I realize it is part of BR "Mohammedanism" to imagine that we think of everything here first.
A little self-congratulation now and then is fine, but it shouldn't get in the way of our recognizing historical realities.
To wit, we didn't invent Indian nationalism, or even the notion that such nationalism requires a pan-India perspective and long-term vision as ideological precursors.
I went to an ICSE school, as probably many others here did as well. I remember growing up with an unmistakable degree of exposure to nationalist ideas... in school lessons to a very large extent, but in the popular media as well, which back then consisted of some TV but also a grood deal of print.
I grew up in the era of the very first "Mera Bharat Mahan" television spots; kids' magazines like "Target" from Living Media, "Tinkle" and "Amar Chitra Katha"... all of these were designed with the intent of instilling and promoting certain ideals among the young people of India that are critical to the development of a "nationalist" perspective. National Integration was a major theme. So was awareness of our history, culture, and the essential character of Indian-ness underlying our diversity. Let's note for a moment that, in those days (the '80s) the media was entirely Indian-owned and Indian-operated, and that the GOI exercised a considerable degree of control over it.
At school, the message was more diffuse. Mine was a Christian institution, as were many of the ones considered "prestigious" in those days. History, especially Indian History, was rife with the NCERT's ill-conceived Thaparite propaganda. From the 8th Standard onwards, we became encouraged in social studies classes to "think critically", which was in fact cover for conditioning us towards the adoption of an internationalist liberal perspective.
Even at this stage, though... all the way through high school, in fact... Hindi lessons in particular continued to extol the themes of national integration and cultural unity. Every year there would be some lesson on Kashmir and how Kashmiriyat transcended Hindu-Muslim differences, representing a microcosm for India. There were stories about the bravery of Sikhs fighting World War II, the valor of Rana Pratap, poems about Rani Laxmibai, and fictional parables of self-sacrifice and virtue that paralleled the ideals of the freedom movement. Of course the slant was Congressi... this was the Rajiv Gandhi era. Saadat Hassan Manto's satire on Partition, "Toba Tek Singh", featured prominently in our Hindi literature class. Themes of women's rights and poverty were also visited, in line with the Congress' then socialist outlook. But all in all, it was nationalism through and through... quite unlike the sort of perversity that Pakistani textbooks are filled with, but geared towards inculcating a nationalist perspective nonetheless.
So why do I recall all this? Only to point out that our government(at least up to the 1980s) was not falling down on the job. In fact, I don't know how many of us would be BR-ites today, had we not been brought up on a diet of soft-nationalism messages during our formative years.
The meme is definitely there. What we lack is the machinery to express it adaptively as a civilization.
To apply Shiv's analogy, we are trained to use the shotgun, and willing to use it to feed ourselves and our families. We are also skilled enough, once we know what the objective is,
to anticipate the motion of our target and fire our weapons accordingly (though to me, that is more a tactic than a strategy).
The problem is, and has always been IMHO, identifying the objective. As I've said in my previous post... we've been, for most of our history, a land of plenty. What need was there to go outside? Food grew easily, the earth was endowed with resources for the taking. Kings maintained order and dispensed justice; when they went to war, they had the luxury of choosing to conduct themselves in a principled manner, because it was rarely if ever a desperate struggle for the control of resources. Priests, philosophers, scholars, scientists and intellectuals established great centers of learning and contributed vast knowledge to the human canon... secure from the violence of man or nature. Traders came, we welcomed them, everyone turned a profit, everyone was happy. Why did we have to conquer, kill, convert or otherwise dominate anybody else? Who were the enemy? Hunas, Sakas, Satavahanas? In the big picture, such foes posed no existential threat at all; it was the easiest thing to move over a little bit and accomodate them, because there was so much extra to go around.
Even after the real dangers started to present themselves, beginning with the advent of Mohd Bin Qasim, we adhered to strategies in which accomodation was the objective. Please move in next door and take whatever you need; if you must, move in to my house and take my property because I can easily go and find some more; the important thing is that you leave us in peace as we have left you-- that was the objective.
For a while during and after the 17th Century, when the Marathas and later the Sikhs realized that there was not going to be any peace achieved through accomodation, things changed. The objective became survival, and the ousting of the Muslim predator was the only available choice. For the most part, other than a few pockets in the Gangetic plain and Bengal, this was achieved throughout the subcontinent... but the achievement was soon undone because the impetus to survival, on its own, is purely reactionary. No adhesive, no common vision, no unity of purpose existed to hold the Maratha coalition together against Abdali, or the Gangetic and Punjabi people together against the British. Some inchoate (though severely flawed) version of such an adhesive began to emerge in 1857, perhaps for the first time in Indian history... but it was not enough.
M.K. Gandhi, at long last, inspired the Indian people with what could have become a coherent and unified basis for envisioning future objectives... but the British seized upon the opportunities offered by Allama Iqbal and Jinnah to subvert it. On Direct Action Day, it became obvious that we had come full circle... we were back to defining our objective in terms of accomodation once again, M.K. Gandhi most intently of all.
An awareness of the big picture, of the grand sweep of Indian history and so on is no doubt a crucial ingredient to the evolution of such objectives in future. However, we at BR aren't the first ones to have realized or aspired to this. Gandhi, and even Nehru, had as formidable an understanding of India as one could ask of any "strategic leader"... and yet, the best they ended up offering us was accomodation all over again. That is what our Vajpayees, Advanis and Manmohan Singhs offer us today.
Perhaps the question is, apart from this business of "perception", what ELSE will the epigenesis of "strategic leadership" in the Indian context require?