Political Science & International Relations


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Date : 3rd October – 6th October   ,   3:00 pm – 5:30 pm


Lecture 1) Political Science – Theory, Practice and Institutions of State and Governance – National and International.
Lecture 2) Concepts and Ideas of Political Science
Lecture 3) Theory Practice and dynamics of Indian Democracy
Lecture 4) Discussion of selected question from previous years

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Note: These are basic write ups, Topics would be discussed in much detail in our Classroom Program.


India-U.S. bilateral relations have developed into a global strategic partnership, based on increasing convergence of interests on bilateral, regional and global issues. The summit level joint statement issued in June 2016 called the India-U.S. relationship an Enduring Global Partners in the 21st Century. Regular exchange of high-level political visits has provided sustained momentum to bilateral cooperation, while the wide-ranging and ever-expanding dialogue architecture has established a long-term framework for India-U.S. engagement. The U.S.-India relationship has undergone a transformation over the past decade. India being designated as a Major Defence Partner by USA and the various logistics access and interoperability agreements agreed upon testify to the enhanced strategic partnership between USA and India.

The first time an Indian Prime Minister met with an American President (Jawaharlal Nehru and Harry Truman in 1949) ”there were two items on the agenda: Kashmir and China. In the years that followed, India-U.S. relations waxed and waned, with more phases of the latter than the former. 9/11 terrorist attack reinforced a perception of a broader political and strategic similarity of interest pulling India and the US together

 Fortunately, thanks to efforts by successive governments in New Delhi and Washington, the two democracies have left the days of estrangement behind and have moved to a phase of more consistent engagement

The relationship between the United States and India, the world’s largest two democracies collectively housing over a billion and a half people, may turn out to be the world’s most important bilateral relationship in the 21st century. They share deep-seeded values underpinning their common experience of democratic governance amidst multihued social and cultural diversity.

Strategically the relationship is of vital importance to each other because:

  • India, with more than one billion citizens, is often characterized as a nascent great power and indispensable partner of the United States, one that many analysts view as a potential counterweight to China’s growing clout.
  • Many Americans understand the growing strategic importance of India. A strong India is important for balance of power purposes in Asia and for providing stability in the volatile and strategically important Indian Ocean littoral area.
  • There has been a quantum jump in U.S.-India defence ties in the past several years  with joint military exercises, the signing of a 10-year defence framework agreement, and increased interest in defence procurement and collaboration between defence industries.
  • India is an important U.S. partner in international efforts to prevent the further spread of weapons of mass destruction. Despite India’s principled refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), India has shown itself to be a responsible steward of nuclear technology
  • India’s position against radicalism and terrorism corresponds with that of the United States. India has suffered terribly from terrorism, and like the United States is determined to prevent, deter, and disrupt the terrorist groups that most threaten it. There was no hesitation to India’s offer of assistance to the United States following the attacks of September 11, 2001, because India viewed national interests as congruent with those of the United States in uprooting transnational terrorist groups.
  • The United States will continue to be important for India’s economic success. India’s economy has been built around unleashing domestic consumption rather than relying on exports. Even so, India still needs strong trade and investment relationships to meet its vast economic potential. The U.S.-India trade relationship is both substantively important for India and mutually beneficial for both economies.
  • Washington retains unparalleled power and influence in global governance institutions. It demonstrated a willingness to use that influence to India’s benefit when asking for an India-specific exemption in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. It is inconceivable that such an exemption would have been granted without U.S. leadership, allowing India to enter the non-proliferation mainstream and revitalize its nuclear energy sector.
  • India and the United States have signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that will enable both countries to use each others bases for repair and replenishment of defence supplies. The agreement would help India in carrying out operations in the Indian Ocean and expanding its maritime reach in the Asia Pacific
  • China’s expanding connectivity initiatives in South Asia and the Indian Ocean is a growing area of concern for India. Delhi looks at the Belt and Road Initiative with suspicion and as a Chinese foreign policy tool to advance its strategic goals. Of particular concern is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that runs through the disputed territory of Kashmir and, according to Delhi, violates India’s sovereignty. During the recent meet between Modi and Trump, Delhi managed to gain Washington’s support on the issue


In marking 70 years of diplomatic relations between India and the United States, recently both the leaders Prime Minister Modi and President Trump resolved to expand and deepen the strategic partnership between the countries and advance common objectives. Above all, these objectives include combatting terrorist threats, promoting stability across the Indo-Pacific region, increasing free and fair trade, and strengthening energy linkages.


As responsible stewards in the Indo-Pacific region, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi agreed that a close partnership between the United States and India is central to peace and stability in the region. President Trump welcomed further Indian contributions to promote Afghanistan’s democracy, stability, prosperity, and security. Recognizing the importance of their respective strategic partnerships with Afghanistan, the leaders committed to continue close consultations and cooperation in support of Afghanistan’s future. In accord with India’s Think West policy, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi resolved to increase cooperation, enhance diplomatic consultations, and increase tangible collaboration with partners in the Middle East.  The leaders strongly condemned continued provocations by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), emphasizing that its destabilizing pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programs poses a grave threat to regional security and global peace. The leaders called on DPRK to strictly abide by its international obligations and commitments. The Leaders stressed that terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought and terrorist safe havens rooted out in every part of the world. They resolved that India and the United States will fight together against this grave challenge to humanity. India appreciated the United States designation of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen leader as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist as evidence of the commitment of the United States to end terror in all its forms. In this spirit, the leaders welcomed a new consultation mechanism on domestic and international terrorist designations listing proposals.  The leaders called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries. They further called on Pakistan to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups.  The leaders also affirmed their support for a U.N. Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that will advance and strengthen the framework for global cooperation and reinforce the message that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism. Growing Strategic Convergence Further President Trump and Prime Minister Modi pledged to deepen defense and security cooperation, building on the United States recognition of India as a Major Defense Partner. The United States and India look forward to working together on advanced defence equipment and technology at a level commensurate with that of the closest allies and partners of the United States.
Resolving to expand their maritime security cooperation. President Trump welcomed Prime Minister Modi’s strong support for the United States to join as an Observer in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium. Noting the importance of the upcoming MALABAR naval exercise, the leaders determined to expand their engagements on shared maritime objectives and to explore new exercises.  As global non-proliferation partners, the United States also expressed strong support for India’s early membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group. President Trump reaffirmed the support of the United States for India’ permanent membership on a reformed U.N. Security Council.  Surveying United States-India energy ties and the two countries respective energy strategies, the leaders affirmed the continued importance of their Strategic Energy Partnership and of leveraging new opportunities to elevate cooperation to enhance global energy security. The leaders called for a rational approach that balances environment and climate policy, global economic development, and energy security needs.  To conclude, this new face of U.S.-India engagement has been persistently deepening and fostering. So far that United States vividly support India’s rise as a vital component of Asian security and stability. It is necessary for India to have as friendly a relationship with the US as possible. It has to be managed in a way that one can extract the maximum from the relationship while minimising the compromises one has to make to achieve that.



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Note: These are basic write ups, Topics would be discussed in much detail in our Classroom Program. 


India’s constitution envisages a federal mode of organisation.  Federalism has been described as a response to the economic, political and social conditions of a society. It is the method of dividing the power at the level of central, and regional governments within a sphere, where they coordinate and remain independent.

Cooperative Federalism is a concept of federalism in which national, state, and increasingly local governments interact cooperatively and collectively to solve common problems, rather than making policies separately. Cooperative federalism requires robust institutions and mechanisms for promoting intergovernmental relations. The essence of co-operative federalism is that the centre and the state governments should be guided by the broader national concerns of using the available resources for the benefit of the people. The co-operation must ensure the changes envisaged in policy matters are brought about smoothly. Further, the national and regional interests do not clash, thus strengthening in the process a responsive democratic set up.

Historically, the adoption of the concept of federalism was more of a necessity than choice. The prevalence of fissiparous tendencies; religious communal frenzy; and partition of the country called for a centralized federal union. The practical problem of governing culturally and regionally diverse India knocked on the doors of British administration quite early thus resulting in Montague-Chelmsford Report on Constitutional Reforms (1918). Based on this report, Government of India, 1919, devolved some powers and authority to the provinces. Provinces received explicit control over sources of revenue such as land, health, agriculture, irrigation and public works.

 Though this act succeeded in providing a certain amount of autonomy to the provincial authorities, but the Government of India remained a unitary Government. Finally, the Government of India Act, 1935, prescribed a federal type union of autonomous provinces wherein, the Governor-General got the powers to overrule the Provincial government.

Again in the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946, certain proposals for loose asymmetrical federation were mooted. All these proposals of loose federation were almost a dead letter for the newly emergent Indian nationalist elite who were in favour of centralized federal union.

