November 7, 2016
A national security doctrine, with political consensus, can prevent the unnecessary politicisation of national security issues. But is the government invested in drawing it up?
New Delhi’s decision to get back at Pakistan by raking up Balochistan in various global fora goes to demonstrate how tactical considerations continue to trump strategic thinking in India. New Delhi, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stewardship, has displayed an exceptional, often admirable, amount of enthusiasm for foreign and security policy, and yet the country’s strategic thinking continues to be guided by bureaucratic ad hocism, tactical considerations, and political expediency.
Mr. Modi’s ‘energetic’ foreign policy has not gone significantly beyond catchy rhetoric and fanfare. Take, for instance, some of the early objectives of this government: neighbourhood first, selling India’s growth story globally, and getting Sino-Indian relations on track. Half-way through its term, most of these objectives lay in tatters. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership continues to argue that having completed over 50 foreign trips in this period, Mr. Modi has energised India’s foreign policy. But how does “energising” become a foreign policy achievement if policy and strategy are to be judged on the basis of outcomes, consistency and follow-up? Beyond these obvious issues, there is, however, a fundamental lacuna inherent in the country’s strategic behaviour and choices today: it functions without a grand strategic blueprint.
Boxed up in South Asia