Realist Approaches to the Study of International Relations of South Asia

Authored by: Rajesh Rajagopalan

Routledge Handbook of the International Relations of South Asia

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032159881
eBook ISBN: 9781003246626
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter provides a brief overview of how Realism can explain the international politics of South Asia. It begins with a brief overview of the limited Realist works on South Asian international politics, and then moves to look at what a Realist approach to South Asian International Relations (IR) might/should look like. This includes sections on the following variables that Realism would consider important: relative power and its consequences for South Asian international relations, the systemic/global factors and how they affect the region, and geography/proximity effects in South Asia. The subsequent section outlines some puzzles that none of these Realist variables can fully explain, such as India's inordinate focus on Pakistan instead of China and India's difficulty in leading the region despite its material dominance, followed by a brief concluding section.

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