The (Indian) Elephant in the Room


An interesting perspective, if nothing else. It's certainly not a perspective I'd considered before.

"India's behavior has been comparable to other defiant nuclear states [and] will undoubtedly contribute to a deteriorating security environment in Asia."


Book Reviewer
Bit of a broad brush, but does highlight some pretty key points. I was always under the sneaking suspicion that we were being sold a bit of a lemon when it came to the emergence of Indian power.
An excellent article!

This particular bit provides a lot of food for though however:

"There's a certain style of Indian diplomacy that alienates debating partners, allies, and opponents." And looking forward? India craves a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, seeking greater authority in shaping the global agenda. But not a small number of other countries wonder what India would do with that power. Its petulant track record is the elephant in the room.
Taking into account the rest of the article, its seems giving India a veto would be the worst possible scenario for the UN!
I have to confess to being one of those the author refers to who thinks of India in pretty benign stereotypes when I think of it at all.

As I see it, India's principle strengths are its large population and strategic location between Africa and East Asia. The principle weaknesses are the lack of infrastructure in much of the country which makes it hard to benefit from its human resources; the comparative lack of higher education as a multiplier to their economic input; and the comparative lack of homogeneity across the various states. IIRC, Anwar Pradesh has routinely had to fight off calls from elsewhere to break it up into smaller blocks and certain of the newer states were created for jerrymandering purposes rather than any genuine logistic or administrative purpose.

The author's name crops up on the web in relation to a number of Nuclear Disamament and Space Proliferation documents, so perhaps he's not the most impartial commentator on an emerging nuclear power, but I have to admit my thinking has been altered by some of the points he raises.
In a global security context, India is a very stubborn and obdurate nation. They take hard lines (usually) and stick to them for the longest time. This is obviously not a good stance for a nation at the schwerpunkt of half a dozen regional disputes...
Would never have happened under the Empire.
Just been talking to an Indian friend of mine. He was at an exercise some years ago where a scenario involving a nuclear deployment in defence of Indian territory was discussed. A large number of Indian civilians would have been killed and a senior officer made a comment that as good hindus, they would end up burnt at some point and military decisions had to be made. The geography of the area however indicated that the collateral Indian civilian casualties would in fact mostly be muslim - the state having a population of over 90% muslims. To which the senior officer remarked "so much the better"...

Yes, it is a very worrying neck of the woods and they are so much better at military stuff than we give them credit for - including C4I and joint operations. Oh and hard decision making...

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