India and the International Order: Accommodation and Adjustment

| March 2018
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Abstract: India is gradually changing its course from decades of inward-looking economics and strong anti-Western foreign policies. It has become more pragmatic, seeing important economic benefits from globalization, and some political benefits of working with the United States to achieve New Delhi’s great-power aspirations. Despite these changes, I argue that India’s deep-seated anti-colonial nationalism and commitment to strategic autonomy continues to form the core of Indian identity. This makes India’s commitment to Western-dominated multilateral institutions and Western norms, such as humanitarian intervention, partial and instrumental. Thus, while Indian foreign-policy discourse shows little sign of seeking to fully challenge the U.S.-led international order beyond largely reformist measures of building parallel institutions such as the New Development Bank, India will continue to strongly resist Western actions that weaken sovereignty norms.

Keywords: rising powers, strategic autonomy, Indian foreign policy, India and multilateralism, G-20, BRICS

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Category: Issue 32.1, Special Issue: Rising Powers and the International Order

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