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Development of International Relations Theory in India

Listed author(s):
  • Siddharth Mallavarapu

    (The author is Assistant Professor, Centre for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament (CIPOD), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. E-mail:

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    The article seeks to do an audit of the state of International Relations theory (IRT) in India. It examines three facets of IRT in this connection. The first relates to the possibility of a tradition of thinking on issues of universal theoretical significance. The second pertains to an exploration of scholarly reflection on an important principle of Indian foreign policy, namely, non-alignment and the limits of theorizing it. The final facet examines the concerns that inform theorization by Indian scholars since the 1990s. In regard to the first facet, the article argues that there exists an Indian tradition of thinking on issues of order, justice and cosmopolitanism, even though it may not have been expressed in the language of IRT. With regard to non-alignment, the article argues that while it did not result in broader theoretical formulations, it raised a number of first order issues for further theorizing. Finally, it suggests that recent IRT invocations by Indian scholars reflect a more receptive conjuncture for such work, both in terms of India’s own changing stature in the world system as well as an acknowledgement of more eclectic methods and possibilities in the broader world of the social sciences.

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    Article provided by in its journal International Studies.

    Volume (Year): 46 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1-2 (January)
    Pages: 165-183

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    Handle: RePEc:sae:intstu:v:46:y:2009:i:1-2:p:165-183
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