JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES

Kautilya’s Arthashastra: Indian Strategic Culture and Grand Strategic Preferences

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • July-September 2018
    Volume: 
    12
    Issue: 
    3
    Focus

    The utility of the theory of strategic culture to explain the choices nation-states make is still to be convincingly proven. Alastair Iain Johnston has provided a viable notion of strategic culture that is falsifiable, its formation traced empirically, and its effect on state behaviour differentiated from other non-ideational variables. Following his methodological framework, Kautilya’s Arthashastra is identified as the ‘formative’ ideational strategic text which is assessed to illuminate Indian strategic culture. Through Johnston’s lens, answers to three inter-related questions about orderliness of the external environment are extrapolated from the text. These basic assumptions are substantively reflected in the grand strategic preferences latent in the treatise, suggesting coherence in strategic thought. Paradoxically, the complex, yet logical, procedure of arriving at the preference ranking incorporates quintessential ‘structural-realist’ ideas. However, it is the robust strategic culture which lends meaning to these objective variables and potentially determines state behaviour in a culturally unique way.

    AttachmentSize
    Download Complete [PDF]278.67 KB

    Top