India strategy – A pragmatic approach

reflects the same ideology in the present uni-polar World. The economical factor has added new trend to the Global order. India has gained Strategical Importance and moving up. It is time for the Indian Leaders to keep aside their political ideology and unite for evolving ‘A COMMON STRATEGY’ for the sake of ‘National Security’.

India is known for ‘Unity in Diversity’. Diversified Geographical factors vary from ‘High  Himalayan mountain ranges’ on the north to ‘Gangetic  plain’ spreading over the central part,  followed by ‘Deccan plateau’ surrounded by triangular coastal area all along the southern boundary. The eastern sector is covered with ‘Jungle terrain’ and the north-western sector has the ‘Sandy terrain’ all along the border. This unique geographical factor had it’s impact on every sphere of national characteristics; be it culture; be it tradition or any other sphere of nationality.

india-strategic-national-securityHistorically she had withstood numerous internal conflicts and external invasions, that had it’s own outcome on the whole of the ‘Peninesula’. The Geographical configuration had provided easily demarcated zone for different Dynasty to group them for ruling the people in their demarcated area. This factor led to their ambitious plan to expand their territory and clash with the neighboring rulers. These Internal conflicts made it easy for the external invaders to move in and plunder at their will.

The Geographical factor and the Historical events notwithstanding there were many other unique factors that had made India a Great Country otherwise. The Political scenario followed after the independence of India in 1947, gave her a totally changed identity in the World. The entire country came under newly formed Democratic Government. She became one of the largest Democratic Country of the World. The strategical importance magnified many folds and became one of the priority concern to be pondered over with great care. This aspect demands flexibility of planning with an indepth study of issues related to National security and friendly relations with the neighboring countries too.

The utmost important point, that should top the list of priority for the entire Country is ‘THE UNITY’. Be it, economical development or be it Strategy. Needless to emphasize here, Strategy for such a large Democratic Country dictates ‘CAUTION’ and ‘FLEXIBILITY’ in it’s concept and implementation. An instant analysis of ‘Strategy’ as applicable to INDIA revolves around National security(Threat perception), Political stability, Economic development, Global Changes and Foreign policy. Circling around these five factors will bring in the other linking aspects to project a complete ‘STRATEGY’. A pragmatic approach to STRATEGY, generates from the design of ‘National Security’ that’s needed for the Country.


Frankly speaking, one of the most talked about issue in the World is Security. ‘National Security’ by itself is a challenging factor, specially for a vast country like INDIA. Terrorism has enhanced the scope further.

It is well known fact that the policy makers of the country has not been able to establish an well planned system to ensure and safeguard the Nation against the threat from terrorists. It may be recollected that whenever there has been any terrorist attack; be it ‘Mumbai blast’ or be it ‘Attack on Parliament’ the immediate reaction revolved around ‘Security lapse’ as the cause followed by ‘Security alert’ as follow up. The bracketed scope between ‘ security lapse’ and ‘security alert’ was never so effective  that could deter the recurrence of the threat. This symptom dictates review of ‘Strategy’ with the due importance to ‘National Security’. Firstly, external  threat  from neighborhood and Secondly internal threat from anti national activities within. Internal threat can be examined separately , but while evolving the ‘Strategy Plan’ both these threats should be considered as two side of a coin and analysed accordingly.

A pragmatic approach to evolve the ‘National Security ‘as preliminary to ‘Strategy Planning’ is recommended in the succeeding paragraphs as under.

a. EXTERNAL THREAT- Based on geographical configuration and historical record the external threats could be anticipated along the LAC(line of actual control) and strategy has been worked out  by the Armed Forces. The National Leaders however need to maintain flexibility of thoughts conforming to the Policy changes. It is therefore expedient to evolve a commonly accepted policy on ‘Strategy’ by all political parties with utmost care and sincere approach to cater for long term Strategy . Existing scenario on the National boundary projects two opposing forces, namely China and Pakistan. However rapid geo-political changes will have it’s shadow over other neighbouring countries too. Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Srilanka ,Maldive, and Afghanisthan are also of importance in forming up the overall strategy in the Area. What is required to be maintained is a ‘Firm yet Friendly’ atmosphere in this region to create an optimistic’ balance of power’. It is easier said than done but, it is beneficial to each country, provided their internal disputes are brought under effective control by them respectively. ‘Optimistic balance of power’ dictates acceptance of commonly beneficial terms as follows-1- Amicable settlement of national border (where applicable).-2-Economical co-operation for long term stability in the region.-3-Joint operational plan to root out ‘Terrorism’ to include any scope of anti-regional activities(this term needs to be examined in the backdrop of Historical scenario).-4-Improvement in cultural and traditional exchanges.-5-Conform to the overall Global development. The above mentioned -5- points are pro-active in nature, hence will enable to restrict any ‘External Threat’ but to ensure ‘Alertness’ against any exploitation by any of the opposing forces ,there has to be’Quick Reaction policy’, along with deployment of Force level.

b. QUICK REACTION POLICY -The ‘Strategical pockets’ along the National Boundary needs to be constantly reviewed and reinforced as per the threat perceptive of the competent strategy analysis team. The force level for such contingency and their readiness must be ensured at all time. Physical occupation of all such terrain may not be practicable due to climatic condition, Terrain factor, Economically acceptable terms or any other factor. In such situation the readiness of the force level should be substituted by effective surveillance, supported by innovative intelligence. (this needs to be elaborated separately; a hypothetical example is ‘behaviour pattern’ of floura and fauna in some part of undisturbed environment in the vicinity and so on). Quick Reaction Policy with pre-determined force level should be brought under a competent Military Commander’s discretionary authority but should be part of ‘National Strategy’ for prompt reaction capability.

C. TRAINGULAR OPERATION-The existing policy adopted by the Armed Forces in counter insurgency operation is equally applicable in futuristic operation against any conventional enemy on our border. This policy as exists could be termed (for easy reference) as ‘Traingular Operation’. It entails, ‘Tactical’, ‘Psychological’ and ‘Intelligence’ operation launched simultaneously to wards military as well as political gain. Generally such policy is not practiced in fighting conventional warfare. However this concept will have significant impact if ‘Quick Reaction Plan’  Should be considered as part of ‘Strategical Plan’.

d. INTERNAL THREAT– Generally any internal dispute becomes the part of ‘Internal Affair’ hence not included as ‘Strategy’ but the complex situation of maintaining ‘Firm yet Friendly’ disposition will dictate otherwise. A funny situation at times will project a ‘Dubious Threat’ for the National Security. Such situations have been experienced in the recent past on Indo-China LAC. It is termed ‘funny’ because concocted versions of distorted facts are used by’ fifth columnist’ to damage any attempt for establishing good neighbourly relation leading to almost an WAR like situation. Therefore Internal threat should also be considered under overall ‘Strategic Plan’ as a long term  policy to maintain ‘balance of power’ in the region.


One important factor is the Threat Perception’. Other important factors are ‘Political Stability’, ‘Economic Development’ ‘Global changes’ and ‘Foreign Policy. These factors form part of overall Governance of the country and keeps changing in a Democracy. ‘Strategy’ to counter any threat against the sovereignty, needs a strong ‘Force Level’ and equally strong ‘Vision’ to use them effectively.

FORCE LEVEL – The large border spreading from North-East to North-West through difficult Mountain ranges can never be Physically guarded by available Armed force.  Same is the situation on the coastal border along the peninsula. Deployment of ‘force level’ thus become a part of strategical decision. This decision, however demands well co-ordinated common approach to avoid any complication during the execution of the decision; as and when applicable. It should also be left to the professional discretion of the respective ‘Theater Commander’. It is expedient for the entire political group and their respective supporters group to maintain unified approach. Crucial decision and effective co-ordination should however be kept under one competent ‘Chief of unified command’ .

DEPLOYMENT OF FORCE-There are three independent fighting wing of Armed Forces, namely ARMY, NAVY and AIR FORCE. Each force has different role under different ‘Chief’. It is therefore mandatory to place the effective co-ordination under one ‘Chief of unified command.’ There is no place for ‘Runners up’ in a WAR. Needle of accuracy depends on ultimate coordination in deployment of available force level at different operational theater, or, switching over the force level from one theater to other sector.

CONCLUSION -Optimum state of readiness for Armed Forces depend on well thought over Strategy of a country. Evolving a strategy need the vision of soldiering and statesmanship of very high order. The ultimate strength and pillar of national policy needs a firm base termed Strategy. Key factors to enable the optimum best are, ‘Unity in diversity’; be it political ideology; be it religious belief; be it regional strength, or be it operational capability of Armed Forces , ‘Sense of Patriotism’ and ‘Clear Vision ‘.


As perceived and analysed by –   Lt Col(retd) SK Parasar.

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