During Narendra Modi’s first term in office, his government pursued a strategy similar to its predecessors – nudging closer to the US, hedging with China, and building closer strategic partnerships with other key states – but with markedly more energy, at least from the Prime Minister himself. At the same time, the BJP tried to cast policy in a new, more ideologically Hindu nationalist, language and Modi himself tried to leverage diplomacy for domestic political advantage. This behaviour produced mixed results. Ties with the US and partners like Japan markedly improved, but with China and Pakistan, they grew markedly worse. The ideological reinvention of Indian foreign policy struggled to convince, but Modi’s personal diplomacy clearly aided his campaign for re-election in 2019. This seminar assesses Indian foreign policy since Modi’s re-election and examines its prospects in the light of changes within his cabinet and the very significant challenges it now faces. In particular, it focuses on the emerging tension between the pursuit of ideological goals at home and abroad and the management of foreign affairs by more pragmatic figures such as EAM S. Jaishankar.
About the Speaker
Ian Hall is a Professor of International Relations and the Deputy Director (Research) at the Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. He is also an Academic Fellow of the Australia India Institute and the co-editor (with Sara E. Davies) of the Australian Journal of International Affairs. His research focuses on India’s foreign relations, Indo-Pacific security, and the intellectual history of International Relations. His most recent book is Modi and the Reinvention of Indian Foreign Policy (2019).