Indian strategic culture: the debate and its consequences

Authored by: Harsh V. Pant

Handbook of India’s International Relations

Print publication date:  May  2011
Online publication date:  May  2011

Print ISBN: 9781857435528
eBook ISBN: 9780203828861
Adobe ISBN:


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Time and again, India’s behaviour in the realm of foreign and security policy has confounded observers, deviating as it does from the ‘norm’ set by other major powers. Indian foreign and security policy has been deemed incoherent and inconsistent. 1 As India’s weight has grown in the international system in recent years, there is a perception that India is on the cusp of achieving Great Power status. It is repeated ad nauseum in the Indian and often in global media, and India is already being asked to behave like one. In the past, non-alignment was the broader framework through which India had viewed its relationship with the outside world. The idea of retaining ‘strategic autonomy’ was seen as crucial by the Indian elite and non-alignment was an instrument towards that end.

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