The evolution in India’s national security apparatus

Persisting structural deficiencies

Authored by: Frank O’Donnell , Harsh V. Pant

Handbook of Indian Defence Policy

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138939608
eBook ISBN: 9781315674742
Adobe ISBN: 9781317380092


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Upon first sight, India has an effective defence policy management system. Unlike many postcolonial developing countries, India has seen no military coups. Nor have there been quiet aggregations of political authority to the military that allow it to determine the political agenda and reduce the flexibility of civilian leaders. Civilian control is firmly established throughout the Indian defence system, with final decisions of war and peace being made by elected civilians, and then, directed through multiple layers of civilian bureaucracy to reach their military recipients. Compared to the opaque fusion of political and military authorities in China, and the transparent dominance of the military over ostensibly civilian-led foreign and security policymaking in Pakistan – to give two nearby examples – India’s defence setup appears a model of stability in civil–military relations that accurately reflects its democratic constitution.

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