The Relevance of National Identity Narratives in Shaping Foreign Policy
AbstractThis article explores the following question: are India’s relations with Pakistan more confrontational and less cooperative when the political elite constituting the government espouses religious–cultural identity narratives as opposed to one that articulates a secular conception of self? In order to understand whether and how national narratives play a role in shaping interstate politics, I analyse national identity discourses and events (1990–2003). My findings indicate that while the political elite articulating a religious–cultural identity undertook more assertive forms of coercive diplomacy in the period under consideration, it was not unrestrained, because at the same time, this very political elite also engaged in more cooperative actions vis-Ã -vis Pakistan, in contrast to parties articulating a secular self. These findings contribute to our understanding of Indo-Pak relations and to the discussion on the relevance of identity within constructivism in IR theory.