July 21, 2017

Indian Strategy in a Non-Strategic Age

The following book chapter appeared in an edited volume, India Now and in Transition (ed. Atul Thakur, Niyogi Books, 2017). The full text can be accessed here

Strategy is a much misunderstood, misused, and maligned concept. In general, it refers to how individuals and organisations set goals and attempt to achieve them under uncertain conditions and with limited resources. In the context of national policymaking, the term ‘strategy’ is often used as shorthand for ‘grand strategy’. Grand strategy is how a national leadership controls and utilises resources to effectively promote a country’s vital national interests and secure those interests against adversaries. A successful strategy depends in large part on its feasibility and sustainability.

As India emerges in the 21st century, evolving gradually into a middle income country with increasingly global interests, it will find itself adapting to a rapidly evolving international system. India’s resources today are greater than at any time in its history, and it no longer confronts existential threats. But while the country may now be less vulnerable, it will have to confront different—and sometimes unprecedented—challenges. Are India and its leaders up to the task?