Fifty years of Indian Indian Independence: A Strategic Review
05 Aug, 1997 · 5
Lt Gen Satish Nambiar strategically analyses the various external threats to India's security and the resultant defence postures taken by India.
The idealistic approach fed on the euphoria of having attained independence through peaceful means, and non-alignment as the main plank of our foreign policy, appeared to serve us well, more so in assuming that since we had no designs on any other country, there was no serious threat to us from others. That this was incongruous in terms of strategic throught in context of the Pakistani inspired intrusion into
In recognition of a continuing Chinese threat, the country then undertook a sizeable expansion of the armed forces; regrettably ad-hoc, in as much as, our preparations were for a war that had already taken place, for which of course, we were not then prepared. Even so, this preparation enabled the country to deal with the Pakistani adventure in 1965. The greatest deficiency of Indian strategic thought and planning over the years has been the obsession with
In some ways, the respite from any classical wars since 1971, may be largely attributed to some strategic direction and consequent equipping of the armed forces, that was undertaken in the mid and late eighties. However, subsequent perceived setbacks in the armed forces actions undertaken in the
There is however scope for the emergence of strategic thought and practice in the field of national security in context of a firm direction on economic goals, which is the primary plank on which such policy will be globally based in the years to come. There appears to be a sense of purpose in terms of where we wish to take the country in economic terms, and if, into this can be reasonably welded the social and educational needs of the country, the basic framework for the determination of a coherent and realistic national security policy will reveal itself, and within this framework, it will be possible to mould a credible defence strategy for the country. This may mean revisiting what now passes for defence strategy, and discarding some of the positions established over the years.
A credible defence strategy within the framework of a coherent and realistic national security policy will be meaningful if it is accepted by the political and military leadership of the country that, respect and recognition in the international arena is contingent on power derived from military strength, and the understanding that such power will be used to safeguard national interests. Military capability based on such a strategy will, of necessity, mean forsaking larger numbers of personnel and equipment, for a strategic capability, based on a nuclear deterrent (even if ambivalent at present), and missile forces.
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