The Role of Science and Technology Diplomacy in Indian Foreign Policy
: An Assessment of Issues and Opportunities

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Science and Technology (S&T) has historically shaped international diplomacy before contemporary times and continues to be influential in foreign policy and International Relations (IR) during the present era. Civilizations, empires and modern nation-states have consistently sought to utilize S&T to navigate through key periods of human history such as European Colonialism, the two World Wars, the Cold War and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent times — the role of S&T in shaping diplomacy, foreign policy and IR has gained an increasing amount of international academic attention with organizations such as the Royal Society; American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); and Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) striving to situate the theoretical basis of the field for scholarly and practical application, including at a state level in the contemporary international system. Like the US and Japan, India — a state with a vast S&T infrastructure — has also declared its intention to utilize S&T Diplomacy to achieve its foreign policy objectives through its Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2013, and through other significant instruments of state policy.

However — unlike the US and Japan — the South Asian rising power's utilization of S&T Diplomacy as an instrument of foreign policy meant to achieve state interests remains under- studied and poorly understood. It is in this context that this study seeks to situate the role of S&T Diplomacy in India's foreign policy by examining the S&T components of its development cooperation and space programmes, and their impact on the country's international relations in the 21st Century. This study draws from a rich reservoir of primary documents and a set of original interviews. It also builds upon secondary literature for theoretical and substantive components. Through this study, an attempt is made to contribute to the existing understanding of the nature of India's S&T Diplomacy to aid future research efforts on the subject.
Date of Award1 Apr 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorHarsh Pant (Supervisor) & Jahnavi Phalkey (Supervisor)

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