An Introductory Tikka.

Hi folks,

Add another to the countless international law blogs on the Internet. Of course, you’d now expect me to explain how this blog is unique and different from all the others. I am not going to disappoint you, however, my explanation may (or you just may be in no mood to read another paragraph after having proofed that manuscript all of last night). As such, I think a t-shirt slogan I came across in Pushkar (India) perhaps best sums it up: “same same but different.”[1]

Contemporary international legal thought is characterized by diversity and plurality. It is these diverse and different ‘ingredients’ that coalesce into the ‘curry’ that is contemporary international law. Like all curries, this one too is completely different from its constituent ingredients, yet would be incomplete and tasteless without them. Cooking up this curry, however, is no easy task (ask the 195 nation-cooks about it). The key lies in the recipe, which, much like the Coca-Cola recipe, although purportedly explained by many, remains a secret. Indeed, for all you know, all the wrong in the world may be making up the right!

ILCurry attempts to take a closer look at the ingredients and spices that go into making the curry that is international law, in the hope of contributing towards a better understanding of the elusive recipe that gives it its character and flavour.

That’s a ‘process’ explanation of the blog. For others, especially those who believe in the product/PPM distinction[2], however, there is also an end-product explanation. All the metaphorical banter about figuring out the ‘recipe’ of international law aside, ILCurry offers a distinctly Indian take on international law. Before I offend some and impress others, perhaps, a better explanation is in order.

Over the past few years as I have trained to join the college of international lawyers (visible or invisible, take your pick), I have been amazed by the remarkable lack of quality scholarship and discussion in India on issues relating to the contemporary world order.[3] Of course, such an inward looking focus may be explained by the fact that there simply are too many issues to deal with domestically, before even thinking about the international stage. However, it is reasonable to note that several factors (most importantly, demographic and economic) have led to India’s growing prominence at the world stage. Today, India is perhaps in a position where it can take initiatives, be proactive, and play a leader’s role in the spheres of international law and diplomacy. What such a role would envisage, of course, would be the subject of other debates and discussion. Nevertheless, there is both a need, and an opportunity, for India’s increased engagement and involvement at the international stage.

Driven by this belief, one of the main ideas behind ILCurry is to share news, ideas (others, as well as the authors’), scholarship, and events about India and international law.

Although, at this initial stage, the predominant focus of ILCurry is on India related scholarship and news, the blog is only too mindful of the fact that, for geographical and historical reasons at the very least, other South Asian nations form an integral part of such a focus. Thus, at least at this stage where I am running this blog alone, a correct explanation of the focus would be that India forms the umbra, and South Asia the penumbra. That said, I am certainly not over-possessive about the India focus, and welcome guest contributions on South Asia and international law.

As far as typology of blogs goes, for those familiar with the international legal blogosphere, ILCurry is a hybrid between OpinioJuris and ILReporter. The ILCurry menu varies from the authors’ personal opinions, others’ ideas and scholarship, events, to random interesting side-dishes. Of course, as time passes, I hope the blog will develop and be known for its own character.

In peroration, I hope that ILCurry will serve to increase awareness, and generate a democratic discussion, about international law in India and South Asia, as well as India’s involvement in international law and diplomacy.

Welcome to ILCurry, I hope you like today’s menu!

Truly,

Shashank

Paris, July 11, 2011

**

[1] This is indeed a common Asian-English phrase. See here (Arte) and here (Urban Dictionary).

[2] A concept under international trade law. See here (book chapter by Robert Read – free) and here (IISD publication – free).

[3] While browsing the archives of the British Yearbook of International Law, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, until India’s independence, almost every other issue contained a contribution on India. Today, the situation is very different with even the Indian Journal of International Law lacking an incisive and well-defined national focus.

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One thought on “An Introductory Tikka.

  1. Pingback: President of India on international law and India | International Law Curry

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