As a key state in the international system, India’s positions on issues like climate change, health pandemics, trade protectionism, humanitarian crises, intervention and nuclear disarmament significantly affect how these issues are addressed. Scholarly work mapping India’s multilateral behaviour covers the United Nations to a wide range of fora where India negotiates rules that affect its security and development. Yet, the literature on Indian multilateralism lags, focusing disproportionately on India’s ostensibly obstructionist tendencies without adequately contextualizing why India behaves this way. There has been no serious exploration of how India concretely negotiates multilateral issues.
In this book, I investigate how India negotiates international rules focusing on four agreements – Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the GATT’s Uruguay Round Trade Agreement. By unpacking these negotiations, the book shows that India’s multilateral persona is more nuanced than understood. When interests align, Indian negotiators are willing to constructively shape and ratify multilateral agreements, conceding when necessary to cut deals and make compromises.