Strategy guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 04 Feb 2011 02:04

The March 1968 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article is very prescient of KSgaru thought process. He clearly lays out his thinking and has followed it through.

LINK

Can some one pdf this and link it?

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby shyamd » 04 Feb 2011 03:51

God bless his soul. A true loss to the nation. RIP

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 04 Feb 2011 04:33


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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby Kanson » 04 Feb 2011 06:49

In my humble view, if one is paying tribute in the way of presenting articles, it should not be done by posting in bit and pieces as done in new articles; it should be presented completely to show the respect as long as it not violating any copyrights. Thanks
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Here is the article from Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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Edited to reduce size.
Last edited by Kanson on 04 Feb 2011 07:51, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby Kartik » 04 Feb 2011 07:45

extremely sad. RIP. I will never forget those wonderful articles he wrote in the ToI's print edition back during my childhood. This is a big loss for India.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby abhishek_sharma » 04 Feb 2011 08:25

A Farewell to India’s Henry Kissinger

K. Subrahmanyam's pragmatic recommendations had a direct bearing on some of New Delhi's most profound national security decisions of the last half-century.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/03/in_remembrance_of_indias_nuclear_and_strategic_guru

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 04 Feb 2011 08:38

Above characterization is incorrect. HK is a bad person.

However I understand the need to place KS among figure Americans can identify with.

Yes KS made giant strides and conceived grand ideas in that he was like HK but not any other aspect.

I understand his sentiment.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby pradeepe » 04 Feb 2011 09:19

RIP sir. Our humble pranaams.


Kissinger is a s mass murderer plain and simple. We do not want such associations.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby Philip » 04 Feb 2011 14:41

KS was a great strategic thinker.We had Panikkar earlier and then Gen.Sunderji,who was admired enormously by one chief I knew.KS was a combination of Monroe and Thayer Mahan,more famous for their works on maritime warfare.The "Monroe doctrine" has been a favourite of some Indian strategists (India's 'Monroe Doctrine' and Asia's Maritime Future James R. Holmes; Toshi Yoshihara ),link below for those interested further.His loss is irreperable.Let's hope that IDSA which he was a father figure to, produces great strategists in the future,sorely needed.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/24940989/Indi ... e-Doctrine

India’s ‘Monroe Doctrine’ and Asia’s Maritime Future India’s ‘Monroe Doctrine’ Strategic Analysis James R. Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara

Key force structure required.
Indian naval planners would vest little trust in foreign military suppliers under the strongman paradigm. Completing a self-sufficient indigenous defence–industrial base, therefore, would assume high priority for the Indian military. In force-structure terms a hegemonic Indian Navy would probably feature six to nine carrier task forces, four to six SSBNs, and a fleet of SSNs. At least three carrier groups would thus be available for speedy deployment. Indian forces would be organized into east- and west-coast fleets, providing immediate military options in both the Ara- bian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, while the remaining assets would consti- tute a third, expeditionary fleet for power-projection missions farther from Indian coasts—in all likelihood beyond the confines of the Indian Ocean.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby Pranav » 04 Feb 2011 16:36

From one of K Subramanyam's last articles (maybe the last?):

That night of November 19
Nov 18 2010

I am perhaps one of the very few surviving people who came to know about Jawaharlal Nehru’s appeal to John F. Kennedy on the night of November 19, 1962. .....

The politics of aid in that era and the triangular relationship among the US, India and Pakistan is a different story. What should be of interest here is the triangle of India, the US and the USSR. At that time, Kennedy is reported to have told one of his aides that India should be encouraged to get as much military equipment as possible from the Soviet Union for its military preparedness against China. The Soviet Union could not take a pro-India stand in October 1962 as the Chinese timed their attack to coincide with the Cuban missile crisis — on this aspect we did not have a clue in India — and came out in support of the Indian stand by mid-December.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/that- ... 19/712808/


While working for Indian security one has to keep in mind the larger and longer-term goals of the important players, which are sometimes kept hidden.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby Manu » 04 Feb 2011 17:23

Ishwar inki aatma ko shanti day

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 04 Feb 2011 20:41

Today is good day to listen to Vishnu Sahasranama recited by Bhisma Pitamaha as the modern one returns to Lord Vishnu. Driving to work I listened to the golden voiced MS Subbalakshmi's rendition.
Our thoughts with the family.

From his all his Ekalavyas! (distant shishyas).

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 04 Feb 2011 21:25

Kanson, Thanks for the pages.

Awesome clarity of purpose even in that early paper.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 04 Feb 2011 21:31

RahulM, I think we should think of having a page for KS garu and link all his published articles and papers in one place for posterity. It would be a fitting memorial to him.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby Rahul M » 04 Feb 2011 21:34

I agree saarji but I don't have the requisite skills. I can help with gathering his articles. I guess you are the best person to write an obit. we can ask Jagan if he could get us a page to put it all in.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 04 Feb 2011 22:07

Eventually a tribute for his ideas live among us.

KS: Toasting the Chanakya of our Times

K. Subrahmanyam: Toasting the Chanakya of our times (Comment)

2011-02-04 13:30:00

It was the summer of 1986. I attended a roundtable discussion on United States-India relations hosted by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, chaired by its director, K. Subrahmanyam. The featured speaker was the influential and well-regarded Michael Mandelbaum of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

During the course of a lengthy response to the visiting scholar's presentation, Subrahmanyam blurted out, 'Michael, you don't know what you are talking about.' Along with a motley crowd of students, scholars, Indian and American officials present, I cringed and sank into my chair. Many of us didn't have the nerve to look up to see if the red blood corpuscles had drained from Mandelbaum's face, but after that the American kept his comments to a minimum and quickly concluded the session.

That was vintage Subrahmanyam -- unapologetic, acerbic, curt and conclusive.

It was, of course, not the first time I had witnessed what, in an academic setting, can be charitably regarded as plain impertinence. As a student of international studies in New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University who routinely attended Subrahmanyam's lectures, I was familiar with his seemingly intemperate style, often accentuated by the perpetual frown that bore through his prescription glasses. One look at the stern face was enough to deter even a conscientious or professional dissenter untutored in clear thinking or articulation from opening his mouth. It was not unusual that most of the discussions in his seminars were often restricted to ways of agreeing with him.

