Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Singh and Singh on What International Law can learn from Indian History

What Can International Law Learn from Indian Mythology, Hinduism and History? is a new article by Alakh Niranjan Singh, SNSRKS College, Saharsa, Bihar, India and Prabhakar Singh, University of Barcelona. It appears in the Journal of East Asia and International Law (2009). Here's the abstract:

Modern India has been rather silent on its role in international law. This reticence remains unexplained in the comparative literature on international law. India’s history with International Relations theories dates back to ancient times. Various Hindu texts from some eight millennia ago passed over to generations by the method of “shruti” and manuscripted later, contain one of the most complete sets of international laws and relations. “Dharma” remains the central aspect to this discourse. The ICJ’s NuclearWeapon Case’s opinions, particularly those delivered by Third World judges, cited these Hindu scriptures as sources of international law. The modern international law (MIL), the paper theorises, needs a cross fertilisation from Hinduism/Buddhism to become a universal construct. The role of India in the centre-periphery analysis of international law begs a collective answer from the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gītā, the Manu Samhita and the Arthaśāstra. In the post WWII period, India came quite close to resurrecting Hindu/Buddhist international law of peaceful co-existence. In an imitative reversal of European discourse in Panchsheel Agreement with China, India succeeded in establishing new principles of international law. This paper offers an account of the ancient Hindu international laws (HIL) of India and discusses the possibility of Indian contribution to international law.

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