The Myth of Indian Strategic Restraint


Indian security policy is guided more by pragmatism than by moralism.

by Sumit Ganguly S. Paul Kapur July 18, 2019

INDIA HAS emerged as a central partner in U.S. efforts to balance rising Chinese power. To this end, the United States has invested heavily in India, brokering an agreement to afford it access to nuclear materials and technology; enabling Indian acquisition of cutting-edge military and dual-use systems; and declaring India to be a “major defense partner” and “lynchpin” of its strategy in Asia. These efforts to build capacity in India leave an essential question unanswered, however: even if the United States significantly augments India’s strategic capacity, will India prove willing to contribute to U.S. balancing efforts in the region?

Conventional wisdom suggests that India is likely to disappoint the United States in the long run. Scholars and analysts have traditionally cast India as a weak strategic actor, possessing a large landmass and population and abundant natural resources, but lacking the will to effectively pursue its security interests. This view grew out of India’s history of suffering serial conquests at the hands of much smaller opponents. Great Britain had been able to colonize India with armies only a small fraction the size of the opposing Indian forces. The British attributed their success to the Indians’ supposed inferiority of character, which made them unable to resist invasion and subjugation. Pakistani leaders believed that the history of Islam in South Asia, which was characterized by small Muslim armies defeating larger indigenous forces, showed that Indians were inherently lacking in martial qualities. Mohandas K. Gandhi’s campaign to free India of the British sought to convince Indians that, despite their colonial history, they were not by nature passive subjects, but rather powerful social and political actors deserving of self-rule.

Although this faith in Indian agency was essential to the anti-colonial struggle, independent India’s founding father and first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, believed that without years of significant economic growth, the country would remain unable to defend itself against a major-power adversary. Consequently, in the wake of independence, Nehru declined even to try to amass the military capabilities needed to do so, fearing that such efforts would be futile and distract India from pressing developmental priorities.

Commentators like Bernard Nossiter soon began labeling India a “soft state,” unable to muster the political will to meet external security challenges. Over time, scholars and analysts began to view India’s “soft” approach to security affairs as an unofficial doctrine, known as “strategic restraint.” This general view of Indian national security policy rests on three broad themes.

First, Indian leaders tend to pursue moralistic foreign policy goals, based more on ethical concerns than on a desire to devise security-maximizing national strategies. Second, India does not consistently defend itself, often failing to react even to direct attacks on its territory. Third, when India does defend itself, it does so half-heartedly and prosecutes wars inconclusively, resulting in returns to the status quo rather than the decisive resolution of longstanding conflicts. If these characterizations are accurate, even an India that manages to acquire the trappings of hard power will continue to be hobbled by a confluence of moralism and timidity, and likely prove to be an ineffective strategic partner for the United States.

In fact, India has been far more strategically assertive than this argument suggests. India’s alliance behavior and nuclear weapons policy, often cited as the twin pillars of its moralist stance, were primarily the product not of normative commitments, but rather of unsentimental calculations of Indian economic and security interests. In the three instances when India was attacked first by another state—the 1962 China conflict, the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War and the 1999 conflict at Kargil—it responded aggressively, launching large-scale military operations to defend itself and defeat enemy forces, at times even in the face of nuclear threats. Finally, Indian war outcomes have not all been indecisive. Rather, they have varied widely, ranging from clear victory, to restoration of the status quo, to defeat. In status-quo cases, outcomes have matched India’s prewar objectives, which sought to preserve or restore rather than to change previous territorial arrangements. And even when defeated, India has fought vigorously, if unsuccessfully, to secure its objectives.

This activist account of Indian strategic behavior belies the longstanding notion of India as a passive behemoth. And it suggests that the U.S.-India strategic partnership rests on solid ground. An India combining burgeoning military capabilities with a tradition of strategic activism can be a potent player, and an effective U.S. balancing partner, in the Asia-Pacific region.

BELIEF IN excessive Indian moralism stems, to a considerable degree, from India’s alliance behavior, which was long associated with the principle of nonalignment. This was a principle that India’s Jawaharlal Nehru had both generated and espoused. Nonalignment sought to steer India on an independent course in foreign affairs by remaining neutral in the Cold War superpower struggle and refusing to join either the U.S. or the Soviet-led power bloc.

