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Securing India: Strategic Thought and Practice

Amitabh Mattoo (Editor) George K Tanham (Author) Kanti P. Bajpai (Editor)
Synopsis This volume brings together George K. Tanham's much-quoted RAND essay, 'Indian Strategic Thought', his sequel essay, 'Indian Strategy in Flux?' and specially commissioned commentaries by five Indian scholars.  Most of our understanding about strategy is coloured by information from the West and the former Soviet Union.  While this may have been acceptable during the Cold War, it is no longer so.  In the coming three decades a range of powers, including India, will come to matter greatly.  Hence the need to give a critical look to Indian strategy, a much neglected subject, as also to undertake a comparative study of strategy.  'Indian Strategic Thought' argues that various influences have combined to make India more concerned with internal than external security; to prefer defence to offence; to be a land rather than a sea power; to seek outright independence and middle power status; to rely principally on 'hard' (military) not 'soft' (economic, cultural) power as well as to produce to strategic culture of ad hocism.  Tanham's new essay, 'Indian Strategy in Flux?' charts Indian policies since 1991.  a variety of domestic and external developments, Tanham suggests, combined to shock the system in that year into at least two major strategic changes; dramatic economic reforms and a wide-ranging partnership with the United States and the market economies of East and South-East Asia.  Indians continue, nonetheless, to be relatively neglectful of security issues and to have no institutionalized method of appraising threats and fashioning strategic responses.  The five commentaries on Tanham's essays deals, amongst other things, with the influences on Indian strategic thought, threats and opportunities in Indian security assessments, the absence of a tradition of Indian strategic thought and naval and nuclear strategy.  There is both agreement and disagreement between the essayists, which augurs well for Indian strategic thought and practice.  If India moves ahead economically in the decades to come, it will be a major global force.  These writings and comments will play a part in determining how Indians come to think about their country and its engagement with the world.
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About the authors

George K Tanham

George K. Tanham is a retired Vice President and Trustee of the RAND Corporation and is presently Resident Consultant and Advisory Trustee.  He has long been a student of Southeast Asia and more recently India.  He is a respected commentator and advisor on strategic issues and is well known in India for his monograph Indian Strategic Thought: An Interpretative Essay.  He served as an officer in the 7th Armored Division, US Army in World War it, and was a professor at the California Institute of Technology before joining RAND in 1955. 

Kanti P. Bajpai

Kanti P. Bajpai is Associate Professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.  His latest publications are Brasstacks and Beyond: Perception and Management of Crisis in South Asia, Manohar, 1995 and Interpreting World Politics, Sage, 1995.

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Bibliographic information

Title Securing India: Strategic Thought and Practice
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1996
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173041479
length 232p., Notes; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.