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Challenges And Variables

Avinash Godbole

Edited by Satish Kumar
Routledge, New Delhi, 2014, pp. xviii 576, Rs. 880.00


In general, national security is the sum total of the stability of the state and is measured using indicators of military security, economic security, resource security, regime steadiness, social order and a general sense of wellbeing. In case of a large developing democratic country like India, national security is subject to more variables than the standard definition of this term and it also includes, history, regional order, systemic structures anarchy or otherwise, neighbours and interactions, interests of external actors and the interplay of these variables with other details that fall under the grand rubric of national interest. India’s national security likewise is subject to all these variables. In case of India, the idea of national security has undergone a substantial change in the last two decades. Various important variables have brought about this change. The first and foremost of these is globalization; the idea that interconnectedness and interactions create shared interests that reduce the threat of conflict. Second, nuclear weapons and second strike capability have altered India’s strategic approach to regional security and changed the global perceptions of India—whether nuclear weapons have made India more or less secure is still a matter of debate. The third, and more recent, determinant of India’s national security and its global role has been the rise of China. There is a perception that India is being courted by global great and middle powers because of China’s rise; thus the explanations for the Indo-US nuclear deal, India’s strategic friendship with Japan and the newfound one with Australia. Professor Satish Kumar’s edited volume, India’s National Security, Annual Review 2013, looks into the multifaceted dynamics of India’s national security and its complex nature. China’s rise has become an important reference point to measure India’s national security as well as development. China has definitively replaced Pakistan as a benchmark as well as a challenge. Many times the discourse is whether India will catch up with China or if China is a threat. And this discursive shift is reflected in this volume, and China’s bilateral relations with India’s neighbouring countries has been treated in an independent section. Here China’s relations with Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Myanmar are looked into. Besides this, there is another chapter that looks at internal security challenges in China and one on China and the Asia Pacific. Besides, China finds ...

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