Schizophrenic Subregionalism? Method and Madness in India’s Border Fencing Project

8 April 2016

A problematic set of binaries stands at the heart of India’s narrative on borders, one that has rendered its political signaling contradictory as well as virtually unintelligible. India’s border fencing project is a stark metaphor of this conflicted discourse, perching uneasily as it were between the feel-good narrative of rethinking borders as bridges on the one hand and an almost pathological fear of open borders on the other. This binary is what characterises India’s schizophrenic subregionalism, a discourse virtually in morbid fear of itself. The paper argues that this twisted logic runs the risk of turning against itself to subvert India’s subregional project itself. Its political fate is also critically linked to the larger question of how India perceives its role in the region and the extent to which it prioritises subregional integration as a regional public good.