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Thakur, Vineet (2017) 'Liberal, Liminal and Lost: India’s First Diplomats and the Narrative of Foreign Policy.' The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 45 (2). pp. 232-258.

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Indian historiography has largely overlooked the contribution of Indian Liberals in the pre-independence era. It is worse in Indian diplomatic history where studies on pre-independence are few and far between. Responding to this double excision, this article traces the emergence of a new Indian narrative of foreign policy around the issues of equality and justice in the immediate aftermath of the First World War. Anchoring their argumentativeness in diplomatic finesse, Indian Liberals such as Satyendra Prasanno Sinha, V. S. Srinivasa Sastri and Tej Bahadur Sapru relentlessly campaigned for racial equality and predominance of the rights of people over the rights of states at the Imperial Conferences. In the articulation of these views, South Africa, a country where ideas about the status of Indians and Indian civilisation were most contested, emerged as the singular foreign policy ‘other’ around which India’s foreign policy narrative was constructed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Indian historiography, foreign policy, Jan Smuts, Indian diplomats, Liberals
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISSN: 03086534
Copyright Statement: © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History on 28 Feb 2017, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 21 May 2017 17:44

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