Not Just ‘Somewhere South of Sovereignty and East of Equality’: Indian Strategizing in the Age of Transnational Solidarities

Published date01 June 2024
AuthorJayashree Vivekanandan
Date01 June 2024
Subject MatterSpecial Section on South Asia in and after the 1980s
Not Just ‘Somewhere South of
Sovereignty and East of Equality’:
Indian Strategizing in the Age of
Transnational Solidarities
Jayashree Vivekanandan1
South Asia witnessed a number of transnational solidarities, some of which it was home to, others that drew
the region into their ambit. Articulations of national identity, evident in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, marked
shifting definitions of the politico-cultural community in South Asia. Concurrently, there was a congealing
of ideological connections that straddled continents such as the leftist solidarity Afro-Asianism epitomized.
How did social imaginaries such as these, variously imbued with nationalist and internationalist ethos, influ-
ence India’s self-image? What role did sub-diplomatic solidarities forged by non-state actors such as activists
and intellectuals play? In what ways had subnational activism contributed to some of these contested fraterni-
ties? Such questions were moot to India’s assessment of its own state capacity in the 1980s and beyond. The
article takes as its focus two critical sites of postcolonial India’s international relations: transnational solidarity
networks and domestic politics. In doing so, it attempts to offer a granular analysis of the ‘imagined collectivi-
ties’ India espoused and the multiplicity of agendas these stood for and which it helped shape.
Transnational networks, Afro-Asian solidarities, Third World internationalism, Cold War, domestic
politics and Indian foreign policy
It is not uncommon to find foreign policy analyses of postcolonial states refracted through the lens of
high politics, particularly of the formative years of state building. This scholarly tilt towards security and
stability is, to some extent, expected given that the leaders themselves had couched their vision for the
future in such terms. Exerting to nudge the global discourse away from great power competition and
towards restructuring the international political and economic order, these states marshalled the resources
and networks at their disposal at the domestic, regional and global levels. Hence, while there is no deny-
ing the significance of summitry, it is equally important to acknowledge its many intersections with soli-
darities congealing across different domains. The 1980s makes for an interesting period of analysis given
Original Article
Studies in Indian Politics
12(1) 117–128, 2024
© 2024 Lokniti, Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/23210230241235732
1 Department of International Relations, South Asian University, New Delhi, India
Corresponding author:
Jayashree Vivekanandan, Department of International Relations, South Asian University, New Delhi 110068, India.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT