India and the Global Order

Date01 January 2017
Published date01 January 2017
AuthorUmmu Salma Bava
Subject MatterArticles
India and the Global
Order: Negotiating
between the Old and
New Order
Ummu Salma Bava1
The international regimes which create a global order regulate a multitude of
actions and relations between states with respect to global public goods. In
this context, the rise of the emerging powers like India draws attention to how
such countries will navigate the global order in the coming years. Will emerging
powers support a liberal order or seek to reinvent the order as they become
economically and politically more powerful? This article seeks to examine such
issues by looking at the regimes and global order from the prism of a rising India.
A robust growing economy has added to India’s economic and political power
as it seeks to expand its role within the global order. Socialization and a buy into
the current liberal order imply that India will strive to sustain the existing global
order since it has benefited from it. Simultaneously, India challenges the rules of
the global order by seeking change to the existing status quo in various institu-
tions such as the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which has been examined
more specifically in this article. As globalization and interdependence reshape
alignments, India’s role and position reflect how it negotiates global regimes and
the global order.
Regimes, global order, governance, emerging powers, India, nuclear non-
proliferation treaty
To have power is to be taken into account in others’ acts [policies].
Lasswell and Kaplan (1950)
International Studies
54(1–4) 22–41
2018 Jawaharlal Nehru University
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0020881718791369
1 Chairperson and Jean Monnet Chair, Centre for European Studies, School of International Studies,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Ummu Salma Bava, Centre for European Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi, 110067, India.
Bava 23
The Westphalian model that identified the state as the primary actor has governed
our understanding of global politics in the last centuries. The Westphalian bench-
mark, whose main characteristics can be identified as ‘state-centric, sovereignty-
oriented, territorially bounded framing of international authority and to identify a
hierarchically structured world order shaped and managed by dominant or hegem-
onic political actors, the identity of which change with the ebb and flow of his-
tory’ (Falk, 2004, p. 4). The history of international politics is about the constantly
changing hierarchy of states in terms of power, capability and influence. Perhaps
it is in the nature of the beast as states grow in capability and capacity and thus
challenge the given order. In the post-Cold War period, the changing contours of
international politics and, in particular, the shift in the distribution of power
between states has called attention to the existing international order manifested
by the various regimes. Increasingly, the debate has focused on the hegemony of
the post-war rules of regulation of international politics and institutions and their
embeddedness in the international system.
In this article, global order refers to the norms that regulate behaviour of states
at any given point in time at the international level. So global order is not merely
a structural issue but is an outcome of the prevailing norms at any time. It is in this
context that India’s role in the global order becomes interesting. As both a devel-
oping country and an emerging power, India is negotiating two different spaces
globally as far as norms are concerned. As a developing country, it is a recipient
of some given norms. Whereas, as an emerging power, its aspirations for a global
status are in conflict with some of the existing global norms and it is also trying to
be part of the norm-building process and even seen as revisionist in some areas.
The shift in the geopolitical configuration after the end of the Cold War in 1990
provided both opportunities and challenges to India. Presented with a different
strategic and political landscape, India’s economic liberalization in the 1990s
gave it additional political ballast in the next decade that has catapulted it into the
ranks of emerging powers.
Since the end of the Cold War, one can identify a changing trajectory in the
political, economic and importantly in the foreign policy behaviour of New Delhi.
It is in this context that the article examines India in a changing global order. The
prevalent idea is that the emerging powers like India want to contest the old order.
From an Indian perspective, there are many aspects of the international order, that
is, the regimes of global governance which do not give India the standing it seeks
and deserves in the international community. In the last 25 years, India has wit-
nessed a capability and capacity augmentation across its political, economic,
security and social front.
This article analyses how this impacts India’s ability to influence outcomes at
the international level given that it is negotiating between the old and the new
orders. Since it is not possible to examine all regimes that impact India, this article
will specifically focus on the security area and examine the non-proliferation
regime. The article begins by (a) situating regimes theoretically and how they
define the international order, (b) assess the current state of regimes with respect

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