Responsible Stakeholder or Challenger? Assessing India’s Foreign Policy Orientation via Leadership Travel
Dr Walter Ladwig III presents on his excellent research project which seeks to explain India's foreign policy orientation by analysing the foreign travel patterns of Indian government leaders. Will a rising India seek to uphold the existing conventions and standards that regulate the international system or is it likely to challenge an international order which is seen to have been constructed by the West in general and the United States in particular? This question has recently taken on increased salience in light of the Indian government’s multiple abstentions on UN votes censuring Russia over its invasion of the Ukraine. This talk—based on a study undertaken with Sumitha Narayanan Kutty—will shed light on India’s foreign policy priorities as well as the country’s orientation towards the international system since the end of the Cold War by assessing the patterns of high-level diplomatic travel undertaken by the Indian Prime Minister, External Affairs Minister and President between 1992-2019. In the face of arguments that India’s foreign policy has lacked coherence over the past three decades, the personal diplomacy undertaken by Indian VIPs indicates consistent drivers of foreign engagement and an identifiable orientation toward the present international system. Dr. Walter C. Ladwig III is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London and an Associate Fellow in the Indo-Pacific Program at the Royal United Services Institution. His research interests include South Asian security, U.S. foreign policy, and irregular warfare. Walter’s scholarly work has been published in a number of academic journals including International Security, the Journal of Strategic Studies, and Asian Survey, among others. His first book, The Forgotten Front: Patron-Client Relationships in Counter Insurgency (Cambridge 2017), examines the often-difficult relations between the U.S. and local governments it is supporting in counterinsurgency. He is currently writing a book on Indian defense policy. Walter has given evidence to Parliamentary committees and commented on international affairs for the Economist, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, and the BBC. His opinion pieces have appeared in a number of newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He has held fellowships at the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania, and previously taught courses on insurgency, terrorism, and Cold War history at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. He received a B.A. from the University of Southern California, an M.P.A. from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford.