India's Strategic Defense Transformation: Expanding Global Relationships
ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Following Indias independence in 1947, then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru embarked on a foreign policy that was based on principles of socialism and remaining noncommittal to the emerging struggle between the Soviet Union and the countries forming the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO in the post-World War II period. Eventually, this policy led to India becoming one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement NAM in 1955. In practical terms, it placed India in a position of securing bilateral international commitments only in situations that were clearly neutral in nature or in cases of last resort. The basic principles of nonalignment also governed the military relationships of the Indian defense establishment, resulting in limited military-to-military contacts, usually through United Nations UN peacekeeping missions or training at foreign military schools. These practices were generally followed by his successors until the early 1990s when a changing geopolitical structure and an internal economic crisis began to challenge these principles. Indias answer to this challenge is to reach out to as many friendly foreign countries as possible to establish a balance of nonalignment with global multilateralism. The diversification of its defense supply base from the Soviet Union and later Russia to western suppliers resulted in a series of new agreements supporting its diversification, while also securing agreements with many of its smaller friends. Since 2000, India has increased the number of countries with which it has defense-specific agreements from seven to 26 by the end of 2008. Bilateral and multilateral exercises are also an increasing feature of Indias expanding defense relations as it seeks to find new technologies to transform its military from Cold War era weapons to 21st century capabilities through such opportunities.
- Government and Political Science
- Defense Systems