Should War be Left to the Generals? Civil-Military Relations in India

Tuesday, February 15, 2022
7:30 AM - 8:45 AM

Via Zoom  Register at:

Time:  7:30am-8:45am  California, USA 15 February 2022 
3:30pm-4:45pm London, UK 15 February 2022
11:30pm-12:45am  Singapore, 15-16 February 2022

How does India’s civil-military relationship affect its security? Historically, civil-military relations have been characterized by an “absent dialogue,” with the military enjoying almost complete operational autonomy in planning and fighting wars. But that arrangement has produced some mixed results for Indian national security, and is coming under increasing strain in an environment of intensifying peacetime strategic competition. New Delhi recognizes the need for reform, and has made some halting progress. This webinar will examine the evolution of civil-military relations in India, the challenges with the current configuration, and the agenda for reform that will face the next Chief of Defence Staff.


Anit Mukherjee is an Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore. He is the award-winning author of The Absent Dialogue: Politicians, Bureaucrats and the Military in India, the definitive analysis of Indian civil-military relations. He is also Non-Resident Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI), University of Pennsylvania, and at Centre for Social and Economic Progress (CSEP), New Delhi. Prior to his academic career, he was a Major in the Indian Army and is an alumnus of India’s National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla. Anit holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

Saawani Raje-Byrne is a lecturer (assistant professor) in International History at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. She is currently working on a book, based on her PhD dissertation, that presents novel theoretical analysis and detailed historical case studies of Indian civil-military relations. She previously taught at Defence Studies Department at King’s, and the Joint Services Command and Staff College at Shrivenham, and was a researcher at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. She holds a PhD from King’s College London, and a BA from the University of Cambridge.

Moderated by :
Arzan Tarapore, South Asia research scholar at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University

This event is co-sponsored by Center for South Asia