Arjun Subramaniam

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  • Air Cmde Arjun Subramaniam is a serving officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF). The views offered are his own and do not reflect the views of the IAF.

    The Strategy Trap: India and Pakistan Under the Nuclear Shadow

    Ever since India and Pakistan emerged as declared nuclear weapon states in 1998, national security ideation in both countries has factored in the nuclear dimension in significantly different ways. While Pakistan views its nuclear arsenal as an offensive weapon against what it perceives to be an existential threat from India and a conduit to wage a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), India has a nuanced perspective of nuclear weapons as primarily a credible deterrent and not a weapon of war fighting.

    January-March 2019

    Critical Analysis of Pakistani Air Operations in 1965: Weaknesses and Strengths

    This article tracks the evolution of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) into a potent fighting force by analysing the broad contours of joint operations and the air war between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and PAF in 1965. Led by aggressive commanders like Asghar Khan and Nur Khan, the PAF seized the initiative in the air on the evening of 6 September 1965 with a coordinated strike from Sargodha, Mauripur and Peshawar against four major Indian airfields, Adampur, Halwara, Pathankot and Jamnagar. The IAF riposte to PAF strikes came early next morning at dawn on 7 September.

    July 2015

    Beyond NJ 9842: The Siachen Saga by Nitin A. Gokhale

    The history of the 20th century has for a long time looked at the inhospitable Russian Tundra in winter as the most hostile battleground that armies could experience. Hitler’s defeat at Stalingrad in the bleak winter of 1942 and the decimation of his Panzer divisions by hardy and acclimatised Russian forces remains one of the key turning points of World War II.

    January 2015

    Restrained and Strategically Effective—The 2011 Aerial Campaign over Libya: An Indian Perspective

    The winter of 2011 was a dramatic period for air power in Mediterranean Europe and India. Operation Unified Protector (OUP), the successful North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) offensive aerial campaign that paved the way for a regime change in Libya, involved two platforms that had been shortlisted for the largest fighter aircraft deal of recent times.

    May 2014

    Lee Kuan Yew: The Grandmaster’s Insights on China, the United States and the World by Graham Allison and Robert D. Blackwill with Ali Wyne

    Without doubt, Lee Kuan Yew has been among the most distinguished statesmen to emerge from the ruins of post-colonial Asia. He orchestrated and led the transformation of Singapore from a poverty-stricken and war-ravaged city into a prosperous and developed city-state in less than four decades by laying robust, hybrid and sustainable economic and political structures. A disciplined, orderly and controlled democracy, Singapore has emerged as a hub for the convergence of western and eastern processes and competencies.

    January 2014

    Understanding Diverse Global Thoughts on Air Power

    Air power has gone through a lot over the last two decades—from being a decisive tool of war fighting during Operation Desert Storm and operations over Kosovo, to a more sobering period in the first decade of this century when it faced intense criticism over its use in Lebanon, Iraq and Af-Pak.

    March 2013

    China and India: Great Power Rivals by Mohan Malik

    Professor Mohan Malik teaches at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu and comes across as a typical academic and scholar—earnest, animated and absolutely convinced of the accuracy and authenticity of his research. When one adds the years of domain knowledge of what is turning out to be amongst the most discussed rivalries of the early 21st century—the India–China contest for strategic space in Asia—what you have is a sure recipe for a scholarly masterpiece.

    July 2012

    Role of Force in Statecraft: Declining Utility or Inescapable Necessity

    Recent debates amongst the strategic community on the utility of force in statecraft have thrown up interesting perspectives that have seldom been debated in India. While great power rivalries, inter-state conflicts and coalition conflicts still remain distinct possibilities in the future, major principles of war fighting, conflict resolution, statecraft and nuclear deterrence have since been turned on their head when confronted by non-state actors and non-traditional threats.

    May 2011

    Strategies to Tackle Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW): An Aerial Perspective

    The changing nature of warfare, as the twentieth century drew to a close, saw the increased proliferation of conflict between non-state actors and the state. Small wars, wars of liberation, insurgencies, terrorism, proxy wars, sub-conventional warfare and a host of other terminologies emerged that attempted to fingerprint this genre of low spectrum warfare. Initially, it was felt that it was risky to use air power in this kind of warfare and that surface forces were best equipped to fight these wars with only superficial support from air forces.

    September 2010