Rising India’s Foreign Policy: A Partial Introduction

Originally published as Jabin T. Jacob, “Rising India’s Foreign Policy: A Partial Introduction,” in D. Suba Chandran and Jabin T. Jacob (eds.), India’s Foreign Policy: Old Problems, New Challenges (New Delhi: Macmillan, 2011): 1-22.


Current Indian foreign policy is informed by a realization that a combination of economic reforms and the end of the Cold War has steered India into a position of some considerable influence in the post-9/11 world. This is influence of a kind that India did not have in the years following Independence. What India had then was a moral standing which it could make little use of, boxed in as it was by the contingencies of a Cold War division of the world. This division allowed very little leeway for the Indian policy of non-alignment, which ended up being not so much an alternative as a means of holding the line, until India could find itself in a more favourable geopolitical situation. Further, unlike in the post-Independence phase, India today often appears reluctant to exercise what influence it has outside South Asia and sometimes even within the region, keenly aware of the several continuing limits on its capabilities and having suffered from blowback on the few occasions it did, as was the case most tragically, in the assassination of former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi.

Even as some old problems continue to keep India off-balance in international affairs, notably the issue of Kashmir, the world has also not stood still and new problems – both traditional and non-traditional – have emerged that have required India to step up and take a position on. These have included the fall of the monarchy and the ascension of the Maoists in Nepal in the immediate neighbourhood, the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme in the extended neighbourhood, and issues of global import such as climate change. And all this, even as the Indian foreign policy establishment remains woefully ill-equipped and understaffed to meet these challenges. What then are the patterns of Indian foreign policy behavior in the new century?

India in South Asia: Foreign Policy Constrained

To begin with, the most intractable problems of Indian foreign policy continue to come from India’s immediate neighbourhood in South Asia. While Sino-Indian relations are in their best period ever, the boundary dispute with China continues and the future of the relationship is far from predictable (Singh, Chapter 2). Despite a major breakthrough in 2005 with a treaty that acknowledged the importance of seeking a political resolution to the dispute, it appears that the process has taken several steps backward of late, marked by differing interpretations of treaty agreements and accusations of intrusions across the Line of Actual Control. Similarly, with Pakistan, years of the composite dialogue process have very little to show with talks constantly hostage to the latest terrorist atrocity (Ghosh, Chapter 7) of which there have been quite a few major ones in this decade beginning with the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. It is also notable that, since the end of the Cold War, no two large countries anywhere in the world have been as prone to coming to blows in conventional terms, as have India and Pakistan as was witnessed during the Kargil conflict in 1999 and in the standoff of Operation Parakram in 2001-2002. Whether it should be reckoned in their favour, that they did not go nuclear in either instance or whether it should be held against them that they should have come to such a pass despite being nuclear-armed nations is a debate that remains inconclusive.

A host of problems in each of India’s smaller neighbours continues to simmer and Indian foreign policymakers more often than not find themselves far from a position of being able to influence developments in a positive manner. While the LTTE has been defeated, the issues of the rights and the place of the Tamil population in the Sri Lankan political system have not disappeared and will continue to influence India’s relations with that country (Manoharan, Chapter 6). In the case of Nepal, while a genuine people’s movement ushered the monarchy out and brought a revolutionary movement into the political mainstream, sections in New Delhi have had trouble coming to terms with the changes in the former Himalayan kingdom (Murthy, Chapter 3). Relations between New Delhi and Dhaka, meanwhile, are highly dependent on the colour of the political regime in power in Bangladesh at any given time. India’s reliance on the Awami League to turn things around in India-Bangladesh relations is a highly fraught project and only increases the risk of gains being overturned with the next general elections in that country (Bhardwaj, Chapter 5).

Meanwhile, Afghanistan and Myanmar have moved closer to the centre of Indian attention in recent years. The turmoil in the former is of deep concern to India (as also is the spreading instability within Pakistan). Yet, India also welcomes at the same time, the opportunity to move Afghanistan closer towards a stable and functioning democracy (Sharma, Chapter 8) and in this context, the prosecution of the American-led operations against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in that country as also its impact on Pakistan, are of immense interest to India. That this interest has not translated into any substantial and positive influence on the policies being crafted by the US and its NATO allies on the one hand, or those of the Pakistanis on the other, shows up starkly the limits of India’s current policies in the region. What is more, Indian views and interests appear to be actively restrained by the US – the other great power in South Asia – that is actively trying to secure an honourable and early exit from Afghanistan. This major wrinkle in the relationship apart, India’s ties with the US appear to hold the greatest promise of any of New Delhi’s bilateral relationships for sustained progress over whatever timeframe considered (Rajagopalan, Chapter 9).

