A Brief Outline of the M. Phil. Course in Foreign Policy Studies

  1. The duration of the course is two years. The first year is focused on course work and a degree of independent research (September 2009- September 2010). Evaluation will be through assessment of written work (term papers and research papers) as well as an examination. The second year is for the writing of a dissertation, which must be submitted by the end of June 2011. Candidates are expected to complete their work for the degree and take their viva voce test for the dissertation by 31st August 2011. Papers 1 and 2 are intended to provide a foundation for the course. Paper 1 establishes the broad problems of International Relations today and the role of foreign policy making. Paper 2 establishes the contours of the way foreign policy making has evolved in India. Candidates for the degree will then chose 2 papers, one from Group A, Foreign Policies and their International Context, (Papers 3, 4) and one from Group B, Indian Foreign Policy. Region and Sub region (Papers 5, 6, 7, 8).

    Teaching will primarily be in the seminar format.
  2. Syllabus
    1. Theory and practice of International Relations and Foreign Policy Analysis
      Provides a recap of the tools of analysis for international relations as they are normally discussed in a post-graduate classroom. The discussion will centre on classic or very recent readings from major journals, with fixed reading for a week.
      1. Theories of International Relations: Idealism, realism, classical realism, chaos theory, behaviouralism, constructivism, functionalism, game theory, legal positivism, neo-realism, normative theory, positivism, post-behaviouralism, rationalism, structuralism, post-structuralism, systems analysis.
      2. Practice: Collective security, globalization, imperialism, internationalism, regionalism, sub-regionalism, developmentalism, non-alignment, nuclear non-proliferation and world order, unilateralism, bilateralism, multilateralism.
      3. Diplomacy: Political, economic, cultural; gunboat diplomacy, multilateral diplomacy.
      4. Media and its impact
    2. Indian Foreign Policy in Practice
      This is intended to be an innovative paper – probably the first of its kind in the way it is conceived. The paper initially provides the candidate with a sense of how South Asia’s security needs were handled under the British Empire, dealing with the institutional structures and intelligence framework that was inherited by the Government of India in 1947. It will also deal with how the Congress responded to foreign policy issues at different times. The paper will then deal with the principles that came to be the reference points of post-1947 India’s foreign policy at different times (e.g. different phases of approach to non-alignment), comparing these with those which guided other South Asian states. The paper the proceeds to address the compulsions that shaped policy over time (specific incidents such as regional conflicts, or broader factors such as migration and economic initiatives either
      1. Foundations of Indian foreign policy and its evolution since 1947; objectives, strategies of engagement – bilateralism and multilateralism;
      2. Domestic roots of Indian foreign policy; convergence of strategic shifts and economic policy;
      3. The economic and strategic dimensions of Indian Foreign Policy – study of the interface between development, security and cooperation in Indian foreign policy
    3. Internal dynamics of the various regions of Asia
      Deals with parallels and differences between the Indian case and the case of other countries in Asia, e.g. the practice of other Empires and their successor states in South East Asia, or the character of countries subject to regulation of their policies from abroad (in the case of East Asia). The main structures and principles guiding policy in these cases (dealing with constitutional differences in countries such as Thailand and Cambodia and preoccupations such as regional integration). Study of the internal dynamics of the component regions of Asia and how they impact upon respective approaches to foreign policy
      1. South Asia
      2. South-east Asia
      3. East Asia
      4. West Asia
      5. Central Asia
    4. Multilateral Diplomacy: theory and practice –
      Deals with the theory and practice of multilateral diplomacy that predominates the world order since the Second World War, highlighting the evolving discourse in the post-Cold War scenario. The course begins with the theoretical foundations of multilateral diplomacy and then goes on to study the objectives and modus operandi of the various international organizations, in the light of their brief as global, regional or inter-regional platforms. The course lays particular attention to India’s engagement with these various organisations, and how India responds to a series the non-state-oriented global concerns like climate-change, energy-security, global terrorism, international money-laundering, and building a global economic cooperative agenda. Organisations are to be classified into
      1. Global – UNO, WTO, G-20, G-77, NAM, IMF, IAEA, NSG, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
      2. Inter-regional – IOR-ARC, SCO, ARF, BIMSTEC, OPEC, IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa).
      Group B, Indian Foreign Policy. Region and Sub region
    5. India in the Indian Ocean World –
      The traditional conceptualisation of India’s strategic space most often focused on India’s land borders, downplaying the extended strategic space provided by the Indian Ocean. Historically, in colonial and pre-colonial eras, the significance of the Indian Ocean, however, used to be comparatively greater in many strategic conceptualisations. Such strategic conceptualisations have been multi-layered, involving economic and cultural exchanges – forged principally through the diasporas formed over time around the region. India’s current engagement with the Indian Ocean world to a large extent being an attempt to revive these connections, this course would help contextualising India’s Indian Ocean linkages.
      1. The legacy of India’s engagement with the Indian Ocean World in pre-colonial and colonial times
      2. Independent India’s engagement with the Indian Ocean Rim Countries
      3. Possible areas of economic, cultural and other exchanges with the rim countries
      4. India’s emergence as a major strategic player in the Indian Ocean: India’s curtailing piracy, engagement with other global navies (viz. USA, Australia, Japan), growing engagement with an expanding Chinese navy.
    6. India and the Global Players –
      This module deals with India’s evolving engagements with major global players in the present international order. The module looks into the historic linkages between India on the one hand and powers like the United States of America, Soviet Union/Russia, China, Japan, EU, Britain and France over the past six decades, and takes note of the changing levels of engagement.
    7. India’s ‘Look East’ Policy –
      India’s engagement with the dynamic economies of South-east Asia developed primarily from the 1990s, in the context of reformulated foreign policy objectives in the post-cold war period. The new approach involves both bilateral and multilateral engagements with the region. The Look East Policy has particular significance for the development paradigm being pursued in strategically sensitive Northeast and Eastern India. Although the policy is primarily economic in its motivation, strategic dimensions are also present. The course would highlight the strategic, economic, social and cultural interfaces that inform the ‘Look East’ Policy.
      1. Indian foreign policy in a sub-regional context: East and North-East India and its neighbourhood
      2. Aims and Objectives of India’s Look-East Policy
      3. Social, cultural and economic dynamics of the various countries of the region
      4. Possible challenges to India’s engagement with the region
      5. Potential domestic impact of ‘Look East’ Policy
    8. India in South Asia –
      India’s emergence in the international arena as a leading player is to a large extent dependent on India’s success in handling her neighbours in the subcontinent. The peculiar Indo-centric nature of regional geo-strategic formulations makes it useful to have a comprehensive grasp over the issues that affect regional ties and exchanges. India’s approach to South Asia is pegged both at bilateral and multilateral levels. Accordingly, this module also divides into three.
      1. India’s bi-lateral engagements with the South Asian countries, i.e Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Afghanistan.
      2. Regionalism in South Asia: the effectiveness of SAARC as a platform to raise and resolve matters of common interest
      3. Search for alternative routes: sub-regional and inter-regional cooperation in South Asia.
      4. Non-official initiatives towards regional conflict resolution: non-official multi-track diplomacy and people-to-people grass-root level movements