Document Type


Publication Date

October 2017

Publication Title

Languaging: A Journal of Language Teaching and Language Studies



First Page


Last Page



English in India, English and diplomacy, grand strategy


Diplomatic History | English Language and Literature | International Relations | Other English Language and Literature | Political Science


The term ‘grand strategy’ may appear be an extravagant and abstract expression, yet it is simply a shorthand manner of describing a country’s efforts in diverse areas towards its key goals. According to Yale historian Paul Kennedy, the crux of grand strategy lies in the “capacity of the nation’s leaders to bring together all of the elements, both military and nonmilitary, for the preservation and enhancement of the nation’s long-term (that is, in wartime and peacetime) best interests” (Kennedy 1991:5). Thus, grand strategy deploys all of a country’s assets. For India, one such asset is the English language. Although English was a ‘gift’– unasked for and problematic – from its British colonizers, modern India has strategically deployed English as part of its grand strategy.The first section of the paper considers the global dominance of English and the political implications thereof. The next section provides a brief historical overview of English in India. English is a strategic asset in three areas: domestic politics, economics, and diplomacy. The third section discusses the contribution of English competence to India’s achievements in these three sectors. The final section discusses the role of English education in foreign policy.


This article was originally published in Languaging: A Journal of Language Teaching and Language Studies, volume 7, 2017. It is included here with the editor's permission.