Exploring India’s Foreign Policy Debates

By Nikola Mirilovic

Among the most contested questions in Indian foreign policy today are those related to the extent and type of power that India should use to project itself internationally. Should India rely on military, economic or ideational power? How should Indian policymakers make trade-offs between military, economic and normative objectives? What mechanisms does India prefer for global leadership?

Deepa Ollapally and Rajesh Rajagopalan of the Rising Powers Initiative have classified India’s domestic debates about the country’s foreign policy into three main schools of thought: hyper-power, national-power and liberal power proponents.

The hyper-power proponents view military power as not only a means to an end, but as an end in and of itself. They claim that extensive military power is a necessary component of India’s greatness. This is a minority perspective. National-power proponents also advocate greater military strength and expenditures, but they view them as means of achieving other goals. Finally, the proponents of the liberal power perspective argue that hard power is not an effective means of projecting India’s influence abroad, and that trade and diplomacy should be relied on instead. Read more of this post

Besides the Realists, who is shaping China’s foreign policy?

The Wall Street Journal characterizes China’s recent assertiveness in the region as “a new state of mind,” citing the recent island dispute with Japan, China’s backing of North Korea in the Cheonan incident, and aggressive behaviors in the South China Sea.  The WSJ writes in its Oct. 1 editorial:

Ever since Deng Xiaoping dumped the Marxist half of Marxism-Leninism some 30 years ago, the Chinese regime has depended on the twin pillars of economic growth and nationalism for its legitimacy. Usually the world sees more of the former than the latter. Perhaps not anymore.

As social pressures build within China, some in the leadership may be falling back on one of their core claims to legitimacy—that only the Communist Party can restore China’s dignity after a “century of humiliation” at the hands of foreign powers.

Indeed, there are reasons to be concerned about rising Chinese nationalism and its implications for China foreign policy behaviors. However, it is just one of many dimensions of the domestic debates in China that are shaping the country’s view of itself in the world. Professors David Shambaugh and Ren Xiao of the Rising Powers Initiative have identified a range of seven schools of thought within China: Nativists, Realists, Major Powers, Asia First, Global South, Selective Multi-lateralists and Globalists.

China’s international relations debates tend to revolve around the characteristics of the international system and China’s identity within that system. Read more of this post

Policy Briefing – Worldviews of China, India and Russia: Power Shifts and Domestic Debates

Yesterday the Sigur Center hosted a policy briefing on “Worldviews of China, India and Russia: Power Shifts and Domestic Debates,” drawing an audience of over 200 academics, journalists, and policymakers.  The event was moderated by Henry R. Nau, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University, and featured the following experts: Andrew Kuchins, Director and Senior Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and David Shambaugh, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs and Director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University. Read more about the event in the GW Today.

NEW: Watch the video of the event here.

%d bloggers like this: