Though there is a vast body of literature on India’s foreign policy, until recently it had hardly been based on archival work. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon to hear general statements such as: India’s foreign policy ‘only started in 1991’, Nehruvian foreign policy was ‘immature’, or Indian diplomats are often ‘irrational and emotional’ in negotiations. In challenging these assumptions, new archival research around the history of Indian foreign policy has started to transform our assessment of concepts as well as diplomatic practice in several key ways. First, diplomatic historians have opened foreign policy research to a wider set of actors and time-periods, and thus provided new theoretical ways of looking at Indian diplomacy more holistically. Second, in prioritizing contextualized over sweeping narratives, historians have also deepened our understanding of the conceptual manoeuvres that diplomats make in practice. This, in turn, has allowed better grasping how the practice of Indian diplomacy has informed the making of Indian foreign policy. Finally, historians have also contributed to unearth the archaeology of practices of diplomacy in India –notably by focusing on the colonial and pre-colonial periods. In this context, this panel reflects on the ways in which this new historical approach has contributed to enriching debates on India’s foreign policy. Each paper will present an individual case study covering a range of historical periods.