This chapter maps the historic foundations of Indian grand strategy and the obstacles that have precluded the realization of a new one. First, it describes the elements of Nehru’s grand strategy, and the ways and means that India adopted to pursue them. Second, it examines the factors that have galvanized debates about discarding these Nehruvian commitments. Third, it describes the various contemporary, contending schools of thought about what India’s grand strategy should be. Fourth, it explores the various bureaucratic and political obstacles to transitioning away from this Nehruvian past. The fifth section argues that what has resulted is a form of incrementalism that has nonetheless precipitated important changes in India’s political, diplomatic, and military behavior away from these past Nehruvian commitments. The chapter concludes on a skeptical note by questioning whether the contemporary Indian administration will be able to craft a coherent grand strategy, given the vociferous nature of India’s democracy and decentralized political structure.
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