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created May 1st, 16:55 by SajadKumar



288 words
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Within the sanctified portals of the National Defence College NDC in New
Delhi, Kautilya, India legendry strategic thinker is all-pervading. He has the main
lecture hall to himself and remains a popular research entity for its student officers.
Foreign course participants get familiarised to Kautilya legacy on statecraft in general
and strategic matters in particular.
However, while juxtaposing Kautilya popular contemporaries elsewhere in the world
is praiseworthy, banking too much on him or other ancient thinkers for strategising
against current military problems is debatable and poses a challenge in balancing the
competing narratives. India national security discourse, though under-developed, is
all about designing pathways for ends, ways and means for handling current and
future security problematic. The logical assumption would be to look for guidance in
contemporary best practices, guidebooks, strategic thoughts and appropriate tools and
techniques. However, we may need to need to look back, for academic knowledge building, towards the ancient Indian texts that are rich repository of statecraft,
diplomacy and war fighting.
Institutional initiatives to promote dissemination of knowledge and tactics ingrained
in these scriptures are, therefore, understandable as they endorse an Indian
perspective to the global audience. For the hardcore protagonists, however, there
could be further reasons for seeking inspirations from ancient scriptures and strategic
thinkers. First, unlike many developed countries in west, strategic decisions and
policy making in India are largely unaffected by big data analysis. There is no
systematic information processing of war- related events in India such as the
Correlates of War Cow project in the USA. It becomes, therefore, convenient to harp
on ancient scriptures on statecraft for guidance. Second, absences of rich legacy of
prominent strategic thinking in contemporary times also complicate the issues. One
of the reasons why.

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