie Mariot 185 Dumbarton Oaks proposals 76 Ebert, Hannes 112 Elkins, David 94 Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) 171 Fine, Gary 168 foreign policy analysis (FPA) 1, 137; approaches, explanatory power of 4; scholars 161 Frontier Policy, continuation of 18 Gandhi, Indira 169 Gandhi, Rajiv 189 Ganguly, Sumit 3, 184 Geertz, Clifford 94 General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) 53 Gilani, Yousaf 119 Gopal, Sarvepalli 22 Grand Strategy 16 Gray, Colin 95 Great Game, pursuit of 19 Griffin, Jasper 15 Group of 77, ‘powerful successor’ of 60 ‘Gujral Doctrine’ 194 Guyot-Ré chard, Bé ré nice 21 Hansel, Mischa 1, 127 Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA) 181, 184, 187 HDFC Bank 34 Hekmatyar, Gulbuddin 193 Hindu nationalists, government of 51 Hindustan Aeronautics Limited 34 Hinsley, F.H. 75 Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) 187 Hobson, John 72 Hoffmann, Stanley 74 Howenstein, Nicholas 184 hyperrealists 107 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) 167 Indian Council of World Affairs 78

Indian Grand Strategy 3 Indian Institute for Public Opinion (IIPO) 143 Indian National Congress (INC): victory in parliamentary elections (May 2004) 119 Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) 59 Indian strategic culture(s), theorising of 91–108; definitions of strategic culture 93–8; discursive plurality 99–101; ‘first generationists’ 95; hyperrealists 107; Johnston’s definition of strategic culture, revision of 101–3; ‘Kautilyan Realism’ 92; ‘liberal globalists’ 107; mapping Indian strategic subcultures 103–7; ‘national styles of strategy’ 93; Nehruvianism 99, 105; ‘omniscient patrician’ 97; ‘operational set’ 98; re-use of the past 94; ‘states’ body language’ 94; ‘strategic cultural dissonance’ 97; strategic culture, empirical referent of 102; ‘Tanham debate’ 91; ‘third generation’ 96 Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme 189 India–Pakistan rivalry (1997–2015), prospects for de-escalation in 112–28; Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue 120; conflict issue intractability and accumulation 114–16; ‘enduring rivalries’ 112; explaining rivalry maintenance 114–17; failed rivalry termination (1997 to 1999) 117–18; failed rivalry termination (2003 to 2008) 118–19; future expectations 116; Inter-Service Intelligence 118; Kargil operation 121; Kashmir dispute 122–3; maintenance processes in the India– Pakistan rivalry 117–20; model of issue intractability and accumulation 120–3; positional issues 115; prospects for rivalry termination (2010 to the present) 119–20; rivalry outbidding, leadership turnover and unreciprocated cooperation 116–17; South Asia, engaging rivalry maintenance models in 120–7; South Asian rivalry 114; spatial issues 115; two-level pressure model 123–7; window of opportunity to alter the status quo 117 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 142 International Criminal Court (ICC) 55

Index  223 International Financial Institutions (IFIs) 60 International Monetary Fund (IMF) 53, 143 international relations (IR) and foreign policy in India 29–44; area studies and topics relevant for policy-oriented studies 37–8; continued influence of the state over IR 33–5; critical research 42; Delhi-centred institutional base 30–1; inadequacy of the discipline relative to policy-oriented works 35–8; lack of funding for internationalisation 41–3; national publications 35–7; ‘post-colonial hangover,’ discipline stuck in 30–5; post-colonial professional involvement 31–3; sources of criticality, disconnection of researchers from 38–43; theory and methodology not promoted in IR academic socialisation 39–41; think tank regulation 34; ‘track II diplomacy’ 31 Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) 118 Jaishe-Mohammad (JeM) 181, 184 Jakobeit, Cord 54 Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) 36 Jepperson, Ronald L. 94 Johnston, Alastair I. 92, 94, 96, 101 Jones, Rodney W. 95 Joshi, Shashank 185 Kaarbo, Juliet 206–7 Kapur, Devesh 138 Kargil operation 121 Kashmir issue, public opinion and 149–52 Katzenstein, P. 94 Keene, Edward 74 Khan, Imran 126 Khan, Raphaë lle 1, 5, 69 Khilnani, Sunil 15 Kim, Marcus 99 Klein, Bradley 95 Koskenniemi, Martti 75 Kotak Mahindra 34 Krasner, Stephen 74 Kyoto protocol 146 Laffey, Mark 73 Lahore Declaration 124 League of Nations 77, 81 Levaillant, Mé lissa 1, 7, 160 ‘liberal globalists’ 107

