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Sumitha Narayanan Kutty is Associate Research Fellow with the South Asia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore. Her work focuses on India’s foreign and security policies across the Indo-Pacific with special interest in the Middle East. She has extensive fieldwork experience including in Iran, Israel, UAE, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the strategic island states of Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles. She has published in journals such as The Washington Quarterly and Asia Policy and her analysis has appeared in Al Jazeera, Al-Monitor, Bloomberg, Channel News Asia, CNBC, Hindustan Times, Lawfare, Lobe Log, The Diplomat, The Hindu and The National Interest among others. She is co-editor (with Rajesh Basrur) of India and Japan: Assessing the Strategic Partnership (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Sumitha previously worked at the Atlantic Council of the United States, Albright Stonebridge Group and the World Resources Institute in Washington DC and as a research scholar at The Takshashila Institution, India. She was a broadcast journalist in India where she assisted in the coverage of the 2008 Mumbai Attacks, Indian parliamentary and state elections, and tracked key political and security developments across South Asia. She holds multiple degrees in journalism from India and a master’s degree in security studies from Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

Sumitha’s project is titled ‘Rising India and the Global Order: Explaining the Post-Cold War Shift in Worldview’ and aims to examine why, given its ambition to be a “leading power,” has India shown reduced proclivity toward intervention after the Cold War despite significant growth in material capabilities? The shift from India’s first worldview, i.e. weak state with greater projection of force during the Cold War, to the second worldview – a rising power that is less coercive – contests the popular reading of rising power behaviour. This study proposes to explain the shift by examining select cases during and after the Cold War and takes into account both material and ideational factors that shaped India’s strategic behaviour. It aims to contribute to our understanding of a critical non-Western view of the world order – the Indian view – through a lens that transcends paradigmatic boundaries.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Walter Ladwig