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date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

How do the structure and character of Indian politics and the state—its parties, coalitions, and bureaucracies—affect Indian foreign policy behaviour? This chapter traces the role of Indian domestic politics in Indian foreign policy, showing that there are significant domestic ‘transmission belts’ in the generation of Indian foreign policy. India resides in a relatively dangerous security environment, with enduring rivalries with both of its major neighbours Pakistan and China, and with a prominent role in global affairs. But the structure and character of Indian politics and the state significantly shape how India reacts to the pressures of that security environment. The authors show how the general low salience of foreign policy can often insulate politicians in this issue area, and how bureaucracies and organs of the state such as the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs can consequently drive Indian foreign policy independent of electoral pressures or accountability.

Keywords: state, bureaucracy, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, security environment, politics, accountability

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