Strategic Thinking

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  • Ravi Ranjan asked: What is the difference between natural ally and strategic partner?

    S. Kalyanaraman replies: Natural allies are normally 'birds of the same feather', while strategic partners are often ‘strange bedfellows’. Natural allies (think of America and Britain during the Second World War) share common political and cultural values—they may believe in democracy or authoritarianism; they may uphold liberal capitalism or socialism or state corporatism; they may share common historical and cultural traditions; their societal values may be more or less similar; they may practice the same religion; and so on.

    Strategic partners (think of America and the Soviet Union during the Second World War) may share none of these similarities. Notwithstanding this difference, what makes two countries either natural allies or strategic partners is the common security challenge that they both face at a particular juncture in history and more importantly their decision to come together and pool their resources to deal with this challenge (think of America, Britain and the Soviet Union coming together to deal with the Fascist challenge during the Second World War).

    Sustainanble Culture for Soft Power

    To maintain our cultural heritage, it is vital that the state encourages the study of Sanskrit and impart vigour to reworking Sanskrit texts like that of the Arthsastra of Chanakya.

    June 07, 2012

    Ravi Ranjan asked: What is the meaning of geo-economics and geo-strategy? What one means by strategic engagement?

    Namrata Goswami replies: Geo-economics is the study of how economics functions in an international environment. It is basically an academic study of the global move of capital, market and labour. The concept of geo-economics thereby interacts with the geographic and demographic aspects of states and consequently influences their own policy with regard to international trade and commerce. Geo-economics also provides us with a list of economic powers; the states with the greatest economic strengths, and how that influences the structure of power. For example, the US as the top economy followed by China as the second largest economy, and how the distribution of economic power informs their politics, etc.

    Geo-strategy is the practical world of policy-making amongst states at the international level. It basically informs states to chart out a strategic course of which policies to undertake in order to improve ones’ own position in the international order. This could include policies to become the world’s pre-eminent power, or to become an economic power or a regional actor. The geographic location of a country plays a critical role in the formulation of geo-strategy.

    Strategic partnership is a partnership between two states in order to support/forward/craft particular goals in the international order. A strategic partnership enables two states to have a common vision towards a particular foreign policy goal. For example, the US and India have a strategic partnership between them. This strategic partnership brings the two countries together on global issues like safeguard of the global commons, the fight against piracy, non-proliferation, high technology cooperation, etc. The strategic partnership framework also offers the guidelines for future policy making on issues of common interest.

    US Strategic Thinking in an Era of Energy Self Sufficiency

    With the United States possibly becoming self sufficient in oil and natural gas, a profound change in its strategic thinking is bound to take place.

    May 08, 2012

    Jawaharlal Nehru and the Chief of Defence Staff

    The appointment of the Naresh Chandra Committee is an opportunity for India’s strategic community to engage in a long-overdue debate on our approach to national security

    July 11, 2011

    Strategic Intelligence and National Security: The Role of Think Tanks

    Strategic Intelligence depends primarily on open source information and provides a broad net assessed picture of the security environment.

    April 08, 2011

    Conceptual Trap in Corruption as a Security Issue

    Those studying the Naxal challenge cannot afford to ignore the fact that corruption in delivery mechanisms is one root cause of the insurgency.

    December 08, 2010

    Defence White Paper 2009: New Contours of Australia's Strategic Thinking

    The rapid speed of globalization and increasing economic interdependence has had a direct impact on defence policies and countries are constantly seen fine-tuning their priorities. Walden Bello argues in his book Dilemmas of Domination that the declining US hegemony would prompt US allies in Asia to alter their defence planning and strategies vis-à-vis emerging powers like China.

    November 2009

    Between 2015 and 2050: Considerations in Negotiating a Date for an Indian Grand Strategy Project

    Security planners often grapple with the question of how far out they should be looking and planning, and it is not a problem to take lightly. Many believe that as the pace of technology quickens and the number of possible interactions in a globalized, flattened world increase, the real horizon of meaningful forecast moves ever closer. But in my view that only forces us to look farther out, to things that seem distant today, but can be anticipated, and to take a longer view.

    August 03, 2009

    Bridging the Gap Between Academics and Policymakers

    Director General’s N.S. Sisodia’s opinion piece “The Case to strengthen Indian think tanks” published in The Hindu on May 24, 2009 is timely. The United Service Institution of India (USI) has existed since 1870 and the IDSA since 1965. In Delhi, over the last decade, a number of new think tanks working on defence issues have been established, like the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), The National Maritime Foundation (NMF) and the Centre for Joint Warfare Studies (CENJOWS).

    June 03, 2009