Arming without Aiming: India's Military Modernization

Brookings Institution Press
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India's growing affluence has led experts to predict a major rearmament effort. The second-most populous nation in the world is beginning to wield the economic power expected of such a behemoth. Its border with Pakistan is a tinderbox, the subcontinent remains vulnerable to religious extremism, and a military rivalry between India and China could erupt in the future. India has long had the motivation for modernizing its military—it now has the resources as well. What should we expect to see in the future, and what will be the likely ramifications? In Arming without Aiming, Stephen Cohen and Sunil Dasgupta answer those crucial questions.

India's armed forces want new weapons worth more than $100 billion. But most of these weapons must come from foreign suppliers due to the failures of India's indigenous research and development. Weapons suppliers from other nations are queuing up in New Delhi. A long relationship between India and Russian manufacturers goes back to the cold war. More recently, India and Israel have developed strong military trade ties. Now, a new military relationship with the United States has generated the greatest hope for military transformation in India.

Against this backdrop of new affluence and newfound access to foreign military technology, Cohen and Dasgupta investigate India's military modernization to find haphazard military change that lacks political direction, suffers from balkanization of military organization and doctrine, remains limited by narrow prospective planning, and is driven by the pursuit of technology free from military-strategic objectives. The character of military change in India, especially the dysfunction in the political-military establishment with regard to procurement, is ultimately the result of a historical doctrine of strategic restraint in place since Nehru. In that context, its approach of arming without strategic purpose remains viable as India seeks great-power accommodation of its rise and does not want to look threatening. The danger lies in its modernization efforts precipitating a period of strategic assertion or contributing to misperception of India's intentions by Pakistan and China, its two most immediate rivals.

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About the author

Stephen P. Cohen is a senior fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. His is the author of numerous books, including The Idea of Pakistan and India: Emerging Power (both with Brookings).

Sunil Dasgupta is director of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County's Political Science Program at the Universities at Shady Grove, and he is also a nonresident fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings. He also spent five years as senior correspondent for India Today.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Aug 1, 2010
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Pages
223
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ISBN
9780815704300
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / International Relations / Arms Control
Political Science / Political Freedom
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Stephen P. Cohen
With each passing day, Pakistan becomes an even more crucial player in world affairs. Home of the world's second-largest Muslim population, epicenter of the global jihad, location of perhaps the planet's most dangerous borderlands, and armed with nuclear weapons, this South Asian nation will go a long way toward determining what the world looks like ten years from now. The Future of Pakistan presents and evaluates several scenarios for how the country will develop, evolve, and act in the near future, as well as the geopolitical implications of each.

Led by renowned South Asia expert Stephen P. Cohen, a team of authoritative contributors looks at several pieces of the Pakistan puzzle. The book begins with Cohen's broad yet detailed overview of Pakistan, placing it within the context of current-day geopolitics and international economics. Cohen's piece is then followed by a number of shorter, more tightly focused essays addressing more specific issues of concern.

Cohen's fellow contributors hail from America, Europe, India, and Pakistan itself, giving the book a uniquely international and comparative perspective. They address critical factors such as the role and impact of radical groups and militants, developments in specific key regions such as Punjab and the rugged frontier with Afghanistan, and the influence of—and interactions with—India, Pakistan's archrival since birth. The book also breaks down relations with other international powers such as China and the United States. The all-important military and internal security apparatus come under scrutiny, as do rapidly morphing social and gender issues. Political and party developments are examined along with the often amorphous division of power between Islamabad and the nation's regions and local powers.

Uncertainty about Pakistan's trajectory persists. The Future of Pakistan helps us understand the current circumstances, the relevant actors and their motivation, the critical issues at hand, the different outcomes they might produce, and what it all means for Pakistanis, Indians, the United States, and the entire world.

Praise for the work of Stephen P. Cohen

The Idea of Pakistan: "The intellectual power and rare insight with which Cohen breaks through the complexity of the subject rivals that of classics that have explained other societies posting a comparable challenge to understanding."— Middle East Journal

India: Emerging Power: "In light of the events of September 11, 2001, Cohen's perceptive, insightful, and balanced account of emergent India will be essential reading for U.S. foreign policymakers, scholars, and informed citizens."— Choice

Stephen P. Cohen
The rivalry between India and Pakistan has proven to be one of the world's most intractable international conflicts, ever since 1947 when the British botched their departure from the South Asian subcontinent. And the enmity is likely to continue for another thirty-five years, reaching the century mark. This has critical implications for both countries and the rest of the world. Renowned South Asia expert Stephen P. Cohen explains why he expects this rivalry to continue in this first comprehensive survey of the deep historical, cultural, and strategic differences that underpin the hostility.

In recent years the stakes have increased as India and Pakistan have each acquired a hundred or more nuclear weapons, blundered into several serious crises, and become victims of terrorism, some of it from across their borders. America is puzzled by the problem of dealing with a rising India and a struggling Pakistan, and Cohen offers a fresh approach for U.S. policy in dealing with these two powers.

