chapter  9
19 Pages

India’s Evolving Foreign Policy in a Regional Perspective

ByShantanu Chakrabarti

The developing or ‘middle’ countries of the South are coming under the global scanner in a greater way than ever before. While traditional middle powers are, rst and foremost, de ned by their role in international politics, the new middle powers are, rst of all, regional powers (or regional leaders) and, in addition, middle powers (with regard to their power resources) on a global scale.1 e rise of the South, indeed, has been uneven and diverse and has included Asian countries like China, India and Indonesia, as well as South American and African giants like Brazil and South Africa, respectively. e rising global stature of these countries has also led to greater global focus on their internal dynamics and functioning along with external behavioural patterns and interactions. In short, a lot of global media (and academia) attention today is concerned with issues like whether the foreign policies of the rising powers have undergone necessary and su cient adaptations to become more commensurate with their newly acquired status and whether these powers are irredentist, challenging the present global order through diverse methods, or more oriented towards balancing the impact of their rise through formation of alliances and by coordinating their policies with existing global powers. ough such future projections, admittedly, carry some inherent dangers, mostly because such analyses often tend to rely on incomplete information and past trends and attempts to make future projections, based on the reading of the present, are subject to a number of cognitive biases, de ned as empirically observed deviations from normative expectation.2 Nonetheless, it has become an established trend among the scholars and analysts, across the spectrum. e UNDP

Human Development Report of 2013, for instance, makes ‘ e Rise of the South’ the key theme of its Annual Report of 2013 and predicts that by 2050, Brazil, China and India combined will account for 40 per cent of world output in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.3 One analyst has also tried to explain the integration of the rising powers into the global order through a process of ‘reciprocal socialization’, which explains how the rising powers are socialised into the order, while at the same time reshaping it by altering crucial Western created norms when they enter.4 In other words, the rise and integration of the new powers within the international system is not a one-way process but a comprehensive and multilevel one.