India’s foreign and security policies 2014-19: A personal bibliography

Foreign policy and grand strategy

1. Getting India’s world right, Swarajya, March 2017.

A manifesto for a conservative foreign policy for India, based on classical realism.

2. Beyond India’s quest for a neoliberal order, The Washington Quarterly 40, no. 2 (2017): 145-161 [pdflink].

A mid-term assessment of Modi’s grand strategy. The article argues that it has by-and-large followed the ‘neoliberal/broad-power’ template that India has adhered to since 1991.

3. The BJP and Indian grand strategy [with Rahul Sagar] in Milan Vaishnav (ed.) “The BJP in Power: Indian Democracy and Religious Nationalism” (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2019) [report].

Deep-dive into Hindu-nationalist strategic doctrine. The article argues that while Modi has enthusiastically engaged with key partners diplomatically, hard-power capabilities gap given the impression of privileging optics over substance.

Military doctrines

4. India is not changing its policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, War on the Rocks, March 29, 2017.

In light of the 2017 debate on India’s nuclear No-First-Use posture. To be read in context of the promise to “[s]tudy in detail India’s nuclear doctrine, and revise and update it […]” in the 2014 BJP Manifesto.

5. India’s joint doctrine: A lost opportunity [with Shashank Joshi], Observer Research Foundation Occasional Paper No. 139, January 2018 [pdflink].

Examines the 2017 Joint Doctrine of the Indian Armed Forces.

Force structure, budgets, and management

6. The sobering arithmetic of a two-front war, Observer Research Foundation Special Report No. 67, July 2018.

Looks at India’s military balance with China and Pakistan over ten years, in light of the 2017-18 discussions on a two-front war.

7. Death by a thousand cuts, Firstpost (Print), March 23-29, 2019. Also available online here. (Methodology note for the article.)

Examination of twenty years of Indian defence budgets, spanning NDA-I, UPA-I and UPA-II, and NDA-II.

8. Narendra Modi’s defence policy: Ideation, managament, and capabilities in Harsh V. Pant (ed.) “India’s National Security: Modi and Beyond” (New Delhi: Konark Publishers, forthcoming) [ms available on request]

Examines Modi’s defence policy.

On algorithmic bias

The latest entrant to the increasingly shrill debate on artificial intelligence is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, first-time Congresswoman from New York and darling of American left-liberals. At a recent event, Ocasio-Cortez sounded a warning bell about AI noting “[a]lgorithms are still made by human beings, and those algorithms are still pegged to basic human assumptions.” She went on to say: “They’re just automated assumptions. And if you don’t fix the bias, then you are just automating the bias.” Given to hyperbole (and enticed by prospects of a handsome royalty check), one American humanities professor even published a book titled “Algorithms of Oppression.” Closer home, two Indian experts — in a pioneering 2017 article — noted: “As coders and consumers of technology are largely male, they are crafting algorithms that absorb existing gender and racial prejudices.”

While well-meaning and presumably driven by social concerns, these statements — taken at their face value — are inaccurate. And the fallacy in all of them has to do with an incorrect characterization of what algorithms are and what they do. To see this, let us recap some basic notions from computing. Continue reading “On algorithmic bias”