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description Journal article public CLAWS Journal

Defence Diplomacy: a Powerful Tool of Statecraft

A. N. M. Muniruzzaman
Published 2020

Abstract

Defence diplomacy, also known as military diplomacy, is the non-violent use of military forces, adapting public diplomacy, through activities like officer exchanges, combined training programmes, cultural exchanges, and ship visits, etc., to further a country's diplomatic ties and promoting its International agenda. Despite having existed in various forms for hundreds of years, this custom and its usage as an instrument of statecraft have received surprising little attention as a discipline for scholarly studies. Defence diplomacy in the last few decades has developed as a significant tool in the global political platform for statesmen to create better ties between allies and stand as a formidable opponent. This paper clarifies what defence diplomacy is, and what it means for modern International relations. In doing so, the paper seeks to resolve the academic oversight by critically examining the concept of defence diplomacy itself. In particular, this paper plans to address the conceptual ambiguity of the term “defencediplomacy” since its very first use by the British government in 1990.  Breaking down the various existing approaches to defence diplomacy, its tools, and execution in different case studies, this paper identifies the concept as a variant of soft power that is used to integrate the strategic thinking of another state. By linking defence diplomacy to the concept of soft power, this paper will not only cover the practices used by the states today but also illustrate the underlying strategic mechanism that makes defence diplomacy an effective and dynamic geopolitical tool in a global arena.

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