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Feminist democratic representation is a new design for women’s group representation in electoral politics. We build on the design principles and practices of the 1990s’ presence theorists, who conceived of political inclusion as the presence of descriptive representatives and advocated for gender quota. Our second-generation design foregrounds women’s ideological and intersectional heterogeneity, and details a representative process that enacts three feminist principles: inclusiveness, responsiveness and egalitarianism. A new set of actors – the affected representatives of women – play formal, institutionalised roles in two new democratic practices: group advocacy and account giving. Together, these augmentations incentivise new attitudes and behaviours among elected representatives, and bring about multiple representational effects that redress the poverty of women’s political representation: elected representatives now know more, care more and are more connected to diverse women, including the most marginalised; and the represented are now more closely connected with, more interested in and better represented through democratic politics.

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Despite areas of synergy, international relations theory has typically considered South and West Asia as analytically distinct. Following the work of Barry Buzan, whose work on regional security complexes is formative in shaping the intellectual debate, the Gulf is considered a subregion of a larger Middle Eastern regional security complex, while South Asia is regarded as its own regional security complex. This article argues that the analytical distinction between these different (sub)regional security complexes has become blurred, reflecting the emergence of a supercomplex. We contend that strong patterns of amity, enmity and securitisation that link the two regional security complexes suggest a thinning boundary between them, with the potential for them to merge. We distinguish between a supercomplex and a merger using the concepts of amity, enmity and securitisation provided by regional security complex theory. We add the English School’s ideas of order, justice and regional society to enhance our understanding. We focus on three issues in which the two regions interact: the Abraham Accords; the Iran nuclear crisis, and Jammu and Kashmir. We argue that increasing relations between the two regional security complexes have resulted in a supercomplex, with powerful states in both regional security complexes seeking to project their power into the adjacent regional security complex. We further note the strengthening patterns of amity, enmity and securitisation connecting the two regions, leading to a thinning of the boundary separating South and West Asia. We contribute to the literature on regional security complex theory by clarifying the distinction between a supercomplex and a merger through the South-West Asian case.

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The withdrawal of US troops and the subsequent return of the Taliban to power have resulted in India and Iran aligning over Afghanistan’s future once again. India risks facing isolation and sees its relationship with Iran as essential to preventing Pakistani hegemony in their shared neighbourhood. Their renewed regional convergence overlaps with an otherwise widening strategic dissonance as the two countries drift further apart within the international order: India as a defence partner of the US embedded in the Indo-Pacific framework and Iran working with China and Russia to counter the US-led order. This often raises questions of reliability within the India–Iran partnership. The article engages with this perception and examines India’s strategic calculus vis-a-vis Iran in a changing global order characterised by declining US commitment. It argues that, notwithstanding the numerous structural and bilateral constraints between them, India will continue to engage an otherwise challenging partner like Iran, as its strategies are, on balance, benefitting from a world that is in flux.

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During her tenure as prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi reaffirmed India’s commitment to three interconnected and overlapping factors that shaped the country’s early regional outreach: Muslims, Arabs and Pakistan. Decisions by the government on the Arab–Israeli conflict, the Palestinian issue and (non-)relationship with Israel were usually ‘path dependent’. Mrs Gandhi, well aware of the significance of the ‘Muslim vote’ to her electoral victories, reaffirmed India’s support for Arabs and the Palestinian cause against Israel, thereby appeasing her domestic Muslim constituency. The establishment of Pakistan as an avowedly Islamic state, combined with the Indo-Pakistani conflict over Kashmir, forced the two countries to compete for the support of Muslim Arab states. Indira Gandhi cultivated Arabs by diplomatically supporting them in their conflict with Israel, first by strongly condemning Israel during episodes of conflict between the two parties and then by unequivocally supporting Palestinian self-determination through diplomatic recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Despite Mrs Gandhi’s pro-Arab statements, India did not receive the same level of diplomatic support from Arab countries, which favoured Pakistan in Indo-Pakistani subcontinental conflicts. In contrast, Israel provided India with both military and diplomatic assistance. Despite this, and despite repeated calls from the opposition, Mrs Gandhi refused to normalise relations with Israel, believing that a pro-Arab stance would be more beneficial to national interests. The attitude portrayed India as completely partisan, preventing it from acting as a mediator in the Arab–Israeli conflict, which was a stated goal of India’s West Asia policy.

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When Narendra Modi became prime minister in May 2014, Indo-Israeli relations were stable, progressing and expanding, though somewhat stagnant. Although military–security ties were a major component, active political intervention seemed necessary, as parties of the Left constantly demanded a ‘course correction’ vis-a-vis Israel from the decade-long United Progressive Alliance government under Manmohan Singh. While the Congress-led government withstood the pressure, relations with Israel were under stress, with little progress or visibility due to the stalled peace process. Under those circumstances, Modi became prime minister and ushered in dramatic changes in prioritising Israel in India’s foreign policy matrix. This shift was also helped by a host of domestic and external factors.

