About us

About us

Established in August 1981, ICRIER is an autonomous, policy-oriented, not-for-profit, economic policy think tank. ICRIER’s main focus is to enhance the knowledge content of policy making by undertaking analytical research that is targeted at informing India’s policy makers and also at improving the interface with the global economy. ICRIER’s Board of Governors include leading academicians, policymakers, and representatives from the private sector. Dr. Isher Ahluwalia is ICRIER’s chairperson. Dr. Rajat Kathuria is Director and Chief Executive.


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Since inception in 1892, Tata Trusts, India’s oldest philanthropy, has played a pioneering role in bringing about an enduring difference in the lives of the communities it serves. Guided by the principles and the vision of proactive philanthropy of its Founder, Jamsetji Tata, the Trusts’ purpose is to catalyse development in the areas of healthcare and nutrition, water and sanitation, education, energy, rural upliftment, urban poverty alleviation, and arts, craft and culture. Tata Trusts’ programmes, achieved through direct implementation, partnerships and grant making, are marked by innovations, relevant to the country. (more)

Rowman and Littlefield International
Rowman & Littlefield International (RLI) is an independent, interdisciplinary publisher in the Humanities & Social Sciences. We are committed to bringing incisive modern scholarship to a global readership in multiple formats. We firmly believe in the value of publishing cutting-edge research for a scholarly audience.

Rowman and Littlefield International look forward to publishing the forthcoming volume on Values in Foreign Policy, which will make a significant contribution to this ever-relevant subject of global importance.



  1. The project aims to examine the driving forces of foreign policy in selected important countries in America, Europe and Asia. This is not to ignore by any means the remaining parts of the globe, but to limit the scope of the project in order to achieve a degree of coherence. It is well understood that this book may be the first, but certainly not the last, word in studying the bases for the construction and practice of foreign policy in various parts of the world.
  2. Defining the terms; values are principles or standards of behaviour; and important Asian nations for this project will comprise the bigger fast-growing economies, among others, India, Indonesia, China, South Korea and Japan. The influence of values in the foreign policy – irrespective of the consistency of their observance – of Western countries is examined in respect of the United States, European foreign and economic policy, and Germany. Attention is also paid to the making of foreign policy in the Russian federation which spans both Europe and Asia, and Muslim countries. In the latter, whether Islam impacts directly or indirectly on foreign policy in ‘secular’ Turkey and ‘Islamic’ Iran.
  3. The project has entailed researching published sources, foreign policy initiatives by Asia and the West, and a high-level international seminar is planned for 2019.
  4. The book resulting from this study will be published by Rowman & Littlefield International (UK/USA) in 2019.
  5. This web portal has been created to facilitate conversations on the interface between values and foreign policy among scholars and others interested in this subject.


Research Background

Emergence of Values, Entitlements, and Rights

US President Woodrow Wilson was the first to come up with a slate of universal values with his 18-point programme in 1918. The League of Nations was unable to consolidate these principles and gain international acceptability for them.  In the idealism that surrounded the creation of the United Nations, values were transformed into rights when the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. While not legally binding, member-states were urged to promote a number of human, civil, economic and social rights. The instrument’s normative language influenced the drafting of many independence constitutions and led in 1966 and 1976 to the Covenants of Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which, together with the Universal Declaration, form the International Bill of Rights.

The idea of Asian nationalism was created by figures like Sun Yat-sen, Okakura Kuzuko, Rabindranath Tagore, Maulana Azad and other pre-World War II savants, who called upon Asia to provide a political and psychological arena for resisting colonialism. Nehru’s generation of Indian leaders saw itself as the avant-garde in implementation of human rights and the anti-colonial movement claimed the same values-based platform for the colonized as for the colonizers. The Asian Relations Conference of 1947 convened even before Indian independence was a result of pan-Asian idealism when such concepts were discussed.