Nevertheless, there was no way one would miss a chance to hear him - he was compelling, persuasive and, for me, infuriatingly engrossing. His sharp and analytical mind was backed by a crystal clear perspective of history, fastidiously assembled repertoire of facts and meticulously conceptualized thesis. But if that was all one took away from him, he'd still come up short - a cantankerous sidelined-bureaucrat-turned scholar. But what made Subrahmanyam a pre-eminent strategic thinker of modern India was his ability to define India's place in the world and the means to carve it out without any ideological or moral accoutrements - everything for him, and consequently for India, must flow from a cold calculation of power and national interests.

This second and purposefully cynical facet of Subrahmanyam's mindset escaped many of his detractors, both in India and abroad, including this writer, at least until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the first Gulf War, when he provided a doctrinal framework for India's seamless transition from the clutches of anti-American non-alignment to a post-communist world dominated by a single superpower. Till then, he could have been, and often was, mistaken for any of the supercilious and argumentative Indian Administrative and Foreign Service officers who routinely projected on themselves the imagined greatness of their country -- something that did not correspond to realities on the ground.

But Subrahmanyam digressed from India's politico-bureaucratic establishment that was shaped by anti-colonial struggles and the Cold War. That is remarkable in itself, considering that he belonged to the generation that was compulsively suspicious of the West, cautiously sympathetic toward the East and pronouncedly committed to anti-imperialism abroad and democratic socialism at home. For Subrahmanyam, on the other hand, the guiding maxim was steeped in pristine realism, which recognised no permanent friends or permanent enemies, but only permanent interests.

{Shows why he was unique in that tumoltous decade of the sixties. He was driven by the idea of India while others were driven by different ideas they wanted India to conform to. His permamanet interest was INDIA. I am glad I could see this aspect despite never having met the great one.}

The first Gulf War and India's balance of payments crisis in 1991 provided the perfect foil for him to advocate a change of direction for India, even as New Delhi was still grappling with the contingencies stemming from a collapsing Soviet Union and the emasculation of the Non-Aligned Movement. Subrahmanyam was probably the first to see the writing on the wall. Months before US-led coalition forces launched Operation Desert Storm, when many of his counterparts were still discussing how America, in a replay of Vietnam, could be humbled in a prolonged hot war in the desert, Subrahmanyam predicted in an article in The Times of India that Saddam Hussein's Iraq would be defeated in a matter of days, not weeks or months, by the sheer invincibility of American military weaponry.

If America's emergence as the lone superpower -- thanks to its dominant position in the global economy and its unquestioned technological supremacy in both the civilian and military sectors - demanded New Delhi's reassessment of its alliance with an eviscerated Moscow and estrangement with a triumphant Washington, in Subrahmanyam's strategic thinking, it also underscored the need for India to remain steadfast on its nuclear posture. Through the 1990s, even as he advocated close ties with the US, he was resolutely against compromising on issues like the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

He never doubted that resisting American pressure on nuclear weapons was a condition for developing healthy relations with the US under a new world order where there was no countervailing power. Although he did not advocate the second nuclear tests, Subrahmanyam's unstinting support thereafter for US-India nuclear agreement and forging of a strategic partnership with Washington were a logical extension of the nuclear and security doctrine that he conceptualised, crafted and codified.

His non-ideological credentials and intellectual prowess, unencumbered either by ornate prose or academic jargon, provided a doctrinal format on which India's strategic community could shift from its anti-American and anti-capitalist focus to embracing a new course defined by non-confrontational nationalism and economic globalisation. It was not surprising to see the left ideologues who dominated the foreign policy and strategic affairs establishment in India pick up his treads and go on to renew their careers with a decidedly pro-Washington bent, while the thinker himself remained characteristically and resolutely committed to the pursuit of a polycentric world. :mrgreen:

It was the same apolitical integrity that made him decline the government of India's Padma Bhushan award -- he felt bureaucrats and journalists should not accept honours that could compromise their independence. One can only guess what he must have felt about the host of Indian media personalities and foreign policy pundits, several decades younger than himself, gleefully lobbying for and accepting a whole range of government-minted honours.

It is such intellectual honesty and self-confidence that helped him bounce back even higher every time he was sidelined or marginalized by the insecure in the echelons of power. In a way, he proved that even in Indian bureaucracy that is flush with brittle egos, excellence cannot be suppressed. It also helped that despite being a forceful personality, Subrahmanyam did not take himself seriously or take other contrarian views to heart.

Here's a toast to the Chanakya of our times.


(The writer is editor of the New York-based News India-Times. He can be contacted at suniladam@yahoo.com)



Very good review that captures the essence of KS garu. One of the best so far.

I am waiting to read the tributes from these individuals:


K Santhanam
G. Parthasarathy
A.P. Venkateshwaran
Shekar Gupta

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 04 Feb 2011 22:12

K. Natwar Singh

Man who never retired

K Natwar Singh: The man who never retired

K Subrahmanyam single-handedly educated us on the complexities of security and strategy. He was a one-man think tank

K Natwar Singh / February 5, 2011, 0:25 IST


K Subrahmanyam was amiable, conscientious, dedicated, forthright, talented and an inspirational thinker. Civil servants after retirement generally go to seed. But Subrahmanyam never retired. He gave so much to life and got so much out of it; he was a man of great moral passion. He was creatively consistent and so often right. He was a pioneer. Subrahmanyam single-handedly educated us on the complexities of security and strategy. He was in my judgement a one-man think tank. But he was also an institution builder. I cannot claim intimacy, but I knew him reasonably well. A conversation with him was a lesson; a memorable experience. The tributes paid to him are a testimony to his national stature. I recall a laudatory centre piece he wrote in The Times of India about my role as secretary general of the 7th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit held in New Delhi in March 1983.

I got to know his son, Jaishankar, when I was external affairs minister. He is one of the brightest stars of the Indian Foreign Services. I extend my sincere condolences to the family.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby Sidhant » 04 Feb 2011 23:15

RIP sir, may God welcome you with open arms in heaven. His articles were the ones which ignited my interest in Indian Strategic and Military affairs. Loss of a great son of Bharat Maa, may we see a lot more K Subramanyams.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby svinayak » 05 Feb 2011 02:54

ramana wrote:His non-ideological credentials and intellectual prowess, unencumbered either by ornate prose or academic jargon, provided a doctrinal format on which India's strategic community could shift from its anti-American and anti-capitalist focus to embracing a new course defined by non-confrontational nationalism and economic globalisation. It was not surprising to see the left ideologues who dominated the foreign policy and strategic affairs establishment in India pick up his treads and go on to renew their careers with a decidedly pro-Washington bent, while the thinker himself remained characteristically and resolutely committed to the pursuit of a polycentric world.


{Shows why he was unique in that tumoltous decade of the sixties. He was driven by the idea of India while others were driven by different ideas they wanted India to conform to. His permamanet interest was INDIA. I am glad I could see this aspect despite never having met the great one.}



See the shift of the
anti-American and anti-capitalist - this movement was created by the leftist and after 1975 funded by the US.

non-confrontational nationalism and economic globalisation. - This is national interest but still not rooted in India yet.

pro-Washington bent - this is created by the new elite who are makaka and who do not see India as one pole.

Creating a total India first group is a tall task. KS has achieved the first few steps in steering the ship properly.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 05 Feb 2011 03:03

Thanks for the prespective.....

Color coded for folks to get it 8)

KS Strategic Guru

By C Uday Bhaskargaru



K Subrahmanyam (1929 - 2011), the strategic guru for most Indian security analysts who passed away on Feb 2 after a long struggle with diabetes and cancer combined the finest qualities of head and heart. A civil servant who shunned the trappings of power in a hierarchy obsessed society - he opted for the monk like austerity of the think-tank.

Sapru House on Barakahmaba Road in New Delhi was where I first met KS in 1987 when he was in the last phase of his tenure as the Director of the IDSA. His name was familiar from the many thought-provoking edit page articles he wrote and I had also heard him occasionally on radio. Unlike many of his peers, he had an easy relationship with the uniformed fraternity and encouraged me in my own study at the time - the aircraft carrier and the relevance of naval-air for India.

Over the years I got to know KS better and was amazed by his formidable intellect, wide and eclectic reading - and above all, a razor-sharp memory that could recall names, events and dates with amazing attention to detail. In those years, the relatively little understood nuclear issue was central to the Indian strategic discourse - and KS was the prime-mover in the public domain. His numerous articles in the IDSA journal - Strategic Analysis and the major dailies informed the policy maker and educated the lay person and laid the foundation for a more nuanced understanding of the post Hiroshima nuclear cross that the world had to bear and its realpolitik contours.

In the early 1990's there were many occasions when KS - then a newspaper columnist exhorted the GoI to resist all kinds of pressures and inducements to renounce the nuclear option. Sanjaya Baru - then edit page editor of the Times of India played a valuable role in shaping the national discourse on the subject - and two phrases that KS introduced to the lexicon were 'nuclear apartheid' , and the 'Ayatollahs of the Potomac' . Both were invoked to show up the invalidity of the NPT on one hand , and the obduracy of the non-proliferation zealots in Washington DC who were determined to cap, rollback and eliminate the nascent Indian nuclear program.

For me personally the most cherished period will be the fortnight long visit with KS to the USA - soon after the May 1998 Shakti nuclear tests - when the relationship with the Beltway had hit rock-bottom. Ambassador Naresh Chandra was our plenipotentiary in DC but India was totally ostracized at the time - for having dared to exercise the nuclear option towards weaponisation.

The GoI decided to send a group of Indian analysts and former diplomats (including the late Mani Dixit) and I was chosen to accompany KS in the fall of 1998 as the first two-man trial balloon. At the time when all doors were closed to India, Stanley Weiss of BENS and other well-wishers of India in DC enabled us to set up some critical meetings. In the first leg of the visit, KS visited the State Department while I went to the Pentagon and our mandate was to explain why India had embarked on the Shakti tests. Subsequently we did a veritable whistle-stop tour to Chicago, New York and Boston where meetings were arranged and KS - despite his medical constraints was always on the ball - a good 10 minutes early for every appointment and full of vigor and enthusiasm - to explain the Indian compulsions. Occasionally in his wry manner, he would talk about the deeply entrenched fundamentalism of the non-proliferation lobby in the USA - and why he referred to them as the 'ayatollahs of the Potomac'.

However KS never held any rancor or malice against the USA and as later events proved, he was among the first to applaud and welcome the rapprochement between India and the USA. Again I was fortunate to be associated with KS for an extended period. In late 2005, the GoI constituted a Task Force to review 'Global Strategic Developments' - soon after the historic Bush-Manmohan Singh July 2005 civilian nuclear - and KS was appointed Chairman. When he asked me to be his Member- Secretary , I readily agreed - and this year will remain the most valuable period for me personally. The Task Force had as members, India's best and brightest across many disciplines - and KS led the team in his characteristic way. Every meeting was a glorious learning experience - and greater the pity that the GoI chose to keep the TF Report under wraps.

In the course of preparing the TF report, we had some interactions with the Delhi durbar - and one could discern why KS was often disappointed and dismayed. His piercing strategic vision and the single-minded advocacy of national power not devoid of principle was blunted by the pusillanimity and pettiness of the great Indian octopus - the impervious politico-bureaucratic edifice of South Block and its myopic vision. By C Uday Bhaskar (ANI)



Another vignette on KS from a close observer.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby paramu » 05 Feb 2011 03:07

Please take your next life again in India, Sir.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby Prem » 05 Feb 2011 03:09

Dont mean to be rude but wondering who is gonna take up his Mantle. With Non India centric forces taking control of Delhi Darbar , its imperative the vaccume created by this loss be filled on urgent basis.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 05 Feb 2011 03:13

Read CUB's last line to see where the problem is.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 05 Feb 2011 03:37

I guess we missed BG Verghese in Tribune

A doyen among strategic analysts

A doyen among strategic analystsby B.G. Verghese

Subbu, as K. Subrahmanyam was popularly known, died with his boots on. He reflected, wrote and discussed current events and their implications for the future until the last even as he gamely battled a terminal illness. He will be remembered with respect and gratitude for having tutored two generations of Indians to think holistically and strategically. That will be his enduring monument.

