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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

India's resource (inter)nationalism: Overseas mining investments shaped by domestic conditions

Oskarsson, Patrik; Lahiri-Dutt, Kuntala


Indian companies - both state-and privately-owned enterprises - have gradually begun to invest in extractive industries beyond the boundaries of the country in recent decades. Yet, little is known about them. This article traces how domestic political-economic conditions shape the ways in which India's emerging multinational companies operate abroad. Within India, a national, economic imperative for energy security and support to domestic industry drives the mining agenda. While the private sector is rhetorically dominant, state support remains crucial in handing over controversial land and forested tracts, and in defusing various conflicts across enormously variable social and operational environments. This article analyses how Indian international investments changes traditional company reliance on the Indian state, reshapes accountability relations, and supports mining operations shaped by highly uncertain domestic experiences, rather than global guidelines and extractive industry best practices. Specifically, it examines how India's resource nationalism plays out overseas by drawing on empirical material from Indonesia and Mozambique. The article concludes that resource nationalism, as conceived so far, fails to justify the behaviour of Indian investments in extractive industries in the contemporary, globalised world characterised by new actors who do not accept the existence of global best practices.


Resource nationalism; Foreign direct investment; Extractive industries; Mineral development; BRICS; India

Published in

The Extractive industries and society
2019, Volume: 6, number: 3, pages: 747-755

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG8 Decent work and economic growth

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Human Geography

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