ABSTRACT

What is India's role in the world today? What changes have occurred in the country's role over the period since independence? What changes in its role can one reasonably forecast for the near future? These are important questions about a major national actor in the international system. Of even greater significance are questions relating to the perceptions held by the leadership about the appropriate role for the country: What is the elite's perception of a desirable role for India in the world? What role does it perceive to be feasible in the present structure of world power? What is its posture toward the congruence or incongruence of the two perceptions? Such questions about nations in general have been of special interest to students of international politics and foreign decisionmakers alike and are, under the rubric of "elite images," a major preoccupation of researchers today.