To be sure, nonalignment did have a normative component. Nehru believed that traditional great power security competition, which had driven centuries of war and colonialism in Europe and beyond, was wasteful and unethical. He hoped that nonalignment would discourage such behavior, promoting the peaceful resolution of international disputes and reducing global economic disparities. Yet it is a mistake to believe that Nehru’s commitment to nonalignment stemmed mainly from normative concerns. Indeed, he sought to avoid alliance commitments primarily because of pragmatic calculations. Most importantly, Nehru wished to ensure that post-colonial states, having thrown off the yoke of their erstwhile masters, would truly be free to chart their own course in international politics. Therefore, Nehru wanted India to avoid the Soviet and U.S.-led power blocs, which he feared would draw India into their conflicts and rob it of its hard-won independence.

In addition, India had emerged from the detritus of British colonialism as a desperately poor country. Nehru, keen on promoting economic development and eradicating poverty, was acutely aware of the opportunity costs of defense spending. Aligning with either superpower in the titanic Cold War struggle, he feared, would invariably lead to a diversion of scarce resources to military purposes.

Nehru also worried that diverting resources to the military would raise the specter of Bonapartism in India. A powerful military, he believed, might become involved in domestic politics, threatening the independence of civilian authority. Nehru’s fears were not entirely unfounded. As Stephen P. Cohen observed in The Indian Army, prior to independence, the Indian military’s loyal service to the Raj had made British colonialism in India possible. The military’s commitment to a newly independent, democratic Indian government had not yet been demonstrated. Nehru’s misgivings were reinforced by Pakistan’s first military coup in 1958, which illustrated the dangers of military activism in a dramatic fashion. These anxieties regarding independence, economic development and praetorianism made the pursuit of nonalignment, with its associated limits on military power, a pragmatic rather than a moralistic course of action for Nehru.

Long after Nehru’s passing, his successors continued to invoke the language of nonalignment, vowing not to favor either superpower. From the early 1970s to the end of the Cold War, however, India’s behavior belied that rhetoric; India was by no means neutral in the East-West standoff. Faced with a growing threat from China and increasingly at odds with the United States, it forged a close strategic relationship with the Soviet Union. The Soviets provided India with a tacit security guarantee to protect it against the People’s Republic of China. They also supplied India with a range of high-performance weaponry at extremely favorable rates. In return, India remained within the Soviet Union’s orbit, purchasing equipment, participating in joint military education and training, and providing the Soviet Union with diplomatic support. This practice of claiming nonalignment in the East-West struggle while remaining strategically dependent on the Soviet Union continued for the remainder of the Cold War.

As the Cold War drew to a close, the Indo-Soviet security relationship lost much of its significance. Russia made clear that it would not sustain the Soviet Union’s security guarantee to India. Meanwhile, China began a process of rapid economic and military expansion, becoming even more of a potential danger to India than it had been in the past. Faced with these new structural realities, Indian foreign policy adjusted once again, pursuing a close strategic partnership with the United States, despite decades of Cold War antagonism. Both countries have made clear that this military and diplomatic cooperation, which would have been unimaginable just a few years ago, will be indispensable to them as they hedge against the dangers of rising Chinese power in the future.

The second main source of purported moralism in India’s foreign policy is the country’s approach to nuclear weapons. After independence, Prime Minister Nehru vigorously promoted universal nuclear disarmament. Nehru’s position did have an important ethical foundation, which could be traced to the thought of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolent principles of the Indian nationalist movement. Nehru, Gandhi’s stalwart disciple, had vehemently opposed nuclear weapons, which Gandhi labeled “the most diabolical use of science.” Both men believed that Asian countries like India could, through their longstanding moral traditions, help to reduce Western states’ reliance on nuclear deterrence and set the world on a more ethical course.

Despite these normative elements, Nehru’s opposition to nuclear weapons had an important practical component. India could ill-afford to pursue a nuclear weapons capability given a host of other compelling developmental priorities. Furthermore, promoting nuclear disarmament could limit the ability of competitors such as China to acquire nuclear weapons, thereby making them less threatening and enhancing Indian security.

