South Asia and Foreign Policy
- Sumit GangulySumit GangulyDepartment of Political Science, Indiana University, Bloomington
There has been a pronounced dearth of scholarly literature on foreign and security policy in South Asia. Fortunately, there is a significant transformation under way. The amount of South Asian case materials that have been effectively integrated into the mainstream of the foreign and security policy literature is slowly expanding. Furthermore, the bulk of the scholarship on these subjects emanating from the region had been quintessentially devoid of theoretical substance. This, too, is undergoing a change. The neglect of South Asia is baffling considering that the region offers a rich array of cases pertaining to questions of comparative foreign policy, interstate conflicts, regional crises, and the effects of nuclear proliferation, among other issues. There are a variety of plausible reasons to explain the marginalization of South Asian foreign policy studies. One, at the level of the global system, the South Asian states (with the exception of Pakistan) sought to self-consciously exclude themselves from the tensions of the Cold War international order. Also, India was one of the principal exponents of the doctrine of nonalignment. After several decades of systematic neglect, however, there are signs that scholars are beginning to integrate the study of India and South Asia into the study of international relations, foreign policy, and strategic studies. This newfound scholarly interest in the South Asian region can be attributed to a host of actors, such as India’s remarkable economic growth of the past decade or so, Pakistan’s political fragility, and the acquisition of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan.