The Making of Modern Indian Diplomacy – A Critique of Eurocentrism |

The Making of Modern Indian Diplomacy - A Critique of Eurocentrism

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The engine room of international politics, diplomacy is also posited as the key to social life. Yet diplomatic society remains cloaked. International Relations (IR) scholars have researched modern diplomatic society just twice. Furthermore, systematic study of non-Western diplomatic society is non-existent, precluded by a set of debilitating assumptions which suggest everything resonates, in some form, to a tune set by Europe. The maximum possibility permitted of producer-centred analysis of non-Western diplomacy is mundane geopolitics. Impossible is anything meaningful about the underlying rationality of diplomacy, because that rationality is presumed to be Western.

I question this view by revealing a non-Western diplomatic society. The basis of the presentation is unique participant observation conducted over fourteen months within the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and locating it within the history of diplomacy in the Indian sub-continent. Any attempt to reveal the practitioners, practices and underlying logics motivating Indian diplomacy would however be fatally undermined if they were interpreted using intellectual categories and systems alien to the practitioners. The analysis therefore uses the interpretations, texts and thinkers of Indian practitioners themselves. The argument proceeds along two vectors. First, the practice of Indian diplomacy is not drawn from Western practices. Secondly, the underlying rationality or the purpose of Indian diplomacy is radically different from diplomacy as theorised by IR in particular the English School and Post-structuralists.

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Deep K Datta-Ray, Faculty member of Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi and Contributor of South China Morning Post and The Times of India

Friday, 09 July 2010
12.15 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.

Seminar Room 3-5
Level 3, Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

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