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A Disjointed Doctrine

The recently released joint doctrine of the armed forces outlines the manner in which they expect to fight the next war. Though the doctrine suggests “decisive victory” is possible, it bears reminding that the closer they get to this the closer would be the nuclear threshold. Since the doctrine does not dwell on the nuclear level, it cannot be said that the doctrine makes India any safer. However, the doctrine’s take on civil–military relations is far more interesting.

Corrosive Impact of Army’s Commitment in Kashmir

The army has had an extended deployment in Kashmir. While it has enabled operational experience for its members, there is a danger that the advantages of this can make the army acquire a stake in the disturbed conditions. This makes the army part of the problem in Kashmir. Its deployment is not without a price in regard to the internal good health of the army.

India’s Opposition to China–Pakistan Economic Corridor Is Flawed

China is opening up its land borders in Xinjiang to interact more freely with Central Asia and Europe. China and Pakistan are jointly building the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India views this as a violation of its sovereignty. Geopolitics rather than geoeconomics predominates India’s thinking on possibilities offered by the revival of the old Silk Road by the Chinese.

Limited Geopolitical Accommodation Benefits for India–China Relations

The nature of Sino–Indian interactions across five issue areas highlights that Delhi and Beijing have more overlapping interests than is generally recognised. Such an analytical exercise also reveals that South Asia is potentially the most contentious arena for India–China relations. A limited Sino–Indian geopolitical accommodation in the immediate neighbourhood is both viable and necessary to arrest the deterioration in the bilateral relationship in recent years and ensure regional stability.

India's Strategic Shift

In abandoning strategic restraint in favour of strategic proactivism, India is transiting from a strategic doctrine of offensive deterrence to compellence. This is not without its dangers since the military doctrines of India and Pakistan are presently coupled in a volatile way. Moving towards proactivism makes them altogether combustible. This makes the strategic logic of the shift suspect, prompting speculations as to its inspiration.

Belt and Road Initiative

American unilateralism has become a problem for the world. Post the Cold War, American hegemony has become inimical to world peace. After more than 25 years, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Both Russia and China are geographically destined to offer resistance against a unipolar world. However, the two are most likely to fail if they challenge the United States militarily. They can challenge American power peacefully by diverting international trade away from the oceans towards Eurasian land routes. The new Silk Road initiative by China, and unity hold the key to a peaceful world.

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.

War and What To Do About It

A case for the peace lobby to continue its engagement with anti-war issues, even in times of relative peace. The military doctrines are geared for a quick war, resulting in shorter crisis windows. Therefore, keeping the public informed and capitalising on such preparations for ensuring moderation in strategic decisions in crises and war can prove useful when push comes to shove. This would be an uphill task, but inescapable for war avoidance and limitation.

Neo-liberal Agenda

The Indian soldier is in a state of stupor. The civil–military relations in the country are in crisis. The government’s policies are aggravating the situation, alienating the armed forces by lowering their status and salaries in comparison to other arms of the state. Neo-liberal forces are using the crisis as an opportunity to introduce military transformation that would splinter the national military and replace patriotism with profi teering.

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.

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