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Tiffin Talks @ Brookings India | From inaction to intervention: India’s regional involvement

When does India get involved when one of its neighboring countries faces a regime crisis, an internal conflict, or a coup? And why does India in some cases engage authoritarian governments and in other cases support democratization? To explain such variation, Constantino Xavier examined Indian responses to crises in the three neighboring countries of Nepal, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and Myanmar (Burma), across three time periods (1950s-60s, 1980s, 2000s). By reconstructing policy debates in government, based on newly declassified materials and interviews with close to one hundred decision-makers, the case studies demonstrate that India has developed and deployed a range of tools to shape the internal affairs of its neighbours, from conflict mediation to covert coercion. Beyond mere geostrategic assessments, India’s involvement abroad is informed by its liberal and democratic experience at home.

Speaker Profile: Xavier is a fellow at Carnegie India in New Delhi. Previously, he worked at the Brookings Institution, as a media correspondent in South Asia, and as an adviser to the Embassy of Portugal in New Delhi during the presidency of the European Union. He has held fellowships at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). Xavier holds a Ph.D. in South Asian Studies from the Johns Hopkins University, has an M.Phil. and M.A. from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, and completed his undergraduate studies in Lisbon and Paris.

This discussion was private and off-the-record.

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