I write a lot about the vital role “culture” plays in doing business – especially in the context of the west and India. When things go wrong, generally the source is culture. Culture outlasts the deal and it is bigger than the contract.
The point about culture was researched at the University of Melbourne in 2013 by Dr Kadira Pethiyagoda in a doctoral thesis “The influence of dominant cultural values on India’s foreign policy.”
If you were wondering how India could simultaneously be friendly with the USA and Iran, culture has the answer.
The thesis identified four Indian cultural values that have survived the course of history – non-violence, hierarchy, pluralism and tolerance.
These cultural values have a significant influence on India’s foreign policy overall.
The most powerful value is non-violence.
The research found several non-violence driven preferences: global peace; caution in the use of force; and the preference for maintaining a non-violent image.
Hierarchy is found to be more influential in India’s nuclear posture than in its approach to humanitarian intervention. This value drives a preference for India rising up the global hierarchy of states.
Pluralism and tolerance strongly impact India’s approach to humanitarian intervention. These values support a pluralistic and tolerant worldview, the preference for sovereignty, and the preference for caution in condemning the internal actions of other states.
The author has a book out titled “Indian Foreign Policy and Cultural Values” which makes a major contribution to our understanding.