In the decades ahead, India maintained a rhetorical opposition to nuclear weapons. In practice, however, its nuclear policy remained decidedly pragmatic, privileging security over normative concerns. For example, in the wake of its disastrous 1962 border war with China and China’s nuclear test in 1964, Nehru’s successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri, started a nuclear explosions project. His successor, Indira Gandhi, continued the program, eventually detonating a “peaceful” nuclear device in 1974 even as she reiterated India’s commitment to a nuclear-free world.

In the aftermath of its 1974 nuclear explosion, India was faced with a raft of international sanctions. The sanctions hobbled but did not stop India’s nuclear program. Gandhi’s successors continued to deploy moral rhetoric, with her son Rajiv Gandhi even proposing a plan for universal nuclear disarmament in 1988. Meanwhile, however, Indian leaders adamantly refused to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and ensured that progress on India’s nuclear weapons program proceeded apace. By the early 1990s, India had become an “opaque” nuclear power; India had not tested nuclear weapons and did not maintain a working nuclear arsenal, but could have developed a weapons capability in short order if the need had arisen.

Had India wished to limit its reliance on nuclear weapons, it might have forgone overt nuclear testing and maintained its opaque status. In fact, however, India proved unwilling to exercise such restraint. As Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee made clear in a letter to President Bill Clinton, India felt the need to protect itself against China, which had defeated India in a bloody 1962 border war, with which territorial disputes remained unresolved and which had extensively supported Pakistan’s ongoing nuclear weapons program. India also anticipated pressure to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty prior to the United Nations’ target date of September 1998. India, therefore, conducted five nuclear tests in May 1998. It was now an overt nuclear weapons power.

Following the tests, India again deployed moral-sounding rhetoric while taking pragmatic steps to enhance its nuclear capabilities. Vowing not to repeat the dangerous and wasteful mistakes of the superpowers during the Cold War, India committed itself in a 1999 doctrinal statement to a “minimal” nuclear program and a posture of no nuclear first use. Despite this purported commitment to minimalism, however, India quantitatively and qualitatively augmented its nuclear weapons program in the years that followed. For example, India continued to produce fissile material, enabling it to expand its inventory of nuclear warheads; developed a diverse arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles; and pursued a full nuclear triad, including sea-based weapons. India also diluted its professed commitment to a no-first-use posture with caveats that could make nuclear first use possible in a number of circumstances, including chemical or biological-weapons attacks against Indian forces on foreign soil. Whatever India’s normative concerns regarding nuclear weapons, then, they have not prevented India’s development of a highly robust nuclear weapons program.

A SECOND theme of the strategic restraint argument is that India does not consistently defend itself, even against attacks on its own territory. India has been attacked first by another state only three times—by China in 1962, by Pakistan in 1965, and by Pakistan in 1999. In each case, India responded quickly and aggressively.

In October 1962, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army launched a series of concerted attacks in disputed areas along the eastern end of the Sino-Indian border, in the vicinity of the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA), and along the western end of the border in the vicinity of Aksai Chin. The Chinese had previously sought a negotiated settlement to the border dispute, and even suggested splitting the territories in question, with China keeping Aksai Chin and India taking NEFA. Prime Minister Nehru had adamantly refused to negotiate, however. Instead, India adopted an aggressive military posture known as the “Forward Policy.” This posture combined the establishment of Indian outposts in disputed territory with active forward patrolling, which the Indians believed would lead the Chinese to back down. In truth, the Forward Policy saddled outnumbered and poorly equipped Indian forces with long lines of communication and badly exposed flanks, in positions generally chosen not by local field commanders, but by staff officers in distant headquarters.

As recounted by Srinath Raghavan in A Military History of India and South Asia, Indian and Chinese forces began encountering one another in the Aksai Chin and the NEFA sectors. Nehru publicly ordered the Indian army to repel the Chinese. China then launched an all-out attack on Indian positions on October 20, 1962. Indian forces fought back vigorously, but the Chinese quickly overran them. Within several days, China had fully captured Aksai Chin and pushed deep into the NEFA. Three weeks later, China declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew to its prewar positions, leaving approximately 1,400 Indian soldiers dead, and the Sino-Indian border disputes unresolved.

