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  • Rereading Mao’s Military Thinking

    Although the nature of warfare has changed beyond recognition since the 1920s and 1930s when Chairman Mao Zedong penned his main military writings, his military thoughts are still a point of reference for any discussion on military thinking in modern China. Developments in warfare have superseded Mao’s operational principles and tactics visualised in his three-stage warfare; however, his philosophical and political understanding of war has value that transcends time and space.

    September 2013

    Role of the Indian Military in Disasters

    It needs to be noted that discipline and efficiency is the first demand in disaster response and relief tasks, which are often dangerous missions and quite naturally the military brings in order in post-disaster operations.

    July 05, 2013

    Restructuring India’s Military: Out of Box Options by Rear Admiral (Retd.) A.P. Revi

    This book, on a topical issue, is divided into nine chapters. The author has carried out extensive research and documented the process of the evolution of the existing models of higher defence organizations in the United States (US), Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)/Russia, the United Kingdom (UK) and China. Briefly, he has also touched upon the systems adopted by France and Germany. These are covered in the first four chapters, and supported by functional charts.

    April 2013

    Needed: A Better Appraisal System for Better Leaders

    There has been a palpable decline in the standards of morals, ethics and values as observed by officers in the armed forces and the bond between officers and men has weakened. This could be because officers with the requisite qualities are not adequately groomed to rise to the level of battalion commanders. The present appraisal system is largely to blame, it being based on a single Annual Confidential Report. A further drawback is that only superior officers report on a ratee. Inputs for appraisal need to be drawn from multiple sources geared towards a ‘360 degree evaluation’.

    April 2013

    Ethics and Military Leadership

    ‘Ethics’ derived from the Greek word ‘Ethicos’, means character or manners and guide actions thereby becoming a ‘normative discipline’. Military Ethics applies to a specialized realm and has developed principles appropriate to it over time to help guide future operations. The armed forces must be always ethically led to uphold the defence of the nation and its national interests. Ethical leadership embodying the ideals of the profession of arms entails creating ethical command climates that set the conditions for positive outcomes and ethical behaviour.

    April 2013

    Role of Military Culture and Traditions in Building Ethics, Morals and Combat Effectiveness in Fighting Units

    Developing culture and traditions is one of the pragmatic ways of breeding ethics and moral standards in the military. These moral issues are profoundly linked to the military’s way of life and ethos, which includes discipline and esprit de corps. Although issues like developing a sense of belonging may be the theme while creating cultures, the ultimate aim is to influence a soldier into becoming an ethical team player as an instrument for winning wars. The creation and pursuit of culture establishes common values and a sense of ownership amongst the troops.

    April 2013

    Theaterised Joint Logistics: A Caliberated Initiation

    Theaterised Joint Logistics: A Caliberated Initiation

    The most successful and efficient methodology being adopted by modern militaries is a logistics system based on theatre or theaterised logistics. In our case, there has hardly been any serious attempt to modify the logistics system which we inherited from the British. The monograph presents short term approach and a medium approach to bring in desired changes in our military logistics system after evaluating the need of the hour.


    Abhishek Tyagi asked: Why did India not opt for full fledged war with China in 1962 using navy and air force to support army operations?

    Reply: In the fiftieth year of the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Journal of Defence Studies (an IDSA Journal) has put together a Special Issue that analyses the causes of the conflict as well as lessons for the present. The entire Special Issue can be accessed at

    Also, refer to R. Sukumaran, “The 1962 India-China War and Kargil 1999: Restrictions on the Use of Air Power”, Strategic Analysis, 27 (3), July 2003, at

    Following comments appeared on the subject on the IDSA website:

    The Two Myths of 1962,
    By Ramesh Phadke, October 31, 2012

    Who started the fighting?
    By R. S. Kalha, October 17, 2012

    Who Started the Fighting---- The Sequel
    By R. S. Kalha, October 28, 2012

    What did China Gain at the End of the Fighting in November 1962?
    By R. S. Kalha, November 21, 2012

    Japan: Dynamics of Military Alliance in Disaster Management

    The March 2011 triple disaster in Japan obligated a response from the US, its long-time ally. The US disaster assistance to Japan went beyond the customary nature of the countries’ relationship, and was conspicuous for the scale of military involvement that was embedded in the US-Japan alliance. The success of the US asistance programme Operation Tomodachi is attributed to interoperability between the defence forces of the two allies.

    January 2012

    Geraldine asked : What does ‘strategic relationship’ between two nations mean? Does it mean only military ties or more than that?

    Ali Ahmed replies: A 'strategic relationship', as the term suggests, involves a shared understanding between the two or more states involved on the nature of threats in the environment and the place of their collective power in helping mitigate the threats. This does not amount to an ‘alliance’, meaning a deeper relationship in which the states are treaty bound to come to each other’s assistance in case of materialisation of a threat against any member state. In a strategic relationship, the states involved, that could number two or more, discuss the role of power through periodic bilateral (multilateral as the case may be) confabulations at a high, ministerial and bureaucratic-military official, level. The ambit of these talks can be quite broad, to include technology, strategic perspectives, state of and progress in the relationship, future directions of international affairs and the relations in particular, etc. It need not be restricted to the military sphere and could include civilian areas, such as nuclear technology, space, agriculture, etc.

    The relationship has material and physical dimensions in that there may exist a buyer-seller relationship between the states in terms of armaments and high technology, military training, exchange between subject matter experts, assistance to the position of the other in global forums to an extent, etc. The relationship is usually forged through a written document that brings out the demands on and expectations of all sides. Usually this may not have any hidden clauses, but there would be confidential exchanges and areas of such high end cooperation such as in the intelligence field and technology. The across the board relationship, its strength and depth make for a strategic relationship or partnership. Clearly, it amounts to more than military ties. There are mutual benefits in that the strategic or relative power (political, diplomatic and military) position of both stands to increase by maintaining the relationship. The relationship is not usually directed at any other adversary state or group of states, but the fact that it exists helps the participating states in respect of increasing their bargaining position in respect of that state.

    Posted on February 16, 2012