1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of the International Relations of South Asia

Edited By Šumit Ganguly, Frank O'Donnell Copyright 2023
    512 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This handbook offers a comprehensive overview of the international relations of South Asia.

    South Asia as a region is increasingly assuming greater significance in global politics for a host of compelling reasons. This volume offers the most comprehensive collection of perspectives on the international politics of South Asia, and it it covers an extensive range of issues spanning from inter-state wars to migration in the region. Each contribution provides a careful discussion of the four major theoretical approaches to the study of international politics: Realism, Constructivism, Liberalism, and Critical Theory. In turn, the chapters discuss the relevance of each approach to the issue area addressed in the book. The volume offers coverage of the key issues under four thematic sections:

    - Theoretical Approaches to the Study of the International Relations of South Asia

    - Traditional and Emerging Security Issues in South Asia

    - The International Relations of South Asia

    - Cross-cutting Regional Issues

    Further, every effort has been made in the chapters to discuss the origins, evolution and future direction of each issue.

    This book will be of much interest to students of South Asian politics, human security, regional security, and International Relations in general.


    Šumit Ganguly and Frank O’Donnell


    1. Realist Approaches to the International Relations of South Asia

    Rajesh Rajagopalan

    2. Liberal Approaches to the International Relations of South Asia

    Ian Hall

    3. Constructivist Approaches to the International Relations of South Asia

    Aditi Malhotra

    4. Critical Theory Approaches to the International Relations of South Asia

    Shibashis Chatterjee


    5. Indian Strategic Culture

    Rajesh Basrur

    6. Pakistan’s Strategic Culture

    Jamison C. Heinkel

    7. The Evolution of the Sino-Indian Rivalry

    Manjeet S. Pardesi

    8. The Evolution of the India-Pakistan Rivalry

    Mahesh Shankar

    9. India’s Nuclear Weapons Program

    Yogesh Joshi

    10. Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program

    Hannah Haegeland and Arzan Tarapore 

    11. Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in South Asia: Government Support for Militant Groups in South Asia

    Tricia Bacon

    12. Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies in South Asia

    Subhasish Ray

    13. Indian and Pakistani Conventional Military Doctrines

    Frank O’Donnell

    14. Track Two Diplomacy and the India-Pakistan Conflict

    Peter Jones

    15. Human Security in South Asia

    Swarna Rajagopalan

    16. South Asia: States of Cyber(in)security

    Trisha Ray


    17. Afghanistan’s Relations with South Asia: Diplomacy amid Conflict

    Michael Kugelman

    18. Sri Lanka and South Asia

    Nilanthi Samaranayake

    19. Bangladesh’s International Relations with South Asia and Beyond

    Ali Riaz

    20. Domestic Politics and Structural Constraints: Pakistan and its South Asian Neighbors

    Ryan Brasher

    21. India’s Relations with Her Neighbours

    Chris Ogden

    22. Reinventing Non-Alignment in South Asia:The Foreign Policies of Nepal and the Maldives

    Nicolas Blarel and Constantino Xavier

    23. Trends in U.S. Policy Toward South Asia

    Jeff Smith

    24. China and South Asia: Beijing Builds Influence

    Andrew Scobell

    25. Russia and South Asia

    Vidya Nadkarni

    26. Japan’s Relations with South Asia

    Monika Chansoria

    27. The UK and South Asia

    David Scott

    28. France and South Asia

    Gilles Boquérat

    29. Germany’s South Asia Policy

    Christian Wagner


    30. The Politics of Climate Change in South Asia

    Dhanasree Jayaram

    31. Polycentric versus State-Led South Asian Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Dinsha Mistree

    32. Refugees and Migration in South Asia

    Kavita Khory

    33. Space Programs, Policies, and Diplomacy in South Asia

    Ajey Lele

    34. Regional Trade and Investment in South Asia

    Surupa Gupta


    Šumit Ganguly is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science and holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. He is an author or editor of over 20 books, including the Routledge Handbook of Asian Security Studies (2009; 2019).

    Frank O’Donnell is the Deputy Director of the South Asia Program at the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington, DC. He publishes and comments widely on Southern Asian security issues, including co-authoring India and Nuclear Asia: Forces, Doctrine, and Dangers (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2019).

    'This is, hands down, the most comprehensive volume on South Asia’s geostrategy, security, and international relations published to date. Juxtaposing leading IR theories with essays by noted country experts, it is an indispensable resource for scholars, policymakers, and students seeking to understand a complex and increasingly important region.'

    Neil DeVotta, Wake Forest University, USA

    'Enriched by the four theoretical approaches to the study of International Relations of South Asia, the articles included in the book provide a variety of perspectives on aspects of traditional and non-traditional securities besides raising the agenda of redefinition of security. The book is immensely useful to the serious scholars, policy makers and students of international relations of South Asia.'

    Lok Raj Baral, Former Professor Political Science,Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, and Former Ambassador of Nepal to India

    'This intellectually rigorous and comprehensive handbook is a significant contribution to the understanding of South Asia’s dealings with the world and to IR studies in general. Presenting the views of preeminent scholars and applying IR theory to south Asian practice, the 34 chapters of the book reveal the strengths and limitations of different theoretical approaches, examine strategic culture, illuminate the international relationships of major actors, and describe the longer term implications of trans-national issues like terrorism, climate change and outer space. Its writing makes it accessible to the informed layman. This is a book to savour, to return to often, and is destined to become a standard work of reference, setting a high standard for future scholars of South Asian IR.'

    Shivshankar Menon, Centre for China Studies, Ashoka University, India

    'This is an extraordinarily comprehensive, up to date, and high-quality volume on South Asia’s international relations. Its 34 chapters cover the four major theoretical approaches – realism, liberalism, constructivism and critical theory – and the entire gamut of issues from longstanding security issues within the region to emerging security issues like cybersecurity, space and refugees, to political economy, to country-specific international relations, perspectives from major world capitals and cross-national issues such as climate change and Covid. It will be a vital reference point for scholars of IR working on South Asia for a long time to come.'

    Eswaran Sridharan, Academic Director and Chief Executive Officer, University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India, New Delhi, India