Gear shift: Hindu nationalism and the evolution of Indian security
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While many scholars have analysed the impact of culture, beliefs and norms on foreign policy, few have connected domestic political identities to international politics. This thesis makes this agenda explicit by showing how domestic policy sources directly impact upon a state’s external security policies. Rather than focusing on material factors (such as military expenditure or economic growth), I instead combine work concerned with constructed identities in international relations with accounts from social psychology of how identities develop and evolve over time. Relying upon empirical evidence from party documents and extensive interviews with over 60 members of India’s security community, this PhD thesis investigates how the identities, norms and ideologies of different political parties have influenced India’s foreign policy behaviour. Employing an analytical framework consisting of multiple composite norms, I find that; 1) there has been a consistent approach to how Indian foreign policy has developed since 1947; 2) the 1998 to 2004 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance inculcated several substantive changes to India’s security policy, especially relating to nuclear transparency, a tilt towards the US, greater regional pragmatism and the use of realpolitik; 3) these normative changes continued into the post-NDA period, and produced an irrevocable gear shift in India’s accepted and evolving security practice. By confirming and explaining the impact of domestic political identities on India’s foreign policy behaviour, this research makes a significant original contribution to the study of Indian security.