ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Srinath RaghavanSubscribe to Srinath Raghavan

Military-Bureaucracy Brinksmanship

There is a widening civil-military "gap" in India today which stems from developments on both sides of the divide. The liberalisation and rapid growth of the Indian economy over the last 25 years have considerably increased the gap between the economic profi les of the civilian and military personnel.

Skidding Down the Strategic Slope

While Modi's recent visit to the United States locks India in a tight strategic embrace with the US, the Chinese will not take kindly to India embracing US policy in the South and East China seas. India's inability to make headway with China will exacerbate the costs of furthering this misshapen relationship. A clear and open debate is imperative to weigh the costs and benefits of Indo-US relations.

Asian Connectivity

The idea of “connectivity” appears to be the flavour of the season in Indian foreign policy. Earlier this month, the Ministry of External Affairs facilitated a high profile conference on the theme of “Asian Connectivity” (Raisina Dialogue, 1–3 March 2016).

One-Rank-One-Pension Logjam

The continuing stand off between the government and retired soldiers over One-Rank-One-Pension has engendered distrust between the civilian bureaucracy and the military. While the ex-servicemen have been rigid on all their demands, including ones that defy sound reasoning, the manner in which the bureaucracy continues to quibble on minor issues grates on the military's sense of honour and dignity.

Making Sense of the Iran Nuclear Deal

The nuclear deal between Iran and the Western powers could lead to some major changes in the geopolitics of West Asia. Even though there remains fairly strong domestic opposition to the deal in both camps, the historically important strategic location of Iran makes this deal eminently justifiable for all parties. However, the consequences for India could be mixed, as it neglected strengthening its relations with Iran when the window of opportunity was open the widest.

Modi's Opportunity in China

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the political capital needed to push for a settlement of the boundary dispute with China. This could open up avenues to strengthen economic ties with China and also give India political space on multilateral stages like the World Trade Organization and the climate change negotiations.

'Modified' Foreign Policy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invested much political capital in his foreign policy initiatives. Behind the spectacle of the pomp and show, the real test of foreign policy and strategy lies in coherence of design, finesse in execution, and efficacy of outcomes. The first of our new column on Strategic Affairs takes a preliminary stab at assessing whether New Delhi has been able to translate its desires into tangible outcomes.

The Civil-Military Divide

In the recent controversies over the state of the civil-military relationship in India, the popular narrative sees the military as a victim of control by the bureaucracy and as excluded from decision-making on security affairs. This is a far from accurate representation of the real state of affairs. It is in fact a selective interpretation because it glosses over the fact that the military actually has a considerable amount of say on matters pertaining to national security. And it is an incomplete interpretation because the problematic nature of civilmilitary relations in India cannot be reduced to institutional dynamics within the government. A discussion of the relationship from the early 1950s.

Dissecting the Kargil Conflict

Asymmetric Warfare in South Asia: The Causes and Consequences of the Kargil Conflict edited by Peter Lavoy (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press), 2009; pp xvi + 406, Rs 895.

The Chinese Puzzle

Understanding why Beijing is displaying, in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's words, "a certain amount of assertiveness" towards New Delhi is the first step towards crafting a sensible public discourse on India's relations with its largest and most important neighbour. It is also imperative that the government of India informs and shapes domestic opinion on China. The bogey of an aggressive China may well become a self-fulfilling prophecy, for strident views on both sides feed on and accentuate the other.

Terror, Force and Diplomacy

"Limited war" or "surgical strikes" in retaliation for the Mumbai terror will be a senseless course of action, not the least because they will take India on the path of escalation and rather than achieve any of the desired ends, could have disastrous consequences in a nuclear neighbourhood. The struggle against terrorism requires us not only to keep our nerves but also to keep our heads. A far more productive approach would be bilateral, multilateral and United Nations-sanctioned diplomatic pressures on Pakistan to act on domestic terror groups. How the US and UK followed up on the Lockerbie bombing of 1988 and forced Libya to abandon state-sponsored terrorism is a relevant example. The options offered by UN Resolution 1373 constitute a related approach.

The Case for Restraint on Tibet

For more than five decades, India has seen Tibet as part of China. If it were to now believe otherwise, this would be idle posturing. Worse, such a position by the government of India could jeopardise the chances of a settlement of the long-standing India-China dispute.


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