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Continuity and change in India’s Middle East policy

Nicolas Blarel

Nicolas Blarel

Read last week’s India in Transition article, Continuity and change in India’s Middle East policy by Nicolas Blarel.

“In February 2014, India managed a rare diplomatic coup de force when it hosted, in the same week, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Foreign Minister of Iran, Javad Zarif. The timing of these visits is hardly fortuitous; over the past two decades, India has adroitly managed to develop relations with diverse Middle Eastern countries such as Israel, Palestine, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Some see this balancing act as indicative of a broader new approach to the region, defined as India’s “Look Middle East” Policy. Beyond the change in semantics – Indian diplomats had historically referred to the region as “West Asia” – it is equally argued that a new framework guides India’s policy. At the same time, Indian politicians and diplomats regularly remind us that India’s involvement in Middle East affairs is not a new development. Both of these assessments are partially correct. While the region has consistently been interpreted as a major component of India’s grand strategy, there has also been a clear shift away from India’s preference to engage with a select group of regional partners (“proxy” policy) to a “multi-engagement” strategy in the last two decades.” Continue reading…

The author, Nicolas Blarel, is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University-Bloomington and a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center on American and Global Security. He is also the author of the forthcoming book The Evolution of India’s Israel Policy: Continuity, Change, and Compromise Since 1922 (Oxford University Press, September 2014). Follow him on Twitter.


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The votes are in

Narendra Modi will be sworn in as the new Prime Minister of India on May 26

Narendra Modi will be sworn in as the new Prime Minister of India

The votes are in. In a historic vote for change, the BJP has become the first non-Congress party to achieve an outright majority in the Indian parliament. 

Devesh Kapur, Director of CASI, discussed the election results with Bobby Ghosh, TIME World editor; Vani Tripathi, national secretary for the BJP; Frank Wisner, former US Ambassador to India; and Marshall Bouton of the Asia Society Policy Institute at an event hosted by the Asia Society in New York on May 19th. Watch the full video here (1 hour, 25 mins). Find coverage of the event in this Business Line article.

Read further election analysis from Milan Vaishnav, Associate at the Carnegie Endowment and research affiliate on the CASI Lok project: India’s Congress party: Down but not outBJP landslide shatters 4 electoral myths‘Quick economic turnaround’ expected of Modi, and A Devil Called Policy Paralysis.

Watch the Asia Society event video here.

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For a clear nuclear doctrine

CASI has been delighted to host Former Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad as a Visiting Scholar this spring. Read Mr. Prasad’s recent article in The Hindu, “For a clear nuclear doctrine”, on India’s nuclear policy and how it has transformed over the years.

Former Amb. Jayant Prasad

Former Amb. Jayant Prasad

“For India, nuclear deterrence is defensive and a means to secure its sovereignty and security. Its strategy of assured retaliation, combined with “no first use,” provides adequate guarantee for this purpose. The strategy was unveiled concurrently with its 1998 nuclear tests, which ended the determined U.S. bid to prevent India from acquiring nuclear deterrent. Ironically, India’s nuclear weapons tests, together with the rapid expansion of its economy, transformed its global outlook and relations with the U.S. and the world.” Continue reading..

Will the next government in New Delhi have new answers to old foreign policy challenges?

 Prasad joined C. Raja Mohan, and Ashley J. Tellis last week in a discussion on this important question. The discussion, posted below, took place at an April 28th event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in conjunction with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations on the future of India’s foreign policy after the election.