India is a powerful game player in South Asia. How India shapes its diplomatic policies and markets its strategic culture will determine or determines the strategic culture of South Asia. The United States is keen on building close strategic ties with India as a counterweight to China in the South Asian Region.
International Politics thrives on balance of power. In strategic culture power plays a very key role. Power determines wars and nature of conflict and post conflict transformation of societies. Diplomatic and military policies also determine power structure in International Politics. Without force there can be no strategic culture. Deployment of the armed forces is a natural corollary to safeguarding territorial boundaries and homeland security.
India’s strategic thought is largely determined by the currents and undercurrents of politics in Pakistan. The recent change of guard, Army Chief has added to the woes of Indian establishment trying to settle disputes, proxy wars and Pakistan backed terrorist activities on Indian Soil.
What is war or strategic culture?
Strategic culture in the words of Johnston is an integrated set of symbols (i.e. argumentation structures, languages, analogies, metaphors etc) that acts to establish pervasive and long lasting grand strategic preferences by formulating concepts of the role and efficacy of force in interstate political affairs and by clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the strategic preferences seem uniquely realistic and efficacious.
Karl von Clausewitz’s argument that war ‘is only a part of political intercourse, therefore by no means an independent thing in itself. War is nothing but a continuation of political intercourse with an admixture of other means’. This definition helps in understanding the broader setting in which war is located. Voices all across the academia has elicited the response that the entire spectrum of war or strategic culture has shifted inexorably from the traditional military dimension to areas like political and economic warfare, psychological warfare, etc.
War is the use of organized force between two human groups pursuing contradictory policies, each group seeking to impose its policies upon the other’. Malinowski defines war as an ‘armed conflict between two independent political units, by means of organized military force, in pursuit of a tribal or national policy.’
Quincy Wright accepts that war is waged on the diplomatic, economic, and propaganda fronts as well as on the military front and that the art of war coordinates all these elements to the purpose of victory.
What is victory?
Was the recent cancellation of SAARC summit to be held in Islamabad a victory of the SAARC nations over Pakistan? Irrational use of resource, is it victory? The very purpose of the United Nations was to save the succeeding generations from the scourge of war. Are UN sanctions victory?
Strategic culture is also piling up of nuclear weapons in the name of self defense. In a word torn apart by conflict this is a serious issue? The solution is nothing but economic development, trade and smart business investments development of smart cities etc. Addressing the issues of hunger poverty, malnourishment, child mortality rate, human rights violations, human trafficking, gender based violence are all important components of strategic culture.
India is heading towards becoming a global power and in what appears to be a clear indication from the Indian establishment that one needs to develop deeper insights into understanding foreign relations with India’s neighbosrs all of them and form a common culture of strategic policy and diplomacy.
Means rather than ends are important. And the means are economic empowerment and socio-political development of the region. The Nehurvian policy that Pakistan can be dealt with dialogue is utopian now.