Since the economic liberalization of the early 1990s, India has been, on several occasions and at different forums, feted as a great power. This subject has been discussed in numerous books, but mostly in terms of rapid economic growth and immense potential in the emerging market. There is also a vast collection of literature on India’s ‘soft power ‘- culture, tourism, frugal engineering, and knowledge economy. However, there has been no serious exploration of the alternative path India can take to achieving great power status – a combination of hard power, geo-strategics, and realpolitik.
In this book, Bharat Karnad delves exclusively into these hard power aspects of India’s rise and the problems associated with them. He offers an incisive analysis of the deficits in the country’s military capabilities and in the ‘software’ related to hard power–absence of political vision and will, insensitivity to strategic geography, and unimaginative foreign and military policies–and arrives at powerful arguments on why these shortfalls have prevented the country from achieving the great power status.