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Type: Theses
Title: Foreign policy think tanks: challenging or building consensus on India’s Pakistan policy?
Author: Bhatnagar, Stuti
Issue Date: 2017
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences
Abstract: Foreign policy think tanks are now an accepted part of policy making in most democratic societies, yet literature on think tanks is largely limited to American and European case studies. It fails to account for the development of these institutions in other political contexts and while globally think tanks are gaining recognition as policy actors, there is a lack of scholarship on foreign policy think tanks in India. The limited literature on Indian think tanks so far, is ambiguous and does not adequately examine their role in the formulation of India’s foreign policy. It does not take into consideration India’s unique political context and its various institutional structures, that have had an impact on the growth and position of think tanks within the policy landscape. This thesis seeks to problematise the assumptions about foreign policy think tanks in India through a detailed examination of their role within policy processes. It critically examines the policy discourse of Indian think tanks and their specific role in promoting and challenging policy narratives set by the state. The focus of analysis, in particular, is think tank engagement with one of India’s most volatile foreign policy issues - its relationship with Pakistan and the conflict over the disputed territory of Kashmir. It is argued that the Composite Dialogue process which was initiated in 2004 provided avenues for policy change in India’s relations with Pakistan and encouraged active civil society engagement, giving think tanks the opportunity to influence policy making. Developing a novel framework that combines Discursive Institutionalism and Gramscian analysis, the thesis has considered think tanks’ interactive processes – their coordinative and communicative discourse on Pakistan – and a critical analysis of their role and relative position within policy structures in India. The thesis argues that the institutionalisation and patronage to government think tanks such as Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and Centre for Air Power studies has enabled the Indian government to build consensus on policy directions and perpetuate security centred government thinking on Pakistan. The infusion of foreign funding and relative independence from the government has also enabled the development of non-governmental think tanks. While some of these like the Observer Research Foundation, Centre for Policy Research and Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies are able to articulate ideas that challenge government positions, support from the government is crucial and is directly linked with their ability to retain relevance as non-state policy actors. While dominant literature on India’s foreign policy has criticised think tanks for their lack of policy relevant formulations, the evidence in this thesis will show that policy recommendations from think tanks are extensive, particularly on key issues of the India-Pakistan relationship. They have been active participants in the policy process, particularly during the Composite Dialogue. However, the predominant influence of the Indian state on policy making and the significant structural and material constraints on think tanks have collectively curtailed their influence – presenting significant challenges to their evolving role in foreign policy.
Advisor: Chacko, Priya
Doyle, Timothy John
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2018
Keywords: think tanks
Indian foreign policy
India Pakistan relations
discursive institutionalist-Gramscian
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
DOI: 10.25909/5b86147a1bf0b
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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