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India’s Reluctant Approach to R2P: Lessons from Perilous Interventions

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This contribution uses the analytical lens of ‘reluctance’ to assess some of the broader implications of the arguments made by Hardeep Singh Puri in Perilous Interventions. Based on a conceptualization of reluctance that entails the two constitutive dimensions of ‘hesitation’ and ‘recalcitrance’, the article finds that India was only moderately reluctant when it came to UNSCR 1973, but grew increasingly reluctant vis-à-vis R2P after military operations in Libya. Puri’s book reveals how India’s growing reluctance on R2P was shaped by the perception that the West was driven by an appetite for interventionism and regime change. These insights are helpful to make sense of the broader phenomenon of India’s and other rising powers’ reluctant approach to world politics. Reluctance can result from efforts to deal with either competing expectations articulated by different actors, or with competing norms (e.g., protection of civilians and sovereignty; status recognition as a responsible country and autonomy).

Affiliations: 1: Helmut Schmidt University and GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Germany,


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