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Indian Foreign Policy

Chris Ogden

ISBN: 978-0-745-66086-8 May 2014 Polity 288 Pages


India is becoming an increasingly visible, powerful and influential state within the global system. As this rise to prominence continues, better appreciating the interests and principles that structure the international interactions of South Asia’s largest state has never been so important. Keen to embrace an expectant future as a great power, India’s transitional journey has been characterised by astounding diplomatic achievements and significant strategic failures.

In this robust and comprehensive analysis, Chris Ogden introduces students to the key dimensions of Indian foreign policy from her emergence as a modern state in 1947 to the present day. Combining theoretical insight with numerous case studies and profiles, he examines the foreign policy making process, strategic thinking, the crucial search for economic growth, and India’s difficult regional position and troubled borders. Tracking the trajectory of one of the 21st century’s major Asian and global powers, later chapters focus on New Delhi’s multilateral interaction, great power dynamics, and expanding relations with the United States and the world.

Critically assessing what kind of great power India can and wants to be, this wide-ranging introduction will be an invaluable text for students of South Asian politics, foreign policy, and international relations.

List of Abbreviations

List of Tables, Figures, Profiles and Cases Studies


Overview, Principles and Themes

Chapter 1 Makers of Foreign Policy

Chapter 2 Strategic Thinking, the Military and Nuclear Affairs

Chapter 3 India’s Economic Transition

Chapter 4 South Asia’s (Natural) Hegemon

Chapter 5 Regionalism and Multilateralism

Chapter 6 Great Power Dynamics

Chapter 7 Relations with the United States

Chapter 8 India and the World

Conclusion: India Emergent

Research Appendix


Extended Bibliography


"This is a remarkably well written, deftly argued and carefully researched volume on India’s foreign policy. It offers sufficient historical perspective, it examines India’s key relationships and it discusses India’s aspirations to and constraints on the rise to great-power status. Given the paucity of work on contemporary India’s foreign relations, Ogden's work constitutes a most welcome addition to the literature. Scholars, policy makers and journalists interested in the country’s foreign policy all stand to benefit from a perusal of this important book."
Sumit Ganguly, Indiana University

"Using four central themes as key to understanding the motivations of Indian elites in the realm of foreign policy, this lucid book provides a coherent narrative about the potential and challenges that confront India as it makes its way up the global interstate hierarchy. It is an important contribution not only to the study of Indian foreign policy but also to the way in which the subject is taught."
Harsh V. Pant, King's College London

"This is a valuable and much needed textbook that offers students of foreign policy an intelligent and balanced introduction to where India has been and where it might be going. It is up to date and contains helpful charts, tables, illustrations, maps and questions. It will prove a great aid in the classroom."
Rahul Sagar, Princeton University

"This book is bound to become the new standard textbook on foreign policy."
Political Studies Review

"This book is arguably the best introduction to Indian foreign policy available for readers today."
Pacific Affairs Review