Drawing on his rich experience in South Asia to explore the character, depth, and origin of Indian and Pakistani attitudes toward each other, Cohen develops a comprehensive theory of why the dispute between New Delhi and Islamabad is likely to persist. He also describes the terrible cost of this animosity for the citizens of India and Pakistan, including the region's high levels of violence and low level of economic integration. On a more hopeful note, however, he goes on to suggest developments that could ameliorate the tension, including a more active role for the UnitedStates in addressing a range of issues that divide the nations. Kashmir is one of these issues, but as much a consequence as a cause of the rivalry.

Can India and Pakistan resolve their many territorial and identity issues? Perhaps the best they can expect in the near term is a limited degree of normalization, including bottom-up ideas generated by the peace and business communities, as well as a realistic assessment by strategic elites of the two states' shared common interests.

"Right now, full normalization seems unlikely," Cohen writes in the preface, "so this book is suffused with conditional pessimism: normalization would be desirable, but there are worse futures than a projection of the present rivalry for another thirty years or more."

Stephen P. Cohen
With each passing day, Pakistan becomes an even more crucial player in world affairs. Home of the world's second-largest Muslim population, epicenter of the global jihad, location of perhaps the planet's most dangerous borderlands, and armed with nuclear weapons, this South Asian nation will go a long way toward determining what the world looks like ten years from now. The Future of Pakistan presents and evaluates several scenarios for how the country will develop, evolve, and act in the near future, as well as the geopolitical implications of each.

Led by renowned South Asia expert Stephen P. Cohen, a team of authoritative contributors looks at several pieces of the Pakistan puzzle. The book begins with Cohen's broad yet detailed overview of Pakistan, placing it within the context of current-day geopolitics and international economics. Cohen's piece is then followed by a number of shorter, more tightly focused essays addressing more specific issues of concern.

Cohen's fellow contributors hail from America, Europe, India, and Pakistan itself, giving the book a uniquely international and comparative perspective. They address critical factors such as the role and impact of radical groups and militants, developments in specific key regions such as Punjab and the rugged frontier with Afghanistan, and the influence of—and interactions with—India, Pakistan's archrival since birth. The book also breaks down relations with other international powers such as China and the United States. The all-important military and internal security apparatus come under scrutiny, as do rapidly morphing social and gender issues. Political and party developments are examined along with the often amorphous division of power between Islamabad and the nation's regions and local powers.

Uncertainty about Pakistan's trajectory persists. The Future of Pakistan helps us understand the current circumstances, the relevant actors and their motivation, the critical issues at hand, the different outcomes they might produce, and what it all means for Pakistanis, Indians, the United States, and the entire world.

Praise for the work of Stephen P. Cohen

The Idea of Pakistan: "The intellectual power and rare insight with which Cohen breaks through the complexity of the subject rivals that of classics that have explained other societies posting a comparable challenge to understanding."— Middle East Journal

India: Emerging Power: "In light of the events of September 11, 2001, Cohen's perceptive, insightful, and balanced account of emergent India will be essential reading for U.S. foreign policymakers, scholars, and informed citizens."— Choice

Stephen P. Cohen
The rivalry between India and Pakistan has proven to be one of the world's most intractable international conflicts, ever since 1947 when the British botched their departure from the South Asian subcontinent. And the enmity is likely to continue for another thirty-five years, reaching the century mark. This has critical implications for both countries and the rest of the world. Renowned South Asia expert Stephen P. Cohen explains why he expects this rivalry to continue in this first comprehensive survey of the deep historical, cultural, and strategic differences that underpin the hostility.

In recent years the stakes have increased as India and Pakistan have each acquired a hundred or more nuclear weapons, blundered into several serious crises, and become victims of terrorism, some of it from across their borders. America is puzzled by the problem of dealing with a rising India and a struggling Pakistan, and Cohen offers a fresh approach for U.S. policy in dealing with these two powers.

Drawing on his rich experience in South Asia to explore the character, depth, and origin of Indian and Pakistani attitudes toward each other, Cohen develops a comprehensive theory of why the dispute between New Delhi and Islamabad is likely to persist. He also describes the terrible cost of this animosity for the citizens of India and Pakistan, including the region's high levels of violence and low level of economic integration. On a more hopeful note, however, he goes on to suggest developments that could ameliorate the tension, including a more active role for the UnitedStates in addressing a range of issues that divide the nations. Kashmir is one of these issues, but as much a consequence as a cause of the rivalry.

Can India and Pakistan resolve their many territorial and identity issues? Perhaps the best they can expect in the near term is a limited degree of normalization, including bottom-up ideas generated by the peace and business communities, as well as a realistic assessment by strategic elites of the two states' shared common interests.

"Right now, full normalization seems unlikely," Cohen writes in the preface, "so this book is suffused with conditional pessimism: normalization would be desirable, but there are worse futures than a projection of the present rivalry for another thirty years or more."

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