India lost its border war with China for a number of reasons, including dysfunctional civil-military relations, shoddy equipment and an underestimation of Chinese resolve. Excessive restraint did not play a role, however. In fact, Indian policy, characterized particularly by its refusal to negotiate and its aggressive forward deployments, was overly confrontational. A less assertive, more tactically sound approach might have enabled India to avoid war. But even if it did not, such an approach could have resulted in a better outcome for India, avoiding the total rout that befell Indian forces. In the Sino-Indian war, more Indian restraint, rather than less, would have been useful to India.

It is also worth noting that India responded to its loss to China with increasingly competitive policies. In the conflict’s aftermath, India increased its defense spending by nearly 2.5 percent of GNP. This funded a range of military improvements, including the creation of new mountain divisions equipped and trained for high-altitude warfare, a million-man army, and a forty-five-squadron air force with supersonic aircraft. These improvements enhanced India’s ability to counter China, and other potential opponents, not through retrenchment, but through the more effective deployment of hard military power.

India was attacked for the second time in 1965, as part of Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to wrest the territory of Kashmir from Indian control. A confluence of developments, including the outbreak of religious unrest in the Kashmir region, the death of Prime Minister Nehru, a warming of Sino-Pakistani relations, and India’s failure to respond to Pakistani military probes in another disputed area called the Rann of Kutch, had convinced the Pakistanis that an attempt to seize Kashmir could be successful.

The Pakistani offensive, called Operation Gibraltar, employed Islamist militants recruited and trained for the operation and led by Pakistan Army officers. The Pakistanis planned to infiltrate the militants into Indian Kashmir, where they would trigger an uprising, leading local Kashmiris to rebel against Indian authorities. The Pakistan Army would then follow up with a military operation called Grand Slam, separating Kashmir from India proper and facilitating complete Pakistani annexation of the territory.

The initial phase of Operation Gibraltar went according to plan, with the militants successfully infiltrating Indian territory. But then, contrary to Pakistani expectations, the Kashmiris failed to rebel, and instead turned the infiltrators over to Indian authorities. The Indians, for their part, reacted aggressively to the intrusions, immediately deploying forces to Kashmir to engage the militants and prevent further infiltrations.

Faced with the impending failure of Operation Gibraltar, the Pakistanis launched Operation Grand Slam, attacking the Bhimbar-Chhamb area of Indian Kashmir and then advancing on the town of Akhnur. The Indians again responded aggressively; they drove forces across the international border into Pakistani territory, advancing on Lahore and Sialkot and forcing the surprised Pakistanis to abandon Akhnur. Indian forces stalled upon reaching an array of irrigation canals on the outskirts of Lahore, and the war eventually ended in a stalemate, with both sides returning to the status quo ante after signing a Soviet-sponsored peace agreement in 1966.

Like the China war, the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War belies the notion of Indian timidity in the face of attacks on its territory. The Indians twice reacted aggressively to Pakistani attacks, engaging enemy forces and sealing off Kashmir in response to Operation Gibraltar, and launching large-scale offensives into Pakistan proper in response to Operation Grand Slam. It is true that India did not decisively defeat Pakistan, and settled for a return to the status quo at the end of the conflict. This was in keeping with its prewar aims, however; India fought the war to preserve its position in Kashmir and maintain the status quo, not to change it. Thus the outcome of the 1965 conflict should not be understood as a sign of Indian timidity and failure, but rather of Indian strategic success.

In early 1999, India discovered that it had been attacked for the third time. Several months earlier, Pakistani forces had crossed the Line of Control (LOC) separating Indian from Pakistani Kashmir in an area called Kargil, occupying ground eight to twelve kilometers inside Indian territory. Although the incursions occurred in a remote area, the Pakistanis’ positions enabled them to threaten a major Indian line of communication to Northern Kashmir.

In May, the Indians began an intense ground, air and artillery campaign to dislodge the Pakistanis. Despite remaining on their own side of the LOC, Indian forces soon gained the advantage and began rolling back the Pakistanis. In early July, Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif traveled to Washington, DC and signed an agreement to withdraw Pakistani forces from Indian territory in Kargil. The conflict ended in late July with the restoration of the LOC and a return to the status quo ante. Approximately 1,500 Indians and Pakistanis had died in the fighting.

As in the 1962 Sino-Indian War and the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, India waged the war at Kargil in a manner that demonstrated considerable resolve. Upon discovering the Pakistani incursions it responded aggressively, launching a combined arms offensive that utilized 200,000 troops; employed air power in Kashmir for the first time since the 1971 Bangladesh war; and demolished Pakistani positions with a combination of uphill infantry attacks, heavy artillery barrages and air strikes.

The Indians fought in this manner despite Pakistan’s possession of a nuclear weapons capability, which it had demonstrated through a series of tests in May 1998. The Pakistanis had believed that their nuclear capability would restrain the Indians at Kargil, preventing them from responding to the incursions with a large-scale conventional military offensive. In fact, the Indians reacted in a far less cautious manner than the Pakistanis had anticipated. In doing so, they demonstrated that the threat of nuclear retaliation would not deter them from responding to an attack with significant conventional force.

As noted by S. Paul Kapur in Dangerous Deterrent: Nuclear Weapons Proliferation and Conflict in South Asia, India remained on its own side of the LOC during the fighting at Kargil. The decision to do so did not result from military caution, however. Rather, India’s decision resulted from political calculations. Indian leaders believed that, by remaining on its own side of the LOC, India would maintain the moral high ground and highlight Pakistani perfidy in the court of world opinion. Indian political leaders made clear to the Indian Army that they would allow it to cross the LOC if doing so became a military necessity; the Army leadership had only to ask. Given the success of the Indian retaliatory campaign, however, the Army never felt the need to violate the Line, and was content to remain on its own side of the LOC for the duration of the conflict.

India did settle for a return to the status quo at the end of the Kargil conflict. Consequently, India did not increase the territory under its control, or coerce Pakistan into settling any aspect of the Kashmir dispute. But as in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, this should not be seen as a sign of timidity or of strategic failure. India did not seek to change the status quo in Kashmir through the Kargil conflict; it sought only to eject Pakistani intruders from Indian territory and to restore the Line of Control. By doing so, India achieved its war aims—despite the rigors of an extremely difficult tactical environment, the need to delicately balance political and military interests, and the dangers of Pakistani nuclear weapons.

THE THIRD prong of the strategic restraint argument claims that in those instances where India does fight, it does so half-heartedly and does not achieve favorable outcomes. The historical evidence does not support this assertion. In the three cases of Indian warfighting discussed above, India suffered a loss and failed to achieve its strategic aims in the Sino-Indian War of 1962, preserved the status quo and achieved its strategic aims in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, and restored the status quo and achieved its strategic aims in the Kargil War of 1999.

What of India’s other conflicts? In India’s first war, from 1947–1948, it fought Pakistan for control of Kashmir. A maharaja had ruled Kashmir during the British era, and he had been slow to commit to joining either Pakistan or India at the time of Independence. When Pakistani-backed militants marched on the territory in October 1947, the maharaja finally agreed to join India and frantically requested Indian military protection. India intervened, first confronting the militants and later engaging Pakistan Army forces. India failed in its efforts to acquire the entire territory. It did, however, capture two-thirds of Kashmir, including the capital of Srinagar and the Kashmir Valley, while securing the territory’s legal accession to the Indian Union. Thus, India got most, if not everything, that it wanted—including Kashmir’s most valuable regions, as well as the legal right to control of the territory.

In the 1971 Bangladesh War, India intervened in East Pakistan to end mass bloodshed perpetrated by the Pakistan Army against East Pakistani civilians. Large-scale uprisings had erupted to protest the Pakistan government’s refusal to honor the East Pakistani Awami League’s victory in national elections. When the Army, ostensibly sent in to stem the disorder, began massacring the population, millions of East Pakistanis fled into India, causing a major humanitarian emergency. India’s intervention, in the form of a blitzkrieg attack, achieved an overwhelming victory, cutting Pakistan in two and creating the state of Bangladesh. In doing so, the Indians achieved both their immediate goal of ending the crisis, and their larger aim of truncating Pakistan and securing India’s position as the dominant power in South Asia.

