Topics: International relations, Asia, Southeast Asia Pages: 14 (4543 words) Published: September 7, 2013
Regional Governance Architecture

FES Briefing Paper February 2006

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New Powers for Global Change?

India’s Role in the Emerging World Order

India’s Role in the Emerging World Order

FES Briefing Paper 4 | March 2007

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Summary Till recently, India was viewed predominantly as a poor developing country and had a low visibility on the global political and especially global economic front. However, since the last decade India appears to be writing a dynamic new future for itself. The author examines how India’s emerging economic status in Asia and on a global level is redefining its self-image and its perception, leading to a new political role. She analyses the interests and motives that guide India’s foreign policy and the strategies it has adopted which have the potential to shape the international order. India, traditionally a prominent leader of the South, is transcending that role to play a larger global role which is endorsed by both the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) in their respective Strategic Partnerships with India.


India’s Perception of its Role in International Politics

The 21st century is touted to be the Asian age, belonging to China and India. The end of the Cold War and the growing impacts of globalisation are also making India redefine its position and role both at the regional and at the global level. Since the economic liberalisation of the 1990s, which lead to growth rates of 6-7 percent p.a., India's global presence has been steadily visible. Two issues are shaping India’s rise – the political dividend it has garnered as the world’s largest democracy and its growing economic status, which, according to projections, will cause it to emerge, along with China, as a key economic driver of the future. India, the acknowledged leader of the South, is transcending that role to play a larger global role, a development that is endorsed by both the US and the European Union (EU) in their respective Strategic Partnerships with India. But this is an ongoing process, not a signpost, and so it is important to examine the political and economic values the new evolving India endorses in the context of global governance (multilateralism, political and economic values and international security). To assess where India is headed today, it is important to look at the period immediately after independence in 1947, especially the first 10-15 years. India was active with its soft power approach and played a significant role in the decolonization process. The country was also active in international institutions like the United Nations as well as in leading the Non-Aligned Movement. This was due to Jawaharlal Nehru’s, India’s first Prime Minister, vision of India- a blend of the realist and the idealist – that as a big country with a long civilisational history, India was not merely a regional but also an international power. However, India’s foreign policy choices were circumscribed by Cold War politics that defined its political, economic and security relations with other states. Post-Cold War global politics is witnessing changes in power equations between and among states and India is no longer contained in South Asia by the Cold War rubric. Indian nuclear testing in 1998 and a steadily performing economy have changed not only India’s

perception of itself but the world’s perception of India. On the economic front India is still managing the transition from a developing country to a developed one. Although China has shown outstanding performance and has a 20-year lead over India in hard infrastructure, India’s performance in soft infrastructure, with its exceptional growth in the IT sector, has changed the perception of the Indian economy to a major extent. India, with its good legal structure, corporate governance, banking system, financial sector, property rights security, its skilled manpower and young work force, has become the new economic...
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