India’s Grand Strategy

The K Subrahmanyam lecture

National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon delivered a lecture yesterday to honour K Subrahmanyam, India’s foremost strategic thinker, who passed away in February last year. Mr Menon rebutted the notion that India has never had, and doesn’t have a grand strategy.

The NSA said Subrahmanyam had made four key contributions to Indian strategic thinking: building a consensus that nuclear weapons were the cheapest and most effective way of guaranteeing national survival in an uncertain world; creating an understanding that defence could not be sidelined in the pursuit of development; developing a modern national security structure; and emphasising the need for India to seek autonomy in its strategic decision-making.

For Subrahmanyam, Mr. Menon said, India’s core constitutional values — secularism, democracy and the pursuit of the peoples’ welfare — constituted a road map that provided overall shape to decision-making.[Hindu]

The lecture is worth watching in full. Here it is in two parts, courtesy Ms. Smita Prakash of Asian News International.

If these 27 minutes leave you unsatisfied after whetting your appetite, spare an hour. Go to the IDSA website and listen to this talk by the master himself. In what was among one of his last talks at IDSA (here), recorded on 29 April 2010, Mr. Subrahmanyam gives a tour d’horizon of “India’s Grand Strategy” to probationer officers of the Indian Foreign Service undergoing their 10-day module at IDSA. (Link thanks Rohan Joshi)

My fellow blogger, Nitin Pai conducted an interview with K Subrahmanyam for Pragati. You should listen to the interview in his own voice. You can also download the published interview in PDF.

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