Asian nationalism contributed to the argument that Rights are European; Order is Asian. The debate whether priority should be given to human rights or political stability, a theme separating opposite camps during the Cold War, returned as a clash of values after the Cold War in the context of humanitarian interventions and the human rights agenda promoted by the West in its dealings with emerging Asia, especially when the West ignored the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs, which Asia regarded as fundamental. The debate around Asian values resurfaced in the 1990s in different circumstances, when Asian nations, led by Singapore and China, in preparation for the UN 1993 human rights conference, sought to identify Asian human rights in a document called ‘The Bangkok Declaration.’ At the UN conference in 1993, developing countries emphasized 2nd and 3rd generation rights – equality and fraternity rights of food, shelter and community rights- to be on par with 1st generation liberty rights.

In 1998, an NGO committee under Yash Ghai attempted at Seoul an ‘Asian Human Rights Charter’. This did not find much traction then or later, but requires examination.

Identifying Values

There is an inherent conflict in foreign affairs between pursuit of material goals and application of moral and normative principles. The USA claims that its foreign policy is always values-driven, and the European Union, despite the colonial record of many of its members, sees itself as an activist in the field of human rights and liberal democratic values. Non-western countries have been subject to values-based conditionalities in trade agreements and other contexts where rights issues have little relevance. China takes the view that human rights promotion by the West is designed to westernize and disintegrate, and other countries take a middle position, endorsing the universality of human rights while defending their position on inter-governmental and NGO criticisms. The negative feature of this attitude is that at times the same argument is used for authoritarianism or justification for neglecting the needs of their own populations. In both western and non-western countries there is ample evidence of contradiction at times between constitutional allegiance to human rights and their absence in foreign policy where realpolitik prevails.

Nations in Asia stress their value-systems that flow from Islam, Confucianism, Shintoism, Hinduism, and other Asian spiritual traditions that underscore social obligations over rights, such as hard work, respect for ancestors, filial piety, consensual attitudes, harmony in society and family, duty to one’s conscience, and company loyalty, that many regard as the principal determinants behind Asia’s recent economic success. Diplomatic interaction with emerging Asia requires some knowledge of diverse strands of thought that originate in different national and local traditions, and have become intertwined with Asian policies.

Innovative Aspects of the Project; Essential Questions

The West and emerging Asia have a significant period of common history and can perhaps elicit from mutual interaction new models of human dignity that can be applied within the frameworks of their particular societies and commitments to international norms. There has been no attempt made so far to achieve any such consensus.

A first step has to be identifying what are the Asian values that go beyond moral obligations and need to be incorporated into human rights protection. Have they any specifically Asian characteristics? Are they derived from societal and traditional norms or from religious beliefs? Are they worth emulation? Do they run counter to the Universal Declaration or do they supplement it?

The study will throw light on whether Asian values constitute a specific genre that differentiates Asia from the West and feeds into its foreign policy. Also whether this is a basic difference of opinion on values or an aspect of contemporary power politics. Thirdly, the West has belief in what it sees as its values, but are Western values sponsored by the West to undermine emerging nationalism or even diminishing western economic power?

Little effort has yet been made to explore the relationship between Asian values and foreign policy, probably because it is assumed that universal values prevail and non-Western failings are attributed to their faltering steps on the road to the goal of universality. The proposed study will therefore be the first such enterprise. The book will attempt to study the relationship of values with foreign policy, to identify Asian norms and values and whether these could be integrated by global consensus into a future universal values system leading to an accepted human rights regime.

Research Themes

Overviews: Mapping the contours of Values in Western and Asian Foreign Policy
Values in European Economic Policy
Values in US Foreign Policy
Values in European Foreign Policy
Values in German Foreign Policy
Values in Chinese Foreign Policy
Values in Indonesian Foreign Policy
Values in Russian Foreign Policy
Values in Asian Islam and Foreign Policy
Values in Indian Foreign Policy
Values in Myanmar’s Foreign Policy
Values in Japanese Foreign Policy
Values in South Korean Foreign Policy