The United States, India and the Global Nuclear Order: Narrative Identity and Representation, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The United States, India and the Global Nuclear Order

Narrative Identity and Representation, 1st Edition

By Tanvi Pate


254 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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In the Post-Cold War era, US nuclear foreign policies towards India witnessed a major turnaround as a demand for ‘cap, reduce, eliminate’ under the Clinton administration was replaced by the implementation of the historic ‘civil nuclear deal’ in 2008 by Bush, a policy which continued under Obama’s administration.

This book addresses the change in US nuclear foreign policy by focusing on three core categories of identity, inequality, and great power narratives. Building upon the theoretical paradigm of critical constructivism, the concept of the ‘state’ is problematised by focusing on identity-related questions arguing that the ‘state’ becomes a constructed entity standing as valid only within relations of identity and difference. Focusing on postcolonial principles, Pate argues that imperialism as an organising principle of identity/difference enables us to understand how difference was maintained in unequal terms through US nuclear foreign policy. This manifested in five great power narratives constructed around peace and justice; India-Pakistan deterrence; democracy; economic progress; and scientific development. Identities of ‘race’, ‘political economy’, and ‘gender’, in terms of ‘radical otherness’ and ‘otherness’ were recurrently utilised through these narratives to maintain a difference enabling the respective administrations to maintain ‘US’ identity as a progressive and developed western nation, intrinsically justifying the US role as an arbiter of the global nuclear order.

A useful work for scholars researching identity construction and US foreign and security policies, US-India bilateral nuclear relations, South Asian nuclear politics, critical security, and postcolonial studies.


"Tanvi Pate succeeds in convincing the reader about the importance of narrative. For example, she shows that we cannot understand the US nuclear foreign aid programme, which was dubbed ‘Atoms for Peace’, without placing it in the context of tropes about assisting democracies to achieve economic progress and global stability…Pate’s book has several thought-provoking and novel insights, such as the link between the Christian identity of the United States and the narrative of peace…". - Karthika Sasikumar, San Jose State University, San Jose, USA

Table of Contents


  1. Reconceptualising Theory and Methodology of Foreign Policy: Narrative, State Identity and Action from a Critical Constructivist-Postcolonial Viewpoint
  2. Creating American Nuclear Subjectivity: ‘Atoms for Peace’ in the Campaign for a New Global Nuclear Order
  3. Is India a Capable Nuclear Power? The Changing Characteristics of India as the ‘Other’ (1947-1992)
  4. Establishing a Post-Cold War Global Nuclear Order: The Bill Clinton Administration’s Conflicting Images of India as the ‘Other’ (1993-2001)
  5. Nuclear America in a Post-9/11 World: India as the ‘Other’ in the Narratives of George W. Bush Administration (2001-2009)
  6. America as the Leader of Non-Proliferation: The Continuation of US-India Nuclear Partnership during Barack Obama Administration (2009-2017)
  7. Understanding the Complexity of Identity/Difference: Analysing Great Power Narratives of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama Administrations from a Postcolonial Viewpoint


About the Author

Tanvi Pate is a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick. Her research interests include critical approaches to international relations and security with a focus on India's bilateral relations, India and the global order and South Asian politics. 

About the Series

Routledge Studies in US Foreign Policy

This new series sets out to publish high quality works by leading and emerging scholars critically engaging with United States Foreign Policy. The series welcomes a variety of approaches to the subject and draws on scholarship from international relations, security studies, international political economy, foreign policy analysis and contemporary international history.

Subjects covered include the role of administrations and institutions, the media, think tanks, ideologues and intellectuals, elites, transnational corporations, public opinion, and pressure groups in shaping foreign policy, US relations with individual nations, with global regions and global institutions and America’s evolving strategic and military policies.

The series aims to provide a range of books – from individual research monographs and edited collections to textbooks and supplemental reading for scholars, researchers, policy analysts, and students.

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