liberal international relations theory, India and 137–53; climate change, public opinion and 146–9; elite dissent 141; Kashmir issue, public opinion and 149– 52; public opinion and foreign policy decision-making 138–9; role of public opinion in India 139–42; unambiguous political preferences 139; US–Indian nuclear deal, public opinion and 142–6 Liebig, Michael 95 Little, Richard 72 Mallavarapu, Siddharth 4 Mansingh, Lalit 194 Maruti Udyog Ltd 34 Massoud, Ahmad Shah 186 Mehta, P.B. 99, 102 Menon, K.P.S. 81 Menon, Shivshankar 99, 119 Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) 162–5,186 Mishra, Atul 73 Misra, Kamla P. 32 Modi, Narendra 112, 162 Mohan, Raja 99 multilateralism, Indian way of 49–64; Bretton Woods institutions 53; Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty 56; Contingent Reserve Arrangement 61; domestic challenges and the South Asian neighbourhood 57–60; emerging economies 50; flagship programmes 63; General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs 53; ‘high table’ of global politics, India at 61–4; Hindu nationalists, government of 51; India’s perspectives on global multilateralism 51–7; International Criminal Court 55; Modi government 52; Non-Aligned Movement 60; Responsibility to Protect 55–6; Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons 56; ‘war crimes’ 56 Musharraf, Pervez 118 Narang, Vipin 216 Narlikar, Amrita 49 Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) 7, 184 National Democratic Alliance (NDA) 212 national security advisors (NSA) 120 National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) 194 Nehru, Jawaharlal 60, 165–6 Nehruvianism 99

224 Index neo-institutionalism, contribution of to analysis of India’s diplomacy in the making 160–76; contextual approach to institutions 163; contradictory sources of prestige 165–6; contributing factors of change 170; cultural approach to institutions 163–4; development of individual autonomy in a weak bureaucratic structure 168–9; diplomacy in the making 162; gradual diversification of India’s diplomatic practices 170–2; historical approach to the MEA 166; India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), approaches to 162–5; institutional learning 167; meaning of ‘culture’ 164; motivations of the people 170; negotiated approach to institutions 164–5; ‘non-conformist’ case 173; ‘organisational myth,’ construction of 167; permanent trends in the making of India’s diplomacy 165–9; post-Cold War adaptations 169–75; professionalisation of the diplomats and its effects 166–8; structural limitations to India’s diplomatic expansion 172–4; technical specialisation 171; ‘Ten Commandments’ of a good diplomat 167; tightening of India’s diplomatic discourse 174–5 Neumann, Iver 163 New Development Bank 61 Non-Aligned Movement 60 Non-Alignment Movement Summit 188 Noon, Firoz Khan 78, 81 Noorani, A. G. 20 norm claimer, India as 69–85; debates at San Francisco 81–4; Dumbarton Oaks proposals 76; historical perspective of international society 73–4; India at San Francisco (attempts at outbidding and claims of sovereignty) 76–84; India’s anomalous international position in a changing order and nationalist aspirations 76–9; IR and history 72–3; nationalist ambitions at the San Francisco Conference 78–9; nationalist India’s attempt at asserting itself 79–81; normative actor, India as 79; ‘Quit India’ resolution 78; social construct, sovereignty as 75; sovereignty in IR 74–6; success of this outbidding 81; theoretical background 72–6;

