Handbook of Indian Defence Policy : Themes, Structures and Doctrines book cover
1st Edition

Handbook of Indian Defence Policy
Themes, Structures and Doctrines

Edited By

Harsh V Pant

ISBN 9780815376149
Published November 28, 2017 by Routledge India
244 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

India has the world’s fourth largest military and one of the biggest defence budgets. It asserts its political and military profile in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. The nation has been in the midst of an ambitious plan to modernize its largely Soviet-era arms since the late 1990s and has spent billions of dollars on latest high-tech military technology.

This handbook:

  • canvasses over 60 years of Indian defence policy and the major debates that have shaped it;
  • discusses several key themes such as the origins of the modern armed forces in India; military doctrine and policy; internal and external challenges; and nuclearization and its consequences;
  • includes contributions by well-known scholars, experts in the field and policymakers; and
  • provides an annotated bibliography for further research.

Presented in an accessible format, this lucidly written handbook will be an indispensable resource for scholars and researchers of security and defence studies, international relations and political science, as well as for government think tanks and policymakers.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. The Indian Army: 1700s–1947 3. Indian Civil–Military Relations: An Overview 4. Indian Society and the Soldier: Will the Twain Ever Meet? 5. India and the Changing Nature of War: Gradual Incrementalism? 6. Military as an instrument of India’s foreign policy: An Expanding Footprint 7. India’s Erratic Defence Diplomacy: In Need of a Booster Dose 8. The Indian Army: Evolution in the Age of Nuclear Weapons and Terrorism 9. Evolution of the Indian Navy: Towards a ‘Maritime Awakening’? 10. Indian Air Force: Persuasive in Peace, Effective in War 11. Evolution of Jointness in Indian Defence Forces: Stuck Between the Services 12. Indian Army’s flagship doctrines: Need for Strategic Guidance 13. The Indian Navy’s Doctrinal Evolution: Between Deterrence and Denial 14. Doctrinal Evolution in the Indian Air Force: Towards a Strategic Future 15. Changing Contours of Indian Defence Expenditure: Past as Prologue? 16. Defence Procurement in India: Challenges Abound 17. Islamist Terrorism in India: A Hybrid Threat 18. Bullet Holes in Village Walls: India's Naxalite Challenge 19. Insurgencies in India's Northeast: Rise, Fall and the Rise? 20. The Evolution in India’s National Security Apparatus: Persisting Structural Deficiencies 21. The Indian Intelligence System: Meeting the Challenges of a New World 22. The Indian Police: Need for Reinvention 23. Para Military Forces and Central Armed Police Forces of India: Punching Below Their Capabilities 24. Nuclear Weapons in India’s Defence Policy: Achieving Conventional-Nuclear Synergy 25. Space Security and Missile Defence: Towards Greater Pragmatism

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Harsh V. Pant is Professor of International Relations in the Defence Studies Department and the India Institute at King’s College, London. He is Non-Resident Fellow with the Wadhwani Chair in US–India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC. His current research is focused on Asian security issues. His recent books include India’s Afghan Muddle (2014), The Rise of the Indian Navy: Internal Vulnerabilities, External Challenges (2012), and The Rise of China: Implications for India (2012). Pant writes regularly for various media outlets, including The Japan Times, The Wall Street Journal, The National (UAE), and The Telegraph.


When talking about Indian defense policy a former army chief famously talked about the "arrogance of ignorance". In twenty-five important chapters Indian and foreign contributors address the "ignorance" side of this quip, dissecting relevant parts of Indian military history, the frozen defense bureaucracy, and the tough problem of identifying and responding to threats. The book rightly raises questions about how India arms and defends itself, and more importantly, how it prioritizes security problems. It is a must-have reference book for anyone interested in the future of one of the world’s major powers. -- Stephen P. Cohen, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC