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India in the World since 1947

National and Transnational Perspectives

Edited By Andreas Hilger and Corinna R. Unger

In recent years, India has become a favorite metaphor to describe developments and phenomena considered characteristic of globalization. Rapid economic and population growth, environmental degradation, geostrategic rivalries, mega cities, global cultural production: India has it all. A transnational perspective on the 65 years of India’s independence has much to offer and some to add to existing studies. The argument is based on the observation that India has a rich history of transnational connections and exchanges, and that it is important to contextualize India’s current developments in its transnational history. Much of what has been happening in the past twenty years has roots which reach back much farther. Only if we study India in the world since 1947 we can understand India in the world today and tomorrow.


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I. Identities


India in Asia: India’s relations with Southeast Asia and China, 1962-1991 Manjeet S. Pardesi Introduction This paper aims to understand India’s relations with China and its Southeast Asian neighbors in the period between the 1962 Sino-Indian War and the end of the Cold War in 1991. It will be argued that India’s “tilt” towards the former Soviet Union, the closed nature of the Indian economy, and India’s military in- terventions in its South Asian neighborhood led many (pro-Western) Southeast Asian states to view India as a threatening state for much of the Cold War pe- riod. Furthermore, the emergence of the China-Pakistan entente followed by a Chinese-Pakistani-American alignment meant that India’s relations with China continued to remain limited but conflict-ridden during this period. It was not un- til 1988 that the stalemate in Sino-Indian relations was broken by Prime Minis- ter Rajiv Gandhi’s landmark trip to China, which took place at the time of Sino- Soviet rapprochement and the erosion of the Indo-Soviet partnership. This pe- riod also coincided with the growth of Indian military power. India’s relations with Southeast Asia began to improve only after the end of the Cold War (and the Indo-Soviet partnership) and the opening up of the Indian economy in 1991. India in Asia, 1947-1962 Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and the “founding architect”1 of its foreign policy, vigorously opposed global military blocs and chose to safeguard the strategic autonomy of his newly independent state by pursuing a policy of non-alignment.2...

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