India became independent in 1947 and the then Parliament also serving as a constituent assembly adopted a new Constitution, which came into effect on January 26, 1950 establishing the Federal Union of India. The framers of the constitution provided for the federal form of government under Article 246 and VII Schedule to the constitution but they deliberately refrained from using the term federation, as in their considered view, it might impede the objective of Unity and Integrity of the Nation. Cooperation and accommodation only can provide the stopover at the crossroads of aggression between antagonistic (regional, religious, linguistic and ethnic) groups. But the multiplicity in the post- independence diversities present a bumpy terrain.

Cooperative Federalism as a concept was not new to India, and was one of the major instruments used by prominent leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to persuade and cajole 492 princely states to join Indian union. Under Nehruvian era, State Reorganisation Act, leading to the formation of five zonal councils was an important step towards cooperation.

Article 1 of the Constitution states India that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.While the Constitution doesn’t mention the term federal, it does provide for a governance structure federal in nature

The idea of competitive federalism gained significance in India post the 1990s economic reforms. Competitive federalism is a concept where centre competes with states and vice-versa, and states compete with each other. In a free-market economy, the endowments of states, available resource base and their comparative advantages all foster a spirit of competition. States need to compete among themselves and also with the Centre for benefits. Increasing globalisation, however, made the already existing inequalities and imbalances between states starker. This gave rise to concerns about states’ freedom to formulate their own growth policies.

There has been a felt need for a change from competitive to cooperative relationship in the working of the federal constitution.

Cooperative federalism means that the centre and the states share a horizontal relationship and neither is above the other. The concept of cooperative federalism helps the federal system, with its divided jurisdiction to act in unison. It minimizes friction and promotes cooperation among the various constituent governments of the federal union so that they can pool their resources to achieve certain desired national goals. For instance: GST intends to transform India into a true economic union, with the aim of One Nation, One Tax, One Market.  The free movement of goods and services will give fillip to employment opportunities and give consumers a wider choice and better prices. This economic integration will not only boost economic growth, but also bind the nation better. Indeed, GST in India in its conception, enactment and implementation is an example of real co-operative federalism at work, in tune with the unique character of India – “Unity in Diversity”.


Strong steps must be taken to strengthen cooperative federalism.

  • The disbandment of the Planning Commission (PC) and its replacement by the NITI Aayog is specifically designed to promote cooperative federalism. NITI Aayog will concentrate on the broader policy framework instead of micro resource-allocated functions. The setting up of the Niti Aayog is widely expected to set the stage for dealing with contemporary challenges, shunning the earlier one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Need for the reactivation of the Centre-State Council. Under Article 263, this council is expected to inquire and advise on disputes, discuss subjects common to all states and make recommendations for better policy coordination. Its effective utilisation would lend legitimacy to cooperative federalism
  • With increasing difficulty in the early enactment of key legislation, it’s expected that on contentious issues like land, labour and natural resources, the state will promote best practices. This will enable greater investment and economic activity in states with a favourable regulatory framework. Enactment by states must secure expeditious Central approval.
  • State bills which are reserved for President assent should be disposed of as early as possible. This creates impediment in the growth of the country and ultimately it hits the cooperation between centre and state.
  • In areas of concurrent responsibility, the Centre has had a tendency to ride roughshod over the States by occupying the common legislative space. A reform of the seventh schedule lists in the direction of greater empowerment of States would be consistent with the logic of increased financial transfers and cooperative federalism
  • While negotiating the international treaties involvement of states should be there with greater extent as its implementing will surely going to impact on the states. As India becomes globally more interdependent, these potential contentious issues must be resolved


Imposition of President Rule (article 356) has been the most exploited instrument used by the centre which has caused confrontation between centre and the states, as seen recently in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh. Also, obscure distinction of power has led to conflicts between Delhi government and central government.

Hence there is urgent need to strengthen this cooperation. In this context, S.R Bomai case worth mentioning, in which Supreme Court decreed centre to apply President Rule only on substantial constitutional reason and put it under the ambit of judicial review.

However, few positive notes can also be pinned up here in recent context. Firstly, 42 per cent devolution of funds to states as declared by Finance Commission and;

Secondly, Land boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh in which states like West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam and Tripura fully cooperated with the Central Government. Such type of cooperation has played a significant role in establishing democratic rule and sustaining it till present times


Co-operative federalism is a dynamic and flexible process of cooperation. Interdependence among governments has become a universal feature in all contemporary federal systems. Harmony and cooperation between the centre and the states and among the states is essential for healthy functioning of our federation. The Prime Minister, while addressing the Nation on the 70th anniversary of Independence, spoke about the role of competitive cooperative federalism in India’s development. Competitive Federalism is another instrument of efficiency and cooperation. A fair competition needs to be encouraged as all states are not equally capable or resourceful of competing with each other. India is a beautiful melting pot of diversity. The same needs to be valued and cherished. And there is not a better way to do so than by cooperative Federalism.

