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Review of International Studies

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India -- Politics and government, Newspapers -- India -- Discourse analysis


This article examines the forces driving the pursuit of military production capacity in India, including those behind the Indian nuclear and space programmes. We are mainly interested in whether symbolic motivations regularly find expression in the public discourse. We review all articles on the subject of weapons development and production appearing in India Today from May 1977 to April 1999. There are three closely interrelated yet distinguishable concerns in the public discourse that we consider symbolic: that military industrialization is a means of asserting India's autonomy in international affairs, that it is a means of establishing India's international status and prestige, and that it serves to enhance India's self-image. We contend that the symbolic motivations are a prominent force behind the military industrialization process in India. The precise form that symbolic motivations take vary-some statements seem to have more symbolic content than others-but, as a whole, such references are not rare or isolated. Our findings suggest that symbolism can be an important component of the quest for an indigenous arms-production capacity, and perhaps other elements of statebuildings as well.


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