India’s quixotic 1987–1990 intervention in the Sri Lankan civil war initially saw it support the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who sought to establish an independent Tamil state on the island of Sri Lanka. India’s large Tamil population was sympathetic to the rebels and had pressured the Indian government to help them in their independence struggle. When India subsequently sought to enforce the terms of a peace accord by disarming the Tigers, they resisted and Indian forces became embroiled in a bloody fight against the LTTE. India ultimately withdrew after losing approximately 1,200 soldiers and failing to achieve its objective of disarming the rebels. The war ground on for another two decades before the Sri Lankan government finally succeeded in decisively defeating the LTTE.

As the above discussion shows, of the six wars in which it participated, India failed to achieve its strategic objective twice. Admittedly, this is not a perfect war record. But it is hardly one of constant failure to meet India’s objectives. Rather, the record shows that, when India goes to war, it meets its goals about two-thirds of the time.

Some might argue that even if India’s military record against other states demonstrates more alacrity and success than is generally acknowledged, its response to ongoing attacks on Kashmir and on India proper by Pakistan-backed militant groups has been lacking. India, in this view, has failed to take action that could have inflicted costs on Pakistan or the militant groups themselves, and potentially have ameliorated the problem. For example, following the 2008 attacks against Mumbai by Pakistan-supported Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives, which killed over 160 people and paralyzed the city, India threatened but did not carry out military retaliation. Thus India’s response to one of its most significant strategic challenges, which erodes its financial and military resources, kills significant numbers of civilians and security personnel, and challenges its authority in Kashmir, appears to have been characterized less by energy and aggression than by passivity.

It is true that India often has not physically retaliated against militant attacks. This is the case for a number of reasons, including a paucity of high-value militant targets, a desire to avoid squandering resources in a drawn-out conflict with Pakistan and the threat of Pakistani nuclear weapons. But India’s overall response to the problem of Pakistan-backed militancy has not been passive. It includes stationing hundreds of thousands of troops in Kashmir; building physical barriers to prevent military infiltration into India; passing potent counterterrorism legislation; improving intelligence collection and dissemination capabilities; significantly augmenting the full range of Indian conventional military assets; launching so-called surgical strikes against terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory; and improving India’s capacity for rapid conventional mobilization. These measures not only augment Indian defenses against possible militant attacks; they also improve India’s ability to respond against Pakistan or militant groups offensively, as punishment for future provocations. Pakistan’s recent efforts to develop a battlefield nuclear weapons capability, which is designed to ward off even relatively modest Indian conventional attacks, demonstrate that the Pakistanis understand and fear these developments.

THE “STRATEGIC restraint” view of Indian national security behavior is misleading. Indian security policy is guided more by pragmatism than by moralism. India defends itself energetically when attacked by other states. And, when it fights, India usually achieves its strategic objectives. India, in short, is not a passive giant. What does this imply for growing U.S.-India strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region?

Rising Chinese power presents both the United States and India with an enormous strategic challenge. China will increasingly be able to create institutions, promote norms and impose rules in a vast area stretching from Asia to Africa. Chinese behavior, including the economic and military coercion of its neighbors, the promotion of a debt-trap developmental model, territorial reclamations and the rejection of international dispute resolution, suggests that these institutions, norms and rules are likely to have a distinctly authoritarian flavor, to the detriment of the region. A strong, confident India can work with the United States to resist such an outcome, literally standing in the way of creeping Chinese hegemony. But India can do so only if it is willing to act. If it is overly cautious, as the strategic restraint view expects, even major improvements in Indian strategic capacity will probably be for naught.

As we have shown, a careful reading of India’s past behavior strongly suggests that this will not be the case. Indeed, quite the opposite is true—India has, since achieving independence, consistently protected its security interests against China and other threats. And it has done so as a developing state, with severely limited strategic resources. As its capabilities grow, India is likely to protect its security interests even more energetically. This does not mean that India will seek out conflict, or that it will allow the United States to embroil it in fights that it otherwise would avoid. But it does mean that India is unlikely to passively accept infringements on its sovereignty or the imposition of authoritarian economic and security architectures in its near abroad. This bodes well for the U.S.-India partnership as the two countries meet the growing strategic challenges of the Indo-Pacific region in the years ahead.

Sumit Ganguly is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Holds the Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University, Bloomington.

S. Paul Kapur is a professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, an affiliate at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, and a visiting fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, India. The views that he expresses in this article are his alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense.

Image: Reuters

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