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Day 36 – Q 4.How does persuasion work in international relations? Illustrate with the help of suitable examples.

4. How does persuasion work in international relations? Illustrate with the help of suitable examples.  

अनुनय अंतरराष्ट्रीय संबंधों में कैसे काम करता है? उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की सहायता से चित्रण करें।


Persuasion refers to the technique of changing attitude of people, organisations and nations. At international level there is no one authority. Sovereignty and right to self-determination of nations have to be respected. To avoid conflict, maintain just and honorable relations among nations and to solve global problems, persuasion becomes very important in International relations. 


Working of persuasion in international relations

  • Development of credibility – to use ethos (ethical appeal); pathos (emotional appeal) and logos (logical appeal), by individual nations.  For instance India has historical record of non-aggression and mutual co-existence. India accepted U.N. tribunal award in favor of Bangladesh on India-Bangladesh dispute on moral ground. On the other hand China rejected the International Court of Justice ruling on South China Sea. Steps like this have increased persuasive power to India at international fora. Due to this India is actively involved in Afghan peace process among others. 
  • Grouping of like-minded nations – to develop a bargaining power and to express a collective morality. For instance formation of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the then bi-polar world. 
  • International institutions and treaties – act as strong persuasive tool to bring consensus among nations.  Recent consensus on climate change and nations self-declaration on reduction in carbon emission comes from persuasion by U.N and climate change treaties.
  • Leadership – by individual nations. For instance Germany has taken lead in accommodating migrants by skilling them and making them productive. Cuba, a small nation, has shown extraordinary leadership in providing medical support all over the world, especially in epidemic situation.  
  • Coercive persuasion – is adopted by stronger nations against weaker ones with the support of other nations. For instance sanctions against Iran, against its nuclear program, by the U.S.  

However, persuasion seems to have failed in many instances in International relations – 

  • Cases of alleged atrocities against minorities in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan etc continues.
  • Persuasion and talks have failed stop terrorism emanating from Pakistan. 
  • Despite huge efforts by India, western nations are not willing to adopt “Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism”, which treats all form of terrorism equally.
  • Consensus on nuclear non-proliferation cannot be reached due to self-interest of nations taking precedence over regional peace and stability. 
  • Persuasion has also failed to stop U.S and other countries from pulling out of Paris agreement. 


Persuasion will work in an ecosystem where international ethics prevails. National interest must not be seen bereft of global interest. International relations must be guided by mutual trust and respect. The vision in International relations should be that of “Vasudev Kutumbakam” (whole world is one family). Then persuasion can become effective tool of international governance. 

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