India has one of the world’s largest military forces and it is also among the largest military spenders in the world, both in terms of military expenditure and arms imports. Nevertheless, the Indian military faces huge challenges. This is partly the function of the variegated nature of these challenges, fighting in theatres as diverse as the Himalayas, the deserts of Rajasthan and the jungles in Chhattisgarh for the ground forces and equally diverse ones for the other two services. But India’s political and administrative systems are also to blame for a confused and confusing approach to every aspect of security policy, from nuclear weapons to counterinsurgency and defence research and production. These problems become even more acute when the current phase of military modernization is taken into account. The growth of the Indian military, a natural consequence of a larger economic pie (the proportion of wealth devoted to the military has remained low and steady), brings these issues into sharp focus. This volume, edited by Rajesh Basrur, Ajaya Kumar Das and Manjeet Pardesi, brings together both scholars and retired military leaders to present a comprehensive picture of the challenges that Indian military modernization faces. The story is one that is almost uniformly depressing.
February 2015, volume 39, No 2