International Politics

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 215–234 | Cite as

BJP, India's Foreign Policy and the “Realist Alternative” to the Nehruvian Tradition

  • Sreeram S Chaulia


Correlation between domestic political factors and a country's foreign policy is crucial. This essay is a case study of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its ideological precepts and approach to foreign policy-making. The fundamentals of the Nehruvian world outlook, which have guided almost all pre-BJP governments in India, are first elaborated and their evolution discussed in the historical context of post-independence India. BJP core ideology and promise of radically overturning this Nehruvian consensus are then taken up and empirically tested against three significant theatres of Indian foreign policy since 1998 – nuclear proliferation, relations with Pakistan and ties with the USA. Conclusions are drawn that the Nehruvian tradition has survived BJP's rhetorical and ideological challenge and that notwithstanding the party's braggadocio about altering the discourse on India's place and attitude towards the world, the standards and benchmarks set by Nehru at the time of freedom continue to inform the present Indian government's foreign policy.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse UniversitySyracuse, NYUSA

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