India: Breaking out of the middle power straitjacket?

Emilian Kavalski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


India’s designation as a middle power has always been problematic. This has become particularly pronounced in the wake of the 1998 nuclear tests, which were intended to assert the country’s great power status. What is the impact of such aspirations on emerging middle powers? Looking at India’s relations with the region of “Central Eurasia” (encompassing Afghanistan and the post-Soviet states of Central Asia), this study traces India’s struggle to accept its middle power status. Indian policymakers and pundits insist that the country’s interactions with Central Eurasia demonstrate that India has always been a great power. The comparative analysis uncovers an underlying puzzle in India’s international outreach – both in Central Eurasia and globally – namely, its inability to accept the constraints of its middle power status. Hence, the impact of India’s activism has never been predetermined, but subject to conditions which the foreign policy elites in New Delhi have been willing to ignore in order to sustain the image of the country’s great power status.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking Middle Powers in the Asian Century
Subtitle of host publicationNew Theories, New Cases
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780429873850
ISBN (Print)9780429463846
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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