School of Politics and International Relations

Narendra Modi and the uses of foreign policy: Diplomacy, reputation, and the domestic audience

The University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute recenty welcomed Professor Ian Hall (Griffith University) to deliver a talk as part of their autumn seminar series. The Institute's Depty Director Dr Carole Spary gives us an insight into the event:

We were delighted to host Professor Ian Hall from the School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, and the Griffith Asia Institute. Professor Hall specialises in the history of international thought, International Relations theory, Indian foreign and security policy, and security studies. He has published two books, four edited volumes, and over 30 journal articles, and recently completed an Australian Research Council-funded Discovery project (2015-17) on the evolution of Indian thinking about world politics since 1964.

His latest book, Modi and the Reinvention of Foreign Policy, was published this year by Bristol University Press, and it’s on this topic that he joined us to deliver a seminar in our Asia Research Institute seminar series.

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 when his party was elected to national government with a single party majority, unusual in India’s previously coalition-dominant electoral political landscape. PM Modi and the BJP were re-elected to government earlier this year. Some key puzzles Professor Hall discussed in his talk were, firstly, whether Prime Minister Modi’s approach to foreign policy, often dubbed the ‘Modi doctrine’, was substantially different to his predecessor, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (2004-2014). Secondly, he also discussed the puzzle of why Prime Minister Modi turned quickly to foreign policy once elected in 2014, despite contesting the general election on a primarily domestic political agenda of ‘development’. Linked to this, Professor Hall explained the domestic political and economic drivers of foreign policy, including the Modi’s governing party, the BJP’s cultural-aspirational sensibilities about India’s place in the world, and their desire to break with India’s Nehruvian legacies.

The talk was very well attended and generated much interest judging by the many fantastic questions raised by participants in the Q&A and discussion session afterwards (not recorded).


Posted on Wednesday 13th November 2019

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