In This Review

Arming Without Aiming: India's Military Modernization
Arming Without Aiming: India's Military Modernization
By Stephen P. Cohen,Sunil Dasgupta
Brookings Institution Press, 2010, 223 pp

Cohen and Dasgupta argue that India lacks a security strategy and hence a rudder for its military modernization. The civilian authorities believe in “strategic restraint,” which is too vague a concept to guide military planning. The land forces have configured themselves primarily for a surprise attack against Pakistan that is unlikely to be authorized, while remaining unprepared for the more immediate task of fighting domestic insurgencies. The air force spends more money than its rivals in Pakistan and China yet is falling further behind them. The navy is the highest-quality service and has the largest potential area of operation, but it has not decided which of many possible missions to prioritize. The authors attribute these dysfunctions to a lack of military expertise among government leaders, a failure of coordination among relevant civilian ministries and agencies, and rivalries among the services over missions and money. They trace the roots of these flaws to choices made before and since independence, and they see little prospect for change. If they are right, India is on track to violate the rule that rising affluence brings rising military power.