Debating Whether India Has A Strategic Culture: A Futile Exercise From India’s Perspective – Analysis


Findings from a study of the impacts of historical and cultural factors on India’s strategic thinking led Prof. George Tanham, a specialist on South Asian security affairs working for RAND Corporation, to conclude that India lacked formal and systematic strategic planning.

Therefore, he implied that India lacked a strategic culture although it has been able to develop elements of defence strategy. As a result, India’s actions are more reactive than proactive.

In reaction to Tanham’s findings, many experts on India’s strategic and security affairs assert that India has a strategic culture not only by citing Kautilya’s ‘Arthashastra’, an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, which contained provisions of proactive strategic measures to be undertaken by a pragmatic ruler but frequent references were also made to the offensive strategies adopted by medieval rulers including Shivaji, Maharana Pratap and Tipu Sultan in order to pre-empt enemy’s actions. Read More

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