30 July, 2021

Looking Out The Window

Except on our ties with West Asia and jehadi terror, Saran’s lucid account correctly details our national interests, with an advocacy of a multi-polar world

Photograph by Getty Images
Looking Out The Window

India’s geography has not only ancho­red it in a compact and cohesive sub-­continent, it has also placed it at the junction of international commerce and culture, so that over several millennia Indian footprints have sha­ped a diverse tra­dition of commercial, religious and int­ellectual int­­­­er­­action with its ext­ended neighbourhood.

India also has a rich tradition of statecraft, expounded by Kautilya in the third century BC and Kamandaki, in his Nitisara, six hundred years later, which set out the sources of national power and the instruments available to promote national interest, including peace, war, alliances and neutrality.

This legacy has given India a clear sense of its own identity and, as Shyam Saran notes, has also ensured a high degree of independence in its policy approaches. Thus, non-alignment, though couched in moral terms, was in fact an assertion of ‘strategic autonomy’ in the dichotomous, hostile world order of the Cold War, an approach that continues to have resonance...

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