Further to this post,
The procurement of defence equipment tends to raise eyebrows in general, but the diversity of the Indian inventories – think about all those extra maintenance, training, and overhead costs – can be especially puzzling. Different observers attribute different clusters of causes to it; but what few explanations omit is the idea and practice of ‘non-alignment’ (which includes retrospective and contemporary derivatives such as ‘international independence’, ‘strategic autonomy’, ‘non-alliance’, ‘non-reliance’, ‘polyalignment’ and indeed, ‘non-alignment 2.0’). In his acclaimed book Does the Elephant Dance? (2011), David Malone, a former Canadian High Commissioner to India, suggests that this policy has been a more-or-less effective option multiplier for New Delhi. Non-alignment works itself through military acquisition inasmuch as non-price criteria always include not only items such as technical quality and technology transfers, but also the ability to hedge India’s bets over the longer term.
This type of hedging carries advantages in the international arena for many reasons—above all because political capital accrues to those who can legitimately claim to be beholden only to themselves. India’s power in the next round of politics among nations will thus stem not simply from the latest purchase of military goods, but also from the manner in which it has amassed them.
These “Comments” (esp. 6.) at an earlier post–”The Eagle and the Tiger Go A-Courting (plus a Rising Sun)“–are along similar lines.
Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute