India’s Military Conflicts and Diplomacy: An Inside View of Decision Making by General V.P. Malik

Brig Gurmeet Kanwal (Retd.) is Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and former Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi. Click here for details profile [+}
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  • March 2015
    Book Review

    India’s 11th Five Year Defence Plan was completed on March 31, 2012. Throughout its currency, the plan did not receive the approval of the Union Cabinet. The ongoing 12th Defence Plan was ‘approved in principle’ by the Defence Acquisition Council of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), but has not yet been approved by the National Security Council (NSC). Also, approval without financial commitment for the full five-year term is meaningless and defence planning in India remains as ad hoc as it has been since independence.

    In May 1998, India conducted five nuclear tests at Pokhran and declared itself a state armed with nuclear weapons. It later emerged that these weapons of mass destruction were not merely ‘devices’ to be tested; they were actual warheads from the nuclear arsenal. It transpired that India’s nuclear arsenal was held by civilian organisations—jointly by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO)—and not by the country’s armed forces. And the armed forces were not the only ones in for a rude surprise; George Fernandes, India’s defence minister at the time of the tests, had no prior knowledge of the impending nuclear tests.