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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that the decision to retain the institutional wisdom of the old External Affairs Department, as well as its predecessors, was taken quite deliberately, with a clear understanding of the problems this posed, as well as the advantages. The author argues that the arguments for retaining this structure were often advanced most persuasively by those who had the highest stakes in its continuance: bureaucrats and officials of the Indian Civil Service. These institutional memories continued to shape the foundational assumptions about both the conduct, as well as content, of Indian foreign policy, well after the transfer of power. Finally, it is argued, it is important to differentiate the various strands of political thought that went into constituting the often monolithically understood ‘Nehruvian foreign policy’: this was constructed by a variety of officials, politicians, and political lobbies who frequently differed with Nehru on the best approach to India’s foreign policy.

Keywords: Nehruvian foreign policy, Ministry of External Affairs, civil service, bureaucrats, political lobbies

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