Nehru's Foreign Policy: Idealism and Realism Conjoined?

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    India’s first Prime Minister towered over India’s international relations for nearly two critical decades. More than half a century after his death, however, scholars continue to debate the meaning and significance of Nehru’s most important initiatives in foreign policy. Some argue that he was a bold idealist crusader, one who frequently ignored important Indian interests. Others have described him as a subtle practitioner of realpolitik statecraft. This chapter argues that Nehru must be remembered as both an idealist and a realist. To make its case, the chapter delves into three of Nehru’s most important ‘idealistic’ preoccupations in foreign policy: his drive to build up the United Nations, his campaign for non-alignment, and his crusade for nuclear disarmament. In each case, the analysis reveals that Nehru was both sincerely committed to what he saw as a moral cause, but also convinced that advancing it would suit narrower Indian interests as well.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Indian Foreign Policy
    Editors David M. Malone, C. Raja Mohan, and Srinath Raghavan
    Place of PublicationOxford, UK
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780198743538
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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