Of all the problems in India’s neighbourhood that will keep its foreign policymakers occupied for several years to come, it is probably the Af-Pak situation that is likely to be the most important. Therefore, issues such as US efforts at engaging the Taliban in talks (Bubna, Chapter 16), or the drawdown/surge of American troops in Afghanistan, the impact on the Pakistani polity of events across the Durand Line (Chandran, Chapter 17) are all issues that have consequences for India (Huria, Chapter 14) and need greater, more balanced and less emotional debate within the country than has hitherto been the case.

In Myanmar, on the other hand, the picture is one of relative calm and the impression is largely one of India’s ‘pragmatic’ turn in dealing with the Myanmarese junta having yielded dividends. While this is debatable, the nature of India-Myanmar relations appears also to represent a distinct type of Indian foreign policy practice, hitherto unacceptable to democratic India, but now justified in the terms of realpolitik and viewed as necessary to counter the growing influence of China in that country (Singh, Chapter 4). That this ‘pragmatic’ foreign policy has translated into little, if any, Indian gains with respect to either countering Indian insurgent groups based in Myanmar or winning contracts for Myanmar’s offshore gas blocks is, however, another undeniable reality. Further, India’s position on the elections being called by the junta and the multiple ethnic conflicts in that country is unclear and nor does there appear to be any thinking on how to deal with the aftermath.

South Asia is thus, a complex of instabilities. Several of its constituents are at various stages of state formation (Chandran, Chapter 15), perhaps even unraveling, and their internal challenges have consequences at the larger regional level.  It is therefore, not surprising that Indian foreign policy in South Asia is marked by tremendous variety – hands-off concern (Sri Lanka), constrained engagement (Afghanistan), hands-on ‘engagement’ (Nepal) or jockeying vis-à-vis China (Nepal again, and Myanmar), uncertain or weak engagement (China and Bangladesh under the Awami League) and acrimony (Pakistan and Bangladesh under the Bangladesh Nationalist Party regime), without at any time giving the appearance of a coherent and purposive whole.

India in the Extended Neighbourhood: Foreign Policy Lite

With most of its attention thus required in South Asia, it is no wonder that India’s engagement in its wider neighbourhood is unusually weak for a power that claims to be rising and interested in managing the world’s affairs. India’s relations with regional agglomerations such as Africa, West Asia, Central Asia and ASEAN provide a mixed bag of insights into Indian foreign policy at work. Africa is clearly one region where the early post-Independence relationship based on anti-colonialism and non-alignment has seen drastic changes owing to a number of factors, not least the entry of China into the equation and the rise in importance of energy supplies from the continent. Still, India has managed to keep in place some of the traditional methods of engaging with Africa in terms of education and training, and peacekeeping, for example, while also ramping up economic ties (Dash, Chapter 10). In Central Asia, too, the pattern is repeated with increasing energy-related and commercial ties, except that the region’s proximity to South Asia and an unstable security environment make the stakes that much greater (Sharma, Chapter 12). Especially in Central Asia, and to an extent in Africa, this also includes the temptation to engage in ‘pragmatic’ Myanmar-type relationships with authoritarian regimes, again with a view to countering Chinese influence.

ASEAN meanwhile, showcases the most successful of India’s regional engagement processes, economically speaking (Singh, Chapter 13), while also now beginning to represent a source of frustration owing to the lack of forward movement on the East Asian Summit process. It is evident that even as ASEAN itself needs to increasingly confront political issues within the region, India too needs to move beyond merely economics to more substantial political interactions with the region (Bajpaee, Chapter 19). The same is true also of India’s engagement with West Asia, hitherto based heavily on the import of hydrocarbons while woefully lacking in any worthwhile political engagement. Sensitivities about the region’s large number of expatriate Indians and the Muslim population at home, have meant that New Delhi has either stuck to rhetoric on important issues such as the Palestinian issue or simply tried to not get involved. While ties with Israel have grown in recent years, they remain under-advertized, perhaps by mutual consent. Meanwhile, instances which force India to show its hand, such as the case of the Iranian nuclear programme, can only grow in number and will demand a more attuned and proactive foreign policy on New Delhi’s part (Ramana, Chapter 11).

