20 (2)
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2020
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catalogue – 43669
ANTINOMIES
Foundation of journal. Issue topics About journal
Ahmed Ali

Abstract. The rise to taking over state power after elections of 2014 by majoritarian forces in India has since witnessed weakening of institutions of governance. The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has returned to power with an enhanced parliamentary majority in the 2019 elections. The rise of hindutva (Hindu-ness), the Hindu nationalist political philosophy of the formations comprising the BJP and the Sangh parivaar (organizational family of the Sangh) or affiliates of the right wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has reshaped the discourse on the “idea of India”. Under the extensive reframing in majoritarian nationalist terms of Indian political verities, it is conceivable that the Indian military, widely regarded as a professional, apolitical and secular force, will also be impacted. There has been little academic scrutiny of the possible influence of majoritarianism on the Indian military. The paper examines impact of the onset of majoritarianism democracy on India’s military by taking a close look at the movement in civil-military relations under the BJP government. There is a shift in civil-military relations from objective civilian control, that enhances professionalism and keeps the military apolitical, to subjective civilian control, wherein the military is co-opted through subscribing to the ideologybased security perspective of the ruling party. This shift poses for the military a risk of losing their a political ethic. Erosion of the apolitical ethic of the military will open up the military’s secular ethic to modification. The conclusions are both relevant for policy and theory. The relevance for policy lies in the need for the Indian state and the military to preserve professionalism by persisting with the objective civilian control model. The theoretical relevance is in discerning limits to the concept of obedience of the military to the civilian political rulers. Where there is a threat from a political ideology or its penetration into the military’s intellectual domain with the potential to dilute the military’s professionalism, the military needs to pushback for the sake of national security.
Keywords: Indian military; military sociology; Hindutva; military professionalism; civilmilitary relations; Indian politics.

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