To conclude both the cooperative and competitive federalism is needed to achieve the proper growth of the nation. There should be balance between both. Cooperation plays a crucial role in dealing with many economic and social policies. Also, a healthy competition is always appreciated.  Lastly, it can be concluded that both the type of federalism is not mutually exclusive concept. They are the two sides of a same coin. They have the same basic principle underlying – progress of the nation as a whole.


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Note: These are basic write ups, Topics would be discussed in much detail in our Classroom Program.

The foreign policy of a country is the sum total of the principles, interests and objectives which it seeks to promote through its relations with other countries. Foreign Policy is a dynamic concept of international politics. In the altered global scenario of the post -cold war period Indian foreign policy marks a departure from Nehruvian period. India has to deal with complex world which is full of plethora of challenges as well as opportunities.

India’s foreign policy in the 21st Century is appraised due to the interplay of geo-economics with geopolitics and India’s search for a visible and a constructive role on the global map. Present leadership with massive mandate at home is set to discover new vistas in the sphere of foreign relations.
In 1947 India’s foreign policy makers had to deal with a host of challenges: the partition of the country, creation of Pakistan, extreme poverty, military weakness, underdevelopment, backwardness in the core sectors of Indian industries, simmering religious and regional tensions. However, a deep belief in Third World solidarity and cooperation encouraged independent India to establish relations with all of its neighbours and the other newly independent countries of the developing world.
Non –alignment is the doctrinal foundation of India‘s foreign policy. It was adopted by Pt. Nehru to keep away India from cold war bloc politics. Being cardinal base of India’s foreign policy the non-alignment served her interest in post Nehruvian period. But the end of cold war and emergence of unipolar world politics has forced India to bring changes in her foreign policy.

The visible change in India’s foreign policy was apparent from the early 1970s with Indira Gandhi coming to power. Dramatic changes like the first nuclear tests in Pokhran in 1974, India’s role in East Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh, close and friendly relations with the Soviet Union were the highlights of this period’s foreign policy.
Later the initiation of the period of liberalization from the early 1990s not only commenced a new period in India’s political and economic growth and development, but the foreign policy sector too witnessed extensive transformations. The second round of nuclear tests in Pokhran in May 1998, in fact, could be the beginning of this pragmatism and proactive materialization of India’s foreign policy.
However in the last two decades the Indian policy establishment has been confronting multiple existential issues and threats: the inevitable rise of China and the intensified US-China competition in the Asia-Pacific, the revival and reconsideration of India’s relations with Africa and the power volatility of the Middle East in the context of sustained energy supply and energy security, expanding and consolidating relations with South East Asia and Japan, dealing with the nuclear issues etc. All these factors deeply influenced in the foreign policy formulation.

In keeping with that quest, India’s multilateral relations with countries around the world have gained tremendous momentum, and in the last decade, India has become a member of a wide array of multilateral bodies in economic and other spheres. India’s participation is visible in a number of such bodies like G-20, BRICS, IBSA, as well as with those fora with pronounced thrust towards economic cooperation like ASEAN, EAS, WTO, BIMSTEC etc.

Another major aspect of India’s foreign policy for some years now has been an attempt to raise India’s profile in the United Nations. India feels that given India’s size as one of the most populated nations in the word, the record of unbroken and smoothly functioning democracy, the contributions that India has made to the United Nations missions worldwide and India’s economic power and influence in the region, India should have a permanent seat at the security council.
It is also obvious that approximately 25 million strong Indian Diaspora has an impact on India’s foreign policy. They are an important factor in the bilateral relationship with the countries where they have a significant presence. They play a particularly important role in soft power diplomacy.
Indian foreign policy is in the throes of change, ever since Narendra Modi assumed charge as Prime Minister in 2014 riding a popular mandate. Just being a balancing force globally, Modi has etched out an assertive role for India that seeks to make it a leading power. This is evident in Modi’s global outreach to clinch India the coveted membership of Missile Technology Control Regime(MTCR), Nuclear Suppliers group(NSG), although China played spoiler in the latter case.

Also When Modi rhetorically replaced two decades of India’s ‘Look East’ policy with ‘Act East,’ the purpose was to show greater intent in realising what had long been an aspiration for India: to become an integral part of Asia.Modi came to power with a “neighbourhood first” agenda. He signalled his commitment by inviting all the leaders of SAARC nations for his inauguration as Prime Minister. His very first bilateral visit in June 2014 was to India’s “best friend” Bhutan and the second in August was to Nepal.

