Takshashila Research Publication: Shaping the Military Instrument

By Lt Gen (Dr) Prakash Menon

An edited version of this essay appeared first in the India Foundation Journal Vol. VII Issue No. 4, July-August, 2019

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Unity in diversity provides utmost strength for India’s national developmental process. But diversity also begets divergent perspectives that shelter narrow interests and are naturally resistant to higher purposes. Diversity is substantially anchored in identity whereas unity seeks to derive a common identity from the ‘thali’ of national identity. This ‘thali’ does not seek to demolish specific identities but instead attempts to merge them into a bigger mass for a larger purpose. The ‘thali’ process seeks integration wherein the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. India’s ultimate strength will largely depend on the degree of success it achieves in creating integrated institutions across all levels of government and society.

Achieving optimum integration in shaping an effective military instrument remains a work in progress. This, despite the fact that twenty years ago, the deficiencies of integration were highlighted by the Kargil conflict and triggered wide ranging reforms in the national security and higher defence management structure. This paper attempts to focus on the twin issues of civil military relations and the higher defence management.

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