India’s Grand Strategy: History, Theory, Cases, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

India’s Grand Strategy

History, Theory, Cases, 1st Edition

Edited by Kanti Bajpai, Saira Basit, V. Krishnappa

Routledge India

596 pages

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As India prepares to take its place in shaping the course of an ‘Asian century’, there are increasing debates about its ‘grand strategy’ and its role in a future world order. This timely and topical book presents a range of historical and contemporary interpretations and case studies on the theme. Drawing upon rich and diverse narratives that have informed India’s strategic discourse, security and foreign policy, it charts a new agenda for strategic thinking on postcolonial India from a non-Western perspective. Comprehensive and insightful, the work will prove indispensable to those in defence and strategic studies, foreign policy, political science, and modern Indian history. It will also interest policy-makers, think-tanks and diplomats.


‘A must-read for those interested in new thinking in the world's most complex and challenged great power.’ — Stephen Philip Cohen

‘An up-to-date, serious and thoughtful treatment of a very vital subject for all who care about India.’ — Meghnad Desai

‘Bajpai, Basit and Krishnappa map a terrain that has been barely explored. There is no better introduction to understanding India's grand strategy.’ — C. Raja Mohan

‘A decisive refutation of the thesis that India lacks — or has not reflected on — grand strategy. No scholar of Indian national security can afford not to engage [with] it.’ — Ashley J. Tellis

‘A valuable introduction to an emerging literature on how India views its [economic] rise and what it means for the world. — Sanjaya Baru

Table of Contents

Foreword Arvind Gupta and Sven G. Holtsmark. Acknowledgements.Introduction:India’s Grand Strategic Thought and Practice. 1. ‘Grand Strategic Thought’ in the Ramayana and Mahabharata Swarna Rajagopalan 2. Strategy, Legitimacy and the Imperium: Framing the Mughal Strategic Discourse Jayashree Vivekanandan 3. Liberal Thought and Colonial Military Institutions Srinath Raghavan 4. Indian Grand Strategy: Six Schools of Thought Kanti Bajpai 5. Nehru’s Advocacy of Internationalism and Indian Foreign Policy S. Kalyanaraman 6. Economic Modernisation and the Growing Influence of Neoliberalism in India’s Strategic Thought N.S. Sisodia 7. An Elephant with a Small ‘Footprint’: The Realist Roots of India’s Strategic Thought and Policies Bharat Karnad 8. ‘Jiski Lathi, Uski Bhains’: The Hindu Nationalist View of International Politics Rahul Sagar 9. Securing India: Gandhian Intuitions Siddharth Mallavarapu 10. Indian Strategic Culture: The Pakistan Dimension Ali Ahmed 11. China, in Three AvatarsTanvi Madan 12. Aberrant Conversationalists: India and the United States Since 1947 Rudra Chaudhuri 13. India, Afghanistan and the ‘End Game’? Shanthie Mariet D’Souza 14. Collateral Damage: Iran in a Reconfigured Indian Grand Strategy? Sarang Shidore 15. Redefining India’s Grand Strategy? The Evolving Nature of India’s Israel Policy Nicolas Blarel 16. The Institutional Origins and Determinants of India’s Africa Policy Constantino Xavier. Bibliography. About the Editors. Notes on Contributors. Index

About the Editors

Kanti Bajpai is Professor and Vice Dean (Research), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

Saira Basit is Research Fellow, Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS), Oslo.

V. Krishnappa is Director, Futurestrat Learning Systems Private Limited, New Delhi.

About the Series

War and International Politics in South Asia

This Series seeks to foster original and rigorous scholarship on the dynamics of war and international politics in South Asia. Following Clausewitz, war is understood as both a political and a social phenomenon which manifests itself in a variety of forms ranging from total wars to armed insurrections. International politics is closely intertwined with it, for war not only plays an important role in the formation of an international order but also a threat to its continued existence. The Series will therefore focus on the international as well as domestic dimensions of war and security in South Asia. Comparative studies with other geographical areas are also of interest.

A fundamental premise of this Series is that we cannot do justice to the complexities of war by studying it from any single, privileged academic standpoint; the phenomenon is best explained in a multidisciplinary framework. The Series welcomes a wide array of approaches, paradigms and methodologies, and is interested in historical, theoretical, and policy-oriented scholarship. In addition to monographs, the Series will from time to time publish collections of essays.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies