This study analyses the concept and practice of multialignment and seeks to explain why it has emerged as India’s foreign policy in terms of those perceived interests and ideals. It argues that multialignment – defined broadly as the pursuit and management of informal and formal partnerships with multiple states in multiple issue areas – has emerged as the preferred strategy for achieving India’s foreign policy preferences in the order in which its elite has placed them for at least a decade. Those ordered preferences are: first, India’s economic and social development; second, India’s national security, concerning both internal and external threats; third, India’s status as a ‘leading power’ in international relations; and fourth, the promotion of India’s ideals and values beyond its borders. These preferences and the order in which they are placed have not varied as a result of Modi’s election; rather, they – and a multialignment strategy to pursue them – have been emerging since at last the mid-2000s. What has clearly changed is the energy with which they are now being pursued by Modi’s government, and the clarity with which they are being articulated by Modi and his foreign policy team.
About the Speaker:
Ian Hall is a Professor of International Relations at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. His research focuses on the intellectual history of International Relations and Indian foreign policy. One of his recent books is the edited volume The Engagement of India: Strategies and Responses (Georgetown University Press, 2014). He is currently working on an Australian Research Council-funded project on the evolution of Indian international though since 1964.