A member of the Tamil Nadu cadre of the IAS, Subbu was a young Deputy Secretary in the Department of Defence Production in Delhi when I first met him in 1966. I had just left The Times of India to join Indira Gandhi as her Information Adviser. Soon thereafter China exploded its third nuclear device — the first having been in 1964 — and preparations were afoot internationally to draft a non-proliferation treaty to limit nuclear weapons to the five nations that had tested up to date. This would effectively bar others, including India, from joining the exclusive nuclear club.

The official Indian response to these events seemed vague and confused and it appeared to a mere outsider like me that the problem had simply not been thought through. [b]Conflicting and compartmentalised thinking was evident with everybody pulling in different directions and no studied effort to build a consensus or frame clear options[/b].

I accordingly took the bit in my teeth and did a note for the Prime Minister urging a holistic study, noting that the Opposition in the Lok Sabha had sought a firm official commitment to build the Bomb and Foreign Minister Swaran Singh’s had been that it was intended to develop the knowhow and technical capability for the purpose.

Homi Sethna, Director of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), whom I knew, happened to drop into my office and plaintively remarked that the AEC was being administratively hamstrung. I took the cue and invited him to lunch the next day for a brainstorming session to which I proposed to invite some others. In the result, Sethna; S. Gopal, Director, Historical Division of the MEA; Pitamber Pant, Head of the Perspective Planning Division of the Planning Commission; Romesh Thapar, then a close confdante of Mrs Gandhi; K.Subrahmanyam, a promising young official who I had been informally told was an appropriate person to invite from the Defence Ministry, and I assembled at the Delhi Gymkhana Club. We formulated the outlines of what might be done after going round the table garnering preliminary insider inputs on the technical, economic, diplomatic, political and security parameters.


WOW!!!!

I reported the outcome to the Prime Minister and her Secretary, L.K. Jha. A week later, at an AEC meeting chaired by the Prime Minister in Bombay, tentative approval was accorded to a study on a nuclear weapons and missile programme. Vikram Sarabhai had taken over the leadership of the AEC from Homi Bhabha, who had tragically been killed in an air crash. Subbu was thereafter to remain a continuing link and the most persuasive, eloquent and indefatigable advocate of India’s nuclear weaponisation, placing his arguments in the wider and rapidly evolving regional and global security and strategic context.

The theroretical basis for his strategic thinking was refined and deepened when, as Director of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, Subbu had time to read, travel, interact and seminar with some of the best minds on the subject anywhere. He was reasoned, not merely polemical, something that even his intellectual opponents admired. He was a regular at Pugwash meetings and other Track II engagements, notably the India-Pakistan Neemrana Initiative, where his powerful advocacy came into full play and where he was heard with rapt attention by leading Pakistani interlocutors.

Heading the Joint Intelligence Committee gave Subbu insights into areas out of bounds to most. It was no surprise that he was closely consulted and actively involved in the final phases of the country’s nuclear programme that climaxed in 1998 with Pokhran-II, to which Pakistan, not unexpectedly, responded in kind.

He was natural choice to lead the first National Security Advisory Board which produced a national threat assessment and a national security doctrine after extensive debate. Subbu had strong views but he never sought to impose them on others preferring, patiently, to build consensus. This was evident in his deft handling of the NSAB debate on prescribing a nuclear doctrine for India posited on no-first use, a credible minimum (second strike) deterrent, and a triad-based (air, sea and land) delivery system. These recommendations were accepted by the government without demur.

Few perhaps know or recall a very incisive paper on the Kashmir question that Subbu wrote, maybe in the 1980s. This deep interest combined with his security-intelligence background led to his being appointed chairman of the Kargil Review Committee, with Lt-Gen K.K. Hazari (retd), and me as members and Satish Chandra, Secretary, National Security Council Secretariat, as member-secretary. Many scoffed at what they perceived to be the limited and innocuous terms of reference of the committee and its lack of judicial powers or those of a commission of inquiry. All it was armed with was a letter from the Cabinet Secretary to all concerned, civil, military, intelligence and others, soliciting full cooperation and candour.

The result was astonishing, Subbu decided that all those invited to depose should meet the committee and be given a transcript of their remarks which they were then invited to correct, amend or rewrite with whatever additions or excisions they desired and submit the amended version under their signatures. The formula inspired confidence and worked wonders. The responses were utterly candid and much was revealed that might have otherwise remained hidden. Security deletions were effected in the main report and 22 Annexures but that was nevertheless a frank and open account of events and assessments.

The report was accepted by the government, which set up four Task Forces to flesh out the salient recommendations with regard to higher defence management, internal security, border management and intelligence. These, too, were broadly adopted and set in motion a major overhaul of structures, procedures and archaic doctrines that had remained sacrosanct and untouched since the British left.

The fallout of the Kargil Review Committee was perhaps Subbu’s greatest achievement even if much of it remains work in progress.

The man will be missed. His work and ideas will not fade.


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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby krisna » 05 Feb 2011 10:17

Tribute: The guru of strategic writing in India
K Subrahmanyam's legacy will last in the voluminous work he has left behind, his many disciples and his progeny, says TP Sreenivasan
K Subrahmanyam (KS) had no equal in the strategic community of India. No one else had the strategic vision, the intellectual incisiveness, the boldness of approach and the linguistic precision that he had. In fact, he could well be called the guru of strategic writing in India. Many brilliant analysts of today owe many of their qualities and skills to him

What struck me most about KS's writings was the authority with which he laid out his point of view. He did not have the habit of beating around the bush when presenting the case or being ambivalent in his conclusions. His mastery of the subject and its background was evident and his conclusions were categorical. He may have proved wrong in his predictions at times, but that did not deter him from asserting his position the next time he analysed a problem.

