India and regional integration

Authored by: David Scott

Handbook of India’s International Relations

Print publication date:  May  2011
Online publication date:  May  2011

Print ISBN: 9781857435528
eBook ISBN: 9780203828861
Adobe ISBN:


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India’s involvement in regional integration is the focus of this chapter. This chapter starts with India’s immediate neighbourhood (i.e. South Asia) and India’s sense of identity within that region and with regard to the regional structure there, i.e. the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC). It then moves on to India’s extended neighbourhood beyond South Asia (i.e. the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and East Asia), and India’s sense of identity within those regions and with regard to their regional structures, i.e. the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC) and Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC— formerly Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand Economic Cooperation), East Asian Summit (EAS) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). All of these involve India’s sense and redefining of ‘regions’, and throw into question varying levels of integration. The-words of Peter Jay come to mind, that ‘good regionalism is good geopolitics; and bad regionalism is bad geopolitics’. 1 Such questions and shifts within India’s sense of ‘region’ and regionalism involve questions of traditional geopolitics as well as critical geopolitics, in which ‘region’ and regionalism for India have been subject to construction and reshaping, the domain of International Relations (IR) constructivism.

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