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In An Analytical Framework

K. Subrahmanyam

Edited by P.R. Chari
Samskriti, New Delhi, 2005, pp. 446, Rs. 875.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 12 December 2005

This book is the result of an ambitious project undertaken in the hope that it would stimulate further interest in good governance, nation building and societal transformation.  The editor  Chari commissioned three younger scholars R.  Radhakrishnan, Prafulla Ketkar and Aisha Sultanat to address the subject in three parts – Challenges to National Integration, Governance and Security and Non-Military Challenges to Security.  The editor was in complete charge of the project and the chapters were reviewed by him and underwent one or more iterations.  Then the drafts were evaluated though three independent readers.  Therefore the book, though an edited one, has an overall thematic unity.        The presumption with which the book starts is that in India the ruling elite privileges military security and it is a major aberration of the Indian elite may not go unchallenged. If one were to look at the behaviour of our ruling elites and their attitude to issues of national security it could be legitimately questioned whether at all they care for national security.  The only matter the elite privilege is their own  parochial interest, be it in terms of their party, religion or caste.  It is this traditional attitude of ignoring both military and societal security that made India a unique colony in which Indian soldiers conquered India and handed it over to  the East India Company and then to the British crown.  The Kargil Committee Report, defence reforms that followed, the nuclear doctrine and changes in the international security environment after the end of the Cold War, none of these things have attracted the attention of our elite. One may or may not agree with the policy recommendations,but the saddest development was they were not even discussed.       While the assumption that military security in India had obtained a privileged position vis-à-vis national security as understood in its comprehensive sense may not be entirely correct, the detailed treatment of the issues of national integration, governance and non-military threats in three sections of the book are of significant validity.  Very detailed and meticulous work has gone into each chapter and the conclusions and recommendations are unexceptional.  They are by and large on lines that are widely accepted among the middle class intelligentsia in the country, but unfortunately do not translate themselves into meaningful political and administrative actions as highlighted in the book.      The basic problem in dealing with Indian political, social and ecological development and ...

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