Shrikant Paranjpe, India’s Strategic Culture: The Making of National Security Policy

AuthorMatias Lennart Castrén
Published date01 October 2020
Date01 October 2020
Subject MatterBook Reviews
412 Book Review 57(4)
book is an important intervention that helps us better understand the complexities
involved in the pursuit of common economic benefit by countries in a conflict-
ridden region.
S. Samuel C. Rajiv
Associate Fellow
Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
New Delhi, India
Shrikant Paranjpe, India’s Strategic Culture: The Making of
National Security Policy (2nd edition, Routledge India, 2020), 180
pp, £36.99, ISBN: 9780367257590 (Paperback).
DOI: 10.1177/0020881720960921
The second edition of India’s Strategic Culture: The Making of National Security
Policy has been updated with the latest developments on India’s national security,
but the core of the study has remained the same. The book seeks to tackle the
question of the nature of the Indian strategic culture. While the book offers an
excellent overview of many aspects of the history, development, and current state
of Indian foreign policy, it also manifests several problems that tend to be common
among the scholars on the subfield of Strategic Culture.
Shrikant Paranjpe sets out an ambitious and colossal objective for the study: to
track down the development and define the Indian strategic culture. In addition, the
book seeks to analyse the change and continuity which the Indian strategic culture
has encountered after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The motivation of the study
comes in the aftermath of several attempts by Western scholars to define Indian
strategic culture through rather orientalistic lenses. In this context, Paranjpe’s
contribution to the field is more than welcome. In the book, strategic culture is
introduced as a concept that has evolved through three generations and Paranjpe
seems to build up the framework of study by picking up bits from each of them. In
Paranjpe’s terms, strategy, in general, offers a consciously followed road map to
the execution of actions in order to achieve goals. Strategic culture on its part is the
very specific and individual worldview which is the source of that strategy. Thus,
there is an Indian strategic culture that differs from the Western one, and ought to
be surveyed. Principally, strategic culture is understood as a military and defence-
related phenomenon, but Paranjpe acknowledges that economic and diplomatic
fields should also be considered as extensions of security policy.
The main content of the book focuses on the development of the Indian
strategic culture. The book moves chronologically through eras, starting from the

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