ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Colonial Origins of Indian Foreign Policymaking

This paper looks at three aspects of India's foreign policymaking. First, it argues that the institutional history of the foreign office in India is as old as the colonial project. Second, that the first world war was a major tipping point in Indian diplomatic history as the country gained a quasi-international status. While internationally it meant that India's status was closer to that of a dominion than a colony, domestically it catapulted more and more Indians into positions of influence in foreign policymaking. On major strategic issues Indian foreign policy was still conducted from the India Office in London. However, on a number of other important, even if normative, issues, Indians increasingly determined the agenda. Third, the paper discusses how in its post-Independence foreign policy India projected itself as a continuous international entity, rather than a new one, thus choosing to continue rather than close the colonial legacy of foreign policy.

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