Indian Journal of International Law

, Volume 57, Issue 1–2, pp 63–85 | Cite as

Balancing the language of international law and the language of domestic legitimacy – How well does India fare?

  • Deepak Raju
  • Zubin Dash


States employ the ‘language of international law’ in communicating with other subjects of international law – to assert international legitimacy for their actions, to allege international illegitimacy in the conduct of other States, and to influence the evolution of international law. At the same time, States also communicate with their own domestic constituencies, invoking domestic considerations for legitimacy and acceptance. Often, it is impossible to separate the two channels of communication, and the test-stones of legitimacy on the international plane may be in direct contradiction with those of legitimacy on the domestic plane. As such, it is important for States to balance the two sets of communications so as to avoid conflicts between their communications in the language of international law and those in the language of domestic legitimacy, or at least to recognize and strategically manage conflicts where they are inevitable. In this paper, we examine statements made on behalf of the Government of India in 2014 and 2015, on matters connected to international law, to ascertain how well India balances the language of international law with the language of domestic legitimacy in its communications.


International law Legitimacy Unilateral declarations Politics Indian State practice Climate change Use of force Counter-terrorism Nuclear weapons ICJ jurisdiction WTO 

Copyright information

© The Indian Society of International Law 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sidley Ausin LLPGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Parliament of IndiaNew DelhiIndia

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