Westphalian idea of sovereignty 75; Yalta Conference (February 1945) 76 Northern Alliance (NA) 181 North-West Frontier Provinces (NWFP) of Pakistan 194 Ollapally, Deepa 99–100 ‘organisational myth’, construction of 167 Oxford Romanus Society 19 Oxford University Press 36, 38 Pakistani intelligence services 184 Palgrave 36 Paliwal, Avinash 181 Pandit, Vijaya Lakshmi 79, 83–4 Pant, Harsh 184 Paranjpe, Shrikant 97 Pardesi, M.S. 102 policy-oriented works see  international relations and foreign policy in India ‘post-colonial hangover’ 30–5 Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) 170, 174, 195 pro-engagement coalition (PEC) 183 Public Records Act of 1993 205 Puri, Hardeep Singh 56 ‘Quit India’ resolution 78 Rabbani, Burhanuddin 187 Rafsanjani, Akbar Hashemi 193 Raghavan, Pallavi 5, 15 Raghavan, Srinath 23, 51 Rajagopalan, Rajesh 99 Ramesh, Jairam 55, 147 Rana, A. P. 32, 304 Rao, P. V. Narasimha 188 ‘Rao Doctrine’ 188 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) followers 107 Reliance 34 Responsibility to Protect (R2P) 55–6 re-use of the past 94 Rockefeller Foundation 34 Roosevelt, Franklin 77 Rosen, Stephen P. 96 Routray, Bidhu 186 Saeed, Hafiz Muhammad 126 Sage 36 San Francisco Conference (1945) see  norm claimer, India as Schaffer, Howard 184

Index  225 Schaffer, Teresita C. 184 Shahi, Deepshikha 3, 59 Sharon, Ariel 117 Sherwood, Marika 79 Simeon, Richard 94 Singh, Jaswant 96, 99 Singh, Manmohan 119, 174 small development projects (SDPs) 185 Sood, Vikram 189 South Asia, engaging rivalry maintenance models in 120–7 South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit 117 South Asian rivalry 114 South Asia’s international relations, historiography of 15–27; ‘buffer zone’ territory 19; Frontier Policy, continuation of 19; Great Game, pursuit of 19; important relationships, recurring themes 21–7; Nehru’s foreign policy 17–21; Westphalian method, precedents established by 16 Sridharan, Eswaran 16 Srivastava, J. 33 Staniland, P. 216 strategic culture see  Indian strategic culture(s), theorising of Swidler, Ann 164 Tahir-ul Qadri, Muhammad 126 Taliban dilemma 181–97; Afghan ‘ethnonationalist’ identity 190; Afghanistan, Indian activities in 185; Al Qaeda 190; anti-engagement coalition 183, 192–6; anti-India outfits 184, 187; anti-Pakistan ‘proxy thesis’ 187; definitions and theoretical basis of policy coalitions 183–4; ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ 193; ‘Gujral Doctrine’ 194; literature review 184–6; misogynistic Islamists 187; Narrative Policy Framework 184; NonAlignment Movement Summit 188; Northern Alliance 181; North-West Frontier Provinces of Pakistan 194; opposition to Taliban’s political and social conduct 186; pro-engagement coalition 183, 188–192; ‘Rao Doctrine’ 188;

setting the context 182–4; small development projects 185; Taliban (to engage vs. to contain) 186–7; zero-sum game of influence 181 Tamil population in (Sri Lanka) 213 Tanham, George K. 91, 95 Tata Sons 34 theorizing Indian foreign policy, introduction to 1–9; ‘democratic peace’ 2; perspective for future research 8–9; study of Indian foreign policy 2–4 think-tank contracts 37 Tilak, Bal Gangadhar 102 ‘track II diplomacy’ 31 Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) 56 Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) 167 United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO) 70 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 60 United Nations Democracy Fund 53 United Nations Human Rights Charter 26 United Nations Security Council 53 United Progressive Alliance (UPA) 210, 212 US–Indian foreign relations, progress in 57 US–Indian nuclear deal 141–6 Vietnam War 34, 138 Weber, Cynthia 75 Wendt, Alexander 94 Werner, Wouter G. 75 Wildavsky, Aaron 94 Wilde, Jaap H. de 75 World Bank (WB) 53, 143 WTO Doha Round 50 Wulf, Herbert 5, 49 Yalta Conference (February 1945) 76 Yusufzai, Rahimullah 190–1 Zaman, R.U. 94, 99 Zardari, Asif 119

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