Democratization of Indian Foreign Policymaking

The pursuit of a proactive and effective Indian foreign policy that India’s regional and global challenges entail is however constrained by certain structural limitations. These include the small size of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), the limited interaction of the MEA with expertise outside its turf and the executive’s stranglehold on foreign policymaking in India. The same theme runs through each of these structural problems, namely, the lack of a democratic impulse in Indian foreign policymaking.

As the economy grows, so also will the exposure of ordinary Indians to international affairs and the quality and variety of their views on Indian interests abroad. Against such a backdrop, building domestic consensus on foreign policy decisions will become increasingly crucial to achieving Indian interests as also the ability of India’s foreign policymakers to reach beyond the walls of government for inputs from as wide a variety of sources as possible. The reexamination of the Look East Policy and the attempts to locate it more closely in relation to India’s northeast (Rahman, Chapter 18), is perhaps an example of such changes underway. More however, needs to be done to sustain and strengthen such processes.

In the first instance, India requires a substantially larger foreign service than is presently the case or in other words, democratization simply in the form of greater numbers.[1] This requires both an expansion in the number of entrants into the IFS each year as well as more means of entering the Service, including lateral entry. While IFS members are increasingly coming from beyond a small social elite, the sense of elitism within the service still holds strong (as it does in many branches of government service in India). While this has a lot to do with the fact that it is only the very best of those selected in India’s highly competitive civil services exams that enter the IFS, in the long run, elitism in whatever form detracts from the effectiveness of the government blocking ideas, talent and debate, so essential for a country with still limited material resources but enormous challenges domestically and externally. In this sense, increased numbers in the IFS do not necessarily mean a decline in quality but the greater likelihood of efficiency and obtaining the best possible inputs.

Another aspect of this democratization involves a greater willingness to engage with actors outside of government, where the best of India’s intellectual and other resources are increasingly concentrated. In the past, the Indian state overwhelmed any thinking on external affairs outside the government with both “the power of the purse and… the power of ‘moral suasion’”.[2] While government funding for academic institutions and think-tanks remains crucial, access to information is improving in an era of technology and instant communications; indeed, the lack of information does not seem necessarily to constrain media outlets from coming out with their reports or ‘analyses’ and thus very often forcing the government’s hands. Further, there is little inclination today, in an era of shifting political coalitions and no single dominant political dispensation at the centre, for India’s foreign policy thinkers outside government to submit to any sort of pressure from government quarters.

Meanwhile, the absence of members of the MEA in Delhi and of its missions abroad at all but the most high-profile meetings of think-tanks and academic institutions is glaring and does not say much of either the establishment’s willingness to learn or its capacity to innovate.[3] Moves for reform of the MEA and the IFS must therefore, include greater engagement of academia and think-tanks in India and perhaps flexible terms of service that allow for the flow of talent between government and non-governmental organizations.[4] Interactions between the government and intellectual resources from outside of course exist in the form of advisory bodies such as the National Security Advisory Board but these are largely stifled by bureaucratese and very often limited to a few well-known names and seldom in a public forum or on the record. While the MEA’s Public Diplomacy Division (PDD) has interactions with think-tanks and academia both inside and outside the country, these are too few in number and limited in scope to be considered as genuinely useful in providing inputs for foreign policymaking and indeed, form only one part of the PDD’s activities.[5] The MEA and its missions abroad must rather focus on simply participating at academic and think-tank forums, including those at home, and be seen as exchanging views and information and incorporating ideas from these interactions rather than organizing events for the sake of organizing them.

Finally, the Indian Republic needs to reconsider the executive’s principal role in the conduct of the country’s foreign policy.[6]  India’s rising global profile and responsibilities mean that foreign policy must receive as thorough an examination as domestic issues do and the best venue for this remains Parliament. This third aspect of the democratization of foreign policy thus involves the education of citizens on matters of foreign policy. While the PDD is again the chosen forum for this endeavour, the MEA is simply not equipped to deal with this responsibility in any significant manner. And nor should it be the job of the MEA to provide this function, when it is not simultaneously equipped to take feedback. Rather, education of citizens on the country’s foreign policy interests should be the responsibility of the government as a whole – with inputs from the MEA – and of the people’s elected representatives. The appropriate agency is thus, the Indian Parliament.

