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Authored by Dr. Raju G. C. Thomas.
In January 1996, the U.S. War College's Strategic Studies Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosted a conference on "Asian Security to the Year 2000." In his presentation to the conference, Dr. Raju Thomas examined India's defense perspectives and prospects. From the standpoint of national security, India's post-independence history divides neatly into a turbulent first half, which included conflicts with China and Pakistan, and a relatively more stable period since 1971. That stability has been rattled by significant challenges (Kashmir, Sri Lanka, etc.), as Dr. Thomas points out. Five years ago, the collapse of the Soviet Union seemed to presage a more troubled era. Certainly, it caused as broad a reassessment of strategic policy in South Asia as elsewhere in the world. Dr. Thomas analyzes India's security environment and the three levels of challenges that India confronts in this post-Cold War period--internal, conventional military, and nuclear. While the challenges in each arena are profound and interrelated, he finds considerable room for optimism that the early years of the next century will see continued stability in South Asia.