India needs to develop its own doctrine for strategic autonomy: NSA

Last Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 22:07

New Delhi: India needs to develop its own doctrines to truly seek broadest possible "strategic autonomy", National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon said today and advocated the reading of Kautilya’s Arthashastra’s for broadening the vision on issues of strategy.

"Much of what passes for strategic thinking in India today is derivative, using concepts, doctrines and a vocabulary derived from other cultures, times, places and conditions," he said here.

Menon was speaking at a workshop on Kautilya, organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) under its Project on Indigenous Historical Knowledge.

Terming the Arthashastra as a "text of its time and place, Mauryan to Gupta administration," he said "Kautilya’s book is more than just a power maximisation or internal dominance strategy for a state. He has an almost modern sense of the higher purpose of the state and of the limits of power".

Describing India’s supposedly incoherent strategic approach as a "colonial construct", the NSA insisted that "some of the problems in international relations and strategic studies that we think we are dealing with for the first time have been considered by great minds in India before."

The country should "use the past to learn ways of thinking about these problems, improving our mental discipline, as it were," he said.

Arthashastra is "serious manual on statecraft, on how to run a state, informed by a higher purpose, clear and precise in its prescriptions, the result of practical experience of running a state. It is not just a normative text but a realist description of the art of running a state," Menon added.


First Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 22:07

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