South Asian Drama: A Deep Look


The South Asian region is a unique area, made up of various nations, cultures, religions, and languages. What sets India and its neighbouring countries apart is the underlying set of values and principles that define the Indian state. Secularism, democracy, federalism, and linguistic autonomy are the core values of India and were adopted through a long struggle for freedom over one-hundred years ago. It was these values, based both on external influence and India’s own internal adaptations, that attracted admiration from around the world in India’s representational system of government and commitment to military service without political bias. Despite this, some skeptics argue that India was never unified and that the span of administrative structure created by the British is what brought together the region. However, this overlooks the shared faiths and common histories throughout the region that have been passed down for millennia, such as the concept of India as a civilisational unity, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the Ashokan Edicts.

K. Subrahmanyam, a renowned expert on Indian strategic affairs, elucidated the concept of the Indian unity and integrity in his paper: ‘India’s Relations with her Neighbours’, which was presented at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in March 1987. His key points focused on how India should adjust its economic and technological growth become a military superpower in order for its neighbours to realign themselves with India’s reality. In terms of diplomatic relations, India should focus less on its South Asian neighbours and more on the globally connected countries, such as China, Russia, and the US. Furthermore, India should exercise patience while encouraging the understanding and practice of reciprocity between them and their neighbours to guarantee a healthy coexistence. Subrahmanyam’s observations are a reminder of the importance of India’s foundational values and how they project India’s status of a great power in the modern world.

The institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) is a research institution that aims to advance a correct understanding of issues in defence, security and military matters. It also encourages constructive interactions among think Tanks and creates interaction with the political leadership and policy makers. IDSA understands the true value of contemporary issues among various stakeholders and has become a beacon of knowledge in the defence and security realms.

K. Subrahmanyam was an eminent Indian strategic expert who devoted his life to the intelligence sector, serving in the Research & Analysis Wing for years. With two volumes of his work published, Mr. Subrahmanyam was considered a master of strategic affairs in India and an instrumental role model for motivated professionals. His papers, most notably ‘India’s Relations with her Neighbours’, which was presented at IDSA, has stood the test of time and is a manifest of his vision and expertise in the field. His commitment and dedication to the defence and security sector is worthy of admiration and respect.