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Gaurav Singh asked: What is the difference between Globalisation and Internationalisation?

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  • Ashok Kumar Behuria replies: Both globalisation and internationalisation imply processes that seek to go beyond the local, national and regional phenomena and bring these together in an interdependent relationship, which make these processes enduring, if not irreversible. However, there are subtle differences between the two.

    Globalisation is commonly referred to as a process that facilitates worldwide cross-country movement of capital (financial, material and intellectual) and labour. It is an incessant process that is as old as human civilisation; however, on the back of an unprecedented technological revolution in the 20th century, the world is witnessing globalisation of a massive scale with dizzying fastness never seen before.

    While globalisation is often conceived in economic terms, internationalisation is often associated with political issues. This is not to deny that corporate houses, in their bid to globalise, use ‘internationalisation’ as a parallel or sub-process that feeds into globalisation by making their ventures as well as products cope with local circumstances in terms of technically adapting to the local legal environment and market, and simultaneously culturally catering to local tastes.

    ‘Internationalisation’ also has a pronounced political dimension, used both in value-neutral and pejorative sense. For example, when India seeks to take ‘Yoga’ to the wider world, it is a neutral endeavour to internationalise a predominantly local/cultural/traditional practice, but when Pakistan seeks to internationalise the ‘Kashmir issue’, it has pejorative connotations, because by so doing, it intends to show India in bad light. It can thus be used as a strategy to raise the diplomatic stakes of a particular country at the cost of another.

    These two terms are used loosely and interchangeably by many users given the blurring of conceptual boundaries between the two. However, with increasing use of these terms by both academics and corporates, these concepts may be defined more sharply in the days to come, leading one to draw neat conceptual boundaries between them. 

    Posted on August 05, 2020

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or the Government of India.