chapter  2
30 Pages

The logic of Indian maritime identity

Prussian strategic theorist Carl von Clausewitz observed that war’s “grammar . . . may be its own, but not its logic.”1 By this, Clausewitz meant that war, the pursuit of national policy with the admixture of martial means, differed from other international interactions by virtue of its coercive nature, the impassioned environment, and a host of other factors. But war is not – or should not be – waged for its own sake. Politics gives warfare its logic, or its principles and purposes, while grammar refers to the ways and means for realizing a nation-state’s political aims at sea.2 We use this insight as an organizing device for our inquiry into Indian naval strategy. This chapter and the next examine India’s “maritime identity” and “strategic culture,” which will shape Indians’ propensity for seafaring pursuits – giving Indian sea power its logic – while ensuing chapters probe the grammar governing New Delhi’s efforts to attain the ends that Indians see as worth attaining.