KS was one of the early champions of India acquiring a nuclear deterrent for its security and he was a staunch opponent of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test ban Treaty. He came to represent India's strong position on the issue of nuclear disarmament, based on total elimination of nuclear weapons rather than arms control and non-proliferation. His essays articulated the Indian position in an unambiguous manner and opposed any move to dilute it by professional diplomats in the name of practical politics.

Perhaps, the most outstanding contribution that KS made to Indian strategic thinking was the Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan for nuclear disarmament, presented to the United Nations General Assembly in 1988. This was the first comprehensive plan for nuclear disarmament within a specific timeframe. The nuclear weapon States dismissed it as impractical and violative of their fundamental security doctrine and did not even give it any attention.

Many years later, close to the year 2010, in which the world would have been free of nuclear weapons if the Action Plan was adopted, some key Western strategic thinkers mentioned the Action Plan as a contribution to the journey towards global zero.

He was a nightmare for Western strategic thinkers, whose arguments were torn to shreds by his eloquence and reasoning. In the weeks and months following the nuclear tests of 1998, he travelled around the world to assert India's right to guarantee for itself a secure future against nuclear blackmail and threat. His intellectual brilliance was such that he could stand up to any strategic thinker in the world and win the debate. I vividly recall how he quoted chapter and verse from Gandhiji to counter the arguments of an acknowledged authority on Gandhiji, who asserted that if Gandhiji was alive, he would have opposed the nuclear tests.

More than any other individual or institution, KS provided continuity and credibility to India's strategic thinking, transcending political parties and leaders. Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh followed his advice as much as I K Gujral and Atal Bihari Vajpayee did. He spelt out and articulated Indian policy for successive prime ministers.

It is when giants like KS pass away that one regrets that modern science has not yet found a way to preserve the vast knowledge and wisdom of people like him after they are gone. But his legacy will last in the voluminous work he has left behind, his many disciples and his progeny.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 05 Feb 2011 10:46

When I read the BAS article pngs posted kindly by Kanson, I see the 50s were kind to India. Kashmir kind of in deep freeze, reasonable industrial growth, quite on way to becoming an economic power, non-alignment gave India a way to punch above its weight and then bam the 60s hit.

The question in the 50s was "When will India test?" and not "if India will test?" so confident everyone is about Indian scientific and industrial capability.

The tumultuous decade of sixties showed India facing external aggression twice(1962 & 1965) on different borders (China and TSP) leading to diversion of economic resources towards military expenditure and the difficulties of multiple suppliers and integrating them. Then the Nuke option gets upstaged by PRC test and then the NPT gets rolling to preclude it. We see two PMs dead within two years. We see massive devaluation in late sixties. And not to mention Naxalites problem.

So he kept focus on the big picture while everyone is claiming to see the small pictures and getting distracted by million mutinies. This is what gave him clarity.

KS rightly pushed for being out of NPT as that keeps the option alive. Thanks to Germany being subjected to treaties they never signed and that led to WWII, so not signing the NPT ensured that India can't be forced to adhere to it. If external forces push India then the option could be exercised. Sending the Enterprise and egging PRC to attack in 1971 were not friendly acts.

Next when he saw he option he pushed for splitting East Pakistan for that cuts TSP to size and reduces the propensity to undertake a repeat of 1965 again. Recall his discovering the book "Crisis Games" which described the very scenario that India faced in 1965.

The 1974 test led to the creation of NP regime to isolate and punish India. However that regime did not prevent TSP from acquiring knowhow and technologies.

After the sole super power came to prominence, it was important to remove the isolation and post 9/11 environment allowed the US to offer a deal. And he pushed for it as removal of isolation was important. Hanging on to rhetoric was for the ideologues who anyway band wagoned after him.

He keeps harping on economic growth and good governance to handle the million mutinies. We have now good economic growth and need to bring back good governance by ensuring good people enter politics.

So this way he kept the flame alive for the four decades from 1968 to 2008 and single handedly turned the tide of history towards India.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby svinayak » 05 Feb 2011 10:54

ramana wrote: bam the 60s hit.

The question in the 50s was "When will India test?" and not "if India will test?" so confident everyone is about Indian scientific and industrial capability.


The tumultuous decade of sixties showed India facing external aggression twice(1962 7 1965) on

Then the Nuke option gets upstaged by PRC test and then the NPT gets rolling to preclude it. We see two PMs dead within two years. We see massive devaluation in late sixties.



So this way he kept the flame alive for the four decades from 1968 to 2008 and single handedly turned the tide of history towards India.



1964 after JLN they tested and also created the NPT to make sure India was out of the system. They have taken extraordinary effort to make sure that India is not part of the global system for the last 45 years after JLN death/


India has come out of the strait jacket which was put on India from 1965
Last edited by svinayak on 05 Feb 2011 11:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 05 Feb 2011 11:03

Yuga Purush or what! No wonder folks close to him never got his mission. They concentrated on style but not the substance.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby Philip » 05 Feb 2011 12:42

This quote from Cdr.Uday Bhaskar is perhaps the most depressing.It perfectly fits in with what a veteran diplomat told me,on why the Lankan situ has been so myopically and ostrich-like mis-handled."The view from Delhi....",as he said cares little from those in the field and on the spot.I also forgot to mention Dixit as another great who helped shape India's foreign policy at crucial times in our post-independent history.The key characteristic of these men is that they placed INDIA first in their thinking.India-centric men,politicos,babus, strategists,diplomats and military men are required as never before if we are to meet the challenge from China and its proxies this century and remain a truly independent nation.

In the course of preparing the TF report, we had some interactions with the Delhi durbar - and one could discern why KS was often disappointed and dismayed. His piercing strategic vision and the single-minded advocacy of national power not devoid of principle was blunted by the pusillanimity and pettiness of the great Indian octopus - the impervious politico-bureaucratic edifice of South Block and its myopic vision. By C Uday Bhaskar (ANI)

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby VikB » 05 Feb 2011 14:29

Honestly, I did not know much of him earlier. Going by what others have to say, he seems like a Master.

