Soft sovereignty, rising powers, and subnational foreign-policy making : the case of India
Title: Soft sovereignty, rising powers, and subnational foreign-policy making : the case of India
Citation: Globalizations, 2015, Vol. 12, No. 5, pp. 728-743
ISSN: 1474-7731; 1474-774X
The rise of 'new powers' in international politics has been frequently associated with a re-emergence of traditional notions of sovereignty as a backlash against the weakening of nation-state sovereignty related to globalization. We argue that the coexistence of these trends has led to new forms of 'soft sovereignty'. Soft sovereignty means that rising powers both gain and lose authority: From above, their freedom from interference within the international state system is strengthened due to their new status and influence. At the same time, rising powers’ governments are losing authority due to the rise of a multiplicity of sub and transnational actors from below. We apply the concept of soft sovereignty to the analysis of foreign policy-making in India as a least-likely case of a weakening of sovereignty from within a sovereignty-oriented rising power. The analysis of India's relations with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka reveals the huge impact that subnational governments have had on India's policies towards its South Asian neighbours over the past years. The dynamics observed in the case of India reflect many of the traits of current globalization processes, from regionalization to identity politics to the multiplication of actors in the conduct of foreign politics.
Published online: 21 Jan 2015
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