However, in the Indian political system, Parliament currently has only the power to enact legislation enabling implementation of treaties and agreements signed by the executive, not to ratify them.[7] The executive’s privileged role in running the country’s foreign policy severely limits Parliament’s interest or role in matters of foreign policy except in times of crisis (following the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962) or controversy (the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal in 2008), and rarely at that. As a rising world power, foreign policy crises and controversies are only likely to increase in number. Therefore, the time has come to amend the Constitution to ensure that Parliament has a greater role in foreign policymaking, by taking over the right from the Union Cabinet to ratify India’s foreign treaties, agreements and conventions.

What is Indian Foreign Policy? What should it be?

India had perhaps begun to take a more activist and indeed, idealist turn, in its foreign policy in the Rajiv Gandhi years with the intervention in Sri Lanka (1987-90) and the Maldives (1988), the support for the democracy movement in Burma (Myanmar) and the determination to guard the interests of Fiji’s Indians (1987). While the idealism marked something of a return to the era of Jawaharlal Nehru, following years of Indira Gandhi’s foreign policy realpolitik, the younger Gandhi’s actions in their willingness to back idealism with a commitment of Indian armed forces if necessary, still involved major departures from previously held Indian positions and which were reflected in the Panchsheel principles.

Yet, neither idealism nor activism could be sustained for long. This despite the end of the Cold War which should have made it politically feasible for India to pursue a foreign policy agenda that would promote abroad both its economic and security interests as well as democratic values held dear at home. Two reasons might be highlighted. One, India simply did not have the economic weight and resources to carry this through; indeed it was only starting its journey of becoming an important economic market and player. This shortcoming allowed China instead, to overcome quickly the negative world reactions to the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989, and to become in the post-Cold War era, the principal new player after the US solely on the basis of its economic growth. Two, India’s multiple domestic political contradictions chose the period around the end of the Cold War to come to a head. These included the Kashmir issue which Pakistan exploited, the social churning unleashed by the Mandal Commission Report and the rise of overt caste-based politics, the Babri Masjid demolition of 1992 that was both a culmination of one kind of Hindu-Muslim tensions and the beginning of another, the unraveling of central authority marked by the rise of regional parties and coalition governments.[8]

It was therefore, natural for India to turn defensive again and give up any pretense at promoting democracy abroad and to hold fast to the Panchsheel principles given the criticism it faced over Kashmir. Simultaneously, Indian foreign policy took a hard realist turn with the courting of the military junta in Myanmar, given the exigencies of rising Chinese influence in that country. China was also a primary reason for India deciding to go overtly nuclear in 1998. This move – an act of India burning its bridges behind it, if ever there was one – also allowed for the greater expression of dynamism and creativity in Indian foreign policy.[9]

However, if a country’s foreign policy is a reflection of its domestic realities then it must also be acknowledged that current Indian foreign policy reflects also the democratic deficit in the Indian political system. Indeed, the aforementioned domestic developments in India that continue to the present reflect this reality. To carry on from the discussion in the previous section, not only is Indian foreign policy largely non-democratic in its making, it is also remarkable for the almost complete absence of any democratic agenda externally. It has been argued that supporting democracy abroad has begun to factor as an objective in Indian foreign policymaking, in the wake of increased engagement with the United States since the early 1990s.[10] For instance, India is one of the founding members of the Community of Democracies, the UN Democracy Fund, and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, and specifically refers to the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) grouping as “a Forum of three developing country democracies”.[11] However, while India may be less shy about using its democratic credentials to distinguish itself abroad from its greatest potential rival, China, there remains very little substantial distinction in practice, as is evident from Indian policies in Myanmar (Singh, Chapter 4) and Central Asia (Sharma, Chapter 12). Thus, while Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stated, “[l]iberal democracy is the natural order of political organization in today’s world. All alternate systems, authoritarian and majoritarian in varying degrees, are an aberration”,[12] his then External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee would later also say, that it was not India’s job “to determine what kind of a government exists” in Myanmar.[13]

Mukherjee is right to imply that this is a task that is essentially that of the people of Myanmar but what of effective encouragement and promotion of democracy in Myanmar? Why has India consistently fallen short in this regard? What are the consequences of this contradiction in the Indian outreach to the world? And why is a ‘democratic’ – in all respects – Indian foreign policy important? The realist or pragmatic perspective draws only selectively from India’s domestic conditions. While domestic limitations such as its vast poverty and a still developing economy are stressed when it comes to climate change negotiations, its large population and markets are also stressed when it comes to asking for a more influential political voice and role in world affairs. India’s “position in a changing and often turbulent world as a pluralistic democratic country that has created a successful standard for managing diversity” is without question, certainly and “the power of the Indian example, of a big country that symbolizes the universal values of inclusiveness, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence”[14] is often remarked upon and it is claimed that India has pursued “a realist policy leavened by our ideals”.[15]

