Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

The Future of India's Foreign Policy

Thursday, April 17, 2008 - 09:00 to Friday, April 18, 2008 - 05:00

A conference organized by
Center for the Advanced Study of India
University of Pennsylvania

Hosted at
The Inn at Penn
3600 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Woodlands A & B on the lobby level/ second floor

The conference papers have been published in the academic journal, India Review (Volume 8, Number 3, July-September 2009). Abstracts of the papers can be viewed here.

Full papers, in either PDF or hard copy, can be purchased hereIndia Review is a subscription-based journal.

The early decades of India’s independence were characterized by a broad engagement in international affairs with the country taking a leadership role in international organizations and regimes. This diplomatic internationalism contrasted starkly with India’s autarchic economic policies, as the country became more economically insular in its first decades. The growing mismatch between India’s ambitions to be a major actor in global affairs and its declining economic influence had become evident by the 1980s. Subsequently, after India launched its economic reforms in 1991, as India became more engaged with the globalizing economy, it adopted a lower diplomatic and strategic profile.  Although it continues to be a member of organizations like NAM, they seem less and less relevant to the strategic conduct of India’s foreign policies. After a quarter century of robust growth rates—particularly in the last few years—India is now emerging as a global world power of the kind it perhaps only imagined itself to be from the 1950s to the 1980s.

That India’s rising economic strength will affect its foreign policy is not in doubt. But how will it do so, especially given the emergence of new actors and new issues? This conference will examine how India’s foreign policy is likely to meet emergent challenges.  One, what is India's vision for its role in international affairs and are the dominant ideas that shaped it in the past relevant to the new paradigms of the future?  Second, in which emerging challenges to global order will India potentially take a leadership role? Third, how does (or how should) India balance the economic, political, and security imperatives in its immediate neighborhood with the wider role that it seeks in the international system? And fourth, who are the new actors shaping India's foreign policy, and is the bureaucratic apparatus of the Indian state geared towards its stated and projected ends?

Conference Agenda