Underlying all these were visits to Japan and various European countries with a view to enticing investors and aid. The visits to the US were a special category, aimed at shoring up ties with the only country that could help India offset Chinese power, and whose friendship opened the doors to many other countries and institutions.
The neighbourhood pattern was repeated in 2015, but this time focusing on the Indian Ocean when there were visits to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka as well as to Bangladesh and Afghanistan. A third set of priorities became visible through Modi’s 2016 visits to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Qatar. He had already visited the UAE in August 2016, and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan became the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in 2017.
During Modi’s visit to Iran in May 2016, the geopolitically important Chabahar port agreement was signed by Iran, India and Afghanistan. The visits of the presidents of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to India in December gave impetus to India’s relations with the Central Asian countries. The visit of the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to India in September was important in the context of the turbulent situation in West Asia.
PM Modi’s policies are also designed to attract foreign capital and technology, and seek foreign markets for Indian products, they are also geared towards a closer linkage of regional stability, peace and prosperity. India’s foreign policy under Modi demonstrates a marked change and exceptional dynamism.

But the foreign policy of India also underwent various challenges:

• Relations with Pakistan, always volatile, got more deadlocked during the year as Pakistan-based terrorists attacked Indian military bases in Pathankot, Uri and Nagrota and Nawaz Sharif, upon whose better sense Modi had relied, led a virulent anti-India campaign, including one in the UN, after the killing of Burhan Wani, burying for the time being any hope that he could set India-Pakistan relations on a better course.

• Managing China is the most tedious of all relationships as apart from its global ambitions China through its financial and military muscle and liberal doles has created a strong constituency in India’s neighbourhood that could work at cross purposes with our foreign policy objectives. China’s ‘String of Pearls’ strategy fits well with its China -Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative and Belt & Road projects. In fact, it expands Chinese influence way beyond, much to our strategic discomfort.

• Terrorism has been the biggest threat to India for decades especially from Pakistan sponsored terrorist groups. India’s efforts to get the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the UN have been stymied by lack of commitment on the part of major countries. Countries like China despite their own exposure to terrorism continue to shield Pakistani terrorists like Masood Azhar, and Russia is averse to declaring Pakistan a terrorism sponsoring state.

• Another challenge to India’s foreign policy, that is to achieve the permanent membership in UN Security Council. ―India formed a group with Germany, Japan and Brazil called G-4, who were equally strong contenders for permanent membership of the Council and vociferously campaigned for more representation to developing countries.
While dwelling on India’s foreign policy challenges in 2017, the biggest challenge that has surfaced in years is that India’s political Opposition’s failure to present a united bipartisan front on India’s foreign policy and India’s national security challenges. It affects India’s national image which is an important foreign policy input for Major Powers as they devise their Indian policies.

Foreign policy is changeable; it changes with time and circumstances. India s policy planner brought changes in foreign policy according to changed world scenario. With her long-term and short-term national interest, India’s foreign policy becomes closer to realistic approach. But it is hard to say that, the idealistic components of India s foreign policy are just irrelevant.The way in which the interaction between India and the rest of the world evolves will have a bearing both on India’s development and the resolution of significant global challenges.


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Lecture 1) Political Science – Theory, Practice and Institutions of State and Governance – National and International

• The origin and evolution of the study of political science – as a scientific study of the matters considered ‘political’.
• The concept of ‘Polity’ and ‘State’. A genealogical understanding of the emergence of the ‘Modern State’ from the Greek idea of ‘Polis’. 3000 years of evolution of Polity and State.
• A genealogical study of the Indian State establishing linkages of continuity and deviance from the pre independence to the post-independence political concepts in India
• A comparative study of the Indian State and Polity with foreign states – USA, UK, Israel, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh- the similarities and dissimilarities.

Lecture 2) Concepts and Ideas

• Power, Hegemony, Ideology and Legitimacy
• Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism and Feminism
• A brief introduction to Indian Political Thought
• A brief introduction to Western Political Thought

Lecture 3) Theory Practice and dynamics of Indian Democracy

• The basic ideas at work at Indian Polity – Separation of Powers, Independence of Judiciary, Federalism, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles
• Challenges of Governance – A general introduction with special reference to State under Article 370, 371, and the fifth and sixth schedule of the Constitution.
• An introduction to the institutional framework constituted under the State, their roles, duties and paradigms – Election Commission, CAG, Finance Commission, UPSC etc
• Emergency Provisions
• Armed Forces Special Power Act

Lecture 4) Discussion of selected question from previous years.

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