However, these ideals are usually more about “democratic decision-making in the international system, and peaceful coexistence”[16] rather than promoting democratic values within countries. India’s experiences in South Asia should be proof enough that an external environment in which its neighbours lack democracy internally is not conducive to India’s interests.[17] In a world of increasing interactions across borders at both the state and sub-state levels, India’s worldview and ethos will be transmitted in multiple ways and be informed by myriad influences from the outside and a ‘democratic’ Indian foreign policy both in its making at home and in its application abroad is important also to anchor the Indian polity on the straight and narrow path at home.

Meanwhile, China’s multi-pronged efforts to increase its visibility in and engagement with South Asia and elsewhere in the world are well in line with its own domestic principles and fundamentals and all the stronger for that (Bajpaee, Chapter 19). Indian fears that these Chinese activities could come at India’s cost, are well-founded and a self-fulfilling consequence of India’s pragmatic external politics – a politics which at once limits India’s actions and provides excuses for still more inaction. Realpolitik provides a convenient fig leaf but in the process, India only appears hypocritical and will at the most only be one among many global players, prominent though it may be, but never truly a game changer, trendsetter or primus inter pares. India can achieve this latter goal not by relying solely on congruence in ideological terms or a convergence of security interests with the United States – though these may well be part of the process, even inevitable – but by seeking to be true first and foremost to the principles of the Republic both within and outside its borders. That is the only sustainable way forward and it could very well be that it is India that might have to ensure that the United States as the world’s other great democracy remains committed to a similar endeavour. As the Abid Hussain Committee Report declares, “the task of statesmanship is to shape events according to our vision of the future with a moral fibre to act boldly in the multipolar world. This should be the keystone of our foreign policy”.[18]

India’s desire for “an external environment that promotes the fulfillment of our economic growth targets and ambitions”,[19] while being simultaneously “free of external entanglements”[20] as it accesses technologies, markets, raw materials and capital, will not be easy to fulfill. On the contrary, New Delhi will increasingly need to or be forced to get involved in regional and global trouble spots (Ramana, Chapter 11), take sides and weigh in on with greater effect on important international issues. India will thus need to also bear the higher costs that come with a rising global profile, as the Chinese too, are discovering. As Winston Churchill, speaking to an American audience in 1943 pointed out, ‘The price of greatness is responsibility . . . The people of the United States cannot escape world responsibility’.[21] The United States did not and does not hesitate to pay the price and so it remains today the world’s greatest power. China and India today, stand at a similar cusp in their historical development. Both desire greatness, and to ensure “a multipolar, equitable, democratic and just world order with the United Nations playing a central role in tackling global challenges”[22], both countries need to be equally willing to pay this kind of a price. That would also ensure a truly ‘Asian century.’ If only one of them is willing, then it is that country that will give its name to the epoch.

It is not the intention here to call for a new global ideological divide of the kind that existed during the Cold War – a divide that actually became less about ideology and more about geopolitical rivalry. However, ideologies and value systems are important for countries to chart a path towards progress and development for themselves and also to inform and guide interactions with other countries to ensure the best path forward for progress and development in the world as a whole. Defending liberal democracy has unfortunately largely become associated under American hegemony as providing casus belli but as India grows in global stature it must also not appear to provide the counterpoint of being weak, unwilling, non-serious or hypocritical in the defence of democracy.

Meanwhile, defending one’s values is also not about defending absolutes but about being able to learn, adapt and change those values if necessary. In this context, India provides another working, if still evolving, model for a plural and democratic society, different from the US. When India’s people and its policymakers believe that democracy at home is the best possible political process, then the country’s weak-kneed or indifferent support for democracy within other countries risks painting a poor picture of its faith or belief in democracy at home. It is not the argument here that India should impose democracy by force for this has seldom succeeded. However, Indian engagement with non-democratic regimes must be premised more forcefully than at present on expectations that non-democratic regimes will work towards becoming increasingly representative and cognizant of their citizens’ political and civil rights. ‘Constructive engagement’ with non-democratic regimes can involve but must not be dominated by considerations of security, energy or geopolitical rivalry. Democratic countries like India may well engage with governments of non-democratic countries but must also remember that they are judged and held to a higher standard by the peoples of the countries in question. It is this latter aspect – of winning hearts and minds across borders – that will be the real battle that prospective world powers will have to suit up for.

