Walking the Thin Line: India’s Anti-Racist Diplomatic Practice in South Africa, Canada and Australia, 1946-1955

Alexander Davis, Vineet Thakur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Historians of India's foreign policy have often failed to see beyond the ‘Great man’ Jawaharlal Nehru. This Nehru-centric vision is not only misleading, but also unfair to Nehru. Here, we seek to take the gaze off Nehru and New Delhi so as to view Indian foreign policy from different locations. We examine the ways in which India's diplomats in Australia, Canada, and South Africa resisted racial discrimination. India's anti-racist diplomacy has most often been viewed as pointless moralistic ranting: the domain of the ‘hypersensitive, emotional’ Indian. We argue, however, based on largely unexamined archival material and an emphasis on the practice of Indian diplomacy, that India's diplomats in these bastions of settler-colonial racism were tactful, strategic, and effective in challenging racist, colonial practices and bringing an anti-racist discourse to international politics. Nehruvian foreign-policy discourse, and its goal of an anti-racist world order, then, was tempered by its diplomatic practices. In particular, this occurred outside of New Delhi in places where India's hopes for productive international relationships clashed with its Nehruvian worldview.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-899
JournalInternational History Review
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

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