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The New Arthashastra: A Security Strategy for India

India’s worsening relationship with Pakistan and the war-like situation developing on the western front have put the focus on our defence preparedness. Ironically, though, India does not have a formally published National Security Strategy, unlike every other global power such as the US, the UK and China.

This book is the first attempt to put together a National Security Strategy for India. It is a collection of 20 essays by veterans of the armed forces (Gen V.P. Malik, Adm Arun Prakash, Brig Gurmeet Kanwal)and intelligence agencies (Vikram Sood) as well as by diplomats (Kanwal Sibal) and scholars (C. Raja Mohan, Ajai Sahni). They cover every significant aspect of National Security Strategy: nuclear deterrence, countering China, Pakistan’s unrelenting proxy war and preparing for warfare in space and cyberspace. The concluding chapter by Brig Gurmeet Kanwal, who has previously written bestselling books such as Indian Army: Vision 2020, summarizes all of India’s security concerns and how to address them.

This is a book that should be read by India’s policymakers, politicians and soldiers, as also the lay citizen who wishes to understand what is at stake and how India can defend itself against adversaries. In short, this book is a blueprint for the National Security Strategy that India lacks at present — an absence that will become acute, should the two nuclear-armed neighbours descend into war.

For a country that has fought five wars and is hemmed in by nuclear-armed states, India surprisingly does not have a formally declared national security strategy. All the major powers of the world publish documents that spell out their national interests, identify their threats—political, economic, diplomatic or with regard to security—and draw up policies to deal with them. The absence of a similar doctrine makes India’s defence policy look ad hoc and creates the impression that the country is unprepared to realize its global ambitions. The New Arthashastra is a path-breaking attempt to recommend a national security strategy for India. It does the difficult groundwork for India’s political leaders and policymakers by bringing the best names—from within the community as well as from the armed forces and academia—to the ideating table.
This collection of twenty essays covers a wide range of topics: nuclear deterrence, defence spending, the domestic production of weapons and bracing for the wars of the future that will be fought in space and cyberspace. Most important, it presents a roadmap to address India’s chief concerns: Chinese assertiveness and Pakistan’s unrelenting proxy war. Informed by the expertise of analysts with inside-out knowledge of their domains, The New Arthashastra offers enduring and practical insights to strategists and lay readers alike.

About the Author

Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retd.) is Distinguished Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi; and Adjunct Fellow, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Wadhwani Chair, Washington, DC. He was Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), New Delhi (January 2008–March 2012), the Indian Army’s think tank. He has co-founded two Delhi-based think tanks: Forum for Strategic Initiatives (FSI) and the South Asian Institute for Strategic Affairs (SAISA).
Brigadier Kanwal commanded an infantry brigade in the high-altitude Gurez Sector on the LoC with Pakistan (Operation Parakram, 2001–03) in northern Kashmir and an artillery regiment in counter-insurgency operations in the Kashmir Valley (Operation Rakshak, 1993-94). He has served as Deputy Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Doctrine, Organization and Training) at HQ IDS, New Delhi; Director MO-5 in the Directorate General of Military Operations at Army Headquarters (dealing with threat, strategy and force structure); United Nations Military Observer in UNTAG, Namibia; Brigade Major of an infantry brigade and Instructor-in-Gunnery at the School of Artillery, Devlali.
He opted for voluntary retirement in 2003 and joined the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi, as Director, Security Studies and Senior Fellow. He has also served as Senior Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi; and Senior Fellow, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi. He has been a Visiting Research Scholar at the Cooperative Monitoring Centre (CMC), Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, United States and in other think tanks in London and Singapore.

Brigadier Kanwal has authored several books: Nuclear Defence: Shaping the Arsenal; Indian Army: Vision 2020; Pakistan’s Proxy War; Heroes of Kargil; Kargil ’99: Blood, Guts and Firepower and Artillery: Honour and Glory. He has edited and co-edited many books on defence.
He has contributed extensively to various journals and leading newspapers, including a column in the Statesman for over two years. He is a regular speaker at well-known international think tanks and military institutions.

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