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India: the next superpower?: the military dimensions of India's rise

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Power is a notoriously elusive concept. The question of how one can define, list, and identify the different facets of national power is one that has long preoccupied social scientists. In our rapidly changing world, which is witnessing a major diffusion in wealth from west to east, the question of power is accompanied by an added sense of urgency, as we seek to understand which states will wield true power in the emerging international system. The first, and most immediately identifiable form of power is a nation’s military strength. The numbers and characteristics of infantry battalions, fleets of vessels and columns of tanks seem to provide clear, straightforward, and easily quantifi able indicators of a country’s growing clout. This apparent simplicity, however, is highly deceptive. The study of military power cannot solely be based on an assessment of resources. Rather, the question is how a nation decides to convert those same resources into favourable outcomes, or to put it more bluntly, how it translates military hardware into military effectiveness, and how that same military effectiveness is harnessed as a means of grand strategy. To study military power, we therefore need to examine the interwoven human, institutional and doctrinal aspects which undergird the manner in which military resources are both procured and used.

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