This paper outlines various theoretical approaches used to conceptualize peacekeeping operations (PKO) in International Relations Theory, and compares these general approaches with Indian and Chinese participation and practices. The analysis follows two main trajectories: 1) How is peacekeeping understood in Chinese and Indian conceptions of international relations? 2) How are peacekeeping operations operationalized and carried out? While China and India tend to differ at the level of their contributions, there is a commonality of the broad theoretical underpinnings of their participation. Westphalian principles of sovereignty and non-interference remain at the core of engagement for both these actors. At the same time, as demonstrated by Indian support for the UNAMA missions and Chinese voting behavior on Libyan and Syrian missions at the UNSC, both countries have become more pragmatic in their foreign policy approach to peacekeeping as future “responsible powers”. Chinese and Indian involvement in different types of missions which go beyond traditional peacekeeping thus point to a change in the international outlook and evolving foreign policy of both these countries, possibly in tandem with their rising global status and the need to utilize peacekeeping as a means of greater participation in the global governance system.