Book Review: Kanti Bajpai, Saira Basit and V. Krishnappa (Eds). 2014. India’s Grand Strategy: History, Theory, Case

Published date01 December 2016
Date01 December 2016
Subject MatterBook Reviews
376 Book Reviews
its southern and eastern Bhutanese population into exile first and then address
its ethnic conflicts. These steps would help the government to make democracy
truly participatory in nature. Last but not the least, The Royal Semi-authoritarian
Democracy of Bhutan is a delight to read in every way. No doubt, this book is a
must read for anyone interested in Asian politics in general or about the long-
drawn process of political transition in Bhutan. The book starts with a description
of the conceptual issues of democracy, classifies the methodology and structure
and finally examines the limitations of this study. The book offers valuable
insights for understanding the history of democracy and authoritarian political
thought. Rizal’s profound analysis about Bhutan’s transition to democracy is a
truly special and unique work that leaves the audience with room to crave for
more. This book provides an excellent grounding and foundation for students
across the social science disciplines as well as for scholars who are eager
to understand about the political perspectives on democracy and their struggle to
get there.
Nalanda Roy
Armstrong State University, Georgia USA
Kanti Bajpai, Saira Basit and V. Krishnappa (Eds). 2014. India’s Grand
Strategy: History, Theory, Case. New Delhi, India: Routledge. 582 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-415-73965-8
DOI: 10.1177/2347797016670763
Does India have a strategic culture? Most of the scholars of the field of inter-
national relations (IR) and security studies agree that India does not have a culture
of strategic decision-making. It has evolved an ad hoc system of strategic decision-
making that is reactive rather than reflective. Indian policymakers make decisions
reacting to specific situations that they find themselves in. Regardless of the
origins of the lack of strategic culture, this provides an explanation for India
being a ‘soft state’ that often ‘fails to enforce enacted policies’ which is a ‘serious
handicap in building and mobilizing hard-power resources’. This also exposes
the roots of ‘Indian diffidence in asserting power in the international arena’
(Nayar & Paul, 2004, pp. 60–61).
India’s Grand Strategy: History, Theory, Case is intended to be a corrective to
the view that India lacks a grand strategic thinking. Organized in three sections, the
book has neatly explored the sources and historical context of grand strategic
thought and practice in ancient and modern India. The first section outlays the
practice of grand strategy in the different phases of Indian history and successfully
shows that India has had a ‘coherent, identifiable way of deploying its military,
diplomatic, political, economic, cultural and moral resources toward the goals of

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