The Value of a Long View

Letter from the Editor: As India opens up new fronts to secure its interests in energy, climate change, water, access to technology and markets, global financial architecture or even security, the government and private enterprises will be compelled to work closely together

Published: Aug 14, 2010

About three months ago, I was invited to attend a strategic affairs seminar in the Capital. The event marked the launch of The Long View from Delhi, a book by Admiral Raja Menon and Dr. Rajiv Kumar of ICRIER, a think tank. The book analyses some of the major influences on foreign and security policy in India. Speaking at the event, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram was remarkably candid. The Indian government simply doesn’t do much of long-term thinking, he said. K. Subrahmanyam, a strategic affairs analyst who also spoke at the launch, was even less charitable. He said he had been asked by the Central government of the day on at least two separate occasions to build a long-term strategic perspective. On both occasions, his report simply gathered dust and was never implemented.

mg_32552_aug_coverpage_280x210.jpgOperating without a grand strategy is like trying to pilot an aircraft without a definite flight plan. There are some signs, though, that this inertia is giving way to more structured thinking. About two years ago, the ministry of external affairs asked ICRIER to research and write a report on India’s National Interests. The document will eventually give form to the grand strategy that is India’s foreign policy. The project report — backed by a few hundred pages of supporting papers — is now complete and is awaiting release as a book later this year. The contents, written by some of the smartest people in diplomatic circles and strategic affairs, are a treasure trove of insights and lay out in great detail key issues likely to impact India’s engagement with the world over the next five to ten years.

Most business publications have seldom paid enough attention to strategic affairs. I find that surprising because as India opens up new fronts to secure its interests in energy, climate change, water, access to technology and markets, global financial architecture or even security, the government and private enterprises will be compelled to work closely together.

To help decision makers in business build a robust perspective, Forbes India tied up with ICRIER for a special report on India and the World. For a few months now, Associate Editor Dinesh Narayanan led a team of editors and writers and worked closely with Dr. Rajiv Kumar and Ambassador Santosh Kumar at ICRIER on a set of essays around some key themes affecting India’s future. This forms the centrepiece of this Independence Day Special Edition.

Do tell us what you think. We await your candid feedback.

(This story appears in the 27 August, 2010 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • The Shah

    It is funny since even the 'uneducated' know that the Indian politicians are myopic to the first degree. They are, as my father once told me 'toads in a well'. But then, what else can be expected when the Parliament is composed of the uneducated, the Mob, the Bollywood Non-sense, et cetera. I am an Indian. I do not believe Patriotism is holding One's Nation above all: that is Arrogant. We mustn't blind ourselves from the reality of the matters by the smoke of love-seeming Obsession. How is it that there are still people in the Parliament of India who actually know very little about Governance? How is it that 'Didi Lady' maintains her position when She is part of the Mob. Or even Mayawati. [I realise the two Ladies are not part of the Parliament.] And the biggest stupidity of them all; Bollywood. These people really have no education in Governance. Just because they have a few good Films does not imply they are fit for running a Nation. Govinda? Jaya B.? I forget who else. Many of these do not even attend many of the meeting in Parliament. The greatest desideratum of a Nation to progress and maintain it - the Long Term Perspective - is that the Nation must develop her Intelligentsia and welcome them into the Government, not scare people off with these uneducated yet powerful imbeciles. It is rather like going into a Panchayat a Century back and talking to them about the Concept of the Virus. Ha! I do hope India finds her way, I truly do.

    on Aug 27, 2010
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