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Kautilya's Arthashastra: A Timeless Grand Strategy

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Technical Report

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Air University School of Advanced Air and Space Studies Maxwell AFB United States

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Kautilyas Arthashastra provides an insight into the ancient Indian anthology of political wisdom, theory, and the art of statecraft. It is one of the major political and strategic treatises that constitute a collection of timeless concepts. The importance and relevance of such strategies and concepts could be enriching to the contemporary world. Some of the strategies could be gainfully employed to achieve long-term benefits and resolve some of the key issues affecting numerous countries today. Kautilyas Arthashastra provides guidance to a wise king to further the national interests of the state that center on issues of security, wealth, and prestige. Throughout the Arthashastra, three fundamental objectives flow from one to the other good governance promotion of the welfare of the subjects leads to good economy acquisition of wealth that, in turn, allows for the expansion of territory. The concept of diplomacy is primarily to achieve world conquest and world consolidation. Therefore, six measures of foreign policy are recommended that assist the leader in managing the state through transition from a state of decline to one of stabilization, and from there to achieve progress or advancement. The policy to be employed depends on the relative power, strategic environment, and dynamics of the political situation. The aim of the policy is increase in power of the state at the expense of the enemy. As such, the Arthashastra has been identified as the first comprehensive statement of political realism. Kautilya defines war as an expression of the foreign policy of a state. He provides guidance to a king to employ the elements of national power to achieve a state of continuing advantage. Kautilya provides a grand strategy.

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