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August 2017

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Place Branding and Public Diplomacy



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nation-branding, nuclear weapons policy, national identity


Defense and Security Studies | International Relations | Peace and Conflict Studies | Political Science


Nation-branding professionals have the same goal as diplomats and politicians – the goal of endowing the nation with specific qualities in the minds of the target audience, so that it is identified with those qualities. In other words, they are constructing an identity for the country. Insights from the commercial practice of nation branding can illuminate the process of identity construction by states. As an illustration, the paper investigates the case of India’s branding/self-presentation as a responsible holder of nuclear weapons. In 1998, India declared itself a Nuclear Weapon State (NWS). Since India has not been granted NWS status under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, this breach of international norms triggered condemnation. Today, however, India is being incorporated into the governance mechanisms of the nuclear order, to the extent that it is considered a de facto NWS. The paper identifies four strategies – differentiation, standardization, total branding, and crisis management – from a review of the nation-branding literature, and relates them to India’s foreign policy strategies in the nuclear issue area in the last two decades. This paper is an initial attempt to build a bridge between the International Relations and place-branding literatures.


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Place Branding and Public Diplomacy. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Sasikumar, K. Place Brand Public Dipl (2017) 13: 242. DOI: 10.1057/s41254-016-0038-2 is available online at:
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