MJHW (Online Meeting) on India, World Bank, and Japan - Friday, July 9th

Joelle Tapas's picture

Please join us for the next meeting of the Modern Japan History Workshop on Friday, July 9th at 6 pm JST.  Our presenter this month will be Reiko Kanazawa (University of Edinburgh), who will present her work on India, World Bank, and Japan (details below).

This month’s session will be held online through ZOOM, and can be accessed using the following sign-in information:

Meeting link: https://u-tokyo-ac-jp.zoom.us/j/88374451157

The password for the meeting will be posted at the top of the MJHW website from July 5th onwards.

The workshop is open to all, and no prior registration is required.

Please direct any questions to Joelle Tapas at tapas@fas.harvard.edu.  We hope to see you there!

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Navigating Development Financing in the Waning Cold War: India, World Bank and Japan in Economic Liberalisation, 1981-1991

Reiko Kanazawa, University of Edinburgh

From 1989 to 1991, India was in the middle of two crises: political instability with the assassinations or resignations of prime ministers or finance officials, combined with a mounting economic balance of payments crisis. After a series of negotiations with World Bank and other actors (still surrounded by rumour), in July 1991, new Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared India would embark on reforms and fully liberalise its economy. Policy analysts focus on the rationale behind India's management of national finances. Development historians focus on the skills in economic diplomacy of Indian finance officials. International relations scholars focus on India's close relationship with World Bank and increasingly assertive negotiation tactics with other donors. Significant questions remain for broader global histories of development in the 1980s. What was the state of development financing after the oil shocks and floating exchange rates? What new actors are involved in development financing and for what reasons? And why did India have a relatively smooth liberalisation transition despite a major political crisis?

This paper tries to answer the above questions by re-telling India's path to formal economic liberalisation, paying attention to the trajectories of three key actors: India (emerging economy), World Bank (development financing institution) and Japan (donor and lender). A critical aspect is making sense of Japan's increased interest in expanding economic relations with India in the 1980s, most successfully in the Maruti-Suzuki venture, and how this impacted upon the politics of negotiating liberalisation. Bringing together new archival material, it considers how historians understand and make meaning of this period of economic liberalisation/structural adjustment in the 1980s. It would be grateful for feedback from Japanese history experts.