The first steps for India must begin closer home. It is not simply sufficient for India to only “be proud to identify with those who defend the values of liberal democracy and secularism across the world”[23] but to act alongside them. While in an earlier era, the lack of capabilities was perhaps adequate excuse, in the world of today, even if India’s capabilities continue to have limitations, South Asia’s and the world’s problems mean India can ill-afford to wait. Instead, alongside a stronger adherence to the core values of the Republic in the exercise of its foreign policy, Indian policymakers need to be still more creative in their world outlook in order to solve the problems that afflict India in its neighbourhood and elsewhere.

India has over time tried to overcome some of its limitation in the South Asian region by adopting a more generous view of its responsibilities vis-à-vis its neighbours. The Gujral Doctrine – of India not asking for reciprocity from its neighbours – despite its many detractors, has slowly become a major strand of Indian foreign policy thinking. A few ideas along these lines are outlined in the volume (see Mohanty, Chapter 21 and Chandran et al, Chapter 22), which suggest that India move beyond the Westphalian prism of looking at sovereignty and territorial boundaries in ‘hard,’ inflexible terms. The view of borders as limits to interaction between peoples is of fairly recent origin and while modern political realities must be acknowledged, so also must the desires of peoples for cultural, social and economic interactions, all of which need to be encouraged as much by bold and creative statesmanship as by modern technological advances. At the same time, it must be stressed that even as India becomes increasingly comfortable with the idea of strengthening economic interactions with its neighbours “through unilateral and asymmetric steps, if necessary” (Saran 2009), such steps are called for also in the political realm (Bhardwaj, Chapter 5 and Jacob, Chapter 20). It is only a combination of “asymmetric steps” in both the economic and political realms that will allow India to have its wish for “the whole of South Asia to emerge as a community of flourishing democracies”.[24]

Indian foreign policy has a long way to go before it can meet the needs and aspirations of its people. It is well within India’s capabilities to assume such a role. What is needed both at the elite and popular levels, is not just a greater will and courage to take up such a role but also an acknowledgement that this is necessarily a long-term process, the fruits of which might not even be visible in the space of a generation or a lifetime but which will nevertheless require preparation, investment and the ability to think beyond immediate interests and beyond India’s borders.

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[1] The IFS is currently smaller than even the foreign services of some small European countries. IFS officers currently number around 600 posted in 162 Indian missions and posts abroad and the Foreign Ministry at home. The annual intake is only between 8 and 15 officers. Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, “Indian Foreign Service: A Backgrounder,” http://meaindia.nic.in/onmouse/ifs.htm. That the “MEA simply does not have the personnel it needs for vital tasks,” has been acknowledged by former diplomats. See, Kishan S Rana, “Inside the Indian Foreign Service,” Foreign Service Journal, October 2002, p. 36.

[2]Kanti Bajpai. 2005. “International Studies in India: Bringing Theory (Back) Home,” in Kanti Bajpai and Siddharth Mallavarapu (eds.). International Relations in India: Bringing Theory Back Home. New Delhi. Orient BlackSwan: 23. Originally published in MS Rajan. 1997. (ed.). International and Area Studies in India. New Delhi. Lancer Books.

[3] Especially abroad, the thin or non-existent official Indian presence at conferences on international affairs stands in marked contrast to the high numerical strength of the Chinese at such events. Often, this is the case even when the event is on an issue of direct relevance to India.

[4] Currently, this is limited to IFS personnel taking leaves of absence to spend some time in academic institutions or think-tanks, including foreign ones, but any flow in the reverse direction is not possible.

[5] The PDD in fact, engages in many activities such as organizing Indian film weeks and cultural and photo exhibitions, that should by rights fall under the mandate of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

[6] VR Krishna Iyer. 2002. “Accords sans accountability,” Frontline, Vol. 19, Issue 7, 30 March-12 April, http://www.thehindu.com/fline/fl1907/19070870.htm.

[7] Under the Indian Constitution, List I (or the Union List) includes “Foreign affairs; all matters which bring the Union into relation with any foreign country” (List I-10) and “Entering into treaties and agreements with foreign countries and implementing of treaties, agreements and conventions with foreign countries” and under Article 246, “Parliament has exclusive power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List I…” Article 253 states, “Parliament has power to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association or other body.” Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, The Constitution of India, 1 December 2007.

