This report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. There currently exists a critical consensus that India's leaders lack a grand strategy to direct internal and external policies. Recent literature focuses increasingly on this issue to address the question of India's ability to counter China's rising influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region. This thesis analyzes the ideological and historical factors that have contributed to India's grand strategy policy-making process. Specifically, the research focuses on two primary schools of strategic thought in India's rich history: the Indira Doctrine and the Gujral Doctrine. This study builds on George Tanham's mandala system of strategic thinking, which places India's spheres of influence into three concentric circles: the core, periphery, and extended neighborhood. Using this analytical framework, this thesis tests the Indira and Gujral Doctrines for their ability to resolve India's strategic concerns in each sphere of influence. The study concludes that India will not be able to counter China's influence or project its own global power until strategic issues in the core and periphery are resolved. In light of India's desire to wield great power, this thesis suggests that India's leaders draw on the policies found in the Indira and Gujral Doctrines to devise a coherent grand strategy.
This compilation includes a reproduction of the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
India's security strategy has become increasingly more important to the international community given China's rising influence across Asia. However, experts around the world have also begun criticizing New Delhi due to its inability to lay out a coherent, achievable grand strategy. Critics worry that the largest democracy in the world is unable to wield a global presence strong enough to counter China's rising dominance. India desires parity with China in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and hopes to project global strength, but its inability to modernize and build up its military have made these dreams increasingly difficult to achieve. Rooted in a historical commitment to maintaining India's strategic autonomy, leaders in New Delhi remain reluctant to establish foreign alliances to fill the gaps in their nation's capacity. With these factors in mind, this research explains what India's current strategic goals entail and whether the nation has the capacity to achieve them. In short, does India have the wherewithal to achieve its grand strategy?
India's geographic position in the subcontinent has also influenced leaders in New Delhi that their strategy should center around their dominance in the region. George Tanham states that India's location, size, and population have all come together to create the idea of India's preeminence in the Indian Ocean region and its inherent global importance. India's greater size compared to its smaller neighbors created the idea of the Indian subcontinent as a single entity that Indian leaders should rightfully dominate. Tanham explains how India's geography also led to feelings of insecurity because certain northwest passages historically allowed invaders to reach India. He claims that these fears of being invaded and dominated permeate Indian strategy even today. Stephen Cohen concurs, though he focuses less on the land features and more on the ideological influence. In his opinion, Indian leaders have always wanted India to be a regional security provider, but that they have historically relied on partnerships with such other strong regional states as China and the Soviet Union to achieve this goal. These opinions combined suggest that current Indian strategy remains influenced by both historic notions of India's great power in the region and an obsession with maintaining security from outside invaders.