State of mind: What kind of power will India become?

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As its economic power, military strength and cultural influence expands, India draws ever closer to becoming a leading player in world politics. Yet relatively little is known about what Indians take to be the nature of international politics and, correspondingly, how their power and influence should be used. A survey of Indian political thought reveals sharp disagreements. Moralists wish for India to serve as an exemplar of principled action. Hindu nationalists want Indians to act as muscular defenders of Hindu civilization; strategists advocate cultivating state power by developing strategic capabilities; and liberals seek prosperity and peace by increasing trade and interdependence. This article argues that current trends indicate that India will increasingly prioritize its quest for prosperity and peace. But if this quest is thwarted by external threats, then calls to enhance India's military power will most probably grow louder, and be heeded more closely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-816
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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