Building: Boyd Orr Floor: 2 Room: LT 2
The goal of the panel is to prepare the ground for closer links between the study of contemporary Indian foreign policy and the concepts, methods and theories used by the disciplines of International Relations (IR) and Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) respectively. With few exceptions, most scholars of Indian foreign policy do not identify with any of the major theoretical paradigms. Nor do they take into account what have become standard approaches to the study of foreign policy decision-making.
Beyond past and current practices, debates triggered within post-colonial studies about the risk of Eurocentrism and a-historicism of mainstream IR theories have raised questions about the importance of India’s non-Western context in its study and, in their wake, fresh methodological issues. Thus, scholars of Indian foreign policy should not naively accept IR approaches as they are. Rather their analytical value needs to be critically assessed. The extent to which and through which means these approaches should possibly be adapted to the context of India needs to be evaluated. This is what our panel aims to do.
While the panel focuses primarily on the Indian case, the questions it seeks to address are clearly of a comparative nature. We encourage individual papers that deal with one of the following questions: What is unique of Indian foreign policy and how to study it? What is similar to the context of foreign policy decision-making in other, Western and non-Western, countries? How do factors such as power, political culture, democratic decision-making and bureaucratic politics play out differently/similar than in other cases? What are the challenges of applying concepts and methods that originated in a Western context to the study of Indian foreign policy? And, finally, does the Indian case require us to reconsider the boundary conditions of these concepts and theories?