The recent article in Wall Street Journal by Stephen Yates and Christian Whiton, attributes shrewdness to India for conducting Agni-5 test. It explains why India is shrewd enough to see US and China smokescreens. Hence, India has based its policy on what China and US are doing on ground – the facts – rather than the smokescreens of the words that these superpowers are creating continuously.
Is India Shrewd?
Indeed it’s the actions on ground that should be taken as input to formulating long-term responses. However, attributing shrewdness to largest democracy in the world on this is giving little bit too much credit to Indian policy makers and executives. Amazingly, Indian government continues to be reactive on all fronts – this is more so in security and defence than in other dimensions.
After Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in 1978, China created a long-term vision of economic development focus till 2000 including assimilation of HongKong, and now they are in the Military capability phase of becoming a superpower. They are well on their way, and that’s great planning and amazing focus on the plan for so many decades.
India is a Nation of Variety
In India, we do not have, as a nation a clarity on what constitutes world power, and also the very nature of Indian democracy and to a great extent social and intellectual fabric of the country, is built on assimilation of variety – it’s amazing that such large country builds and keeps on creating so much variety in its systems and people. Multiple plans and initiatives of the Government in multiple dimensions on the basis of specific keyholes that they may have, is just a reflection of India as a nation of variety.
So, if a particular response survives the mess and becomes a capability – such as Agni-V – it will be foolhardy to attribute it to a shrewd response. I would like to state it to be a response of a nation who is reactive and may be more adaptive to changes and hence has a greater chances of survival rather than a nation who design change in the world with the purpose of controlling the world – for example, US policy of “shaping the world” and Chinese objective of becoming a superpower – militarily – by 2020.
Algorithm for a Nation
India, on the other hand, has been just wriggling in this time of strategic history – and to some extent may be more appropriate as a nation to survive in the world of rapid change. However, I hope, Indian can learn from China and US to start designing change in the world as well – rather than adapting to change. As US is learning now and China will be forced to learn in a decade or so – the best way of course is to have largely an adaptive algorithm for the nation as somehow India has. But India need to structure the adaptive algorithm with a design algorithm to also create the change – that’s what India should learn from declining US and rising China!
Navneet Bhushan (Navneet) is a founder director of CRAFITTI CONSULTING (www.crafitti.com) – an Innovation and Intellectual Property Consulting firm focused on co-crafting Innovation in global enterprises. He is the winner of Indira India Innovation award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Leadership for 2012. He is the principal author of Strategic Decision Making- Applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process published by Springer-Verlag, UK, as part of the Decision Engineering Series. Read Navneet Bhushan Profile. Read Navneet Bhushan Columns.