It is a request to all that kindly provide way to access his articles by posting links/copy of articles/downloads/etc. I see that some articles have been shared, more the better.

regards.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby Raja Ram » 05 Feb 2011 20:26

ramana,

Note how well KS has talked about the need for a holistic growth based on strength and understanding of power, how well he has argued for an Indian POV developed from our own sense of history and how importantly he has re-asserted time and again the two non-negotiable principles of India namely:

1. Never again will India compromise on it soverign decision making; no matter what the inducement or what the threat

2. India will never surrender its sovereign options; no matter what the inducement or what the threat

Somehow, we at BRF have stumbled on the necessity of these needs by the constant exchange of ideas. In a way, we are all students of this Rishi of Modern India. To be a forum that takes this message of a life time is a small tribute that we can and must pay to this son of India!

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby sunny y » 05 Feb 2011 21:29

Walk the Talk with K Subrahmaniyam ji

http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/walk-t ... yam/171482

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 05 Feb 2011 21:52

From Ram Narayanan ;

Dear Ramana:

"A Farewell to India’s Kissinger." That’s the title of a tribute to the memory of K Subrahmanyam paid by Rory Medcalf, program director for international security at the Australia-based Lowy Institute for International Policy.

Subrahmanyam, the doyen of strategic thinking in India, passed away on February 2, 2011 at the age of 82.

My personal association with Subrahmanyam ("Subbu" to his friends) began in 2003 when he wrote to me after some one brought to his attention my website http://www.usindiafriendship.net/ and the mailing list I was building up to promote US-India friendship and cooperation. He was a passionate supporter of my work, We corresponded a lot. He gave the keynote address at a meeting specially organized at the India International Centre in January 2005 where I presented a paper on "Is a solid and comprehensive US-India strategic partnership inevitable?" He fully endorsed the contents of the paper (http://www.usindiafriendship.net/viewpoints1/ram2.htm) as well as a subsequent one presented in January 2007 ("US-India Strategic Partnership: Where is it Headed?" http://www.usindiafriendship.net/viewpo ... 012007.htm).

Subbu’s death is a grievous loss to me personally and an irreparable loss to India and the world!

Among the reports and articles published following his sad demise, all worth reading, are the following:

** "Strategic expert Subrahmanyam dead," The Times of India,
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi ... 412761.cms

This report carries the condolences of Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

** "The legend that is K Subrahmanyam" by B G Verghese, journalist and media adviser to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a Rediff Special.
http://www.rediff.com/news/2004/oct/05spec1.htm

This is a the text of a felicitation address for K Subrahmanyam delivered on October 5, 2004.

** "Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away," Rediff,
http://www.rediff.com/news/report/strat ... 110202.htm

** "Remembering the doyen of strategic thinking in India," by C Uday Bhaskar, Rediff,
http://www.rediff.com/news/column/remem ... 110203.htm

Excerpts:

....

** "Tribute: The guru of strategic writing in India" by Ambassador T P Sreenivasan, Rediff,
http://www.rediff.com/news/column/colum ... 110203.htm



Many of the excerpts are already posted in this thread. I wanted to capture RamN is thoughts and got his permission.

The beauty of true guru is every shishya feels he gets undivided attention. This comes out in every tribute, from Rory Medcalf to his Ekalavyas who learnt from him by osmosis. A mark of true teacher.

A true Yoda.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby suryag » 05 Feb 2011 23:53

Hi can someone utube the ndtv walk the talk video
TIA

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby arunsrinivasan » 06 Feb 2011 20:18

K. Subrahmanyam: A Tribute - BY MEERA SHANKAR

For almost 40 years, his far-reaching influence over India's strategic thinking came not from a title but through the power of his ideas.

K. Subrahmanyam, who died at the age of 82 in New Delhi, on Feb. 2, 2011, was the doyen of India's strategic community. India's Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, described him to The Hindu as "an outstanding public servant, visionary and thinker who will be missed by the generations ... who were inspired and influenced by his thoughts."


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He founded India's Institute of Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA) in 1968 and served as its director until 1975. After serving as the chairman of India's Joint Intelligence Committee and the secretary in the Ministry of Defense responsible for defense production, Subrahmanyam returned to lead the Institute in 1980 until he retired in 1986. He continued to write and speak prolifically on strategic issues in India in retirement.

For almost 40 years, his real influence came not from a title or government post but through the power of his ideas and the vigor of his intellect. The discipline of strategic writing and analysis in India emerged and grew under his influence. A sharp and forceful thinker and writer, he also mentored many of India's leading strategic thinkers. In discussion and debate he was formidable, and his mastery over facts and details would invariably leave a profound impression on those who interacted with him for the first time.

Subrahmanyam's life and influence is testament to the power that clear ideas and argumentation can wield in a democracy. His role in shaping policy and strategic thinking in India only grew throughout his lifetime, even though he never held an office of critical responsibility within the government during his last three decades. He was seen and accepted as an expert across the political spectrum and successive prime ministers and their key aides turned to him for advice and counsel.

He was guided by a hard-headed appreciation of power and its role in contemporary affairs. This was combined with a passionate commitment to the dream of India's "tryst with destiny" as articulated in 1947 by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in a speech marking the country's moment of independence; Subrahmanyam was then just 18. When he first began discussing and analyzing the role and importance of hard power in India, it was something new -- a marked contrast to the prevailing framework of idealism that marked the country's peaceful freedom movement, a time when politicians and activists espoused the high moral principles of peaceful coexistence, distance from power blocs and universal disarmament. Subrahmanyam's prodding role was timely. The consequences of India's neglect of hard power were clear in the border conflict of 1962.

He came to champion India's right to acquire strategic capabilities, including nuclear capabilities. When India became nuclear in 1998, he argued for responsibility and restraint. The principles he articulated of "no first use" and having only a minimum credible deterrent are today part of India's nuclear doctrine.


He was also one of the earliest and strongest proponents of closer ties between India and the United States. He was ahead of the curve in seeing the growing convergence of interests anchored in our shared commitment to the values of democracy and open markets. The characterization in 2010 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama of the India-U.S. relationship as "one of the defining partnerships of this century" is an outcome for which Subrahmanyam worked tirelessly over his last decade, even as he battled cancer and other ailments.

