HOW SECURE ARE WE?

The global order is changing in a fundamental way. In this complicated environment, India is looking to transform itself into a modern developed country in which it can promote its national interests. To understand the dynamics of India’s security policy, it is imperative that we consider the changes in our immediate neighbourhood, the Indian sub- continent, our extended neighbourhood, and finally at the world order as it is emerging.

This publication captures the dynamics of India’s security policy in the last two years in the context of trends towards nationalism, protectionism and isolationism on the part of major powers, mingled with a desire not to deny themselves the benefits of internationalism and globalisation. While India has undoubtedly reinvigorated its partnerships particularly in defence and economic fields with leading powers, it had also to contend with heightened tensions and provocative actions of its unavoidable adversaries like China and Pakistan.

India’s immediate neighbours are areas of concern not merely because of the intrusive presence of its adversaries in this region but also because of their discontent with India on various counts. India has intensified its engagement with countries in the Asia-Pacific region which had common threat perceptions and also provided scope for mutually beneficial development cooperation. Countries in the West Asian region have also received special attention because of India’s energy needs, diaspora and terrorism. These and other aspects of India’s national security concerns have been comprehensively examined by contributions of eminent experts.

The book is divided in six sections covering the gamut of the national security environment, India’s security zones, threats and challenges, economic and technological issues, and strategic concerns. It concludes with an assessment which highlights the limited gains and increasing strains. India has major internal political issues and is in need of structural adjustment to cope with the new global and regional economic situation. Overall, the base has been laid, if we choose to build upon it, to continue progress towards integrating the subcontinent, building connectivity and habits of cooperation and making institutions work much better.

There is also a clear dichotomy between what we see to our east and to the west in our extended neighbourhood. The breakdown of the geopolitical balance, the rise of sectarian violence and ancient animosities, economic stagnation are all issues of concern. The major geopolitical challenge for India in today’s situation is dealing with the consequences of the rise of China and of Asia more generally. Today’s situation is probably best described as generalised fragmented disorder. This is a world that will reward the agile and the nimble who adjust rapidly to change, not those who try to replicate the past and carry on the basis of habit and old experience.

The essays in this book are a very laudable effort indeed to encapsulate the essentials of India’s security concerns and enhance our understanding of the complexities that face us. The broad architecture has been well covered by eminent contributors. It is a valuable addition to military libraries.

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