Fear, Interest and Honour: The Thucydidean Trinity and India's Asia Policy

S. Kalyanaraman was Research Fellow at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • July 2013

    Nearly 2,500 years ago the Greek historian Thucydides noted that the foreign policy of Athens was driven by fear, interest and honour. That these motives continue to drive policy even today is reflected in the three approaches most commonly employed in the study of international relations: realism and neo-realism, which emphasise the pursuit of power and security in an anarchical international system characterised by the security dilemma; liberalism and neo-liberalism, which highlight interdependence and the pursuit of economic interests; and institutionalism and constructivism, which stress upon identity and the quest for prestige and social recognition. 1 How does India's approach to its Asian neighbourhood fit within this three-dimensional framework of fear, interest and honour? That is the question which this commentary explores.