India is not content with its current international status. Indian foreign policy-makers assume that India is a unique and important state and India wants to be regarded as a leading power of equal status to world powers such as the US, Russia, and China. Ultimately India would like to see a world order in which US dominance is replaced by multi-polarity where power in the international system is shared among key states. This ambition is held in spite of the fact that India is short of some of the sources of material power, namely military capability and economic wealth, that major powers are assumed to possess. Since the mid 1990s India has changed its foreign policy profile and boosted its image. Much is made of speculation that India will emerge as one of the world’s largest economies (Narlikar, 2007: 984–5). The strategic value given to India by US security planners is also taken as confirmation of India as a world power (Pant, 2007b: 57). Although for some commentators these bold ambitions represent a new departure in Indian foreign policy, we see strong continuity in policy-making. The 1998 nuclear tests and improved relations with the United States are important developments but their importance should not be overstated.
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