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The Soldier and the State in India: Nuclear Weapons, Counterinsurgency, and the Transformation of Indian Civil-Military Relations (New Delhi: SAGE, 2013)

Description: The Soldier and the State in India is one of the first attempts at offering a theoretical perspective for examining some of the most critical issues that have emerged in Indian civil-military relations. The book specifically examines issues pertaining to military expertise and military professionalism that emerged whenever there was a contestation in civil-military functions, thereby allowing the military greater influence in policy-making.

The book uses Samuel Huntington's ideas on military professionalism and Peter Feaver's discussion of military expertise in the American context as the theoretical framework for addressing similar issues that have emerged in debates on Indian civil-military relations. Moreover, it also includes a serious focus on the role of the Indian military in counterinsurgency operations and the impact of Indian nuclear strategy on the relationship between civilians and the military in India. Most books on the subject have failed to address issues that emerge when there is a contestation in civil-military functions; this book seeks to fill that gap.



Praise for The Soldier and the State in India

"A path-breaking exploration of the relationship between India's political leadership and its military" - Sahara Times, India

"A timely book that comes as a wake up call for the government. A must read for those in policy and decision-making." - The Asian Age, October 2, 2013.

"The book states aptly that this is the first systematic attempt to unravel the relationship between the civil and the military by making a case for the growing importance of a professional military in political decisions that goes beyond just fighting wars. The book is well researched and compiled. It is a 'must read' for officials in the Ministries of Defense and External Affairs, strategic analysts, and all serving and retired officers of the armed forces" - Major General P.K. Chakravorty, Journal of Defense Studies, Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses, Vol.7, No. 3, July-September 2013.

"This book will be of interest to those studying civil-military relations in democracies"- Lieutenant General Y.M. Bammi, USI Digest, July 2013.

The book has been reviewed in leading American and Indian military journals including the Journal of Military History, the Journal of Armed Forces and Society, Journal of Defense Studies, Strategic Analysis, USI Digest.

Media Publicity for The Soldier and the State in India in The Pioneer, Hindu, Milennium Post, Indian Express, Sahara Times, Zee News India, Asian Age, and The Sunday Guardian 

Coverage of the Book in the Indian Press:

"By the Bullet or By the Book," Millennium Post, November 10, 2013.

"The Soldier and the State: Civil-Military Ties in India," Asian Age, October 2, 2013.

"Military should be used sparingly in maintaining law and order," Zee News India, June 19, 2013.

"The Difficult Relationship of the Soldier and the Indian State," The Sunday Guardian, June 8, 2013.

"View Beyond Professional War," Sahara Time, March 9, 2013.



Culture, Context, and Capability: American and Indian Couterinsurgency Approaches (New Delhi: Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, 2016).

Work in Progress

Book manuscript: Women in the Armed Forces: Cases from South Asia


Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

Forthcoming: book chapter on Indian Defense Diplomacy

"India is losing the hearts and minds of Kashmiris," East Asia Forum, May 16, 2018.

"The Case for Revising India's Counterinsurgency Strategy in Kashmir," War on the Rocks, September 14, 2016.

"Civil-Military Relations in India: An Overview", Handbook of Indian Defense Policy (London, New Delhi: Routledge, 2016).

"The Politics and Identity of Kashmiri Women's Organizations" in Rafael Marchetti and Nathalie Tocci, eds., Conflict, Society and Peace-building: Comparative Perspectives (London, New Delhi: Routledge, 2011).

 "The Effects of Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons on Civil-Military Relations in India", Strategic Studies Quarterly, 3:2, Summer 2009.

"Cross Border Terrorism and International Law" in Kanti Bajpai, Afsir Karim and Amitabh Mattoo, eds., Kargil and After: Challenges for Indian Policy (New Delhi: Har Anand, 2000). 

J.N. Dixit’s India-Pakistan in War and Peace, Journal of Asian Studies, 63:1, February 2004

"Civil-Military Relations in India: Questions and Concerns", Observer Research Foundation Issue Brief, 1:6, August 2004.

"Kashmir", Encyclopedia of Religion and War, Routledge Press, 2004. 

* Parts of my paper on Kashmiri women's issues presented at the SHUR Conference in Rome, Italy are quoted in The Guardian, October 11, 2010.

For complete article, see Aliya Bashir, "Kashmir's half-widows shoulder the burden of a double tragedy", The Guardian,

 "India rightfully suspect of offer to 'jointly' fight terror", The Times Leader , December 3, 2008.  

 "Kargil and India-Pakistan Relations: A Chronology of Events, 1999-2000”, in Kanti Bajpai, Afsir Karim and Amitabh Mattoo, eds., Kargil and After: Challenges for Indian Policy (New Delhi: Har Anand, 2000). 

M. Phil Dissertation: The Kargil War: Consequences for India’s Security, 2001.


Opinion Pieces , Reviews, and Commentary

A Review of C. Christine Fair's book on the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. "How LeT's Ties with Pakistan and Kashmir Can Harm India," The Quint, January 16, 2019.

"Anti-National- The Hindu Right's Corrosive Weaponized Word," Cafe Dissensus, July 5, 2017.

"Kashmir: will the appointment of an interlocuter change anything?" WION, October 24, 2017.

 "Women and the Wounds of War," WION, November 24, 2017.

"Donald Trump and India-US Relations," WION, January 20, 2018.


Podcasts and Radio Shows

Kashmir Suicide Attack: The Evolving Situation, WarCast, a War on the Rocks Podcast, February 19, 2019

#Barack Obama's State of the Union Address, Voice of America, Monday, January 20, 2014

#Morsi's Trial in Egypt, #Syria Crisis, Voice of America, Saturday, February 1, 2014 

#US-Pakistan Relations, #TTP Talks, #Arvind Kejriwal's Resignation, Voice of America, Saturday, February 15, 2014