ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Between Empire(s), Great Powers, and Moral Calculus

Seeking India’s Global Normative Power

Through a reading of the United Nations Security Council resolutions 2593 and 2615 and India’s call on Ukraine, it is argued that rising powers like India need to be more attentive to the politics of strategic autonomy that rests not only on a reading of the moral calculus but also the politics of empire and the imperial logics that underpin great power interests.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. In terms of major events that can be ascribed to the “great powers,” this comes after the United States (US) exit from Afghanistan (31 August 2022) that ended the US’s longest war. For scholars and policy analysts, this has once again brought a renewed focus on territorial borders, sovereignty, interstate wars, a rule-based global order and great powers—ironically, yet again, foregrounding a Western perspective in our understanding of the changing “international.”

The Western gaze, once again, puts complex geopolitical historie(s) on the margins—as well as any discussion on empire, imperial relations, hierarchies, hegemony and constitution of political subjectivities that does not align with the camouflaged moral calculus of the West furthering great power interest—in the name of liberal normative order. Barkawi (2017: 2) very rightly contends that “international rel­ations [IR] was foun­ded amidst empire but discovered instead only a world of sovereign states and their collective action problems.” And, of course, this world of sovereign states has also been studied predominantly from the pers­pective of great powers, and ironically, small states, middle powers or rising powers still find limited attention both in academic and policy writing.

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Updated On : 22nd Mar, 2022
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