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.Operating 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.