I had the good fortune of working with him as a young Foreign Service officer and knew him closely for 30 years. He represented the best in the Indian scholastic tradition in being genuinely indifferent to creature comforts, wealth, formal recognition, and positions. He enjoyed living in the world of ideas and had little patience for small talk. When a visiting scholar asked him what exercise he did to keep fit, he responded with the quip, "jumping to conclusions"! He was also truly democratic in his outlook. If you disagreed with him he would argue and debate fiercely, but treated you as an equal and expected you to respond as one, and if you did, he respected you for it. In this, he embodied a refreshing contrast to the prevailing ethos of strong hierarchies demanding deference to rank and to traditional discomfort with debate and clear articulation of differences.

He had great moral and intellectual courage and was willing to go against the tide. He gladly paid the price for standing out on more than one occasion, without ever expressing any regrets.

Few who only saw his writings and heard him speak at seminars in recent years could have imagined the continuous, painful, and difficult struggle he had with cancer and the extraordinary willpower and tenacity that he displayed in coping with it and still being so productive and prolific. In my visits to India as ambassador serving overseas over the last five years, I would inquire from mutual friends about the state of his health -- before I knew it, we were often meeting for a spirited discussion over lunch or dinner.

He was a giant of a man. India will miss him.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby KJo » 06 Feb 2011 21:27

Ramanaji, you knew him personally? Relative?

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 06 Feb 2011 23:44

I didn't have the good fortune in this life. Will definitely meet him in next one.

Truly Ekalvaya mode.

BTW, Meera Shankar's tribute is the closest to his persona. She was the editor of the book Nuclear Ambiguities.

Nyaya Murti of the Indo-US dialog and e-mail list has posted some brilliant ripostes from Guruji.
Will get permission and post.

Shows one should no only study history but draw lessons and apply them to present times.
----------
At a small get together at ghar had a tribute for him.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby Rony » 06 Feb 2011 23:55

K. Subrahmanyam's Letter To An Indian Student

It was in 1992 that I received a letter from K. Subrahmanyam, India’s top strategic affairs expert. It was one of the proudest moments of my life because I held him in very high esteem and believed that he was perhaps the only person in India who had a strategic vision.

The contents of the letter are not important and I don’t even know if it is still safe in my ancestral home in Kerala or if the tropical humidity has reduced it to mulch status. The exact date or month is now lost in the by lanes of my brain but I do recall that I was in my final year at university when I took out a sheet of paper and penned a long letter to Mr Subrahmanyam, who had an edit page column in the Economic Times, which I used to avidly follow.

Among other things, I requested that he write about why India must leave the Commonwealth of Nations. In my letter I asked Mr Subrahmanyam to write about the anger and frustration that patriotic and proud Indians felt about our country’s continued membership in a club that meant nothing to us. Why was India staying in an organisation which only provided some residual glory to Britain, a country that had pillaged and ravaged India for 190 years? It was a constant affront to us.

I argued that India’s membership in the Commonwealth allowed the British to deny and disown their vicious colonial role during which an estimated 84 million Indians died due to wars, British-made famines, wholesale slaughter and plain genocide.

Also, the Commonwealth Games provided an excuse to British officials to descend in hordes on the host country and inspect facilities like they owned the place. Strutting about like puffed up peacocks they condescendingly approved stadiums and hostels or made arrogant comments. Then there was the undue importance given to the British queen and the queen’s baton, which made us feel sick.

I never expected a reply. I thought such unsolicited letters were chucked into the newspaper’s dustbin seconds after they arrived. How wrong I was! Only four years later when I myself became a journalist did I come to know that even the largest circulation magazines got only a handful of letters per issue? Indeed, my letter must have been gratefully received at the Economic Times and handed over to Mr Subrahmanyam.

So imagine my surprise when the postman delivered a letter from India’s leading strategic affairs guru. Judging by my delight, my mother thought I’d got a job or a cheque from one of my doting aunts! In a country that produced few non-sporting heroes, Mr Subrahmanyam was my idol.

Mr Subrahmanyam thanked me for the letter, and wrote that he was indeed aware of the incongruity of India’s membership of the Commonwealth. He promised to write about it one day at an opportune moment. Of course, the project remained on the drawing board. Perhaps he forgot about it. Perhaps he never had the time to write about it when more pressing matters like nuclear bombs, high-stakes geopolitics and defence demanded his attention.

But why do I have this lingering doubt that perhaps he wanted to write but couldn’t? Having worked in the mainstream Indian media for over a decade I feel if Mr Subrahmanyam did write about the Commonwealth, the editors would have spiked the article. More likely, he may have been told that the peg is missing. This is a favourite word freely employed by Indian editors, who believe an opinion article, no matter how exciting or important, does not deserve publication if there isn’t some connection to ongoing events. In the Indian media, views must correlate to news.

Mr Subrahmanyam’s passing is indeed a great loss to India. Strategic thinkers like him come once in a lifetime. It is doubtful India’s feckless political class has even read, let alone implemented, his advice on strategy. The Indian government has, in fact, failed to make public the report of his task force on India's strategic development. The modern-day Chanakya of Indian strategic policy must have pressed for nothing less than a massive expansion of Indian influence and military might around the world. That is something not palatable to the backboneless politician whose tribe dominates New Delhi. During an international conference on geopolitics many years ago, a foreign diplomat was exasperated by India’s totally supine performance in global affairs, to blurt out: “There is the former superpower (Russia), the sole superpower (the US) and now the reluctant superpower.”

Over 2300 years ago, Chanakya, the master of statecraft, was able to unite India into a powerful empire because he had as his follower and friend the courageous King Chandragupta. However, sadly his modern-day avatar was resigned to watch a succession of Indian politicians willing to accept a marginalised role. India’s reluctance to sit at the global high table really wound up Mr Subrahmanyam. He couldn’t bear to watch third-rate ‘powers’ such as Britain, France and Japan strut around the global stage, meddling in developing countries. When a senior Indian editor wondered how he was able to write so prodigiously and passionately, he replied, “It's easy. I just have to watch CNN or BBC and I get so angry that I have several things to say!”

But what the great man wrote won’t go waste. The next generation of political and military leaders will surely share Mr Subrahmanyam’s vision to make India the pre-eminent power in the 21st century.