[8] To this list of problems might be added the return of class warfare in recent years, in the form of the renewed armed struggle of the extremist left-wing Naxalites.

[9]Shyam Saran. 2006. “‘Present Dimensions of the Indian Foreign Policy’ – Address by Foreign Secretary Mr. Shyam Saran at Shanghai Institute of International Studies,” Shanghai, Speeches/ Statements, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, 11 January, http://meaindia.nic.in/speech/2006/01/11ss01.htm; C Raja Mohan. 2007. “Balancing Interests and Values: India’s Struggle with Democracy Promotion,” Washington Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 3, Summer: 99–115; Shivshankar Menon. 2009. “Three Years as Foreign Secretary,” Sree Chitra Thirunal Memorial Lecture, Thiruvananthapuram, 14 November. http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4810&p=808265; Nirupama Rao. 2010. “Perspectives on Foreign Policy for a 21st Century India,” Address by Foreign Secretary at the 3rd MEA-IISS Seminar, Speeches/ Statements, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, 22 February, http://www.iiss.org/EasysiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=36520&type=full&servicetype=Attachment.

[10] C Raja Mohan. 2007. “Balancing Interests and Values: India’s Struggle with Democracy Promotion,” Washington Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 3, Summer: 100.

[11] Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. 2010. Annual Report 2009-2010. New Delhi: Policy Planning and Research Division, Ministry of External Affairs: 136.

[12] Manmohan Singh. 2005. “PM’s Speech at India Today Conclave,” New Delhi, Speeches, Prime Minister of India, 25 February, http://www.pmindia.nic.in/speech/content.asp?id=78.

[13] Samudra Gupta Kashyap. 2008. “Not our job to figure what kind of Govt is in Myanmar: Pranab,” Indian Express, 16 June, http://www.indianexpress.com/story/323159.html.

[14] Nirupama Rao. 2010. “Perspectives on Foreign Policy for a 21st Century India,” Address by Foreign Secretary at the 3rd MEA-IISS Seminar, Speeches/ Statements, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, 22 February, http://www.iiss.org/EasysiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=36520&type=full&servicetype=Attachment.

[15] Shivshankar Menon. 2009. “Three Years as Foreign Secretary,” Sree Chitra Thirunal Memorial Lecture, Thiruvananthapuram, 14 November. http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4810&p=808265.

[16] Shivshankar Menon. 2009.“Speech by Foreign Secretary Mr. Shivshankar Menon on India’s Foreign Policy,” IFRI, Paris, Speeches/ Statements, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, 4 February, http://meaindia.nic.in/speech/2009/02/04ss01.htm.

[17] Shyam Saran. 2005.  “India and its Neighbours,” India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi, Speeches/ Statements, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, 14 February, http://meaindia.nic.in/speech/2005/02/14ss01.htm.

[18] Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs. 2009. “The Report of the Committee chaired by Dr. Abid Hussain on the Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi,” January, http://fsi.mea.gov.in/abid.pdf.

[19] Nirupama Rao. 2010. “Perspectives on Foreign Policy for a 21st Century India,” Address by Foreign Secretary at the 3rd MEA-IISS Seminar, Speeches/ Statements, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, 22 February, http://www.iiss.org/EasysiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=36520&type=full&servicetype=Attachment

[20] Shivshankar Menon. 2009. “Three Years as Foreign Secretary,” Sree Chitra Thirunal Memorial Lecture, Thiruvananthapuram, 14 November. http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4810&p=808265.

[21] Quoted in Robert M Gates, 2007. “Landon Lecture (Kansas State University),” Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), U.S. Department of Defense. 26 November, http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=1199.

[22] Manmohan Singh. 2010. “PM´s opening remarks for the Media Interaction following the BRIC Summit,” Brasilia, Speeches, Prime Minister of India, 15 April, http://www.pmindia.nic.in/lspeech.asp?id=912.

[23] Manmohan Singh. 2005. “PM’s Speech at India Today Conclave,” New Delhi, Speeches, Prime Minister of India, 25 February, http://www.pmindia.nic.in/speech/content.asp?id=78.

[24] Shyam Saran. 2005.  “India and its Neighbours,” India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi, Speeches/ Statements, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, 14 February, http://meaindia.nic.in/speech/2005/02/14ss01.htm

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