Military as an instrument of India’s foreign policy

An expanding footprint

Authored by: Sushant K. Singh

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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In early 1947, while undergoing a course at the Imperial Defence College in London, Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa was quoted as advocating for a meeting between Jawaharlal Nehru and M. A. Jinnah to work out a solution that did not involve partitioning India or the division of the Indian Army. In his weekly column in The Harijan, Mahatma Gandhi criticised Cariappa for expressing views on politics while in the military. When General Cariappa returned to India in December 1947, he called on Gandhi, who was staying in the Bhangi Colony. When he reached Gandhi’s cottage, Cariappa took off his shoes before entering the hut. Gandhi, who knew enough about soldiering, having served in the battlefield in South Africa during the Zulu War, told him that his shoes were part of his uniform, and therefore, it was not proper to take them off. The general replied that, according to Indian tradition, a person did not wear shoes in the presence of a deity, mahatmas and saints.

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