(About the author: Rakesh Krishnan Simha is a features writer at New Zealand’s leading media house. He has previously worked with Businessworld, India Today and Hindustan Times, and was news editor with the Financial Express.)

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby abhishek_sharma » 07 Feb 2011 07:55

A gentleman Brahmin

http://www.hindustantimes.com/A-gentleman-Brahmin/Article1-659334.aspx

A gentleman Brahmin
Shiv Visvanathan, Hindustan Times
February 06, 2011
First Published: 22:12 IST(6/2/2011)

It's a strange paradox of life that sometimes when someone who agrees with you dies, you shrug in sadness, but when an opponent you have disagreed with passes away, you want to salute him. For someone raised in the alternative tradition of pluralism and peace, K Subrahmanyam was the opponent. He
literally founded defence studies in India, differentiated it from international relations, gave it an identity and a different competence
.

I never knew him but I loved hearing stories about him from colleagues, relatives and friends. One was from an Indian Civil Service officer in my college days. The gentleman, fondly called 'Annaji', had retired from service and was still known for his alertness and curiosity. One day, almost nostalgically, he said, "Wonder what happened to a young man I knew. He did chemistry I think. Subbu. He is the one to watch. He will go far." I think the comments were prescient because Subrahmanyam became one of the great policy intellectuals of our era.

When one mentions the word policy intellectual, one thinks of PC Mahalanobis, Sukhamoy Chakravarti, Pitamber Pant or MS Swaminathan. Subrahmanyam stands tall even in this tribe. He took the idea of defence and rescued it from illiteracy and panic after the 1962 China defeat.

At that time, I worked at the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), which was vociferous in its critique of him. My senior colleagues tried to create a sociological picture of him. They argued he was like all displaced Tamil Brahmins: having no power in Chennai, the Tamil Brahmin was the source of a hawkish ideology. As a generalisation, it was true, even insightful. But Subrahmanyam, for all his nationalism, escaped such stereotypes. Like my senior colleagues at the CSDS such as Rajni Kothari, Ashis Nandy and Giri Deshingkar, KS understood power. And like them, he was never seduced by power. But the former critiqued policy, KS made it. Subrahmanyam stood at the centre of power as an immaculate maverick. He was never tempted by it. He never fetishised it. He could dissent with equal ease as he did during the Emergency.

{Stitha Pragnya doing nishkama karma! One of my uncles visiting me said this Western notion of Intellectual Property is at the anti-theisis of the Brahmin's code which is to acquire knowldege and give it or impart it freely for a token guru dakhshina. KS freely imparted the immense knowledge he acquired to all without fear or favor whether Indian or not. Only a willingness to learn as in an ancient gurkul was needed to recognize knowledege when it was being imparted.

This article is going to hit the NPA mullahs very hard who rail at the Brahmin resistance to Western dominance.}


He could stand up quietly for his ideas. In that sense, he was a presence without being a performance. He was a strategist in all senses, but tactical enough to realise when change was essential. He was a patriot who lived out the travails of the Indian Nation-State at its most vulnerable moments. He was neither overtly left or right. What made him maddening was that he was utterly matter of fact about it. He played caretaker and trustee of defence policy and created, at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), the nursery for independent and autonomous ideas about defence. He was the ideal policy intellectual as a role model, and yet unique enough to deny imitations.

My former colleague and a leading China hand, the late Giri Deshingkar, was constructed as an intellectual foil to KS. Yet, two stories I heard from Giri best capture KS. Giri was a creature of habit. He worked hard the whole day needing his drink at six in the evening.{I A true policy wonk!} One day I saw him hurrying out at five. "Where are you going?" I asked. "Subbu's son is getting married I have to be there," adding, "Subbu, he is one of us." It was a tribute to an adversary as a friend.

On August 24, 1984, the Indian Airlines plane was hijacked to Lahore and onward to Dubai. I walked into Giri's corner room soon after and found him reading Subrahmanyam's hijack diaries marking its key points. "What a man," said Giri. "He gets hijacked and produces a meticulous diary while everyone produces complaints. It's the Brahmin in him... Subbu was never an opportunist. But look at the opportunism of the man. He sees the hijack as a learning experience!"

Deshingkar saw 'KS the Brahmin' as a hero. This was a sense of the Brahminic not as a caste orientation or in the sense of ritual or status. It was the Brahmin as advisor to kings: learned, scholarly, true to the mandarin code, yet distant from the seduction of power, austere, productive almost as a form of everyday discipline, prolific beyond 60 where the word retirement was an epithet for lesser mortals.

I must confess that for a peacenik and an anti-nuclear activist like me, Subrahmanyam was anathema. I felt the KS who talked peace had no sense of peace movements. I could not understand his pro-nuclear stand and my ambivalence to the man stemmed from this. I felt he was separating the ethical and the tactical. I guess he probably felt there was a touch of romance about people like me. He was probably more aware of India's vulnerability in an age that produced the genocidal impulse of a Kissinger or the epidemic of terrorism. Yet KS was always the hawk who advised nuclear restraint; a discourse that sees the Nation-State as vulnerable allows little focus for civil society views of vulnerability.

I remember during the heyday of the United Nations University projects on militarisation and demilitarisation, Rajni Kothari asked me to take over the little magazine on militarisation and demilitarisation in Asia. He jokingly added that he was setting up one 'Tam-Brahm' to fight another. There was no prejudice in what Kothari said. It was a challenge to civil society views of peace to meet the standards of integrity that KS had set. Even in his absence, he was a presence. Even as an opponent, KS almost became the muse.

KS died fighting cancer. I am sure if he had time he might have produced a systematic book on that too. But I guess the nation kept him absorbed. He towered over other hawks because of his vision and his professionalism. Yet deep down he represented a style of Brahmin scholar-bureaucrats. One will always miss him for the austerity, the inventiveness and the integrity he brought to public life.


Shiv Visvanathan is a social scientist. The views expressed by the author are personal.


Interesting insight.

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Re: Strategic guru K Subrahmanyam passes away

Postby ramana » 07 Feb 2011 08:37

Was KS S related to Gen KS Sunderji?

---------

I got an answer. Not related but friends.


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