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Using discourse analysis as its methodology, this article demonstrates how the Turkish political elite sought to play a ‘Western nation role’ towards Afghanistan in order to appeal indirectly to the US political elite. In that sense, this article underlines how, under coalition (1999–2002) and the Justice and Development Party (2002–) rule, the Turkish governments used security and humanitarian narratives to underscore Turkey’s contributions to Western security after the 11 September 2001 attacks. Continuing on from those narratives, the article explains how a non-Western Muslim country could consider fellow Muslim nations as ‘others’ in order to present itself as a Western actor. This document also details how queer international relations theory and securitisation theory explain the Turkish elite’s decision-making during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s presence in Afghanistan over the last two decades. To that end, this article highlights how the Justice and Development Party government continued the pro-Western narratives of its predecessor coalition government, which decided to send Turkish military forces into Afghanistan in order to appeal to the US political elite.

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The Pakistan–Iran relationship has been evolving over time. Ties between the two neighbours have been shaped by bilateral security concerns and strategic interests, as well as flux in the political identities of the two states. Pakistan and Iran were strong allies during the time of the Shah regime, as they had a harmonious political outlook and shared membership in the American-led political block during the Cold War. With the Islamic revolution, Iranian national identity underwent a radical change and gave birth to a political vision that was confrontational in essence. Diverging geopolitical interests and alignments in the region moved the two nations further apart. After the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, both sides backed different groups, and the bilateral relationship became further estranged owing to Pakistan’s support for the Taliban regime, which persecuted Afghan Shi’ites and was also involved in the killing of Iranian diplomats. The Iranian security accord with India, as well as Pakistan’s strong ties with Saudi Arabia, further contributed to making the relationship complex and uneasy. Burgeoning security threats across the border from anti-Pakistan insurgents of the Balochistan Liberation Army and anti-Iran insurgents of Jundullah and Jaish Al-Adl have complicated the relationship between the security establishments on both sides. Furthermore, attempts to politicise Pakistan’s Shi’ite community and instances of sectarian violence inside Pakistan have made both states wary of each other. These developments have been critical in impeding efforts to enhance ties in the economic and energy fields. Yet, these differences have not led both states to increasingly confront each other, as both sides fully realise the near-disastrous consequences of such a conflict. Nonetheless, they have also failed to develop a mechanism to address bilateral issues; thus, a tense competition epitomises the state of bilateral affairs. However, as the Pakistani institutions and government have started to change their strategic outlook towards the region, new opportunities are emerging for the improvement of the bilateral relationship.

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Pakistan was sought as a separate state in the name of securing the interests and identity of Muslims within the Indian subcontinent. Its ideological identification with Islam and Muslims was reinforced by the disadvantages that it found itself having on its emergence in August 1947 in relation to its twin-born country, that is, India, in terms of name, size, resources and a history to draw upon. However, initially, its calling out for a degree of solidarity in the name of Islam had relatively limited success in the context of secular nationalist forces dominating the Muslim West Asia throughout the 1950s and first half of the 1960s. It was in the context of significant geopolitical and economic developments from the late 1960s and 1970s in the region that Pakistan was prompted to re-emphasise the Islamic dimension of its foreign policy, particularly within the framework of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation after its emergence in the late 1960s. It began to use its membership of this forum to undermine Indian positions and interests on a number of issues. It was particularly successful in getting its own position on Kashmir endorsed through various resolutions on the issue that were critical of the Indian position and policies in dealing with the political-cum-militant uprising in the state. However, a number of developments from the latter part of the 20th century, particularly after 11 September 2001 (9/11), introduced a number of fissures and irritants into the Arab-Islamic world that undermined the spirit of solidarity that had characterised the work of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in its initial years of establishment. The changing context has considerably constrained Pakistani options in foreign, regional and domestic policies. Comparatively, in recent years, India has gained greater proximity with some of the oil-rich conservative Gulf Muslim monarchies that exercise a high degree of control in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation because of their financial support for it.

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This article focuses on the case of Germany to demonstrate how the lens of ‘uneven and combined development’ (U&CD) can help critical scholars of Global Political Economy (GPE) make sense of a worldwide but nationally specific movement towards an augmented role for the state in the regulation of capitalism. The first section finds that the prevailing comparative-institutional literature suffers from a narrow conception of the international environment in which the German political economy is drifting in the direction of its main organisational rival – US-style neoliberalism. By contrast, the second section shows that the alternative lens of U&CD provides a richer picture of the systemic forces experienced by German state actors: they flow from a technologically leading US as well as a leapfrogging China, they increase competition but also present commercial opportunities, and they do not point towards freer markets but rather novel forms of state intervention that are best explored as a creative, if contested, process of ‘re-combination’. The third section details the structural, strategic and institutional reasons for why the German state cannot emulate either the US or China. It concludes that – in lieu of strong support from capital and labour and independent state capacities like the Chinese party apparatus or the US military-industry complex – German attempts to expand the remit of the state follow a substitutive process of ‘bricolage’ that patches together foreign and domestic techniques and a motley of special interests.

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